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Arizona State baseball hires Willie Bloomquist as head coach

Willie Bloomquist #8 of the Seattle Mariners walks away from home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt #21 after being called out on strikes to end the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Four days after firing head baseball coach Tracy Smith, the Arizona State Sun Devils officially named his successor.

Former Sun Devil and Arizona Diamondback Willie Bloomquist was named as the sixth head coach in program history on Friday.

The 43 year-old Bloomquist played for ASU from 1997-99 and was honored as Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1999. He finished his career in Tempe with the school’s fourth highest batting average (.394).

Bloomquist was selected 95th overall by the Seattle Mariners in the 1999 MLB Draft. He also played for the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds before signing with the Diamondbacks in 2011.

During his three years in Arizona, he posted a .289 batting average. He was the first Sun Devil to play for the local MLB club.

Bloomquist returned to Seattle and played two more seasons with the Mariners before retiring in 2016. He played 14 seasons in the major leagues.

Bloomquist was hired as the special assistant to the president and CEO for the Diamondbacks in 2016. In that role, he assisted Derrick Hall in “working on-field with players at all levels of the organization, attending community events, meeting with corporate partners, interacting with season ticket holders and visiting D-backs Minor League affiliates,” according to ASU’s press release.

Bloomquist has not held a coaching job at the college or MLB levels.

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson has made unconventional hires before, like when he hired head football coach Herm Edwards away from a long post as a television analyst.

Edwards did, however, have multiple years of coaching experience in the NFL and in 1987-89 got his coaching career started in the college ranks.

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