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After missing the NCAA Tournament for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1986, Clemson baseball has hired a new head coach in Erik Bakich.
Although the media had broken the news days before it was official, Clemson’s Board of Trustees Compensation Committee officially approved a six-year contract with Bakich on Thursday that will pay Bakich $850,000 in the first year and will progressively increase by $50,000 until the salary reaches $1.1 million in year six.
Spending the last 10 seasons as Michigan’s head coach Bakich was the runner-up in the 2019 College World Series and led the Wolverines to five of the last seven NCAA Tournaments. Although he had success at Michigan, his coaching career began in Clemson in 2002 when he was a volunteer assistant for Jack Leggett.
Athletic director Graham Neff said during the hiring process that he viewed Clemson baseball as a top-15 job in the nation. Still, despite Neff’s expectations and the program’s past successes, Bakich isn’t shying away from what he expects from himself and his new team.
“I see that as a great challenge,” Bakich said. “I look at 2010; that program was in Omaha. Coach Lee’s first three years, we were hosting regionals. I just don’t see any reason why Clemson baseball can’t compete for national championships, trips to Omaha, ACC Championships and host the postseason right here at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.”
With Clemson letting go of Monte Lee in May, Bakich will serve as the Tigers’ 28th baseball head coach with the hope of winning the program’s first national championship.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the hire.
Integrity. Toughness. Development.
Erik has it all.
I couldn't be happier to welcome Coach Bakich and his family back to @ClemsonBaseball.
— Graham Neff (@GrahamNeff) June 16, 2022
Welcome home to @ClemsonBaseball, Coach Bakich!
— Ross Taylor (@ClemsonFBRoss) June 16, 2022
OFFICIAL: Clemson has hired Michigan’s Erik Bakich as its next baseball coach. The former Clemson assistant led the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles and 5 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the CWS Finals in 2019.
Welcome back to Clemson, Coach Bakich! pic.twitter.com/9Jllzv3Psn
— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) June 16, 2022
— Jim Clements (@ClemsonPrez) June 16, 2022
Excited to have Coach Bakich back at @ClemsonBaseball. Go Tigers.
— Cody Jordan (@cojordan88) June 16, 2022
Tell me it’s fake.
Bakich didn’t really leave Michigan, did he?
Good luck at Clemson, coach.
— James Mackey (@James_Mackey35) June 16, 2022
A lot of guys "win" the introductory press conference but Erik Bakich definitely won in his opening statement. He is excited to be a Tiger again and it shows.
— Nachos & Analysis (@Nachos_Analysis) June 16, 2022
Looking forward to seeing where Clemson Baseball goes under the guidance of Coach Bakich. Go Tigers! https://t.co/iDEaqPN7HV
— Don Munson (@WDonaldMunson) June 16, 2022
We’ll take good, good care of him https://t.co/Dx2cjtucJu
— Barstool Clemson (@BarstoolClemson) June 16, 2022
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