Bakich was announced as the 19th head coach in the history of Michigan baseball on June 27, 2012 and completed his seventh season with the program in 2019.
Through seven seasons with the Maize and Blue, head coach Erik Bakich has guided Michigan’s oldest sports program to an NCAA Runner-Up finish, three NCAA Tournament bids, a Big Ten Conference Tournament title, and seven Big Ten Tournament appearances. During his time at the helm, Michigan has had 31 players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, along with 41 All-America selections, 49 Big Ten Conference team selections, one Big Ten Player of the Year, and 43 Academic All-Big Ten selections.
The Wolverines enjoyed one of their most successful campaigns in program history during the 2019 season, which featured a trip to the College World Series Finals for just the third time in Michigan history and the eighth trip to the CWS overall. The unseeded Maize and Blue team sneaked into the NCAA Tournament field of 64 as one of the last four teams in but emerged victorious at the Corvallis Regional and upset No. 1-ranked UCLA in the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series, where Michigan finished as the National Runner-Up behind Vanderbilt University. Bakich was named the National Coach of the Year by D1Baseball.com as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writer’s Association (NCBWA), while five Wolverines earned nine All-America nods and eight were selected to All-Big Ten Conference teams, including the program’s first Big Ten Player of the Year award (outfielder Jordan Brewer) since 2008. In the midst of an exciting postseason, Michigan also had five players selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, including starting pitchers Tommy Henry (2nd round, Diamondbacks) and Karl Kauffmann (2nd round, Rockies), Brewer (3rd round, Astros), reliever Jack Weisenburger (20th round, Athletics), and senior infielder and team co-captain Jimmy Kerr (33rd round, Tigers). The Wolverines finished the 2019 season with a 50-22 overall record, which marked the program's first 50-win season since 1987 and the first of Bakich's career.
Bakich finished his sixth season at Michigan in 2018, posting a 33-21 overall record and a third-place finish in the Big Ten Conference. The season was highlighted by a 20-game win streak that stretched from March to April and marked the program's third-longest win streak in history. The 2018 campaign also featured an 18-3 record at the Wilpon Complex, which marked the program’s best win percentage (.857) since the complex was dedicated in 2008. Following a strong regular season, the Wolverines advanced to the Big Ten Tournament for the sixth-straight season under Bakich. After losing 15 players at the close of the 2017 season, Bakich and the coaching staff brought in a highly touted incoming class of 14, including 12 freshmen and two junior college transfers. The recruiting class was ranked No. 10 in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, marking the highest ranking ever for a Big Ten recruiting class. The incoming class played an important role in the team’s success in 2018, as Michigan newcomers went on to capture seven freshman all-America awards in addition to six Big Ten Conference postseason accolades.
In his fifth year with the Maize and Blue, Bakich guided the Wolverines to a 42-17 record and a second place finish in the Big Ten Conference, leading Michigan to its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance in program history and its first at-large berth since 2007. With 40 wins for the first time since 2008, the season was also highlighted by a program record eight All-Big Ten selections, including five first team selections (Oliver Jaskie, Jackson Lamb, Ako Thomas, Michael Brdar, and Drew Lugbauer), two third team selections (Mac Lozer and Johnny Slater), and one All-Freshman Team selection (Tommy Henry). The 2017 campaign also featured a 23-5 record at the Wilpon Complex, which helped to attract three of the top-ten largest crowds in program history. The impressive season culminated with the most Major League Baseball draft picks in the country and in Michigan history, as eleven players (Jaskie, Lugbauer, Brdar, Slater, Lozer, Ryan Nutof, Harrison Wenson, Bryan Pall, Jake Bivens, Michael Hendrickson, and Grant Reuss) were selected by and signed with their respective professional teams. In addition to on-field success, the campaign also featured six Academic All-Big Ten selections, one Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, and one CoSIDA Academic All-Region selection.
The 2016 campaign featured a 36-21 overall record for the Wolverines, who were left out of the NCAA Tournament despite defeating two top-25 teams and executing series sweeps of seven different opponents. At the close of the 2016 season, Michigan had garnered five All-Big Ten selections and five Major League Draft picks (Brett Adcock, Carmen Benedetti, Evan Hill, Jackson Lamb, and Harrison Wenson), which marked the program's most the 2012 season. Academically, the season was highlighted by its first CoSIDA Academic All-America selection since 2005 in Cody Bruder, six Academic All-Big Ten selections, and one Big Ten Distinguished Scholar award.
The 2015 season was an exciting one for Michigan, as the Wolverines won the Big Ten Tournament and advanced to a regional for the first time since 2008. Michigan won 39 games in 2015, highlighted by a four-game sweep of the Big Ten Tournament and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Louisville Regional. Bakich coached a first team All-American in Carmen Benedetti (NCBWA) and five All-Big Ten honorees, including first team selections in Benedetti and Jackson Glines. Michigan had four players named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team, including Freshman of the Year Jake Bivens. Three Wolverines (Jacob Cronenworth, Glines and Travis Maezes) were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft while Michigan now has eight Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans, the most in the nation in that three-year span.
