The Boston Red Sox will hire Bianca Smith as a minor league coach, the Boston Globe reported Thursday, making her the first Black woman to serve as a coach in professional baseball history.
"She was a great candidate coming in," Ben Crockett, the Red Sox vice president of player development who helped spearhead the hire, told the Globe's Julian McWilliams. "She's had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skill set and development herself."
Smith comes to the Red Sox from Carroll University in Wisconsin, where she served as hitting coach for the Division III Pioneers baseball team and an athletics administrator at the school. She previously had served internships with the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds and also had worked in Major League Baseball's corporate office. Smith, a softball player at Dartmouth College from 2010 to 2012, also had served as a graduate assistant coach at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland.
Smith will work with the Red Sox's rookie league team in Fort Myers, Fla., with a focus on position players.
In January, the Giants elevated Alyssa Nakken from the organizer of health and wellness initiatives for the organization to a full-time, on-field assistant coach, making her the first woman in MLB history to hold that position. Three other women have since been hired as on-field assistant coaches at the minor league level, and in November, Kim Ng was named the new general manager of the Miami Marlins, the first time both a woman and an Asian American had held that post with an MLB team.
Smith holds both a master's degree in sports management and a law degree from Case Western Reserve. In 2019, she said she initially hoped to parlay her experience into becoming a general manager but found on-field coaching more to her liking.
"Originally, my goal was to be a (baseball) GM; it's why I made sure to get a law and business degree," Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Now, I'm discovering -- and I kind of already knew this -- that I'm not a huge fan of being in the office all the time and want to coach. I wanted to go to a D-III school because I missed being on the field and working with the players. When I was in grad school, I was at every practice, every lift, traveling with the team. I missed that interacting."
The Red Sox finally have given her a shot.
"The hardest part is just getting the chance," she told the Journal Sentinel. "I've applied for coaching positions, but they expect you to have the experience, either as a graduate assistant coach or you had serious playing time. I didn't really have either (in baseball).
"Even at Case Western I helped out on the field, but it's not like I'm making practice plans or anything. That's where I struggle is just finding someone who's willing to give me the chance to really get my feet wet."