Paige Smith to Step Aside as Pirates Head Coach

Halldan1

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South Orange, N.J. - Seton Hall softball head coach Paige Smith has resigned her position after nine seasons to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with her family, Director of Athletics Bryan Felt announced Monday. A national search for Smith's successor will immediately commence.

"We'd like to thank Paige for all her hard work and dedication to the softball program and our student-athletes over the past nine seasons," Felt said. "She led our softball program with the utmost class and grace. We are grateful for her mentorship of our student-athletes and respect her decision to step away to spend more time with her family, and we wish her all the best in her future pursuits."

Smith took over the softball program in 2013 and led the Pirates to two BIG EAST Tournament appearances in her first three seasons. In 2015, she guided the Pirates to 25 wins, 10 of them in BIG EAST play, and a third-place finish in the BIG EAST regular season, the program's highest finish in the conference standings since 2005. The Hall defeated DePaul in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals to advance to the tournament final for the first time since 2005.

During Smith's tenure, Seton Hall had 17 All-BIG EAST selections, including seven to the first team. She recruited and mentored Alexis Walkden, who is the program's all-time single-season home run leader, career runs scored and career walks drawn leader and top five in career batting average, doubles and home runs. Walkden was named the 2015 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and the 2017 BIG EAST Player of the Year. Smith also recruited and developed numerous other Pirates who rank in the program's top 20 in multiple offensive and pitching categories.

Seton Hall softball student-athletes thrived academically while Smith was in charge, as the program had 137 selections to the BIG EAST All-Academic team (3.0 GPA or higher) from 2013 to 2020. Three Pirates were named to the CoSIDA District II All-Academic first team, Walkden was the 2018 BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Brittany Hammer was a second-team Academic All-American in 2013.
 
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Halldan1

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Never had a wining record at SHU in any year on the job. The school has a nice field, but I don't know anything about their financial commitment to the sport.

We need to do better. Much better.
2021 - 9-23
2020 - 10-14
2019 - 24-24
2018 - 19-35
2017 - 22-25-1
2016 - 20-34
2015 - 25-28
2014 - 15-34
2013 - 21-30
 
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hallgrad80

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I just wonder if her record is misleading as it’s possible that her preseason schedule before Conference play began was against southern or warm weather programs that always seem to have an advantage over teams from the Northeast.
 

lloyde dobler

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I just wonder if her record is misleading as it’s possible that her preseason schedule before Conference play began was against southern or warm weather programs that always seem to have an advantage over teams from the Northeast.

Nope, plus a lot of (not all) games on those trips are against other Northern teams traveling south.
 
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SPK145

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I just wonder if her record is misleading as it’s possible that her preseason schedule before Conference play began was against southern or warm weather programs that always seem to have an advantage over teams from the Northeast.
Why wonder when you can just look it up?

2021 = 5-13
2020 = 0-0
2019 = 10-9
2018 = 5-16
2017 = 7-14
2016 = 7-12
2015 = 10-10
2014 = 9-12
2013 = 7-13
Total = 61-99
 
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lloyde dobler

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She was a puzzling hire from the get-go. Had no local ties and no relationships to the area club teams.

There’s not a ton of next-level D1 talent in this area, but there’s enough that, if you work hard and find the right ones, can at least make you a winning program. A softball team in NJ can’t make a National impact like the soccer team is doing, but there’s absolutely no reason they can’t compete for a Big East title every year. And you can’t get sucked into recruiting marginal West Coast players just because they’re from the West Coast.

Finding the right softball coach is different than finding the right basketball coach. With that in mind, I’d definitely look at someone like Dean Johnson, who has been a successful D2 coach at Caldwell. He’s obviously local, and already knows everyone there is to know in this area. He also has deep connections to the club programs from throughout the area. That’s the type of coach you want - not an outsider from Idaho.

The model coaches in this area are ones like Bridget Orchard at Villanova (formerly at Fordham) and Lisa Sweeney from Princeton, who was one of the best HS players in NJ history AND (unlike either Smith) has real coaching experience. SHU won’t get those two, but they are the type you’d want to get - local and connected.
 

lloyde dobler

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She's an excellent coach and would draw talented recruits, comparing her to Donovan is nonsense.

