Michigan has hired Erik Bakich away from Maryland to be its new baseball coach, replacing the fired Rich Maloney. A day later, Maryland promoted assistant Eric Milton to interim head coach.
The Wolverines tried to hire Scott Stricklin away from Kent State but Stricklin decided to stay at his alma mater. The Wolverines then turned their attention to Bakich, a former East Carolina outfielder and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt for seven years. His three seasons with the Terrapins program were his first as a head coach.
Bakich's Maryland teams got progressively better, finishing 32-24 this season with a club that won a series at UCLA and cracked BA's Top 25 rankings for the first time ever. However, the Terrapins went 10-20 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, failing to make regionals, and were just 20-70 in the league in Bakich's tenure, and 70-98 overall.
"The University of Michigan represents a standard of academic and athletic excellence which will be upheld by our coaches and players every day," Bakich said in a statement. "Michigan baseball has a storied tradition and I am honored to lead this program back to winning championships. We are eager to attack the recruiting trail and will finalize our coaching staff as quickly as possible."
Bakich has two plus tools, to use scouting terms on a coach: his relentless energy and recruiting acumen. He helped Vanderbilt mine the Northeast during his stint in Nashville and has a better ballpark and better resources at Michigan than he had at Maryland, which has struggled to make a strong commitment to baseball. Maryland appeared to be doing so when it hired Bakich, but a subpar ballpark and a cash-strapped athletic department (the school is cutting eight sports) have prevented the program from making significant progress.
As a result, Maryland now replaces Michigan on the coaching carousel, and it's less likely to find an up-and-coming young assistant—as Bakich was three years ago—as willing to take the plunge. Its first choice on an interim basis is Milton, a 1996 first-round pick out of the Maryland program who had an 11-year big league career. His coaching resume consists of being the program's volunteer assistant since September 2011, and a university press release stated Maryland was continuing with a national search for a head coach.
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