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Posted on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Now at his destination job, Erik Bakich says Michigan baseball will 'take a back seat' to no one

By Nick Baumgardner


Erik Bakich was introduced as the 19th baseball coach in Michigan history on Thursday.

Angela J. Cesere |

Upon discussing his future plans with his wife, Jiffy, last winter, Erik Bakich had come to the conclusion that he wouldn't be taking any type of new job this summer.

With one young son, Colt, already starting to grow and another child on the way, the 34-year-old Bakich thought it would make the most sense for he and his family to stay in Maryland.

"I said, 'well, we're pretty much guaranteed that we're not going anywhere this summer,'" Bakich recalled. "And she said 'yeah, right. Unless Michigan calls.'"

Michigan eventually called, and -- true to Jiffy's prediction -- the Bakich's are now full-time residents of Ann Arbor.

Bakich, who spent the last three years in charge of the Maryland program, was officially introduced Thursday as Michigan's new baseball coach.

The youngest coach at any BCS-level school, Bakich becomes the 19th coach in Michigan history, replacing Rich Maloney, who spent the past 10 seasons in charge of the Wolverines' dugout.

"I've had my eye on this place for a long time," said Bakich, who was on the staff at Vanderbilt in 2007 when Michigan knocked off the Commodores to capture an NCAA Regional crown. "If you'd have told me five years ago that I had the opportunity to lead this program, I wouldn't have believed you.

"This is a tremendous, tremendous privilege and a tremendous, tremendous opportunity."

Michigan announced Bakich's hire Wednesday evening, ending a month-long coaching search that athletic director Dave Brandon said featured coaches in Major League Baseball, various other head college coaches and some college assistants.

Brandon wouldn't get into specifics on who else was interviewed, or who else was brought on campus, but did say he conducted a second interview with Bakich earlier this week.

On Wednesday, one report speculated that Bakich would be paid $400,000 annually to take the job at Michigan, something Brandon said was "total misinformation" and "completely wrong." Brandon said there has not been a formal agreement on Bakich's compensation, and the contract won't be finalized for a week or two.

Regardless of contract, though, Brandon said he's confident he's found the man that will lead the Michigan baseball program for "many, many" years to come.

"He was described by somebody as one of the best young coaches in America," Brandon said. "He impressed me, he knew about Ann Arbor, he knew about the University of Michigan, he wants to be a college coach and settle here and raise a family.

"This is a guy with a family who wants to be in Ann Arbor and has made a significant commitment to this place."

Bakich said he does not have a staff in place, but did admit he is "leaning toward" bringing several members of his staff at Maryland -- including pitching coach Sean Kenny, a product of both Pioneer High School and Eastern Michigan.

During his three years at Maryland, Bakich finished with a record of just 70-98. However, his record improved each season -- going from 17 wins his first year to 32 last season.

At Michigan, Bakich brings a reputation as one of the better recruiters in the country, as he enjoyed great success with top 25 classes at both Vanderbilt and Maryland.

Bakich says his main recruiting focus will be inside Michigan, but will also stretch across the Midwest, the South and the West Coast. Additionally, he wants to put a high focus on player development, something he says will include an immediate offseason physical and nutritional development program to enhance performance.

As far as expectations go, Bakich's message was clear.

He wants to win championships, at every level.

"The goals are about championships," Bakich said. "And understanding that championships aren't just about winning the championship game. It's about being a champion on a daily basis, controlling attitude, perspective and effort.

"We're going to set a goal to win a national championship. ... But understanding what it takes to get there, not just focusing on (the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.), that's too far away. That's the destination, but we're going to be focused on the journey."

Bakich continually scoffed at the notion that national success on the college baseball circuit can't be had at at northern school, pointing to Michigan's four College World Series bids in the 1980s as proof.

He also continually brought up the success that Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins has enjoyed over her stellar career, noting that he'd like to "pick her brain" to see exactly how she's been able to do it.

His end-goal is to bring Michigan back to the national stage and the College World Series.

But his immediate goal?

To return Michigan back to where he feels it belongs: Atop the Big Ten Conference.

"The Big Ten is Michigan," Bakich said. "When I think about the Big Ten, I think about the Big House packed, I think about maize and blue and I think about championships.

"We are the class of the Big Ten and we take a back seat to nobody, and we're going to make sure that's the case in baseball from here on out."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

"He was described by somebody as one of the best young coaches in America". Who is "somebody"? Dave Brand will never tell.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:48 a.m.

