Coach remembers late Charlie Donovan as 'always a Wolverine'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Charlie Donovan, one of the top prep players in Illinois and a top Michigan recruit, died unexpectedly Nov. 5.

Speaking Monday evening for the first time publicly about Donovan's death, Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich said, "Charlie will always be a Wolverine."

"Yeah, that's something that didn't just happen in a bubble. That's forever," Bakich said, softly, during media day. "I love him. I love his family.

"His younger brother will be here in a couple years."

Donovan, a shortstop, was a 30th-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers, but was to attend Michigan and be part of this freshman class.

As a senior, he batted .484 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs and 42 stolen bases at Westmont High School.

"What his family continues to go through is unimaginable," said Bakich, who attended two days worth of funeral services in November. "All I can do as a coach and we can do as a team is support them as best we can and continue to do so.

"We love them."

Donovan, who wasn't yet on campus, still had friends at Michigan, particularly on the baseball and softball teams.

As Bakich spoke, four players next to him were stone-faced and had their heads down, or nodded.

Donovan was 18 years old.