Kevin Smallcomb, who has recorded 445 victories as a college head coach, is entering his fourth season as the associate head coach for the Youngstown State baseball program.
Smallcomb has been a big part of upping the program’s talent through player development and recruiting. The coaching veteran has ties many ties to California, and seven of the 16 newcomers on the 2014 squad were from The Golden State.
Just two years into the rebuilding effort under head coach Steve Gillispie, the Penguins made their first appearance at an NCAA Regional in a decade. Youngstown State swept through the Horizon League Tournament as the No. 6 seed to earn the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Youngstown State beat top-seeded Wright State twice, including in the championship game, as well as the No. 3 Valparaiso and No. 4 Milwaukee to win the tournament crown. Youngstown State led the Horizon League Tournament in batting average (.340), runs per game (7.5), ERA by starting pitchers (1.85) and fielding percentage (.993).
The Penguins went on to earn the program’s first victory in the NCAA Tournament, a 5-2 win over Indiana State in the Bloomington Regional.
In Smallcomb’s first season, the Penguins increased their win total and largely upped their competitiveness with a much tougher schedule compared to the year prior to his arrival. Statistically, the team improved across the board. The offense had a higher batting average and scored more than a half run more per game on average. The pitching staff also lowered its ERA by almost a run.
On the individual level, third baseman Drew Dosch was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the seventh round of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He became the highest position player from Youngstown State to be selected since 1991, and he was one of 10 Penguins to be taken in the draft since 1999. Dosch repeated as a First-Team All-Horizon League and Second-Team Academic All-America honoree as the league-leader in on-base percentage and OPS.
Smallcomb was the head coach at the University of Northern Colorado for eight years from 2003-10 and the head coach at Mendocino College in California for 10 seasons from 1993-2002. He will work primarily with YSU's hitters and infielders and assist with the program's fundraising efforts.
As the head coach at UNC, Smallcomb recorded 195 victories and led the Bears to wins over five top-five-ranked teams. Those victories included a 2008 win over No. 1 Arizona State and a 2006 win over No. 2 Nebraska. Northern Colorado competed as an independent through the 2009 season as it transitioned to Division I, and Smallcomb led the Bears to the Great West Conference title game in 2010. The Bears won 56 games combined in the three years prior to his arrival, and they won 85 games in the first three years under him.
Prior to his tenure at UNC, Smallcomb posted a 250-147 record at Mendocino College in California. He was the Bay Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1996 and led the Eagles to the California Community College Playoffs three times. He was inducted into Mendocino College's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Smallcomb also coached for two years as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas.
Smallcomb got his coaching start as an assistant at American River College in Sacramento, Calif. He also coached the Anchorage Glacier Pilots to three league championships in five years in the Alaska Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
Smallcomb earned his bachelor's degree in social science with minors in coaching and history from California State University, Sacramento, in 1985. He went on to earn his master's degree in sport management from Arkansas in 1989.
Smallcomb's daughter, Katie, is a member of the YSU softball team.