Tracy Smith enters his eighth season as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers. IU went 32-28 this past season, including 14-7 in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers fell 6-5 to Purdue in the Championship Game of the Big Ten Tournament. A native of Kentland, Ind., Smith led Indiana to the 2009 Big Ten tourney title, the first for the program since 1996 and second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.


A 1989 graduate of Miami (Ohio), Smith posted a record of 317-220-1 (.590) as head coach at his alma mater. His RedHawks put together eight consecutive 30-win seasons.


Smith has a keen eye for baseball and a keen ear for music. He will give us his thoughts through the spring on Indiana baseball and on American Idol. Follow Smith on Twitter at @HoosierBaseball.


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Jan. 24, 2013


Carolina in My Mind


Just like recruiting in baseball, there are certain areas of the country that continue to provide a plethora of top-notch talent and therefore get tabbed as a recruiting "hotbed".  I think Idol may have found its hotbed in Charlotte, N C. Last night's show provided America with a few potential winners and plenty of Hollywood-bound contenders. And near and dear to my heart, last night's show also highlighted the fact that other people are weary of the Nicki-Mariah war, as much as me, when the one female singer told the judges on the way out that their fighting "upsets her".


I really enjoyed the singing last night. The big, husky-voiced dude whose wife had cancer was good. His personality helped, but he could sing. Jimmy Smith's version of God Bless The Broken Road was really good because Rascal Flatts front man, Gary LeVox, is very tough to sing. Take it from me; I have butchered that song many times during my solo concert (me alone in the basement) on my basement karaoke system so I really appreciated his performance. You could even say I was a little jealous...actually a lot jealous!


The little 16-year-old girl, Isabel Gonzalez, is my early favorite to make it deep in the competition. She is young and very natural...kind of like Ken Griffey, Jr. back in the day.  My other early favorite is Candice, the girl from last season. She knocked it out last night. I played it back several times and closed my eyes to concentrate on her voice and she was spot on.


Frog Girl was good and so was Blonde. I will admit, if I were judging a book by the cover, I would not have thought either of those two to be good, especially Blonde. I should know better than to judge talent by the "eye test"... 5'9" Joey DeNato is IU's ace pitcher for goodness sakes!


The only negative for me last night was I thought the judges were a little soft on some of the singers they let go through to Hollywood. I think they got too caught up in their personal stories rather than focusing on their singing voice. I am okay with it for now because it is nice to see some of these people get a positive result in the midst of their struggles, but I am torn because I know they will be exposed in the pressure-packed days of Hollywood Week. All in all, though, it was a good week. I still miss Simon though...


(photos courtesy of IU Media Relations Office)