Rob Smith — Head Coach & Director of Operations            

Rob has over 25 years of baseball coaching experience.  He is a former college all-star shortstop/infielder and went on to be a professional baseball player in the Cleveland Indians organization.  He is owner/operator and head instructor at Smith Baseball Academy and director of operations of the Midwest Bruin Baseball program.  He offers advanced baseball instruction, utilizing his expertise in hitting, fielding, throwing techniques and the mental & physical concepts of the game.  Has advanced talents in team concepts and personnel management and development. He has a talent for evaluating students and creating a tailored lesson plan – to maximize each student’s potential.  Coach Smith networks college coaches in the area and surrounding states on a daily/weekly basis.


Mike Hughes — Head Asst Coach                                      

Mike has over 15 years of baseball coaching experience.  He has been instructing and mentoring youth for many years.  As a former college pitcher at Johnson County CC and Washburn University, with experience as an infielder & outfielder as well, Mike offers expertise in all aspects of the game.  With his passion for teaching and advanced knowledge in the area of pitching, hitting, and fielding, players will have an opportunity to learn basic and/or advanced fundamentals of baseball and softball, refining and maximizing their overall ability. He has advanced education in Leadership & Mentoring and specializes in the mental and emotional development of our student-athletes. 


Scott Jessop — Head Pitching Coach

Coach Jessop pitched 4 years at Washburn University and received 1st-team All-Conference honors as well as All-American honorable mention. He has worked with pitchers in the Topeka and surrounding areas for several years. He has an in-depth knowledge of pitching mechanics and puts arm health and care first on the list.  His belief in pitching is more than just velocity. His training involves accuracy, athleticism, flexibility, strength, pitch type, mentality, confidence, and more. Coach Jessop will be leading our pitching staff as well as overseeing our Arm Strength and Development programs.


Evan Faulkner — Pitching Coach / Asst Coach

Coach Faulkner pitched at Highland CC and then at the University of St. Mary’s. He has coached youth pitchers for several years and has a strong passion for helping pitchers to see and maximize their potential. Coach Faulkner trains his pitchers physically and mentally on what it takes to become a refined and successful pitcher.



Ryne Dowling — Pitching Coach / Asst Coach

Coach Dowling has over 16 years of baseball playing and coaching experience.  He is from Lee’s Summit, MO and attended Washburn University for 5 years as a pitcher, Ryne has been involved in youth baseball for the majority of his adult life. Instructing, coaching, and umpiring has allowed him to become very well-rounded in the development of baseball’s youth.  As a coach and instructor, Ryne’s main objectives are to increase arm strength, better develop pitching mechanics, and help facilitate the athlete’s love for the game; all while placing arm care and health as a major priority.




Supporting Coaches/Staff:

The Midwest Bruin Baseball program will also receive support coaching from the professional staff at Smith Baseball Academy as well as other Quality Coaches from around the area.  All support coaches with have college or professional baseball experience and will also have a strong passion to teach/coach at a high level.  All Midwest Bruin coaches will teach player baseball skills as well as player character development and life skills.


  • Kenny Swart (co-founder)
  • Adam Schroeder (co-founder)
  • Chris Linnemann
  • Ryan Colombo
  • Colby Smith
  • Billy Weber
  • Jim Haugh
  • Tim Swietek