Hoke v2.0? Welcome to Mee-chigan!


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

I for one am very happy with this hire And I am more optimistic Bakich I think Michigan will be heading to Omaha. All you non baseball naysayers have to understand it will take 3 years to get his players in, his system in place and the mentality to change. 3 years that is just the way it is in baseball but I think you will begin to see improvement from day 1 and will continue. Great hire Welcome to Michigan Go Blue!

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Very good....hopefully he will follow Hoke's lead, but three years is a good plan/goal.

Terry Star21

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Ah yes. the boo birds are out already....mostly from other schools flocking to our site, in fear of course. Dave Brandon has again made a wise choice, just as he did with Brady Hoke and his questionable won/loss record (remember all the comments about Hokes past numbers from outsiders and non-faithful before the season started...yep). This coach has a fire, a competitive edge that win bode well with his student-athletes and spell success for the Blue - and heartbreak for the green, red, yellow, orange, purple, black, and all other foes. Reminisce of other great coaches, he arrives with a bold statement - "...back seat to nobody.." (BSTN) Welcome to Michigan coach Erik Bakich and family - Leaders and Best. Great hire Mr. Brandon and oh yeah Nick, great story. MgoBlueForBstN.....Michigan swings & it's Loooong gone !


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Even though it makes me feel like my mother, I feel compelled to point out that : " would make the most sense for he and his family..." should be " would make the most sense for him and his family..." (or, following the polite standard, "his family and him"). You wouldn't say "it makes the most sense for he", so you don't say it when you add the family.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

"...makes me feel like my mother..." Do you mean: 1. If I touch you and your mother I would not be able to tell the difference because you feel like your mother? or 2. You touch something the same way your mother touches?


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

During his three years at Maryland, Bakich finished with a record of just 70-98. However, his record improved each season -- Are you kidding us ? Bakich brings a reputation as one of the better recruiters in the country, as he enjoyed GREAT success with top 25 classes at both Vanderbilt and Maryland. I thought I read that his Maryland team was 70-98. Thats some GREAT recruiting I guess. This AD has lost it big time. I think he was unable to talk any half descent coach into becoming a Michigan man after the way he took care of Coach Maloney. Go Sparty...


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

Mr. X: Though I love Brady Hoke so far--he has said and done the right thing more often than not, and symbolically has filled the position great (though the won-loss record does not hurt)..... It is too early to say how he has worked out though. We won't know about his success until year 3 or 4, but so far so good.

Mr. X

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 8:49 p.m.

You should keep in mind that the same things were being said about Brady Hoke's overall record. He has worked out pretty good so far. You have to take into account more than just overall record when assessing a coach. We will have to wait a few years to judge whether or not this was a good hire.


Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

The problem with the BCS is that is has become part of the (INCORRECT) jargon for all COLLEGE sports - to the point young journalists can't help but use the phrase in a story about COLLEGE BASEBALL; a sport that has an actual Division 1 NCAA Playoff! BCS is not a level or a status, it is an acronym for a (poorly) designed football quasi playoff (that thankfully soon shall end) and has no place in this story about college baseball.


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

BCS is not an acronym. BCS is an abbreviation. There is a difference.

Nick Baumgardner

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

*indeed "an" acronym* My head hurts.

Nick Baumgardner

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 9:37 p.m.

Lumberg, Directly from Michigan's release: "Bakich, 34, is currently the youngest head baseball coach at any BCS school." It has nothing to do with "young journalists" using the term. The BCS (something that will soon be gone, as you pointed out) is indeed acronym for a football playoff structure. But it's (currently) not incorrect to deem a school as being affiliated with the BCS -- because not all schools are. Butler, for example, is not a BCS-level school. Love your screen name, by the way. Very nice! Nick

Bleeding Michigan

Thu, Jun 28, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Ah Shucks... I thought Brandon would hire a MICHIGAN MAN.... and doesn't he know that Maryland shares a border with West Virginia. Remember how the last coach from that region turned out (RR for those who have completed therapy & erased all those BAD memories) Add in that B1G Baseball is kind of like B1G football... Second class to the SEC and other SOUTHERN schools where there is heat on the BB diamond in Jan & Feb.... not snow & hockey players... Michigan will only be atop the B1G, but will not be in Omaha for the CWS


Fri, Jun 29, 2012 : 2:02 a.m.

How about that West Virginia basketball coach? He's doing pretty well at UM.