By T. Scott Boatright
Ruston High School looked to a familiar and proven face as it named a new head coach for the Bearcats baseball team Tuesday morning.
RHS athletics director/head football coach Jerrod Baugh has tabbed Zack Smith as the new head of hardball for the Bearcats.
“He’s been an assistant here for five years,” Baugh said. “He’s the former head coach at Forest High School, where he won four state championships and was runner-up another year. We feel fortunate to have him.”
Smith said he was more than thrilled to get the chance.
“I just really appreciate the opportunity,” Smith said. “(Lincoln Parish Schools Superintendent Ricky) Durrett, Coach Baugh have presented me with a great opportunity and I intend to show that it was a good choice. I also appreciate five years ago when (former head RHS baseball coach) Toby White let me come be a part of this staff.
“It’s exciting. It’s the highest level of high school baseball in Louisiana. I like the challenge. I like the competitiveness of it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Smith takes over a Bearcats team that reached the second round and were seeded fifth in the 2021 Class 5A playoffs while posting a record of 25-10. Ruston fell to Central of Baton Rouge in the final game of a best-of-three playoff series in the second round of the playoffs.
“We have some pitching coming back — obviously JR Tollett (the 2021 Co-District 2-5A Pitcher of the Year as a sophomore) and then we’ve got some other good young pieces with him like Cade Patterson, Dyson Fields, Dawson Willis. We’ve got some pieces and we have some more young talent coming, so I really feel excited about where this program is about to go.”