As new Arizona State baseball head coach Willie Bloomquist rushes to assemble his coaching staff, news has come down seemingly every day since his hire just one week ago.
Perhaps the biggest news yet came Monday morning, when it was reported by D1Baseball’s Kendall Rogers that hitting coach Michael Earley would not be returning to Arizona State in the fall.
COACHING SCOOP: @ASU_Baseball hitting coach Mike Earley has decided not to return to Tempe for another season, sources tell @d1baseball. That’s a tough loss for the #Devils and could have some roster implications.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 14, 2021
Earley is revered as one of the nation’s premier hitting coaches. His results at ASU speak for themselves, as he oversaw the development of multiple top tier offenses as well as a pair of top-10 overall MLB Draft picks in Hunter Bishop (9, 2019) and Spencer Torkelson (1, 2020).
His status was in limbo immediately after the news of former head coach Tracy Smith’s firing on June 7. Later that day, Earley posted this tweet:
Loved every second with the boys. It is and will always be about the players. I’m happy they let me help them and they have helped me more than they know. Coaching them has meant the world to me and I hope they saw that with the energy I brought everyday. #Forks up pic.twitter.com/DnPIE7TLX0— Michael Earley (@earleybaseball) June 7, 2021
At the time, the tweet sparked debate about whether the swing coach would return, but it’s clear now Earley may have known he’d coached his last game in maroon and gold. The potential implications of his departure are significant.
Countless players have expressed in press conferences and on social media about their respect for Earley, and a Sun Devil dugout without him could be a reality they don’t want to live in.
Jack Moss has already entered the transfer portal, and he may not be alone following this news. The most promising part of the 2021 Sun Devils was its youth.
Moss, along with consistent starters Ethan Long and Hunter Haas, have all been outspoken about their support of Earley.
Bloomquist also added to his staff over the weekend with the retention of pitching coach Jason Kelly and the addition of longtime professional coach Mike Goff.
Goff has 35 years of coaching experience, the vast majority of which have come at the professional level.
Bloomquist played under Goff during his time with the Seattle Mariners from 2002-2008. He has also worked with the Reds and Giants in his professional career, as well as managing in the Arizona Fall League.
It’s clear that Bloomquist is intent on wasting no time in assembling his staff and turning the page to 2022. The coaching staff will look a lot different, but how different the roster will look remains to be seen.