Ok, so tell us about her coaching experience. Where has she recruited a roster, managed a program and game-coached? And where has she established any relationships with the clubs she’ll be recruiting players from? They don’t exist!

At least Donovan had some relevant college coaching experience (which wasn’t good)... but they hired her based on her name anyway. But you’d vouch for something worse?
 
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lloyde dobler

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hallgrad80

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Why wonder when you can just look it up?

2021 = 5-13
2020 = 0-0
2019 = 10-9
2018 = 5-16
2017 = 7-14
2016 = 7-12
2015 = 10-10
2014 = 9-12
2013 = 7-13
Total = 61-99
Well at least she had one winning conference record 10 - 9 in 2019 and a 10 - 10 record in 2015.
 

NYShoreGuy

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Never had a wining record at SHU in any year on the job. The school has a nice field, but I don't know anything about their financial commitment to the sport.

We need to do better. Much better.
You had someone that did much better late 90s to mid 00s in a tougher league
 

lloyde dobler

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Cedar Grove’s own Ray Vandermay was a great coach.

He was a great coach and Jay Nelson, who he coached against in HS when Jay was at Mountain Lakes, was his assistant and main recruiter. It worked out great when they started because the job then was part-time and Ray was teaching in Cedar Grove while Jay was self employed. They (Jay) noticed Megan Meyer on a softball website and turned that into history. Jay eventually got the Rutgers job and things leveled off, but they were a great team who brought life to a dead program.
 
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SHUSA

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She was a puzzling hire from the get-go. Had no local ties and no relationships to the area club teams.

There’s not a ton of next-level D1 talent in this area, but there’s enough that, if you work hard and find the right ones, can at least make you a winning program. A softball team in NJ can’t make a National impact like the soccer team is doing, but there’s absolutely no reason they can’t compete for a Big East title every year. And you can’t get sucked into recruiting marginal West Coast players just because they’re from the West Coast.

Finding the right softball coach is different than finding the right basketball coach. With that in mind, I’d definitely look at someone like Dean Johnson, who has been a successful D2 coach at Caldwell. He’s obviously local, and already knows everyone there is to know in this area. He also has deep connections to the club programs from throughout the area. That’s the type of coach you want - not an outsider from Idaho.

The model coaches in this area are ones like Bridget Orchard at Villanova (formerly at Fordham) and Lisa Sweeney from Princeton, who was one of the best HS players in NJ history AND (unlike either Smith) has real coaching experience. SHU won’t get those two, but they are the type you’d want to get - local and connected.
how on earth do you know this much lol
 
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Seton75

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how on earth do you know this much lol
Lloyde has some crazy info floating around his noggin but writng an intelligent couple of paragraphs on local women's softball is up there.

Question- who read the title if the post and knew what sport it was about?
 
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mikewalsh

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Ok, so tell us about her coaching experience. Where has she recruited a roster, managed a program and game-coached? And where has she established any relationships with the clubs she’ll be recruiting players from? They don’t exist!

At least Donovan had some relevant college coaching experience (which wasn’t good)... but they hired her based on her name anyway. But you’d vouch for something worse?
You're right she isn't a game coach, she's been a fundamentals coach on and off in the Hunterdon County area for years. My daughter went through training with her when she was younger. Michelle is excellent with the girls, knows the game, and has name recognition which would boost recruiting.

Just my opinion.
 
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lloyde dobler

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You're right she isn't a game coach, she's been a fundamentals coach on and off in the Hunterdon County area for years. My daughter went through training with her when she was younger. Michelle is excellent with the girls, knows the game, and has name recognition which would boost recruiting.

Just my opinion.

Giving clinics to young girls by no means qualifies you to be a D1 head coach in a region of the country where it’s tough to win, no matter who you are. She has absolutely no qualifications other than her name. Zero.
 

lloyde dobler

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Is it a full-time job now? What does it pay?

It’s been full time for a long time, became that way during Vander May’s tenure. Not sure how much it pays.

Aside from running the program and coaching throughout the school year, you have to spend a ton of time on the road in June and July. There are tournaments throughout the Northeast that are on the calendar at the same time each summer, and many of the local teams travel to Colorado for a couple of events each July. You’d be surprised at how much traveling these teams do... Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado, plus huge local events in NJ and Pa.
 
