With practice beginning in late January and games starting just a few weeks later, it is rare that any college baseball coaching moves are made in the final days of December.
Tracy Smith and Arizona State bucked that trend on Friday, revealing that pitching coach Brandon Higelin is no longer with the Sun Devils. Smith himself is slated to take over Higelin’s duties, with a new pitching coach hire to be made after the completion of the 2017 season.
Uh, here’s a bizarre-timed coaching change. @ASU_Baseball HC Tracy Smith is taking over duties as pitching coach. Brandon Higelin is gone.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersD1) December 30, 2016
The move comes on the heels of back-to-back seasons with Arizona State ranking in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in ERA. This year’s staff is led by senior Eder Erives and junior Ryan Hingst, but Smith plans to rely on around eight more arms to round out his weekend rotation and bullpen.
The Sun Devils will open the 2017 campaign on February 17 against Northwestern at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.