COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Former East Carolina standout and Vanderbilt assistant coach Erik Bakich has been hired as the University of Maryland's new head baseball coach, Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow announced Monday, becoming the program's sixth head coach in its 116-year history.
A Colonial Athletic Association All-Conference performer in 2000, Bakich helped the Pirates to consecutive NCAA Regional No. 1 seeds and CAA Championships (1999 and 2000). During his two-year career, the San Jose, Calif. native who played under former Pirate skipper Keith LeClair, batted .315 with 14 home runs, 85 RBIs and scored 87 runs. As a senior he posted a 1.000 fielding percentage with 91 putouts in leftfield without committing an error.
Bakich spent the last seven seasons with the Commodores, where he established himself as one of the best recruiters in college baseball, hauling in top-25 classes all seven years in Nashville, including the top-ranked national class in 2005 and second-ranked national class in 2008.
Former head coach Terry Rupp resigned May 29 after nine seasons in College Park, opening the door for Bakich to be hired.
"It is an honor to be the next head baseball coach at the University of Maryland and to join an athletic department with an outstanding tradition of excellence," Bakich said. "I would like to thank Dr. Yow, Dan Trump and the search committee for giving me this tremendous opportunity to become part of the Terrapin family.
"I am eager to attack the recruiting trail and start building a winning baseball tradition at Maryland. There are numerous parallels between Maryland and the Vanderbilt of seven years ago. Much like Vanderbilt, our first goal will be reaching the ACC Tournament and eventually becoming a perennial College World Series contender. From a recruiting standpoint, we will be relentless in securing our borders around the state of Maryland and Northern Virginia, as well as tapping into the deep recruiting resources of the Northeast and Pennsylvania. I look forward to establishing a relationship with the current high school baseball coaches throughout the state of Maryland, former Maryland players, alumni and all the Terps fans across the nation."
In addition to his duties as recruiting coordinator, Bakich trained the Commodores' outfielders and served as a hitting coach. In 2004, Vanderbilt experienced the biggest batting-average increase in program history, hitting .304 that season coming off a .258 clip the previous year. Vanderbilt finished in the top three in the SEC in team batting three of the last four seasons under Bakich's tutelage.
Bakich brings familiarity with ACC baseball, as he began his college coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Clemson in 2002, assisting in the Tigers' recruiting efforts and working with the team's outfielders and infielders. Clemson advanced to the College World Series that season.
Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin added Bakich to his staff in 2003 and handed over the team's primary recruiting duties immediately.
"I am very happy and proud for Erik and his wife, Jiffy. He is a one-of-a-kind person, coach, recruiter and friend," Corbin said. "When I came to Vanderbilt, I brought him along as a 24-year-old recruiting coordinator with no experience and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
"Erik played a very important role in the resurgence of our program and he put us on the map, nationally, in recruiting. He has all the skills to be a very successful coach for a long time. I am very excited that Maryland has chosen to go in this direction. The players and University will really enjoy him."
"I have been fortunate to compete at the highest levels of college baseball, from East Carolina to Clemson to Vanderbilt and would not be here without the coaches who have shaped me as a person along the way," Bakich said. "I don't think I can put into words how much I appreciate Tim Corbin and what he has meant to me, personally. He has taught me everything I know about recruiting, about coaching being a lifestyle and has played as much a role shaping me as a person and coach as anyone. Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Jiffy, for her love, support and selflessness over the last six years, enabling me to recruit at the very highest level and ultimately create this amazing opportunity."
Bakich graduated from East Carolina in 2000 with a degree in Exercise and Sports Science. Upon graduation, Bakich played professionally in the Independent Professional Baseball League until 2001. At the conclusion of his playing career, Bakich returned to East Carolina, where he served as an assistant strength and condition coach for one year.