Omaha, Neb. — University of Michigan baseball head coach Erik Bakich has been named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year it was announced Saturday morning (June 15) at TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series.
Bakich, who guided the Wolverines to the College World Series for the eighth time in program history, accepted the award and spoke briefly before he returned to pregame preparations ahead of Saturday’s series-opening game against No. 8-ranked Texas Tech.
Part of the story for Michigan is undoubtedly the road to Omaha, which includes a Super Regional victory at then-No. 1-ranked UCLA in Los Angeles, California. The Wolverines were the only team to win a series against the Bruins all year with three wins in all — all of them on the road.
“Erik Bakich has done a magnificent job of returning the Michigan baseball program to its traditional status,” said NCBWA executive director Bo Carter. “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.”
Bakich led the Wolverines to a 46-20 record, the most wins by a Michigan team since 2008, and a 16-7 Big Ten record. After starting 5-3 in conference play through three series, the Wolverines won 11 straight games, a streak that included nine consecutive conference wins and moved U-M to 14-3 in the Big Ten. They Wolverines advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament after dropping their opening game.
Michigan won its first two games of the NCAA Corvallis (Oregon) Regional, 6-0 over Creighton (May 31) in the opener and 10-4 over Cincinnati (June 1) the following day, to move into the driver’s seat of the regional. After losing once to Creighton on June 2, the Wolverines pulled away late, 17-6, over Creighton in a winner-take-all game on June 3 to move on to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2007.
Under Bakich, eight Wolverines earned All-Big Ten Conference honors, highlighted by junior outfielder Jordan Brewer, who also was named Big Ten Conference Player of the Year. Sophomore designated hitter Jordan Nwogu and sophomore pitcher Jeff Criswell joined Brewer on the first team, while closer Willie Weiss was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team. Brewer, Karl Kauffmann and Tommy Henry have all earned All-America honors by various publications.
Additionally, Bakich had five players selected in the 2019 MLB Draft. Pitchers Henry and Kauffman were chosen in Competitive Balance Round B, with Henry drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at 74th overall and Kauffman selected by the Colorado Rockies 77th overall. Brewer went in the third round (106th overall) to the Houston Astros while the Oakland A’s took pitcher Jack Weisenburger in the 20th round and infielder Jimmy Kerr was selected in the 33rd round by the Detroit Tigers.
In 2017, Michigan led the nation with 11 MLB Draft selections.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport’s only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.