Hours before CWS debut, Michigan's Erik Bakich named college baseball coach of the year

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Erik Bakich

Before Michigan got under way in its first College World Series appearance in 35 years, Erik Bakich was named the national coach of the year.

Bakich, 41, is in his seventh season at Michigan, and has the Wolverines in the NCAA Tournament for the third time — including their first CWS appearance since 1984.

He was honored Saturday by the  National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

"Erik Bakich has done a magnificent job of returning the Michigan baseball program to its traditional status,"  NCBWA executive director Bo Carter said in a statement. "To go on the road and upset the No. 1 NCAA Championship seed UCLA is one of the great feats in college baseball this season.

"He has been an inspiration and a great motivating force for the Wolverines throughout the season and now into the College World Series.

"Congratulations to Coach Bakich for this national honor."

More: Texas Tech will see 'completely different' Michigan team in College World Series

Michigan, one of the last four teams to earn an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, won its regional, hosted by defending national champion Oregon State, before beating UCLA, 2-1, in the best-of-three series to clinch the trip to Omaha, Neb.

The Wolverines were the only team to win a series all season against the Bruins.

Michigan (46-20) was opening the CWS on Saturday afternoon against Texas Tech.

Bakich is the first Big Ten coach to win the award since Indiana's Tracy Smith in 2013. Indiana was the last Big Ten team to make the CWS.

More: Bakich, Michigan melting negative perceptions about northern college baseball

The NCBWA also named Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman the player of the year, and the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy.

Also Saturday, Michigan junior outfielder Jordan Brewer, the Big Ten plkayer of the year, was named second-team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association, while sophomore outfileder Jordan Nwogu was named third-team. Also on the third team, Central Michigan sophomore shortstop Zavier Warren.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984