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SHUisNJsTeam

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I just wonder if her record is misleading as it’s possible that her preseason schedule before Conference play began was against southern or warm weather programs that always seem to have an advantage over teams from the Northeast.
I don’t care where an opposing team is located; I want to beat everyone, not just some teams in a particular region. It’s all about the W’s!
 
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lloyde dobler

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Here’s another candidate for the SHU job, Joe DiPietro from Incarnate Word in Texas. He’s a NJ guy who is extremely connected to the area club scene. He was doing a really good job at Temple, and then they discontinued softball and a bunch of other programs to help plug budget holes from football. He’s been at a few different places since.

The fact that successful guys like Dean Johnson from Caldwell and DiPietro are interested shows that there are viable candidates out there for the job who both know how to win and how to properly recruit. Villanova won the Big East this weekend with SIX New Jersey girls in the lineup. That’s how you can get it done in the Big East. What does it say that one of the biggest club teams in the state (NJ Pride) is based out of Ivy Hill Park, yet Paige Smith never got any of their players in all of her time on the job?


 

thehall07

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Here’s another candidate for the SHU job, Joe DiPietro from Incarnate Word in Texas. He’s a NJ guy who is extremely connected to the area club scene. He was doing a really good job at Temple, and then they discontinued softball and a bunch of other programs to help plug budget holes from football. He’s been at a few different places since.

The fact that successful guys like Dean Johnson from Caldwell and DiPietro are interested shows that there are viable candidates out there for the job who both know how to win and how to properly recruit. Villanova won the Big East this weekend with SIX New Jersey girls in the lineup. That’s how you can get it done in the Big East. What does it say that one of the biggest club teams in the state (NJ Pride) is based out of Ivy Hill Park, yet Paige Smith never got any of their players in all of her time on the job?


You seem all over this ; what is your opinion of the below? I read on Twitter that she will be an option .
 
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lloyde dobler

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The concerning thing about her comes from looking at their roster being mostly made up of players from central and western Pennsylvania. That’s not what SHU needs. I’m really not sure how connected she is to this area, and that’s got to be an important thing for SHU.

Another thing that will factor into the hire is whether or not it’s important to SHU if the new coach is a man or woman. Who knows how they are thinking regarding that.
 

HallX2

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The concerning thing about her comes from looking at their roster being mostly made up of players from central and western Pennsylvania. That’s not what SHU needs. I’m really not sure how connected she is to this area, and that’s got to be an important thing for SHU.

Another thing that will factor into the hire is whether or not it’s important to SHU if the new coach is a man or woman. Who knows how they are thinking regarding that.
I’d hope merit might win out.
 

thehall07

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The concerning thing about her comes from looking at their roster being mostly made up of players from central and western Pennsylvania. That’s not what SHU needs. I’m really not sure how connected she is to this area, and that’s got to be an important thing for SHU.

Another thing that will factor into the hire is whether or not it’s important to SHU if the new coach is a man or woman. Who knows how they are thinking regarding that.
Respect your insight here but to play a little devils advocate it might be easier to get kids from Pa to SHU then NJ.
 

lloyde dobler

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Respect your insight here but to play a little devils advocate it might be easier to get kids from Pa to SHU then NJ.

SHU gets a lot of NJ exposure because Ivy Hill Park (through Essex County’s involvement, not SHU’s) is home for the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions and additionally this year, the Group state finals. It’s also home to the Essex County Tournament semis and finals, and a number of other games throughout the year... eight NJ high school teams, including Donovan Catholic and Mount St Dominic, played there in a one-day event today. In addition, the NJ Pride hosts a few different tournaments there throughout the summer which draw teams from all the surrounding states. Ivy Hill Park is a pretty good facility, and exposes the campus to a lot of high school players and their families. If you get a coach who knows how to run a college program and can properly mine the local talent, you can win. The thing about Big East softball is that everyone is on equal footing, except maybe UConn, so the school that best capitalizes on “programmatic details” can win the championship. Smith was a strange hire from Day 1. Hopefully they’ll do better this time.
 

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