Business partners see the opportunity in the Tar Heel State

Mark Helsel

US Elite National Director


US Elite National Director, Mark Helsel, says Todd Rust and Gary Smith are the perfect combination of business and baseball to lead his organization’s expansion to North Carolina. “The State Director opportunity is a very unique opportunity. It focuses on baseball, but it is also like a franchise in the sense that there is a very clear plan to follow”, said Helsel.

Rust, who has been very successful in medical equipment sales, has a son in the US Elite program, and Smith has been a long time high school coach in the Tar Heel state. They both bring something different to the position. “I like the business management side of things, said Rust. The State Directorship is a well thought out plan. It’s not a franchise, but resembles one in many ways. They have very specific ways they want us to do things in North Carolina. Obviously, we feel they are spot on with their core values and their mission statement. I like the business model alot. It focuses on quality over quantity. We can clearly see how this model will be successful in North Carolina”.

Smith, who is a retired NCHSAA hall of fame coach. has coached in North Carolina for over 20 years. He is well known, and well respected. “Gary coached a team for us in North Carolina last year, said Helsel. It wasn’t meant to be a trial run, but I guess in some ways it was. I was really pleased with how he ran his team, and I think he would tell you that joining US Elite was a good move for him and his players. “US Elite has alot to offer, said Smith. Our players loved the standards, and we got more exposure last year just because we played as US Elite” said Smith.

North Carolina is no stranger to high level baseball. It is in the heart of ACC country, as well as many other top notch college programs throughout the state. “We have had many players over the years go to school in North Carolina, said Helsel. “We have great relationships with coaches in North Carolina and they have always recruited our players hard. We have US Elite players playing right now, or in the past, at UNC, NC State, ECU, UNCW, Campbell, Duke, Wake Forest, UNCC, Highpoint, Davidson and Gardner-Webb, See full list of commitments HERE. Now, we’re going to have a lot of in state kids to develop for them. I can tell you that when they heard we were expanding to North Carolina they got excited”.

Smith says North Carolina is fertile ground for US Elite. “This state is rich in talent. There are some solid travel programs already established in the state and I respect those programs. But, US Elite brings something very different to the state. The Uncommon Standards that US Elite is known for will be well received in this state. In fact, it already has been”. US Elite already has teams playing in North Carolina.

“We have 10U, 11U, 2022, 2021 and 2020 teams formed already and playing this spring and/or summer, and other age groups coming on soon”, said Rust. Highly respected high school coach (name of high school), Bobby Joe Smith is the head coach of the 2022 team. “I could not be any more excited than I am about coaching in the US Elite organization. They are authentic. When they say “Uncommon Standards”, they mean “uncommon”. They do things the right way, and they don’t apologize for it. They are building people, and to do that there needs to be discipline. I’m all about that. As soon as I announced I would be coaching the 2022 team my phone started blowing up. The response I have gotten has been overwhelming. I’m super pumped about the team we will have this summer”.

Helsel says he is impressed so far. “It all starts with leadership. The guys we have already on board in NC are stand up men. They have great reputations and they genuinely care about the right things”.