Smith Announces Start of Baylor Baseball Academy

Head coach Steve Smith is entering his 18th season at Baylor.

Sept. 28, 2011

WACO, Texas -Baylor head coach Steve Smith announced the launch of the Baylor Baseball Academy on Wednesday.

"I am excited to announce the introduction of the Baylor Baseball Academy," Smith said. "As an extension of our summer Baylor Baseball Camps, the Academy will provide professional instruction throughout the year at Baylor Ballpark."

The Academy Staff will include two former Bears, former assistant coach Chris Berry and Baylor record-setting catcher Zach Dillon. "Chris and Zach are outstanding teachers of the game as well as being good men. Chris will be our lead Pitching Instructor while Zach will be our lead Hitting Instructor. I also anticipate involving a number of former players who return annually to Waco following the completion of their pro seasons."

Berry`s career includes 14 years of experience coaching on the collegiate level, including seven years at Baylor. While with the Bears, Berry served six seasons as assistant pitching coach and one year as pitching coach. Berry was part of the coaching staff when Baylor advanced to the 2005 College World Series, and was also a part of six NCAA Tournament teams.

Most recently, Berry spent the last four seasons as pitching coach at Sam Houston State, where he helped guide the Bearkats to two NCAA Regionals and two Southland Conference championships. Berry also has collegiate coaching experience at Arkansas State, Young Harris and Rockford. Since 1999, Berry has coached 31 pitchers who have gone on to be selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Dillon, a four-year letter winner at Baylor and the 2006 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, was a 20th-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2006 MLB Draft. Dillon spent four seasons playing professional baseball, advancing as far as Double-A, and was invited to Major League spring training in 2008.

He has spent the last two seasons as assistant coach and camp coordinator at Iowa. He helped the Hawkeyes to within one game of the 2010 NCAA Tournament and their best conference finish since 2005.

In 2006, Dillon broke a school record when he hit .421 in Big 12 Conference play on his way to earning league Player of the Year honors from the San Antonio Express-News. His .360 career batting average in Big 12 play is the second-highest ever at Baylor. He also helped the Bears to the 2005 Big 12 Conference Championship and College World Series.

In his senior season, Dillon was unanimously named first-team All-Big 12, earned first-team Academic All-America honors and was a Johnny Bench Award semifinalist. He earned recognition on the Big 12 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll in all 10 semesters during his Baylor career and is the only Baylor player ever to earn four first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors.

The Baylor Baseball Academy 2011 fall schedule will feature youth and advanced hitting camps, a competitive hitting league and a Little Sluggers program. Private instruction will also be available for players through 8th grade.

For more information on the Academy, visit



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