Jan. 25, 2013
The University of Michigan baseball program welcomes a whole new coaching staff for the 2013 season. The staff has now been here for around seven months and will coach its first game on Friday, Feb. 15, at California. As we count down to Opening Day, we will introduce and get to know the new staff.
Next up is recruiting coordinator and infield coach Nick Schnabel. Schnabel joins the Maize and Blue after three seasons as the hitting instructor, infield coach and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, East Carolina. Schnabel also coached two seasons at Liberty University and two at Army. Schnabel played with Michigan head coach Erik Bakich at East Carolina during the 1999 and 2000 seasons and was the Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year in 1999.
In this Q&A, Schnabel talks about what type of player he looks for on the recruiting trail, what type of player Bakich was in college, and the influence his college coach had on where he is today.
Q: You've been in Ann Arbor for seven months now. How has the transition to the area been for you and your family?
A: It's been great for me and my family. It's been outstanding. It's a great college town; there are a lot of things to do so the transition has been great.
Q: You're the recruiting coordinator for the Wolverines. What type of player are you looking for at U-M when you go out on the recruiting trail?
A: I think first and foremost it takes a whole staff to do it right. And we're fortunate here to have Coach Bakich and Coach (Sean) Kenny along with our support staff, but we're looking for obviously talented baseball players, but more importantly guys that will fit into our system as far as their approach -- being blue collar, really getting after it -- and wanting to succeed both on the field and in the classroom.
Q: What growth have you seen from the infielders from the beginning of fall practice until now?
A: Well, I think as a staff we've seen some younger guys kind of take the reins, so to speak, and get their feet underneath them and get more comfortable and consistent. And when you talk about infield play, it starts with consistency and that's the name of the game. We need to be able to make routine plays on a consistent basis. So far these kids have really bought in to grinding it out and working the process to try to get one percent better every day.
Q: You played with Coach Bakich at East Carolina. What kind of player was he?
A: I remember Erik from junior college; he played at San Jose City and I played at Ohlone. We didn't know each other but you recognized him on the field. That didn't change when we played together at East Carolina. He was a big reason for the turnaround in that program and to get that going again, so very much so a blue-collar mentality. Coach Bakich got the most out of his ability.
Q: You both played at ECU until coach Keith LeClair. What impact did he have on you guys when you played, and how has he inspired you to be the coaches you are today?
A: He meant a lot. If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I would be coaching. We talk about him a lot, and that's a good thing. The things that he taught us, we are striving to carry that on and to have an impact on these kids' lives like he had an impact on ours.
Q: What makes Coach Bakich a great fit for U-M?
A: Our athletic mission statement "Leaders and Best," he fits that mold in every area of his life. That's why it's a good fit. I'm happy to be here with him.
Q: What do you think of the commitment the University has put into the Michigan baseball program?
A: It's unbelievable. Not just from a money standpoint, but from a support standpoint. Like any good business or place, it's the people that make it. Everybody that we've come into contact with has been first-class -- asking what they can do to help us. It's been phenomenal. We're fortunate to be here and be a part of this institution.
Q: How excited are you to start the season?
A: We're really excited. I think I'm excited to watch our kids go play and tee it up against someone in a different jersey. They put in a lot of hard work and they deserve this. It's going be a marathon, not a sprint, but it's going to be exciting to watch these guys get better and better every day.
Meet the New Staff