The Boston Red Sox hired Bianca Smith to coach the team's minor leaguers, the team announced Monday.
Smith will be the first Black woman to serve as a professional coach in baseball history. She will mainly work with position players, according to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe.
Smith discussed her new role with MLB Network on Monday, via MLB.com's Ian Browne:
"The opportunity is amazing. I'm still wrapping my head around it. I probably won’t really have it sink in until I’m actually there.
"I think it’s a great opportunity also to kind of inspire other women who are interested in this game. This is not really something I thought about it when I was younger. I kind of fell into it being an athlete. So I'm excited to get that chance to show what I can do."
Boston's spring training venue has been located in Fort Myers since 1993. The team's rookie league affiliate, the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, is based out of Fort Myers.
Smith's resume includes playing softball at Dartmouth, acting as director of baseball operations and working as a graduate assistant at Case Western Reserve and being an assistant coach at the University of Dallas, per McWilliams.
She's currently an assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator for Carroll University, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Smith has MLB experience as well, notably interning for the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds in their baseball operations departments. In addition, she worked in the MLB office in amateur administration.
Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett spoke about the hire, which the team plans to officially announce in January.
"She was a great candidate coming in," Crockett told McWilliams. "She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skill set and development herself."
As Chris Bumbaca of USA Today wrote, Smith joins a growing list of female professional coaches in baseball. That list includes Alyssa Nakken, who became the first on-field female coach in MLB after joining the 2020 San Francisco Giants. It also consists of the New York Yankees' Rachel Balkovec, who was hired last year to serve as the team's Gulf Coast League affiliate's hitting coach.