Belmont University

Belmont University Athletics
Curb Event Center - 2002 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37212
Division 1 Tennessee Southeast
Private Medium National competitor

Coaches

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Megan Rhodes Smith

Megan Rhodes Smith became the 12th head softball coach in program history in July 2019.


“Megan Smith is uniquely qualified to lead our softball program,” Athletic Director Scott Corley said. “She brings tremendous credibility with her championship pedigree as a player and coach. But beyond her credentials and local ties, Megan’s appreciation for a well-rounded student-athlete experience was perfectly suited for our program. We look forward to supporting Megan as softball builds on recent success.”


Smith comes to the helm of the Bruins after spending the last six seasons focusing on the development of pitchers and catchers at Lipscomb University, with the last two years serving as the program’s associate head coach.


During her tenure at LU, Smith has had immediate and long-lasting impact assisting in the build up to the program’s recent successes. Most recently, the Lady Bisons made appearances in the 2019 and 2014 NCAA Regional tournaments after clinching Atlantic Sun tournament titles.


The team saw individuals garner accolades as well, with four pitchers under her guidance earning Atlantic Sun All-Conference honors, thanks to finishing in the conference’s top five in strikeouts, earned run average (ERA) and wins. In 2018, the Lady Bisons pitching staff finished the season ranked 23rd nationally in ERA. Additionally, the corps led the Atlantic Sun in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017.


Results came swiftly in Smith’s first season at LU with the pitching staff seeing major improvements in ERA (2.81 to 2.31), record (35-24 to 41-15), opposing batting average (.249 to .226), runs allowed (201 to 153), hits allowed (425 to 323) and homeruns allowed (37 to 28).


Before joining the Lipscomb staff, she spent one season at Western Kentucky. During her stint with the Hilltoppers, the program boasted a 43-18 overall record and earned its first at large bid into the NCAA Tournament.


Smith also has previously served as an assistant coach at both Middle Tennessee State and Charleston Southern, helping the latter to its first 30-win season in program history.


“I am honored to have the opportunity to coach the Bruin softball team,” said Smith. “Throughout the entire interview process, I have been blown away by the care, professionalism, and commitment to excellence shown by everyone in the athletics department. I am grateful to Dr. Fisher, Athletic Director Scott Corley, SWA Renee Schultz and the entire search committee for their trust and confidence in me and look forward to continuing to build upon the success of the previous coaching staff. I couldn’t ask for a better place to incorporate my faith into my program.”


A standout at Nashville’s David Lipscomb High School, she went on to play four seasons for perennial powerhouse the University of Tennessee, leaving the program ranked second all-time in strikeouts (726), third in wins (67) and fourth in innings pitched (570.1). Smith posted an overall record of 67-22 for a .753 winning percentage and also had a 1.77 earned run average, both rank fourth best all-time. She made 135 appearances inside the circle, earning 96 starts for the Lady Vols.


She also helped UT make three appearances in the Women’s College World Series.


Continuing her excellence into the classroom, Smith earned SEC Honor Roll distinction for three years, culminating with a 3.8 grade point average. She went on to earn a master’s degree in sports studies with a concentration in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2009.


Smith and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, Jillene and Jesslyn, and live in Nashville.

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Kelsey Cartwright

Kelsey Cartwright joined the Belmont Softball staff in August 2019 as an assistant coach.


“Kelsey brings a competitive quality to everything she does but also brings heart and sincerity," said head coach Megan Rhodes Smith. "Her accomplishments as a player were due not only to talent but her intense drive and work ethic. She will do a tremendous job coaching for Bruin Softball. I couldn’t be more thankful to have her on board."


Cartwright transitions full-time into higher education after organizing and running her own high-level softball camps throughout the state of Tennessee while serving as an educator in the Metropolitan Nashville School District. She also served as head coach for Tennessee Fury Fastpitch, a highly-competitive travel team based in Chattanooga.


The Joelton native began her collegiate career at Auburn, emerging as a two-year starter for the Tigers, after excelling in high school as a National Gatorade Tennessee Softball Player of the Year and a UA High School All American. She finished her sophomore season ranked third on the team in hitting, second in runs scored, and tied in RBI. Cartwright transferred to nearby Lipscomb University to complete her collegiate playing career. There, she received First Team All-Conference honors, was named to the NFCA All-Region Second Team, and currently holds the Bisons’ single season homerun record of 18.


After earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees at LU, Kelsey went to work for Metro Nashville Public Schools as a behavior and special education teacher, earning Teacher of the Year distinction in 2018.


Cartwright lives in Gallatin.

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Laura Dukes

Laura Dukes joined the Belmont Softball staff in August 2019.


“Laura has a unique capacity to see the field and brings a beautifully analytic element to everything she does," said head coach Megan Rhodes Smith. "She sees what others don’t and never stops working to make those around her better. She was made to coach, and I couldn’t imagine not having her on staff.”


Prior to her arrival in Nashville, she spent two seasons at Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, serving as an assistant coach. Last season was a breakout year for the Rams as the team went on to set the program record for single season wins in 2019 after posting 42 wins and made its first-ever NCAA Atlantic Region Super Regional appearance. Dukes assisted with player development on and off the field as the team saw three student athletes named to the Mountain East (MEC) All-Academic Team and seven named to the league's Commissioner's List.


Not a new face to the Ohio Valley Conference, Dukes logged a season at Austin Peay (2016-17) and also coached with the Tennessee Fury Platinum organization, serving as an 18U and 16U assistant coach, for four years.


The Dandridge, Tenn., native played collegiately at Middle Tennessee State garnering numerous honors including a First Team All-Conference nod, CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honors, and three consecutive NFCA Academic All-America Scholar Athlete nods. Dukes also left her name imprinted in the Blue Raider record book with several single season records. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she transferred to Lipscomb to conclude her collegiate career while pursuing a master's degree. During her stint with the Bisons, Dukes earned NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete honors, was an Atlantic Sun President’s Scholar and served as the graduate assistant manager.


Dukes lives in Gallatin.

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