MANKATO — It's safe to say the last week has been a pretty memorable one for Cory Smith.
Last Thursday the 30-year-old interviewed for the Mankato East baseball coaching job. The next day he had his rehearsal dinner for his wedding; on Saturday he got married; and on Monday afternoon he was offered and accepted the Cougars' coaching position.
"It's been pretty hectic, pretty exciting," Smith said Tuesday afternoon. "I'm looking forward to it. It should be a challenge, and it should be fun."
His family has strong ties to baseball as his grandfather, Dwayne Mintz, was a standout player and coach at Bethany Lutheran who went on to become a 40-year coach at Wisconsin-Stout.
"I definitely have a passion for it," said Smith, who teaches physical education at Dakota Meadows. "I grew up going to a lot of games and playing a lot, too. I always hoped I'd stay involved with it, and that's why I pursued the health and fitness degree."
Smith said he's learned a lot coaching with Ethan Anderson, one year as his assistant and four years with the freshman team, and hopes to bring that knowledge to the East side of town.
"Quite honestly, what attracted to me to this job was the challenge of it," Smith said. "East has been struggling with numbers for awhile, and I want the program and I to grow together. I want to get more kids out, and I want to get a weight program going, too."
Smith, who attended Bethany and Minnesota State, is replacing Dan Quame who stepped down as head coach so he could spend more time watching his two sons play college baseball. His oldest son, Derek, is a senior at Augustana, and his youngest son Drew is a freshman at Bethany.
East athletic director Todd Waterbury says he's excited to bring Smith into the fold.
"He brings a high level of energy," Waterbury said. "He's shown a commitment to baseball with the school district and within the community and we think he's going to be a great fit."