(Photo: Dominic Cotroneo/WCSN) 

Brandon Higelin will not return as Arizona State’s pitching coach for the 2017 season, head coach Tracy Smith announced on Friday.

“I have decided to make a change on our staff with the pitching coach position,” Smith said. “As head coach of Sun Devil Baseball, it is my role to constantly assess where we stand in all facets of the game and make decisions that provide the best opportunities for success. I simply thought we could be better with our pitching coach position and all that it entails. There is no specific ‘negative’ event that led to this decision.”

Higelin spent one season at Indiana before joining Smith at Arizona State in 2015. In his first season as pitching coach, the Sun Devil staff boasted a 4.03 ERA before averaging a 4.19 mark in 2016.

Smith has announced that he will take over as the team’s primary pitching coach before the team launches its search for Higelin’s replacement.

“When it became clear to me that a change was needed, the timing was irrelevant because my background as a pitching coach will allow us a seamless transition for this season,” Smith said. “I will oversee the development of our pitching staff this year and will make a full-time hire after the season. We will conduct a national search at the appropriate time.”

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