New ASU baseball coach's passion rubbing off on newly hired staff

Sam Peraza, Mike Goff and Bill Mueller spoke about upcoming goals for the program Monday as its newest coaches alongside Willie Bloomquist

Willie Bloomquist's passion for his new role as ASU baseball's head coach is palpable. His passion drew three new coaches — hitting coach Bill Mueller, assistant coach Mike Goff and pitching coach and recruiting coordinator Sam Peraza — onto the team, and the latter of three said it "rubs off on everybody."

Peraza noted how the coaches would work from seven in the morning to 10 at night at times, all a part of the commitment of improving the program as ASU's new coaching staff.

ASU baseball officially introduced Mueller, Goff and Peraza as new members of its coaching staff Monday, with Bloomquist highlighting trust, experience, and communication as key traits he found in the three.

"For me, I want people to feel that way when they come here, and understand that this place is special and understand that this place needs no explanation based on our tradition and our history that we've had here," said Bloomquist, who was hired as the team's head coach after Tracy Smith was fired in June. 

Peraza, who takes over for Jason Kelly as the team's pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, comes over from San Diego State where he served as pitching coach for six years. 

He said he's impressed with the existing talent on the Sun Devil pitching staff, which includes players such as Graham Osman, Boyd Vander Kooi and Will Levine, and has begun preparing how he wants to employ it in 2022.

"As far as the roster goes I think we're plenty capable," Peraza said. "We've been up there kind of brainstorming in the war room what everything's going to look like. I know there were some challenges with the pitching staff last year, but I really do think that there are some good arms in place."

As the team's new recruiting coordinator, Peraza plans to emphasize getting local talent to stay in the state and play at ASU. Just three of the program's 11 signed recruits in 2020 are from Arizona.

"We need to get the right guy and take our time to make sure we evaluate the right way," Peraza said about his approach. "I want to talk to all the high school coaches, all the travel ball coaches here in our Valley, and make sure we win our backyard." 

Mueller brings two decades of experience in professional baseball as a player, front office assistant and coach to ASU as its new hitting coach. Mueller replaces former hitting coach Michael Earley, who left the Sun Devils to become an assistant at Texas A&M.

Mueller stressed balance and versatility for his team's approach at the plate.

"It's just not going to be waiting for that three-run homer," Mueller said. "There's a lot of talent here with the offense so it's just a matter of maintaining and building and progressing the offense. We want to be a well-rounded (team) offensively where we can be. Not just one-dimensional, we want to be dynamic."

Goff brings nearly three decades of MLB experience, with most of it within player development. Goff has known Bloomquist since his playing days when the two spent time together in the Seattle Mariners organization.

Goff mentioned his familiarity with Bloomquist during his playing days and their relationship made him comfortable and excited to join the staff.

"I've known this kid for a long time, and knowing what he's all about what his work ethic is and his passion for the game, knowing that everything he touches in life, he's a success," Goff said. "It's just an honor. I feel like I got a new lease on life right now, as far as energy to do this again, it's pretty amazing."

With it being the offseason and much of the team out of town, Bloomquist his staff had to get to know their players primarily through Zoom meetings, which is how the players were informed of the new coaching hires.

"We've done our best to stay in touch with most, if not all, (of) the players," Bloomquist said. “Sam (Peraza) has reached out to a lot of the pitchers, and I have reached out to several, if not all, (of) the position guys and talked with them. So that communication has been very good."

Bloomquist, who doesn't have any prior experience coaching at the collegiate level, said the early stages have been challenging yet rewarding as he adapts to his new role.

"I'm learning this, you know, little baptism by fire. But I think in a lot of ways that was a good thing because it forced me to have to learn this real quick," Bloomquist said. "It's been challenging, a lot of different factors, a lot of different variables but on the flip side, I feel very confident that I'm picking it up very quickly."


Reach the reporter at ltochter@asu.edu and follow @Leo_Toch on Twitter.

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