It took a while, but professional baseball finally has a Black woman coach on its roster. Smith will begin spring training as a minor league coach in February.
History was made on Monday evening when baseball team the Boston Red Sox hired Bianca Smith, making her the first Black woman in history to coach professional baseball. She will now serve as a minor league coach within the organization. The newly-hired coach will be based out of Fort Myers, Florida, where the team's development facility is located. According to MLB.com, she is set to work primarily with position players. The Boston Globe first announced her new role, and the Red Sox confirmed the news in a Twitter post congratulating Smith, CNN reports. Although it should not have taken this long, the move has broken a glass ceiling.
Congratulations to Bianca Smith, who was just hired by the @RedSox as a minor league coach.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 4, 2021
She will be the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball history.
See it. Be it! #RepresentationMatters #MLB https://t.co/kbE6DXlgGo
In an interview on MLB Network, Smith stated, "I think it's a great opportunity also to just kind of inspire other women who are interested in this game. This is not something I thought about when I was younger and I kind of fell into it being an athlete, so I'm excited to get that chance to show what I can do." Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett spearheaded the hire and weighed in on his decision in an interview with The Boston Globe. "She was a great candidate coming in," he said. "She's had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skill set and development herself."
Congratulations to one of our Alumna Bianca Smith in joining the Boston Red Sox organization! Read all about her on https://t.co/E4pvwqPamg. We are very happy and excited for you @biancaesmith12!! #GoBigGeeen pic.twitter.com/ClDI7qSiaC— DartmouthSoftball (@DartmouthSball) January 4, 2021
Smith now joins a very small group of incredibly talented women in sport, particularly in the game of baseball. She is accompanied, for instance, by Alyssa Nakken, who became the first woman to coach on the field during a major league game last season. She coached first base for the San Francisco Giants at an exhibition game in July 2020. And in November last year, the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng to be the team's new general manager, making her the first woman GM and first Asian American GM in Major League Baseball history.
Congrats to former @cwru_baseball Director of Ops Bianca Smith on joining the Boston Red Sox as a minor league coach, and becoming the first Black woman to hold a coaching job in any professional baseball organization affiliated with MLB #CWRU #BlueCWRUhttps://t.co/y6PVLayD4N pic.twitter.com/2yxYcyuhyg— CWRU Spartans (@caseathletics) January 1, 2021
Prior to joining the Boston Red Sox as a minor league coach, Smith most recently worked as an assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University, a private liberal arts college in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Additionally, her work experience includes youth academy roles for the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers organizations. Smith has also been employed as an intern with the Major League Baseball corporate office. She graduated with a master's of degree in business administration in sports management with an emphasis in organizational behavior from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Furthermore, the coach has a doctorate of jurisprudence with an emphasis in sport law from Case Western Reserve University School of Law earned in May 2017. Now, Smith is slated to start spring training, scheduled to begin on February 27.