Clemson Baseball Coaching Staff

Last Game

USC Upstate
Feb 27, 2024
Clemson, SC
Erik Bakich

Erik Bakich

Head Coach

Director of Athletics Graham Neff named Erik Bakich as Clemson’s 28th head baseball coach on June 16, 2022. The Clemson University Board of Trustees Compensation Committee approved the measure.

Bakich served as head coach at Michigan the last 10 seasons, leading the Wolverines to the 2019 College World Series championship series. Bakich also served as a head coach at Maryland (2010-12) and as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt (2003-09) along with his one year as volunteer assistant coach at Clemson in 2002.

“We are delighted to welcome Erik, Jiffy and their three children back to the Clemson Family,” said Neff. “Erik impressed us with his integrity, his approach to running a program and the emphasis he puts into the student-athlete experience. He knows well the expectations at Clemson, which he contributed to, through his role within the 2002 team and working alongside Jack Leggett, Tim Corbin and Kevin O’Sullivan, among others. I am confident in Erik’s ability to compete for ACC Championships and return to Omaha, and do it the right way.”

Bakich was the consensus national coach of the year in 2019, when he led Michigan to an NCAA runner-up finish and a 50-22 record. It marked the first time since 1966 that a Big Ten Conference team reached the championship game of the College World Series.

He also led Michigan to the NCAA Tournament in 2015, 2017, 2021 and 2022, meaning five of his last seven teams (excluding 2020) advanced to the national tournament. Bakich guided the Wolverines to Big Ten Conference Tournament titles in 2015 and 2022 as well. He joined Rich Maloney as the only Michigan head coaches to win two Big Ten Conference titles over the previous 35 years.

“Our family is thrilled to join the Clemson Athletics family and immerse ourselves in the local community,” said Bakich. “It was an honor to wear the Clemson uniform 20 years ago as a young coach on Jack Leggett’s staff. I am forever grateful and very appreciative for the opportunity to start coaching at Clemson surrounded by three Hall of Famers and a record-setting team. It is a privilege to serve as a steward of this storied tradition and help lead Clemson Baseball back to prominence competing for ACC Championships, trips to Omaha and our first National Championship.”

Bakich is no stranger to the ACC, as he served three seasons as head coach at Maryland. In 2012, he led the Terrapins to a 32-24 record, a 15-win improvement from his first season in College Park.

Prior to his three years at Maryland, Bakich was an assistant coach at Vanderbilt under Head Coach Tim Corbin, who was an assistant coach at Clemson from 1994-02. Vanderbilt had a 276-157 record in his seven seasons (2003-09) in Nashville.

Bakich served as recruiting coordinator for the Commodores, helping sign some of the nation’s top recruits, including No. 1 overall draft pick David Price. All seven of his recruiting classes were ranked in the top 25, including the top-rated class in 2005 and the No. 2 class in 2008.

He began his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach under Head Coach Jack Leggett and alongside Corbin and Kevin O’Sullivan at Clemson in 2002, when he worked with the Tiger outfielders and infielders. The Tigers had a 54-17 record and advanced to the College World Series with the likes of national player of the year Khalil Greene, Jeff Baker and Michael Johnson, who combined for 77 home runs.

Bakich started his playing career at San Jose (Calif.) City College, then he transferred to East Carolina to play two seasons (1999,00) under late Head Coach Keith LeClair, whom Leggett coached when LeClair played at Western Carolina. The Pirates won back-to-back CAA titles and earned No. 1 seeds in NCAA Regionals both years and was named to the 1999 Baton Rouge Regional all-tournament team. The outfielder hit .315 with 14 home runs, 27 doubles, 85 RBIs, 87 runs and 14 steals in two seasons.

He graduated from East Carolina in 2000 with a degree in exercise & sport science. He then played two years (2000,01) professionally in multiple independent leagues. After his playing career, Bakich returned to East Carolina, where he served as an assistant strength & conditioning coach for one year.

He was born Erik Michael Bakich on Nov. 27, 1977 in San Jose, Calif. He graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose in 1996. He and his wife, Jiffy, have two sons, Colt and Beau, and a daughter, Tempie.

Nick Schnabel

Nick Schnabel

Assistant Head Coach, Recruiting Coordinator

Head Coach Erik Bakich announced on June 27, 2022 that Nick Schnabel joined the staff as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator. Schnabel, who will work with the infielders, coached alongside Bakich during his tenure at Michigan from 2013-22 and was named national assistant coach-of-the-year by ABCA in 2019.

“I’m thrilled to have Coach Schnabel join our staff at Clemson as assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator,” said Bakich. “We served together at Michigan for 10 years, and he has been a part of some great teams. His knowledge, work ethic, energy and recruiting prowess is unmatched. I’m excited for Nick, Emily, Cal and Caroline to be a part of the Clemson Family.”

Schnabel served as recruiting coordinator as well as working with the Wolverine infielders and hitters during his tenure in Ann Arbor. His 2018 recruiting class was ranked No. 10 in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, one of the highest rankings in program history and Big Ten Conference history.

