Jan. 30, 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 countdown Opening Day, we will introduce and get to know the new staff.
Next up is volunteer assistant coach Aaron Etchison. Etchison joins the Maize and Blue after a two-year playing career at the University of Maryland. He was the captain of the 2012 team that won 32 games as he threw out 14 of 26 base runners his senior year. Before his two seasons at Maryland, Etchison spent his sophomore season at Chipola Junior College in Marianna, Fla., hitting .276 in 47 games with 29 runs batted in. Etchison started his collegiate career at Ball State University, helping the Cardinals to the Mid-American Conference West Division title in 2009.
In this Q & A, Etchison talks about when he knew he wanted to be a coach, what it was like to play for Michigan head coach Erik Bakich, and what he has already learned in his first year at U-M.
Q: You grew up in the Midwest and played a season at Ball State. How does it feel to be back in the Midwest?
A: It feels good. Being out on the East Coast the past two years and then in Florida for a semester before that, it's definitely a different culture here. It's a little bit slower pace than the East Coast but it's been good. This place is unbelievable. Ann Arbor is pretty different from where I grew up; a lot more resources here, a lot more of a city feel.
Q: When did you know during your college career that you wanted to become a coach?
A: Well, Coach Bakich asked me pretty early on in my junior year once I got out there, and it was something I never really thought about. I always thought I would play the game until I got sick of it. Then once I got home this summer and Coach got this job and I kind of stepped back and was looking at what I wanted to do next, we talked about coming up here and got the gears turning and I realized I wasn't ready to walk away from the game. Going into a normal desk job wasn't for me. Getting the chance to link back up with him, I couldn't imagine a better situation to enter the coaching world.
Q: You are working with the catchers. How has that group progressed from the beginning of fall camp until now?
A: Coach Bakich does a pretty good job of changing the mindset of everything, and everything he talks about is what we want to have from every position, especially from the catchers in toughness and leadership. But they've been working hard and I'm excited to get out there and see how they've been and how they've progressed.
Q: What type of team will the fans see from a Bakich-coached squad?
A: Well I expect the team to take on a lot of his personality, just high energy, giving 100 percent and being relentless all the time. It's a ton of fun playing for him; it's a ton of fun watching teams play for him. It's just exciting and you know you're never going to get short-changed from him or from hopefully the team.
Q: What have you learned about coaching in your time so far at U-M?
A: It's been great. Coach Bakich, Sean, Nick, Wayne Welton and everyone around has been great. They've shown me the reins; they've taken me under their wing. They treat me awesome. The number one thing is to learn from example from those guys, seeing how hard they work. It's all the time, non-stop, never looking to cut any corners. They've been great on all facets.
Q: How excited are you to start the season?
A: I'm excited. It's going to be a little bit different in the first year. It's been 18 years or whatever I haven't played, so it's going to be a different look and I'm sure I'll want to run right out on the field again this year but I'm excited for the guys. They've worked hard, they deserve it and it should be fun to bring in a new era of Michigan baseball.