BA: Erik Bakich Discusses Terp Baseball Recovery Plan

Maryland baseball has been lackluster (that's putting it euphemistically) the past few years. Head coach Terry Rupp was one of the many problems associated with the program - those problems include facilities, fan interest, athletic department support, and (according to some) weather. Recently, that problem was possibly rectified with Rupp's dismissal and the hire of young, tireless Vanderbilt assistant Erik Bakich as head coach.

Now that there's new blood in the system, I'm trying to make it a priority to at least keep up with Maryland baseball during the spring. After basketball's over, what else do we have to do? I enjoy baseball, and until the O's pitching gets up and hitting develops (outside of Markickass and AJ, of course), my pro team isn't exactly fun to watch. Might as well follow the Terps. This being the case, I was intrigued to see exactly how Bakich intended to solve the program's woes. His answers were surprisingly good.

Via Baseball America:

On facilities:

From a facilities standpoint, I think it’s a situation where if you improve your team, improve the consistency and quality of play, then you can increase the fan interest. You’ve got to connect with alumni in the Mid-Atlantic, then it’s a situation like Vanderbilt all over again, because we didn’t have a strong fan base in 2002 and 2003. But people enjoyed seeing the energy, the kids sprinting on and off the field. We’ve got to instill that hard-nosed, aggressive, blue-collar brand of baseball, creating an identity. We’ve got to get these players to play with an edge, play with confidence.

On recruiting:

I looked at the roster, and I saw that there were a lot of good players in the state and Northern Virginia who weren’t going to the University of Maryland. And they weren’t using the Northeast—they had one player on their roster from Northeast. For sure, that’s a great geographic area to jump into. But the most important area is your own state; you’ve got to take care of your own state. We’ve got to get some border control out there. There are some good players from Maryland playing elsewhere in the ACC and the SEC, and that’s unacceptable. We’ve got do to a better job getting the best players to stay home.

On his first assistant hire (that would be Dan Burton, who is the new recruiting coordinator):

Tim Corbin hired me at a young age because I was a tireless worker, and Dan Burton is cut from the same cloth. He’s full of energy, turbo-charged. He’ll hit the recruiting trail, attack that thing and find some players.

On building the program up:

It’s like at Vanderbilt when we had to sell a vision, and we had to talk about what we’re going to do, not what we’ve done. Who doesn’t want to be part of a turnaround? Who doesn’t want to go in and build something? That fires me up.

Mr. Bakich, you've sold me. His answers were well-thought out and sensible. I have full faith that this guy can lead a turnaround of the program. Then again, I know nothing about college baseball, so perhaps I'm not the guy to be asking.

If he's correct that Vandy was in a similar spot and he helped that turnaround, then I'm encouraged: Vandy won the SEC in 2007 and consistently has top 10 recruiting classes.

How do feel about Bakich's hire? Does this at all change your opinion about Maryland baseball? Will you try to follow more in the spring?

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