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There should be no doubt that losing Tracy Smith to Arizona State, while understandable, is a body blow for IU baseball. But there should be equal confidence in the fact that he has left the program in better shape than any of his peers ever has.

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"My answer is I plan on being here," Fife said then. "If I am not there, that's because we've had a lot of success."

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in the last two years.

I can't quite remember what those designs looked like, in large part because they never came to be. It took seven years, a change in athletic directors and the Big Ten Network to fulfill the promise of a new stadium. The number of ways in which the old stadium, Sembower Field, was out of date were innumerable.

Among the stories assigned was a profile of Dane Fife, at that time still the head coach at IPFW. That story included an anecdote from Fife I'm reminded of today:

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their families whether he had plans to leave IPFW. Fife's response was the same every time:

Indiana might also go outside the family, and that in itself could be as much of a testament to Smith's job performance in Bloomington as anything. Smith was good with fans, good with the media and engaged in the department.

Tracy Smith (pictured) leaves Indiana for Arizona State, but also in much better shape than he found it in 2005.(Photo: Melina Vastola USA TODAY Sports USA TODAY Sports)Well before I arrived at The Star, I was asked by an independent publication to coordinate and edit one of those season preview type magazines about IU basketball.

In his corner is the fact that Indiana baseball is a much, much more marketable commodity now. He has Tracy Smith to thank for that.

Outside of the few truly elite college athletics programs (Indiana men's basketball would obviously be one), everybody else is really just hoping to parlay current success into getting the next hire right. That's the task now in front of Indiana AD Fred Glass.

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HEADED WEST: Smith leaves Indiana for ASU

The other, the main baseball office, is still at Assembly Hall. It's along one of the concourses, Fendi Karlito Iphone Case

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A quick story

Perhaps there was an inevitability about Tuesday's news, and Smith was always destined to leave. For what it's worth, folks around the program who would know never feared he would go south if he traded up on IU's recent success, but rather that he'd be tempted west. That's now proven prophetic.

Because he was considered a promising young coach, Fife (now an assistant at Michigan State) was routinely asked by prospective recruits and Fendi Purse Valley

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has space for three individual offices, meeting space and a secretary. It used to belong to Bob Knight.

That group won the 2009 Big Ten tournament by a combined 38 runs over four games.

He also leaves behind a coaching tree that's got roots all over the Midwest. It's obviously too early to say where Indiana will go with its coaching search, but Cincinnati's Ty Neal and Xavier's Scott Googins are both former Smith assistants with close ties to IU's now departed coach.

But he leaves the program in much better shape than he found it, and in a position to ensure a much greater level of success beyond his tenure.

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Indiana loses a good hand in Smith, one who turned away Ohio State and Maryland in recent seasons to stay in Bloomington.

One of them looks out onto the new stadium Indiana finally erected before last season, an all artificial surface monument to northern baseball that's set and re set attendance records several times Fendi Bag Orange

Now, Smith's successor will have two offices.

It seems like, whenever coaches leave, retire or die, there's a reflexive sharing of some sort of related memory, so here's mine:

Smith assembled that recruiting class in part on the promise of a new stadium, the renderings of which he kept on concave pieces of poster board in his office. He'd show them to anyone who walked into the baseball office, such as it was, a cramped hole in the wall on the east side of Assembly Hall. His assistants worked out of a similar office one door down.

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TOM CREAN REACTS: IU basketball coach's remarks on Smith's departure

´╗┐Indiana far better off for Tracy Smith's tenure

In 2008, I was picked to cover IU baseball as one of the Indiana Daily Student's two reporters on that beat. Smith treated me the same Fendi Purse Pictures then, as a student reporter, as he does now honest and straightforward.

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When Smith arrived in Bloomington in 2005, he took the wheel for a flailing program that hadn't even qualified for the six team Big Ten tournament in two years. In one recruiting cycle, he built a class that would eventually include more than a half dozen future pros, seven picks in the 2009 draft alone and three first round selections.

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