Esmay out as ASU baseball coach
JUN 09, 2014 3:20p ET
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tim Esmay is out as Arizona State's baseball coach after a five-year tenure that included a .679 winning percentage but was light on postseason success.
ASU announced Esmay's resignation follow an end-of-season evaluation on Monday with new Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson. He has one year remaining on his contracxt.
Esmay, 49, leaves his post with a 201-94-1 record, which stood as the highest winning percentage (.679) among active Pac-12 coaches. His record included a disappointing 33-24 2014 season in which the Sun Devils were eliminated without a win in the NCAA regional.
"It's always a difficult day when you have to make a move like this regarding someone you like and respect," Anderson said. "I came in and made an assessment. What I know is that -- and I've said it before -- we want to be at a higher level, we expect to be at higher level, we should be at a higher level, and that's where we're going."
Esmay, the 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, was hired by former Athletics Director Lisa Love after Pat Murphy was dismissed in 2009 following an NCAA investigation into the program. A former ASU player and an assistant under Jim Brock and Murphy, Esmay was the fourth head coach in the program's history, following Bobby Winkles (1959-1971), Brock (1972-1994) and Murphy (1995-2009).
“We want to be at a higher level, we expect to be at higher level, we should be at a higher level, and that's where we're going.”
In Esmay's first season, ASU won its first 24 games, captured the Pac-10 title and advanced to the College World Series. The Sun Devils have not returned to the College World Series since.
Anderson, a former baseball player at Stanford, said ASU's search for its next baseball coach begins immediately and will not be limited to current collegiate coaches. ASU will also look to the ranks of Major League Baseball and its minor league system.
"It's going to be an exhaustive search," Anderson said. "Very frankly, we think this is one of the top four or five elite programs and destinations for college baseball, so we would anticipate very sincere and aggressive interest in this position."
There is no clear timetable on the search yet, but Anderson said he would like to make a decision as quickly as possible while making sure to be thorough.
"Real strong leadership is important, particularly to get where we're planning to get in all of our sports," Anderson said. "Certainly passion for the student athlete and experience is going to be critical. Real drive on the academics is going to be real critical. And certainly to Coach Esmay's credit, he was very effective in that academic environment, so whoever comes in is going to have to meet that challenge, meet that standard."
Whoever takes over will do so as ASU prepares to move into Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season. While maintaining there is never a good time to dismiss a coach, Anderson admitted the timing of Esmay's departure offers an opportunity for the next coach to start fresh in conjunction with the move.
"We want to see a culture whereby you know you're going to reinvigorate and then recapture what this Arizona State program had back in the championship era," Anderson said. "That's what we have promised, and that's what we intend to deliver."
With Esmay out, Anderson will be making his third coaching hire since starting at ASU in early February. Anderson hired Zeke Jones to replace Shawn Charles as wrestling coach and Rene Lyst to replace John Spini, who retired, as head of the women's gymnastics program.