The Arizona Wildcats have added former Arizona State pitching coach Brandon Higelin to their staff.
Higelin will serve as director of player development, replacing Jimmy VanOstrand, who recently joined the Seattle Mariners organization.
"We are very excited to add Brandon as our director of player development," Arizona coach Jay Johnson said in a news release. "We feel fortunate to find someone as capable as him to replace Jimmy at this time of year. Brandon has a lot of really good skills and successful experience that will help push our program forward."
Higelin spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach at ASU and served in the same capacity at Indiana in 2014. All three teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
ASU parted ways with Higelin in late December, an unusual move with the season starting in mid-February. Sun Devils coach Tracy Smith will serve as the de facto pitching coach this season.
Regarding the decision to remove Higelin, Smith said at the time:
“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.”
ASU ranked seventh in the Pac-12 with a 4.19 team ERA last season. Arizona’s was more than a full run lower (3.18). The Sun Devils were ninth in the league in ERA (4.04) the previous season.
ASU’s pitching staff shut down Arizona – the eventual national runner-up – in a mid-May series in Tucson. The Sun Devils allowed only seven runs in three games, winning two of them.
Indiana had a staff ERA of 2.33 in 2014, seventh best in the nation.
A former left-handed pitcher, Higelin was the San Diego Padres’ 28th-round draft pick in 2005. He played in the Padres’ organization for four years.
Higelin is from Glendale, California, and played collegiately at Cal State Los Angeles.