Jack Smitheran has achieved the success that most coaches only dream of.
Growing up in Long Beach, Jack played football and baseball for Long Beach High School before attending Arizona State University. A second baseman at Arizona, he played under one of collegiate baseball’s most successful coaches, Bobby Winkles, and was a member of the 1965 national championship team along with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. After college graduation, Smitheran remained with the Sun Devils as an assistant coach from 1967 to 1969, during which time ASU captured two more national titles.
1n 1970, he moved to Emporia State, coaching the Kansas school to the NAIA World Series. Since relocating to UCR, he has led his Highlander teams to eight CCAA titles, appeared in ten Western Regionals, and won 1,064 games. He has been named NCAA Division II Coach of the Year. Smitheran inaugurated the Riverside Baseball Invitational, coached 37 all-Americans and numerous professional baseball players.
After winning the 1977 National Championship, Smitheran discussed his coaching theory in the UCR Highlander. “You probably have some influence as a coach, but after all it’s the players who do it. They perform out there, and that’s probably 99 percent of it.”
In 2002, Jack was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.