Arizona State Vice President for College Sports and Athletic Director Ray Anderson on Friday morning officially announced that former Sun Devil Willie Bloomquist will take over the baseball program.
âIn order to bring (the program) back (to top-level success), we have to give it back,â Anderson said to start Friday’s introductory presser.
The hiring comes less than a week after the elimination of the Austin-area Sun Devils, and four days after Tracy Smith was fired as head coach.
âThere is definitely a familiarity, a love and a passion that is high when you’ve lived in this culture of ASU athletics,â said Anderson. âHe has this culture; he has this passion.
Anderson added that the baseball program needs to return to that âglory day swaggerâ it had in the past.
Bloomquist is no stranger to this period in Sun Devil’s history, as he was on the roster the last time Arizona State was close to securing a national championship.
Bloomquist played baseball at ASU from 1997 to 1999 before having a 14-year career in the big leagues. In his time as the Sun Devil, Bloomquist was a two-time All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1999.
âI can honestly say that the best three years of my baseball career have been with ASU,â Bloomquist said. “This new chapter isn’t about me anymore, it’s about those kids in the locker room.”
Despite this being his first head coaching job, Bloomquist hasn’t spent much time away from the Diamond. He has been the Special Assistant to the President and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the past six years.
âWinning has always been expected at ASU and that is not changing,â Bloomquist said. âIf we create accountability and do it the right way, the victories will follow. “
Following the departure of Smith and rumors of hiring Bloomquist, the change focused on whether hitting coach Mike Earley and pitching coach Jason Kelly would be retained by the next manager.
Players like Kai Murphy have taken to social media to push for their return.
Bloomquist, who played for Pat Murphy while at ASU, said he is still looking for who will fill the assistant coach positions. However, “there are candidates from the previous team that I would be stupid not to look at.”
With his No.30 jersey hanging behind him on the Zoom call and the anticipation in his voice, there’s no doubt Bloomquist is ready to put Arizona State back in Omaha.
âThis program goes much deeper and much deeper than we remember,â Bloomquist said. “It’s our job as players and now coaches to carry this torch.”