Former Northwoods League All-Star, Brian Smith is the inaugural Manager for the Rockford Rivets. Smith spent his last three summers as the Pitching Coach for the Windy City ThunderBolts of the Frontier League. His first stint in coaching was from 2009-10 with the collegiate wood-bat Northwoods League's Madison Mallards as an Assistant Coach. He returned to coaching in 2012 as the Pitching Coach for the University of St. Francis (NAIA) helping the Fighting Saints pitching staff reach the Regional Championships and rank 17th in the country in team ERA.
Brian Smith is a Chicago Ridge native, where he played for Richards High School in Oak Lawn. Smith spent his entire collegiate career at Northern Illinois University (NCAA-D1) as both a pitcher and a hitter. He led the Huskies in wins during his freshman season in 2005. Brian was a regular in both the starting lineup and starting rotation during his playing time with the Huskies from 2005-09. During the summers of 2006 and 2007 he played for the Madison Mallards of the collegiate wood-bat Northwoods League. For the Mallards, Brian was an All Star in 2006 and led the team in wins in 2007. He was named to Madison's All-Decade team. In 2011 Brian was signed professionally, by current Windy City Field Manager Ron Biga, as a free agent by the Joliet Slammers. He played two seasons at Joliet from 2011-12. 2011 was especially special for Smith as he finished with a ERA of 1.24 in 40 games with opponents hitting .182 against him helping his club win the Frontier League Championship. Brian retired on January 15, 2013.
James is a native of Austin, Texas and was a unanimous All State player out of Westlake High School, where he was a 3 year letter winner and led the chaps to a state semifinal run. James continued his career at McLennan Community College a NJCAA D1 located in Waco, Texas where he was a 2 year starter as a pitcher (2009-2011). At McLennan, James was a part of a team that lost in the Regional Finals his freshman year, won a conference championship his sophomore year, and participated in the NJCAA All Star Game his sophomore year. James transferred to Louisiana Tech following his career at McLennan. For the next two years, he spent time as a relief pitcher and starting pitcher (2011-2013). James played summer ball for the Thomasville HiToms in the Coastal Plains League where he was top 5 in the league in strikeouts and led the league in saves at the all star break, before heading home after reaching his innings limit. Through college, James was named an Academic All American at McLennan and was Academic All Conference both years at Louisiana Tech. After college, James was signed by the Windy City thunderbolts and pitched under current Rockford Rivets Manager Brian Smith for two years (2014-2015) as a relief pitcher in the frontier league. Currently, James is in his first year as the Assistant Baseball Coach (Pitching Coach) at Valdosta State University a Division 2 school in Valdosta, GA.