Interviews for ASU baseball coach underway

TEMPE, Ariz. — A week after Arizona State baseball coach Tim Esmay’s resignation, vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson has begun interviewing candidates to replace him, delivering on his promise to move quickly in his search.

Anderson began interviewing candidates Monday and will continue through Wednesday before traveling to Pinetop for an alumni fundraising event, a source said.

Reports over the weekend revealed one of those candidates to be 37-year-old College of Charleston coach Monte Lee. While other candidates remain unknown, the beginning of interviews offers at least an indication of Anderson’s timeline.

Following Esmay’s resignation after five seasons last week, Anderson said his search would be exhaustive and extend beyond the collegiate ranks.

In discussing what he’s looking for in the storied program’s next coach, Anderson made leadership and passion top priorities as ASU moves into a new era at Phoenix Municipal Stadium next season. It is not clear how much the school is willing to spend if it wants to land an established, high-profile coach.

ASU could inject excitement into the program after a disappointing 33-24 season by hiring a young, up-and-coming coach from the collegiate ranks such as Lee, whose profile is on the rise in the college baseball world.

Lee took College of Charleston, his alma mater, to NCAA regionals in 2010 and 2012 and this season led the Cougars to a super regional, where they lost twice to finish the season 44-19. In six seasons at College of Charleston, Lee owns a 231-130 record. He spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at South Carolina.

Reports have also suggested ASU could be interested in other on-the-rise candidates such as UC-Santa Barbara’s Andrew Checketts and Houston’s Todd Whitting. On the other end of the spectrum, ASU has been linked to Indiana coach Tracy Smith, though he would likely cost significantly more given his resume, which includes a trip to the 2013 College World Series.

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