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QUOTES: Tracy Smith Press Conference
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 06/26/2014
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Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson

Introducing Coach Tracy Smith…

“Thanks everyone for coming. Needless to say this is a very exciting day for ASU and certainly ASU athletics. First of all I would like to thank our colleagues Don Bocchi (Sr. Associate AD) and Steve Webb (Executive Director of Athletics Compliance) in particular along with Amy Schramm (Sr. Associate AD, CFO) who really helped us as a team put together a process that we thought was sensible, certainly exhaustive. We thought strategically laid out and as a result of that we think we have brought to ASU the absolute best person for this position. So I thank my colleagues and all of our department members who helped us in this endeavor for that contribution.”

“When we talk about head coaches at ASU, we talk about strong leaders, passion, and strategic planning and execution. We talk about teachers and developers of our student-athletes. We talk about dedicated ambassadors of our university and our community. We talk about a thirst for championships, through diligence, intelligence, and work ethic. We have all of that and much more with Tracy Smith as our new head coach of ASU Baseball. Simply put we have the best out there who is now in here, with us. It really is my honor on behalf of President Crow and all of my teammates here at the Athletic Department of ASU to introduce to you our new Head Baseball Coach of our Sun Devils, Tracy Smith.”

Head baseball coach Tracy Smith

On why the number 13 for his uniform…

“I always get asked by my players, Coach can I get number 13, and I have always said and I am going here. If you hit .385 with 15 home runs and 75 RBI then its yours.”

Introducing his Family…

“First I want to make some Thank You’s. Before I do that I want to introduce, because this has been a whirlwind as you could imagine over the last week and a half of what has just been an unbelievable time, I would be remise if I didn’t introduce just part of my clan that has been along with the journey. My wife Jamie Smith has come and my youngest son Jack Smith is here. My other two sons could not make it, but my oldest son is Casey Smith and was part of our 2013 World Series team. My middle son Ty could not make it he is part of the IU football team and they are in the middle of what they are doing.”

Opening Statement…

“I want to say first, thank you, and I want to say personally thank you Ray (Anderson) as the Athletic Director. When we were going through this process I also want to thank President Crow because it’s about the vision and that was the most attractive piece to me. I appreciate this opportunity and I couldn’t be happier. I also want to thank the guys associated with the process because this has been a whirlwind, that being Don Bocchi and Steve Webb just that I’ve gotten to know and I can’t thank you enough. I am a people person and a big part of that is if those guys are the front line of what it is going to be like here in the whole ASU family, you have got some great ambassadors and again I would like to thank you guys for being apart of that and making me feel special from day one.”

“I also want to take this time to thank the people back at Indiana University. I don’t think that I am sitting in this chair right now without the opportunity to do what we did at a place that I truly love and so I want to thank Rick Greenspan (Former IU Athletic Director) for giving me the chance there, President Glass (Current IU Athletic Director) and President McRobbie (University President) for the opportunity to do what we did and build our program, to give me a chance to be where I want to be professionally. I also want to thank the players in the past and certainly looking forward to building a future because I think this is something I don’t take lightly, I appreciate it and I am humble to be sitting here and I would be kicking myself if I didn’t thank those that were apart of this.”

On his thought process going into making the decision…

“I think in situations like this, I am sympathetic to what you are doing. I am not going to sit up here and talk about a bunch of stuff maybe you don’t want to hear. I am going to start with my decision and I want to put some context on the decision. It was a tough decision because who I stand for as a person and my family is we invest. What I mean by that is we invest in our job, community, in the state, the program, and the university. So when you put your heart and soul in something for nine years, you want to make sure you are going to some place that is going to do the same thing.”

“The investment in the people and the investment in the resources it became abundantly clear to me that I had no choice. It was a tough decision, but only for the reason that when we jump in, we jump in with both feet. I felt this is the place that we would be able to as a family, jump in and invest just as we have in the past.”

“I am truly thrilled and I would be the biggest fool in the country if I didn’t take this job.”

On the learning curve of changing scenery…

“I am smart enough to know what I don’t know and my ego is such that I am never going to be afraid to ask. I am excited about getting to know more about the culture, getting to know more about the history. I think it is important that you know that about me. I am the type of person and I can assure you our staff will be that way. We are not going to be afraid to ask.”

On the outreached he has received since taking the job…

“Since Tuesday it has been unbelievable the amount of ASU Alumni, former baseball players and others reaching out. You talk about a good decision, the text messages and how everybody is willing to jump in and be apart of that and help me shorten that learning curve. I couldn’t be happier.”

“I was on the phone with Larry Fitzgerald today and I kept laughing and saying, Larry you are a football guy, you don’t know anything about baseball, but he said “Dude I am so excited man, this is going to be great.” We are going to call upon all of those resources to shorten that learning curve because I think that is important.”

