Canada's Jenn Salling is congratulated by head coach Mark Smith after scoring a home run during softball action against Mexico at the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games, in Fukushima, Japan, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Smith has announced his retirement after a playing and coaching career that spanned more than four decades. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jae C. Hong

Mark Smith, coach of bronze medal-winning softball team, retires after 43-year career

Mark Smith, coach of bronze medal-winning softball team, retires after 43-year career

The coach of Canada’s bronze medal-winning softball team is calling it quits.

Mark Smith has announced his retirement after a playing and coaching career that spanned more than four decades.

Smith’s playing career as a hard-throwing left-handed pitcher lasted 25 years and took him across Canada and as far away as New Zealand.

He started to make the transition to coaching while he was still a player, and took over the national women’s team in 2009.

Under his watch, Team Canada won three bronze medals at the world championships and a silver at the 2011 Pan Am Games.

Baseball and softball have already been ruled out of the next Olympics in 2024, so it would have been at least another seven years before Smith, 62, could have coached in another Games.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Softball