Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich is leaving for Clemson
Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich, who led the program to a national runner-up finish in 2019, has accepted the head-coaching job at Clemson, a source confirmed to The Detroit News on Wednesday.
Bakich, 44, is expected to be formally introduced at Clemson, where he began his career as a volunteer coach, on Thursday. The move was first reported Tuesday night by Michigan Rivals site, “Maize & Blue Review”. Bakich has not responded to multiple requests to comment from The Detroit News.
Recruiting coordinator Nick Shnabel also reportedly is heading to Clemson with Bakich.
It is unclear who Michigan might target to replace Bakich, who spent the last decade with the program. Among the potential candidates are Chris Fetter — the current Detroit Tigers pitching coach — who previously worked for Bakich as pitching coach. Central Michigan head coach Jordan Bischel, who's led the Chippewas to three NCAA Tournament appearances in three chances, interviewed earlier this week at Kansas and last week at Ohio State, but missed out on both positions.
Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Wednesday he had not yet been contacted by Michigan regarding Fetter possibly returning to Michigan, but understands the interest will be there.
“I'm not surprised that the rumors have started," Hinch told reporters at Comerica Park on Wednesday. "We love Fett. He's very talented. He can do anything at this level and certainly at the college level. We have to do everything we can to keep him. He's a big part of what we're doing. He needs to coach in this area; it just needs to be with the Tigers. We really want him to stay here.
"I have no idea what's ahead, but he's very happy here."
Whoever becomes the next Michigan baseball coach will inherit a solid program that Bakich built into a contender on the Big Ten and national levels. The Wolverines had their run to the College World Series finals in 2019 before falling to Bakich’s mentor, Tim Corbin and Vanderbilt. They reached the regionals in 2015 and 2017 and were considered to be among the nation’s elite teams in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shortened the season and eliminated the postseason tournament.
Michigan, which struggled with its pitching this season, fell to Louisville in the Regional final this month, after making a surprising run to the Big Ten tournament championship.
In 10 years at Michigan, Bakich led the program to a 328-216 record and won the Big Ten Tournament title in 2015 and 2022. The program, under his direction, made the NCAA Tournament four times.
This will be Bakich's third head-coaching job. He was hired to Michigan from Maryland, where he was head coach from 2010-12. Prior to that job, he was an assistant to Corbin at Vanderbilt.
He has received serious interest from several other programs in the last five years, including Stanford and South Carolina after the 2017 season. He stayed at Michigan and signed an extension that doubled his pay.
Clemson reportedly will pay him more than $1 million annually, which could be more than double what he was making at Michigan after signing an extension following the 2019 run to the College World Series.
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Tony Paul contributed