Tracy Smith, the two-time Big Ten Conference coach of the Year, is leaving Indiana to take the head coaching job at Arizona State, replacing Tim Esmay.
Arizona State will have a news conference Wednesday to announce the hiring, Jeff Metcalfe of azcentral.com reported.
Smith, 48, had a 287-237 record in nine seasons as coach of the Hoosiers and led them to their first College World Series appearance in 2013 after they went 49-15 in the regular season.
“This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever faced,” Smith said in a statement. “The truth of the matter is, at this stage of my life, I am ready for a new challenge. Indiana is a part of who I am and always will be. I want to thank President McRobbie and Fred Glass for helping build this program into what it has become. I also would like to thank Rick Greenspan for giving me the opportunity to be at Indiana in the first place. Most importantly, I would like to thank the players—past and present—for being the heart and soul of Indiana Baseball now and in the future. I have loved my time at Indiana University, and I am proud of what we have achieved. I look forward to IU’s continued success.”
This season, the Hoosiers, Baseball America’s preseason No. 3 team, went 44-15 and were a No. 4 national seed in the regionals but lost at home to Stanford.
IU vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Fred Glass said the university would begin a “diligent and thorough search” for Smith’s successor.
Before he got to Indiana, Smith coached Miami (Ohio) and compiled a 317-220-1 record there in nine seasons.
Esmay resigned June 9 despite a .680 win percentage at ASU, the best among active Pac-12 coaches.
But Arizona State, one of the most storied programs in college baseball, has been a middle-of-the-road team over the past three years. It went 36-20 overall and 18-12 in the Pac-12 in 2012, when it was ineligible for the postseason. The Sun Devils went 37-22 (16-14) in 2013, and 33-24 (19-11) this spring, finishing in fourth place last year and third this year. They fell in the Fullerton Regional final in 2013, then went 0-2 in the San Luis Obispo regional this season. ASU never cracked the Baseball America Top 25 in 2014, for the first year ever.
As Aaron Fitt wrote at the time of Esmay’s resignation, Smith made sense as a coaching target because “Smith has recruiting ties in Southern California, and his big personality and aggressive style of play would be a natural fit at ASU.”