ASU baseball hires former National Coach of the Year Tracy Smith

ASU has hired former Indiana coach Tracy Smith to head its baseball program. (Photo courtesy of Indiana University Athletics.)

ASU has hired former Indiana coach Tracy Smith to head its baseball program. (Photo courtesy of Indiana University Athletics.)

The Sun Devils announced Tuesday that they have hired Indiana’s Tracy Smith to lead the ASU baseball team following a two-week search to replace former head coach Tim Esmay.

Smith went 287-237 in his nine seasons at the helm of the Hoosiers’ baseball program, was twice the Big Ten Coach of the Year and was named the National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2013.

Smith led the Hoosiers to a 44-15 record and a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament before losing in their home regional to Stanford. Under Smith this past season, four Hoosiers earned All-American honors.

In the 2013 season in which he won National Coach of the Year, Indiana won its first regular season conference championship since 1949. In that season, Indiana reached the College World Series for the first time in its history. It was also the first time a Big Ten school made it that far since 1984.

Smith has also coached a Big Ten Player of the Year, two Big Ten Pitchers of the Year and two Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

He becomes just the fifth head coach ASU baseball has had since 1959, joining such legends as Bobby Winkles and Jim Brock.

ASU went 33-24 this season, placing it third in the Pac-12. This resulted in the Sun Devils being a No. 2 seed in the San Luis Obispo Regional hosted by Cal Poly. ASU lost two straight games against lower-seeded opponents to end the season.

The Sun Devils failed to make it past regionals for the second year in a row and have not enjoyed a long postseason run since they reached the semifinals in 2009.

However, Sun Devil fans will hope the winds of change also carry success. ASU baseball will not only have a new coach leading them but also a new stadium. The Sun Devils will play in Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season after calling Packard Stadium home the past 40 years.

Smith also coached the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks for nine seasons before joining Indiana. In those nine seasons, he led the team to eight straight 30-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Smith will be replacing Esmay, who resigned after five seasons as head coach of the Sun Devils. Esmay went 204-94-1 in those five years, including a Pac-10 best 52-10 record and a College World Series appearance in his first season as head coach in 2010.

Before Smith’s hiring, it was rumored that ASU was going after Monte Lee of the College of Charleston. Lee recently received a seven-year contract extension offer from the school to remain as the head coach of the baseball team.

 

Reach the reporter at hkossodo@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @HKossodo