Maryland, which on Monday cut seven athletic programs in the face of a multimillion-dollar budget deficit, does not possess such an arsenal. And so the Terrapins, who have not made the NCAA tournament or won an ACC title since 1971, may be forced to discover whether the opportunity to coach in the ACC and be surrounded by decent recruiting territory is enough incentive to lure a candidate capable of continuing the program’s recent rise.
“The big thing for Maryland is they’ve got to find somebody who has a history of doing something with not a whole lot,” said Kendall Rogers, managing editor of the college baseball coverage at the scouting Web site Perfect Game USA. “Because the fact of the matter is with all their budgetary issues, they’re not going to be able to attract a big name, and they’re probably not going to be able to spend a ton of money on their baseball facilities in the next few years.”
The Maryland athletic department needed a $1.2 million university loan to reconcile its budget shortfall this past year, and while Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said Monday there is a strategic plan in place to balance the department’s $57.7 million budget by 2015, such a goal will require that Maryland’s costs remain stagnant.
“There were some things that I felt like in order to advance the baseball program, the resources and the support would probably need to be increased a little bit,” Bakich said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I’m extremely sensitive and aware and understanding of the athletic department’s struggles, so I completely understand the decision of not being able to commit those resources at this time.”
For the school’s baseball program, which improved its record in each of Bakich’s three seasons and witnessed a surge in grass-roots fundraising during his tenure, such circumstances may prove to be a deterrent to potential coaching candidates.
The stadiums at ACC counterparts such as Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and North Carolina are considered superior to Maryland’s Shipley Field, which was built in 1965. This spring, Virginia Tech installed artificial turf and expanded the dugouts on its baseball field, a $1 million project that will help negate the effects of inclement weather.
Funded in part by New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, who played baseball for the Wolverines in the 1950s, Michigan spent $14.5 million to renovate its baseball and softball complex in 2008. That was partly what attracted Bakich, at 34 the youngest head coach of a major conference baseball program in the country, to the Big Ten school. Another sizable factor: Bakich had an annual salary of $100,000 at Maryland, compensation that is expected to rise significantly at Michigan (the coach Bakich is succeeding, Rich Maloney, made $190,000 in base salary in 2011).