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Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University
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Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University
Indiana University head baseball coach Tracy Smith is leaving to become the head coach at Arizona State University, ASU officials confirm.
Arizona State University let its head baseball coach go earlier this month.
At the time, Ray Anderson, Vice President for Arizona State University Athletics, outlined what he wanted to see in Coach Tim Esmay’s replacement.
“We want to see strong leadership. We want to see energy. We want to see a culture of passion for the sport. We want to see an ability to feel good about being the best in class and being an elite program. We want to see a culture that is going to reinvigorate and recapture the elite status that this Arizona State University program had back in the championship era. That’s what we have promised and that is what we intend to deliver.”
In a statement released today, Arizona State University officials say they have found what they were looking for in Smith.
“His accomplishments and accolades on the field speak for themselves, and his career has been defined by class, dignity and integrity,” Anderson said. “He will be a great fit within the ASU family, our baseball community and our current student-athletes, and we can’t wait for the new era of Sun Devil Baseball to begin under Tracy’s guidance.”
Smith was hired by IU in 2005 and is credited with building up the school’s baseball program to a national contender.
He led the team to the university’s first-ever College World Series appearance in 2013. In his 18 years as a head coach, 54 of Smith’s players have been selected in the MLB Draft.
He was also named the 2013 National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and CollegeBaseballInsider.com and was unanimously chosen as the 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Smith’s son Casey Smith also played for the Hoosiers. He graduated this year.
In a press release issued this evening, Smith says leaving IU was one of the most difficult decisions he’s faced, but is ready for a new challenge.
“Indiana is a part of who I am and always will be. I want to thank President McRobbie and Fred Glass for helping build this program into what it has become,” Smith said in a prepared statement. ” I have loved my time at Indiana University, and I am proud of what we have achieved. I look forward to IU’s continued success.”
IU Athletic Director Fred Glass also expressed his deep appreciation for what Smith helped build at Indiana and announced a national search for Smith’s successor will begin immediately.
In a press release, Glass says with the recent success and substantial investments into the program, this position is one of the most attractive openings in the country.
“Tracy’s vision for baseball at Indiana came to fruition with the completion of Bart Kaufman Field, standing room only attendance, three Big Ten Championships, three NCAA berths and a trip to the College World Series,” Glass said. “His leadership and dedication to building a program the right way was obviously not lost on the college baseball community. We will all miss his immense talent and knack for leadership. As his friend, I will also greatly miss just having him around.”
Even before the official announcement was made this evening, Hoosiers expressed disappointment, tweeting about how they hated to loose Smith, who goes by @Hoosierbaseball on his official Twitter account.
Was hoping the news that @HoosierBaseball was going to ASU was a joke. So sad it's not. Best of luck, Coach. You've left big shoes to fill.— Tammi Klein (@Tamklein23) June 24, 2014
Thanks to coach Tracy Smith @HoosierBaseball for putting Indiana baseball on the map. Good luck at ASU.— Chris Mitseff (@cmitseff) June 24, 2014
We should all be thankful for what Tracy and Jaime Smith did for this School and State. @ASU has no idea how fortunate they are to have you.— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) June 24, 2014
The Hoosiers had a largely successful last season under Smith.
This year they won the Big Ten tournament, defeating the University of Nebraska. They ended their season with a loss in the regional round of the playoffs.
Arizona State’s baseball team is considered one of the best in the country. It has five national championships and more than 20 College World Series appearances, and seven of its players have entered the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Smith’s hire must still be approved by the Arizona Board of Regents, the university’s governing body.
The Sun Devil Athletics Department will introduce Smith at a formal press conference on Thursday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m.