IU Insider Blog: The search begins

The bad news for Indiana baseball is that Tracy Smith is leaving Bloomington. The good news is that he's leaving it in a much better place than he found it his first year in 2006 when the Hoosiers went 22-34.

Tracy Smith was one of Indiana's best kept coaching secrets.

And as long as the IU program finished around .500 every year and didn't make any noise in the postseason that secret was safe.

But when you win 93 games in two seasons, take home a national coach of the year award, guide your team to the College World Series and win back-to-back Big Ten regular season and conference tournament titles, well, people are going to take notice.

And the reality is when they come calling at a place like Arizona State that has incredible facilities, the ability to play baseball year round and is an attractive destination for recruits, you have to listen.

Smith said in his remarks in a Indiana press release Tuesday night that it was the most difficult decision he has ever had to make. He said he was ready for a challenge and was happy with the things they had been able to build at Indiana.

What he didn't say was the obvious: When a place like Arizona State comes calling, it's very difficult to turn it down.

I'm certain that's what Smith encountered and that's why he ultimately chose to leave. It reminded me in some ways of Tom Crean leaving Marquette. When Indiana came calling in basketball it was very difficult to refuse. Arizona State carries that same weight in college baseball circles.

Selfishly, I'm sad to see Smith go. Everyone always said he was a player's coach. Well, he was the media's coach, too. He always had time for you, always was personable and cared about people beyond the fact they covered his team and was always quick with a hand shake or a pat on the back if you saw him anywhere around town.

Smith is just a good guy and he will be missed.

The good news for Indiana, like IU athletic director Fred Glass said in the release put out by IU media relations Tuesday night, is that Smith is leaving the program in a good place. The Hoosiers are on the map again in college baseball and it has become an attractive destination for recruits. Sure, guys like Kyle Schwarber, Sam Travis, Dustin DeMuth and Joey DeNato are gone. But this is far from a situation where the cupboard is bare. IU has plenty of options both on offense and with the pitching staff.

And it should be safe to say that IU will be able to attract a proven winner to take over the baseball job. The Hoosiers can only hope that the next coach will be able to bring a few recruits along with him. IU has a couple of holes next year but that's to be expected when you lose the kind of All-American type talent that Indiana lost.

The important thing right now is to do your due diligence, put together a solid list of possible successors and go out and bring someone to Bloomington that can keep the momentum that Indiana baseball has been able to build.

There's no reason why Glass shouldn't be able to get that kind of coach to come to Bloomington.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

Peegs.com Top Stories