ASU picks Indiana’s Tracy Smith as next baseball coach

Tracy Smith was national coach of the year in 2013, when he took Indiana to its first College World Series apperance.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. — Indiana’s Tracy Smith, the 2013 National Coach of the Year, is Arizona State’s new baseball coach. He becomes the fifth head coach in the program’s storied history.

Smith, 48, is a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and last season took Indiana to its first College World Series, ending a 29-year CWS drought by the Big Ten. He will be introduced at ASU on Thursday.

Smith replaces Tim Esmay, who was forced to resign June 9 after five seasons at ASU. Last season, the Sun Devils went 33-24 and lost without a win in NCAA regional play.

This season, Indiana won the Big Ten and Smith earned his second straight Big Ten Coach of the Year award, but the Hooseirs fell to Stanford in NCAA regional play to finish the year 44-15. The previous season, the Hoosiers went 49-16, won their first Big Ten title since 1949 and reached the College World Series, earning Smith National Coach of the Year honors from the National College Baseball Writers Association.

"His accomplishments and accolades on the field speak for themselves, and his career has been defined by class, dignity and integrity," vice president for athletics Ray 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 owns a career Division I record of 604-457-1 after nine seasons at Miami (Ohio) — his alma mater — and nine at Indiana, where he went 287-237. A Kentland, Ind., native, Smith graduated from Miami in 1989 after lettering in four seasons as a pitcher and infielder. He played three minor league seasons with the Chicago Cubs and began his coaching career at Miami-Middletown in 1990.

After two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Smith became Indiana’s pitching coach. He returned to lead Miami in 1997 until taking the head job at Indiana in 2005. Following the 2013 season, Smith received a contract extension that ran through June 30, 2015.

According to a report by Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game, Smith beat out candidates Monte Lee of College of Charleston and Todd Whitting of Houston for the ASU job. Published reports indicate Smith earned a base salary of $200,000 at Indiana, about the same as Esmay made last season. The terms of his ASU contract are yet unclear.

Smith developed four MLB first-round draft picks during his tenure at Indiana — Eric Arnett, Josh Phegley and Matt Bashore  in 2009 and All-American Kyle Schwarber, who was taken with the fourth pick overall by the Cubs in the 2014 draft.

Smith takes over leadership of the Sun Devils at a critical juncture for the program. ASU moves into Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season and has not reached the College World Series since 2010, Esmay’s first season.

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