Many of those players were instrumental in the 2019 team’s 50-22 record and an NCAA runner-up finish in the championship series of the College World Series, as Michigan came just one win shy of the national title. Schnabel was also a key part of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2015, the first Big Ten Conference Tournament championship during his time at Michigan.

The 2022 team won the Big Ten Conference Tournament title and played in the Louisville Regional, advancing to the championship game. The 2021 Michigan team also made an NCAA Tournament appearance.

The 2020 team was poised for a successful season as well before it was cut short. Following that season, four Wolverines were drafted in the five-round draft, including three hitters under Schnabel’s tutelage, Jordan Nwogu (third round), Jesse Franklin (third round) and Jack Blomgren (fifth round).

Schnabel served three seasons (2010-12) at his alma mater, East Carolina, as hitting instructor, infield coach and recruiting coordinator. He also was hitting instructor and recruiting coordinator at Liberty (2008,09) and served as hitting instructor at Army West Point (2006,07).

In 2005, he was an assistant coach at Chipola (Fla.) College after he began his coaching career as the volunteer assistant coach at East Carolina in 2004, when the Pirates totaled 51 wins and advanced to the Columbia (S.C.) Super Regional.

He played alongside Bakich at East Carolina in 1999 and 2000. Schnabel was a First-Team All-CAA selection and CAA Defensive Player-of-the-Year in 1999. During both seasons, the Pirates won league titles and were No. 1 seeds in NCAA Regionals. In his two years in Greenville, he hit .333 with five homers, 29 doubles, 58 RBIs, 106 runs and 19 steals in 120 games.

Schnabel began his collegiate career at Ohlone (Calif.) College, where he was a first-team all-conference player.

After his playing career in college, Schnabel played four seasons (2000-03) and 189 games of minor league baseball in the Expos organization.

Schnabel graduated from East Carolina in 2003 with a degree in communications.

He was born Nicholas Arthur Schnabel on March 16, 1978 in Berkeley, Calif. The Martinez, Calif. native and his wife, Emily, have two children, Cal and Caroline.

Jimmy Belanger

Jimmy Belanger

Assistant Coach

Head Coach Erik Bakich announced on June 28, 2022 that Jimmy Belanger joined the staff as assistant coach and pitching coach. Belanger spent the last three seasons at Florida State, mentoring many of the best pitchers in the ACC.

Belanger has been a full-time assistant coach for 13 seasons, with stops at Monmouth (2010-12), Maryland (2013-16), Kentucky (2017-19) and Florida State (2020-22).

The 2022 Seminoles totaled 702 strikeouts in 534.0 innings pitched, good for a national-best 11.8 strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched mark. Their 3.34 strikeout-to-walk ratio (No. 4) and 702 strikeouts (No. 2) were among the top-four marks in the country as well.

In 2021, Florida State was also among the national leaders in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (11.4), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.19) and ERA (3.45), as all three marks led the ACC. Freshman Parker Messick earned ACC Pitcher-of-the-Year and ACC Freshman-of-the-Year honors.

Belanger’s 2019 staff at Kentucky featured Zack Thompson, the highest-drafted pitcher in school history when he was selected No. 19 overall in the first round by the Cardinals. In 2017, Kentucky set school records for strikeouts and opponents’ batting average, as Sean Hjelle was named SEC Pitcher-of-the-Year that season. His 2017 staff included two All-Americans, one freshman All-American, two First-Team All-SEC selections and four pitchers drafted in the top-11 rounds.

As pitching coach at Maryland, he helped the Terrapins reach a super regional in 2014 and 2015, the only two super regional appearances in school history. In 2015, his pitchers totaled 549 strikeouts, leading to 42 wins. In 2014, Maryland reached 40 wins for the first time thanks in large part to All-ACC pitcher Jake Stinnett, who led the conference with 132 strikeouts.

In three seasons at Monmouth, Belanger worked with Pat Light, a first-round draft pick in 2012. He also mentored Nick Meyers, who was the 2011 NEC Pitcher-of-the-Year. He began his coaching career as a student assistant coach at Louisville in 2009, when the Cardinals advanced to a super regional.

“Jimmy’s pitchers at Maryland, Kentucky and Florida State were ultra-competitive, and he will bring that same level of competitiveness to Clemson,” said Bakich. “His most recent staffs at Florida State put up record-setting numbers with the likes of ACC Pitcher-of-the-Year Parker Messick. I’m very excited for Jimmy to get started with our talented pitchers.”

Belanger played two seasons (2005,06) at Cecil (Md.) College before transferring to Louisville to play in 2007 and 2008. As a Cardinal, he pitched 98.2 innings over 33 appearances (17 starts). In 2007, Louisville reached the College World Series for the first time in school history.

Belanger graduated from Louisville in 2009 with a degree in sociology.

He was born James Michael Belanger on Sept. 23, 1986 in Queens, N.Y. The North Babylon, N.Y. native and his wife, Tiffany, have a son, Sutton, and daughter, Sloane.