On expectations for the program…

“I would be a fool if I didn’t talk about expectations. It doesn’t fall lightly on me the expectation at ASU. When I talked about expectations it didn’t take long for Don (Bocchi) before he even introduced me to the first person, before he showed me the Territorial Cup. I understand what he is doing there. I understand what is at stake. I understand what the mission is.”

“I understand that National Championships are important. I understand that Conference Championships are important. I am the type of person that is going to focus on loving and having a passion for what I do. The assistants and the staff that we will put together will do the same thing. I know that if we lock arms with ASU nation out there, all the other stuff is going to come. That is the confidence that I have in what we are going to bring to the table.”

“I know I speak on behalf of my wife and family we are thrilled. Thank you for letting us be apart of this and we are looking forward to moving forward.”

On how to build a program and how he built Indiana University to what it was…

“It’s people… I remember last year when Florida came up into our regional that we were hosting in Bloomington and Kevin O’Sullivan is the coach at Florida. I remember driving… This is part of my ploy too, I showed Mr. Anderson our facilities that we used to recruit to. I remember the thing that Kevin O’Sullivan said, he said ‘How in the world do you recruit people to a cold weather school with facilities like this?’ The answer was simple, its people, we sell people. We’re going to take that same approach here because this is a people world. I don’t care whether its business or whether it’s an athletics team, it’s about people.”

“Now, don’t get me wrong, that weather is going to be a nice little selling point too; and moving into the new stadium is going to be unbelievable. But the foundation of everything we do is going to be based on relationships and being good people.”

On the influence of tradition of the program…

“When you’re going through, and I’m referring to the decision making process because it’s a process and you’re going through a lot of different things… At the end of the day, it came back to, and I remember saying to Jamie, I said ‘What am I? I’m a baseball coach.’ If you’re a baseball coach this has everything you’re looking for. Really, the decision for me, I’m 48 years old it came back to… When I put my uniform on every time, I’m competing I have one thing that I am about. I’m a baseball coach.”

“The resources, the tradition, everything that is available here. I’m literally just learning more and more every minute I’m here. All that stuff is here. This is unbelievable. It’s unbelievable to me. So, I’m just happy to be here. There is no decision. This is a baseball school. I’m thrilled to be directing it.”

On if his trip here with Miami (Ohio) in 2000 had an impact on him…

“I was with Miami of Ohio that time, so we’re bringing a program in there that hadn’t done the regional thing, so we’re experiencing certainly the success of what was going on at ASU. My memory of that tournament… One of the guys hit a home run, I went out to make a mound visit and my pitcher was actually giving me the ball before I got to the mound. I do remember that.”

“I just remember that, that was a program and I hadn’t experienced that yet in my career. We were at a smaller school trying to build what we were doing and having some success but it was not at the level that was going on, certainly here.”

Sharing a story on Barry Bonds…

“The moment that Arizona State called, I don’t know why I thought it… I remember, it was a clip, I don’t know what the clip was from. It was Barry Bonds back when he was playing, just doing a popup slide or something at second base. That was instantly what I thought. I just thought ‘Is this really happening?’ To be a part of a type of institution with those types of names are rolling through here, unbelievable.”

On recruiting at ASU as opposed to Indiana…

“The analogy that I guess I will use on this is kind of funny. It was in 2013 when we went to the World Series, I remember one of our alumni saying ‘Hey coach, this is going to give you the opportunity to recruit some really good players now.’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about? We’re recruiting good players now because we’re getting to the World Series.’”

“I think there is going to be a different element that is going to be fun for me because we’ve had to search for the diamond in the ruff if you will. I’m still going to do that, I’m going to trust my eyes. It’s like I told Mr. Anderson in the interview, I’m going to trust my eyes because I think my eyes are pretty good; but there’s also, that instant credibility of getting in on kids that… If we’re recruiting 20 kids at maybe Indiana, we’re maybe going to get on three or four of the top ones. If you say, Arizona State to those 20 kids, you’re going to be in on 21.”

“I’m going to use a blend I think, because I think it’s important not to get caught up in ratings systems and numbers systems. I’m going to do what I think is right and I’m going to have conviction in our recruiting and go with… I think our track record speaks for its self. The staffs that we’ve assembled, that’s a lot of our kids develop and go on. We’ve produced some pretty good kids. I think we’re going to do that times 10 here.”

On facing Pac-12 teams…

“That’s why we’re in it. If you’re a competitor you want the challenge. Going back to it… those were just the simple thoughts in my mind when it was ultimately the time to say yes, was what traits do you want with that challenge? We’re doing it at a level in the Big Ten with a lot of restrictions and sometimes our hands tied behind our back. I just said this is the next step. This is the logical step. I’m just thrilled about the challenge. As I said earlier, I realize the challenge but if you’re a confident person and know what you’re doing, it should be fun. So we’re going to have some fun doing it.

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