Rob Smith enters his fifth season as the Boilermakers' pitching coach after rejoining the program in the fall of 2001.
In 2005, Smith guided a Purdue pitching staff that led the Big Ten Conference in team ERA for conference games with a 3.29, more than one full run better than any other staff in the conference. On that staff were three starting pitchers who each earned all-conference honors: Scott Byrnes (1st Team), Mitch Pruemer (2nd Team), and Brent Coudron (3rd Team).
The 2005 staff had an overall ERA of 4.68, the second-lowest for a Purdue team in the last 12 years, and the fourth-best since the 1982 campaign.
From his first season in 2002 to last season, Smith's guidance has helped the Boilermaker ERA lower by more than one run, from a 5.95 to a 4.68.
Another tribute to Smith's instruction is the increasing control of the Purdue pitching staff. The 2005 Boilermakers had a strikeout:walk ratio of 2.03, the second-highest in the aluminum bat era (1974-Present).
Two of Smith's Boilermaker hurlers have been selected in the top 10 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft: closer Dustin Glant in 2003 by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and starter Chadd Blasko in 2002 by the Chicago Cubs.
Blasko was a first-round (supplemental) draft pick and 36th overall selection by the Chicago Cubs in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft. As a junior, Blasko was 3-1 in conference play with a 2.34 ERA, string out 44 batters in 50.0 innings pitched.
Five of Smith's pitchers have been honored as Big Ten Pitchers of the Week, two in 2002, two in 2004, and one in 2005: Blasko (March 23, 2002); Mitch Pruemer (May 13, 2002 and May 23, 2005); Scott Byrnes (March 19, 2004); and Chris Toneguzzi (April 18, 2004). Along with the Big Ten honor, Blasko was named Louisville Slugger's National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball.
Prior to taking control of the Boilermaker pitching staff, Smith spent two seasons as manager and general manager of the Wisconsin Woodchucks of the Northwoods League. In 2001, he guided the team to its first league championship in the eight-year history of the franchise. Smith's teams posted club records for wins, with 34 (2000) and 37 (2001). His pitching staffs also set club records for ERA in both seasons.
Smith was a volunteer assistant coach at Purdue in 1999. He assisted with the pitchers and recruiting, and also worked with the catchers.
Smith played college ball at Vincennes University from 1991 to 1994 and completed his degree at Indiana University in 1998.
Smith and his wife, RaeAnna, have identical twin daughters, Sierra and Serena, a son, Tyson, and recently added daughter, Isabelle, in October 2005. The Smith family resides in Lafayette.