Griffin Mazur

Griffin Mazur

Volunteer Assistant Coach

Head Coach Erik Bakich announced on June 29, 2022 that Griffin Mazur joined the staff as volunteer assistant coach. Mazur, who will work with the catchers, played the 2021 season at Michigan under Bakich after he transferred from UC Irvine, where he was a player from 2016-20.

Mazur worked as a program assistant at Michigan during the 2022 season after playing 44 games in his one season as a player at Michigan in 2021. He hit .247 with six homers, eight doubles, 33 RBIs and 31 runs, as he was a Second-Team All-Big Ten Conference catcher.

Mazur, who was voted team captain in 2021, also was named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and was a All-Big Ten Academic selection.

In his four active seasons (2016,18-20) at UC Irvine, he played 110 games (55 starts).

“Griffin has a bright future in coaching,” said Bakich. “I’m very excited for him to get his start at Clemson and contribute to our efforts. He was voted team captain at Michigan after transferring from UC Irvine and made an immediate impact as a leader on the 2021 Michigan team.”

After his college career, he played one season (2021) and 17 games with Tri-City (A+) in the Angels organization.

Mazur graduated from UC Irvine in 2020 with two degrees, one in criminology, law & society and one in education sciences. He also received a master’s degree in sport management from Michigan in 2021.

He was born Griffin Cole Mazur on April 8, 1997 in Mission Viejo, Calif. and is a native of Moorpark, Calif. Mazur is engaged to Amanda Lorenz.

Brad Owens

Brad Owens

Chief of Staff, Operations

Brad Owens is in his 16th season with the Tiger program in 2023, serving as chief of staff, operations. He is in charge of all team travel and camps for the program along with handling many other administrative duties.

The native of Barnwell, S.C. attended nearby Anderson (S.C.) University, where he was a four-time letterman. The righthanded middle reliever lettered from 2003-06 and served as team captain during his senior season. In his four-year career, he made 52 appearances (one start) on the mound and pitched 73.0 innings.

In both 2005 and 2006, he won the Trojan Challenge, the squad’s offseason conditioning competition. Owens was also a member of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference All-Academic team as a senior and was a Dean’s List student for three years.

During his playing days, Owens worked in a variety of roles at Anderson. He was a sports information department intern and later was an assistant. Owens was also a residence advisor in the Anderson Residence Life Department.

In the summer of 2006, Owens was an operations assistant for the Greenville (S.C.) Drive (Boston Red Sox affiliate). He also served as a player development intern for the Red Sox during the 2007 season, including duties performed at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.

During the 2006-07 academic year, Owens served as an administrative graduate assistant for the Student-Athlete Enrichment Programs on the Clemson campus. Owens provided academic advising for student-athletic staff members, including monitoring of grades along with assistance with registration, general guidance and daily communication with coaching staffs of various sports.

Owens, who had a 3.30 GPA in his career as an undergraduate, received a bachelor of science degree in business management from Anderson in 2006. He later earned his master’s degree from Clemson in human resource development in 2008.

Owens, who is married to the former Emily Brown, was born Sept. 2, 1983 in Augusta, Ga. The couple has a daughter, Caroline.

Ben Paulsen

Ben Paulsen

Director of Player Development

Ben Paulsen is in his fifth year with the Tiger program serving as director of player development in 2023. Paulsen spent the 2018 season as a student assistant coach at Clemson, as he returned to Tigertown to finish his degree requirements through the Tiger Trust program. He later served as the volunteer assistant coach at Georgia Southern in the fall of 2018.

Among Paulsen’s responsibilities, he is in charge of player development, opponent scouting, facility organization, enhancement & technology, recruiting & alumni relations, student-athlete transition and student-athlete services.

As a student assistant coach in 2018, he helped the Tigers total 47 overall wins, 22 ACC regular-season victories, a share of the ACC regular-season title and an outright ACC Atlantic Division championship. Those four achievements were all firsts for the program since 2006. Clemson finished ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation by Perfect Game and were also ranked in the top 25 during all 19 weeks. Clemson was third in the nation in homers (98) and had a school-record .975 fielding percentage as well. Seth Beer (first) and Logan Davidson (third) earned All-America honors, as Beer became just the second three-time All-American in Clemson history and was a first-round draft pick by the Houston Astros.

Paulsen, son of former Clemson Assistant Coach (2003-10) and current Winthrop Head Coach Tom Riginos, was a career .318 hitter with 45 doubles, five triples, 31 homers, 130 RBIs and four steals in 182 games (170 starts) over three seasons (2007-09) at Clemson.

The first baseman, who was drafted in the third round by the Colorado Rockies in 2009, played three years (2014-16) in the majors with the Rockies, hitting .271 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 186 games.

Paulsen, a native of Acworth, Ga., returned to Clemson through the Tiger Trust Program and graduated with a degree in business management in 2018.

He is married to the former Kendall Hill, and the couple has a daughter, Charlotte. Paulsen was born Oct. 27, 1987 in Plymouth, Wis.

 
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