The 2014 edition of the Michigan baseball team won 30 games and finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten Conference. U-M also advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, winning a pair of games in that tournament for the first time since 2008. Bakich coached a pair of All-Big Ten honorees (Jackson Glines - 2nd, Travis Maezes - 3rd) and four Academic All-Big Ten selections. Juniors James Bourque and Trent Szkutnik were both picked in the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft and freshman Brett Adcock and Carmen Benedetti were named to both the Big Ten All-Freshman and the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America teams.
In Bakich's first season in Ann Arbor, he guided the Maize and Blue to 29 wins and 14-10 record in the Big Ten, good for a tie for fifth place. That was a seven-game overall and a six-game conference improvement from 2012. Also, the Wolverines returned to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2010. Bakich coached three All-Big Ten honorees (Michael O'Neill - 1st, Jacob Cronenworth - 2nd, Cole Martin - 3rd) and four Academic All-Big Ten selections. O'Neill also was an ABCA All-Mideast Region first team selection and a third round pick by the New York Yankees in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. A trio of freshmen (Cronenworth, Travis Maezes and Evan Hill) earned Big Ten All-Freshman team honors and were Louisville Slugger Freshman All-Americans.
Bakich (pronounced back-itch) came to Ann Arbor after spending three years as the head coach at the University of Maryland. He led the Terrapins to a 32-24 record in 2012, which was a 15-win improvement from his first season in College Park. Maryland started the season by taking 2-of-3 games at UCLA, which went on to earn a No. 2 national seed and a berth in the College World Series. The Terps also enjoyed wins over Purdue, East Carolina and St. John's in the non-conference slate and North Carolina, Virginia, Miami, N.C. State and Florida State in Atlantic Coast Conference action. Maryland had a 3.21 team earned-run average, which was third in the ACC. Bakich also had four players drafted from the 2012 team in this year's MLB First-Year Player Draft, including Alfredo Rodriguez, who was picked in the 17th round by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bakich had an initial recruiting class at Maryland in 2010 that was ranked in the top 25 by Baseball America. That marked the first time the Terps had a ranked recruiting class. Bakich followed it up with a 2011 class that received accolades from a number of publications and a 2012 class that was ranked in the top 25 by Perfect Game USA. In the last 11 years, he has coached 77 players that have been selected in the MLB Draft, including 25 in the first five rounds and nine first-round picks.
Bakich also had a hand in several improvements to facilities at Maryland. Included in these improvements are a 5,000-square-foot indoor hitting and pitching facility that was built next to Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium, a new turf infield (added prior to the 2011 season) along with a brick backstop, a new outfield fence and warning track. A new scoreboard and upgrades to signage in the stadium and renovated locker rooms are other highlights of facility upgrades for Maryland's baseball program.
Bakich instituted the inaugural Maryland Baseball Leadoff Banquet in 2011, which featured keynote speaker Tommy Lasorda in its first season and Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter in 2012.
Bakich was the assistant coach at Vanderbilt University from 2003-09, serving as the Commodores' recruiting coordinator as well as being the hitting coach and working with the outfielders. Under Bakich's assistance, Vanderbilt was 276-157 in his seven seasons in Nashville. That included a 54-win team in 2007 and two seasons of 40-plus wins (45 in 2004; 41 in 2008).
In his first year at Vandy, Bakich helped the Commodores reach the Southeastern Conference Tournament, something they had not done in eight years prior to his arrival. Vandy then advanced to a Super Regional in the 2004 season after winning the Charlottesville Regional.
While at Vanderbilt, Bakich recruited and coached David Price, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and finished second in voting for the 2010 Cy Young Award as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. Bakich also hauled in top-25 recruiting classes all seven years, including the top-ranked class in 2005 and the second-ranked class in 2008. From 2008-10, 22 Commodores that Bakich recruited were selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Bakich began his college coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Clemson in 2002. There, he worked with the Tigers' outfielders and infielders as well as assisted in Clemson's recruiting efforts. In Bakich's one season at Clemson, the Tigers went 54-17 and advanced to the College World Series.
Bakich had a successful career as a player prior to his coaching career. After transferring from San Jose City College in California, Bakich was a standout for East Carolina in 1999 and 2000. While there, the Pirates won back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championships and earned number-one seeds at NCAA Regionals both years. Bakich was named to the All-Baton Rouge Regional team as a third baseman after earning unanimous all-tournament honors at the Bell South Hurricane Classic in Miami, Fla., earlier in the 1999 season.
He finished his playing career at ECU with a .315 batting average, 14 home runs and 85 RBI. 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 conditioning coach for one year.