Bakich has his dream job, details Clemson baseball program he will build
|Friday, June 17, 2022, 8:00 AM- -|
CLEMSON – Erik Bakich has his dream job, and he thinks everyone else will want to be at Clemson, too.
Clemson University announced the hiring of Bakich as the Tigers’ new head baseball coach Thursday, and in a press conference on the second floor of the players’ facility at Doug Kingsmore Stadium, he was all smiles as he let the world know his feelings.
“Hundred percent a dream job,” Bakich “This is a dream come true.”
Clemson was in the running for the postseason last year, but an 0-2 showing in the ACC Tournament shelved any hopes for making the NCAA Tournament and the Tigers missed the postseason for the second consecutive year. That led to Athletic Director Graham Neff moving away from Monte Lee and the hiring of Bakich, who told TigerNet he has no concerns about the roster.
“I view it as there's really good players on this roster. They just narrowly missed the opportunity to play in the postseason,” Bakich said. “But Coach Lee is a very good coach, evidenced by his first four years here, hosted three regionals, and was very successful at College of Charleston. And so I knew he was recruiting well and developing well, and sometimes that happens in college baseball, and you just narrowly miss. But I wasn't... I didn't have any concerns about the quality of the players in the program at all.”
What type of team can Clemson fans expect?
“We're going to see a highly competitive team that's aggressive, that's mentally tough,” Bakich said. “Mentally tough meaning that we're not going to have a lot of highs and lows. We define mental toughness as being able to get back to the middle, get back to neutral. So, you're going to see a group of guys that play hard, play tough, mentally tough, but we're going to build this team with combination of speed and power. We're going to invest heavily on the pitching mound. We are going to have a hyper-focus on developing the total athlete, in terms of between the white lines.
“Like guys who are fast-pitch and explosive. Like guys that are fast-movers. Like power-pitchers, power stuff. I don't mean just the ability to throw hard and hit it far, I mean just explosive bodies. So we'll look for all of those and then just envision some of the players we've had 20 years ago here and just those types of athletes. We'll look to formulate a roster and construct a roster with a lot of great athletes.”
He said his recruiting pitch is an easy one.
“Clemson is a great academic school. It's got great baseball tradition. It's got incredible facilities, but all they got to do is get to know our coaching staff, our players, and take a visit here and just feel what Clemson University is and what Clemson baseball is,” he said. “And this has an energy to it that, just walking in here today, it hit me like a tidal wave. And I think any high school player in the state of South Carolina, in the region, on the Eastern seaboard, in the country is going to walk in and be blown away by the commitments of facilities, but then to see what the plan is in place for their individual player development, and how this program is going to return to national prominence.
“Everybody knows the Clemson Tiger paw. The school alone, and the reach of the school is coast to coast. But we'll try to really establish ourselves in the state of South Carolina and in the region. But I can't imagine people don't want to be a part of this great program and this great school.”
He also wants former head coach Jack Leggett to be a part of the program in some capacity.
“Coach Leggett, who’s here today, instilled the importance of good fundamentals and instilled foundational life skills like toughness, discipline, competing and having relentless positive energy and doing it all with an absolutely unmatched care level,” Bakich said. “He’s an unbelievable resource and he’s a great friend and he’s a great mentor. And he’s been a great mentor, ever since I worked for him 20 years ago…we have to have Coach Leggett involved in this program and around our players and the energy he brings. Whatever capacity that is or whatever title that is, I don’t know, but I just know the program will be better with his energy involved.”