Willie Bloomquist Introduced As ASU Baseball Head Coach

A Sun Devil great is returning to Tempe to lead the baseball program. Willie Bloomquist follows in the steps of Tracy Smith, who was dismissed on Monday, following a loss in the regionals.

The announcement comes from ASU Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson. 

“Sun devil baseball is not ordinary in any way.” Anderson said in his opening statement. “In evaluating the state of the program I came to this conclusion. In order to get it back we have to give it back… we need to give ASU baseball back to ASU fans and former players. We had to give the program back through a new leader who has loved ASU baseball with all his heart, he’s lived that experience.”

Harold Reynolds from MLB Network told Anderson that Bloomquist was the right hire for the program.

Bloomquist is a 14-year MLB veteran with over 20 years of experience in professional baseball. His tenure with ASU as a student athlete was from 1997-1999. The Seattle Mariners drafted him in 1999 following his junior season. He is the first Sun Devil to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“This place has the best tradition in collegiate baseball,” Bloomquist said. “The three years I played here flew by so quickly, I almost didn’t want to leave when I was drafted because I was playing for something bigger than myself.”

One memory that fuels him is the College World Series Loss to USC in 1998. He feels there’s unfinished business for him and the expectation is to bring a title back to the program. The team hasn’t been back to the finals since.


Entering day one, Bloomquist says he wants to be at ASU forever. To do so he knows he needs to return the program to glory. They haven’t been to Omaha since 2011. He’s spending his first few days trying to understand what changes need to be made for the program.

The Maroon and Gold runs deep for Bloomquist. His older sister attended ASU and he would always come out to watch the baseball team as a kid.

“It was surreal and I knew I wanted to play my college career here,” Bloomquist said about his recruiting experience. “The best three years of my playing career were spent here.”

Since 2016, Bloomquist was working in numerous roles within the Diamondbacks front office. While working there, he began itching to gain coaching experience on the field, and he knew the college route was meant for him.

When the decision to find a new voice for the program was made, Anderson knew Bloomquist would stand out to him right away.

“There is a love and a passion when you’ve actually lived in this environment at ASU,” Anderson said. “That’s why he was the perfect candidate to lead us forward. The combination of his experiences here and in Major League Baseball, gives us the confidence that he’s ready to lead this program.” 

On Deck

The current coaching staff is not guaranteed to stay. Bloomquist will have the freedom to determine his own coaching staff moving forward. He’s very emphatic about the people he will surround himself with. His number one expectation is “accountability” that extends from his coaching staff to the players.

“We will definitely look at keeping some of the coaches still on the staff,” Bloomquist said. “I’d be foolish not to consider them. But there are other great candidates that we will look at throughout this process.”

His lack of head coaching experience isn’t a concern for Anderson, because he will bring the right people around him to collaborate with. The passion from Bloomquist is a must for the rest of the coaching staff, as they bring back “glory day swagger.”

This is similar to the “pro model” from the football program, ala Herm Edwards and the men’s basketball program with Bobby Hurley.

“We have players with pro aspirations,” Anderson said. “So having a big leaguer leading this program should be a benefit because he’s lived that experience as long-time professional athlete…. I think that will translate well with recruits and our current roster of players.”

The Sun Devils played a lot of freshmen and sophomores in the 2021 season, so they have a ton of returning talent. The expectation is to win and win big in 2022 and beyond, something that Bloomquist says he’s ready for.

“It’s always about winning with this program,” Bloomquist said. “There’s a lot of talent here and we’ll be recruiting even more. We expect nothing more than greatness next year and beyond.”