Baseball season is nearly here, and one of its most important coaches isn’t even on salary.

New LSU Hitting Coach Eddie Smith will be the Tiger’s volunteer/third assistant coach. According to NCAA rules, College Baseball and Softball programs are only allowed two paid assistant coaches. LSU Baseball already has Pitching Coach Alan Dunn and Recruiting Coordinator Nolan Cain on salary leaving the Hitting Coach role to be the unpaid position.

“The NCAA only allows two paid assistant coaches. But it’s kind of ludicrous,” Mainieri says. “When you think about it because there’s really three major jobs when you have an assistant coaching staff... you only have two paid assistants and only your paid assistants-full-time assistants are allowed to go out on the road recruiting.”

This presents the challenge of having an assistant coach not present for some of the team’s games if the Recruiting Coordinator has to go watch a perspective player compete. This problem has prompted coaches and athletic directors to call for a vote to pay a third assistant coach but to no avail.

“That’s where I think that position would be good for the sport,” Smith says. “Because ratio wise baseball does have the lowest coach to athlete ratio in all of sports in the NCAA.”

Even without a salary, Smith is already having a significant impact on the players.

“The players love him,” Mainieri says. “Every day they come to work with him. He’s got it mapped out what they are going to do. They trust him immensely. Maybe he’ll be our Joe Brady.”