Oct. 29, 2012


Nine Innings with Erik Bakich

By Sean Ryan

CollegeBaseballInsider.com Co-Founder


After spending three years as head coach at Maryland, Erik Bakich (left) has headed north to lead the program at the University of Michigan.


Bakich posted a record of 70-98 with the Terps, including 20-70 in ACC play. Maryland was 32-24 this past season, nearly earning its first NCAA tourney berth since 1971.


Bakich was an assistant with Tim Corbin at Vanderbilt for seven seasons, helping build the Commodores into a national power. From 2008-10, five of his recruits were picked in the first round of the Major League draft, including pitcher David Price and third baseman Pedro Alvarez.


A two-year starter at third base for East Carolina, Bakich began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Clemson.


Bakich recently took time to answer our questions.


First Inning – You had Maryland headed in the right direction. How difficult was it to leave a team that nearly made the NCAA field a year ago?

It's always difficult to leave a situation you are fully invested in, especially regarding the relationships with all the players. They were a tremendous group of relentless workers who were totally committed.


Second Inning – What attracted you to the Michigan job?

I was attracted to Michigan because of the commitment to excellence in every aspect of the athletic department and University.


Third Inning – You spent a long time in the SEC and a few years as a head coach in the ACC. What differences do you anticipate from Big Ten baseball?

The uncontrollable things, like weather, attendance and facilities might be different, but our approach to the game and winning every pitch will be the same.


Fourth Inning – Does anything change with your recruiting goals?

No. We target the most mentally and physically gifted players in the state, region, and nation.


Fifth Inning – Do you see Michigan being in a similar situation as Maryland was when you took over the Terps?

Yes, from the standpoint that both organizations were underperforming their expectation levels. The process involves getting the right people on board combined with a detailed vision of where you’re going.


Sixth Inning – What are some of your immediate goals for the Wolverines?

The immediate goal is always to get 1% better every day. The goal for the fall is to create core covenants and an identity for Michigan baseball that is consistent with the standard of excellence here.


Seventh Inning – What are some of the most important things you learned leading a program for the first time at Maryland that you bring with you to Michigan?

Everything counts if you are committed to excellence. Making sure the coffee is hot in the concession stand is just as important as getting a bunt down.


Eighth Inning – In taking over a program, do you take what’s there and mold it into your style, or do you change your style to accommodate what’s there?

The foundation has to be strong and consistent, and established by the coaching staff. The best coaches I have seen know exactly what they stand for and the expectation of the program is clearly defined. That allows the players to have the best chance to be successful.


Ninth Inning – What improvements are coming to Michigan’s facilities, and where do you see the program in five years?

All the facility improvements are centered around player development, recruiting, and championships. In five years, Michigan Baseball should be synonymous with championships in the Big Ten and perennial postseason appearances.


(photo courtesy of Michigan Media Relations Office)