Video by Hunter Kossodo | Sports Reporter
Newly hired ASU baseball head coach Tracy Smith was quick to talk about how big of an opportunity coaching the Sun Devils is to him.
Smith, who was hired on Tuesday, was formally introduced Thursday at the Carson Student-Athlete Center. Athletic Director Ray Anderson left no doubt that he thought Smith was the best hire ASU could have made.
“We talk about thirst for championships through diligence, intelligence and work ethic,” Anderson said. “We have all of that and much more with Tracy Smith. Simply put, we have the best out there.”
Before taking questions, Smith thanked all of the people who were a part of the process, including the staff and faculty at ASU and Indiana, where he coached the past nine seasons.
He talked about the importance he and his family puts on investing their heart and soul not only in the university or program, but the community as well. This, Smith said, is why he thought ASU was the right fit for him.
“I felt this is the place that we would be able to, as a family, be able to jump in and invest just like we’ve done in the past,” Smith said. “I am truly thrilled, and I would be the biggest fool in the country if I didn’t take this job.”
Smith becomes just the fifth head coach of the Sun Devil baseball team since 1959, and he understands the expectations placed on him as being a part of such a prestigious program.
“It doesn’t fall lightly on me the expectations of what’s expected at ASU,” Smith said. “(Senior Associate Athletic Director Don Bocchi) didn’t even introduce me to the first person before he showed me the Territorial Cup.”
ASU is one of the most successful baseball programs in the country, with 20 conference championships, 21 College World Series appearances and five national championships. Smith talked about how he expects to continue that winning tradition.
“I understand national championships are important,” Smith said. “I understand conference championships are important. I am the type of person that’s going to focus on loving and having a passion for what I do. I know that if we lock arms with ASU nation all that other stuff is going to come, and that is the confidence that I have.”
He enters ASU after nine seasons as Indiana’s head coach, where he was Big Ten Coach of the Year twice and was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association in 2013.
The Hoosiers had their first College World Series appearance in its history under Smith in 2013, also ending a 29-year drought by the Big Ten.
In 18 years as a head coach for Miami (Ohio) and Indiana, Smith has compiled a 604-457-1 record. He appeared in a conference or NCAA tournament in 14 of those seasons.
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