Former Two-Sport Star Promoted At Alma Mater…
Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne has announced that Darin Erstad has been hired as the head coach of the Husker baseball program.
“Darin is very passionate about Nebraska and especially our baseball program,” Osborne said. “Nobody is going to work harder than Darin. He showed that both here at Nebraska and in Major League Baseball, and that will be the same as our head coach.”
Erstad, a two-time Major League All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 MLB Draft and spent 14 years in the majors, before retiring following the 2009 season. A two-sport standout at Nebraska, Erstad was a first-team All-American and Big Eight Co-Player of the Year in his final season as a Husker in 1995.
“It is a great honor to be the new head coach of the Nebraska baseball program,” Erstad said. “My family and I believe strongly in what the University stands for, and I am excited to have this opportunity to help influence kids’ lives in a positive way and help them turn into young men. I am committed to helping them grow as people.”
Nebraska conducted a thorough search that included interviews with head and assistant coaches from around the country. Osborne said he was impressed by the interest in the job, and the reputation of Nebraska baseball on a national level.
“Coaches from major conferences in all parts of the country were interested in this job,” Osborne said. “They know we have first-class facilities and a strong commitment to having a successful baseball program.”
Erstad spent the 2011 season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Huskers. In his role, he helped lead a pair of Huskers to All-Big 12 honors, including second-team All-American Cody Asche, NU’s first position player to earn All-America honors since 2006. Asche hit .327 with 12 home runs and a school-record 27 doubles this season.
CLICK HERE to see Erstad’s introductory press conference.
“It is nice to have a feel for what’s here in our program,” Erstad said. “That will help in evaluating players. I know their mindsets, and for the players’ sake, it is probably nice to have some continuity in the program. They are familiar with me, and I am familiar with them. They are good kids, and I am excited to have the chance to work with all of them again.”
Osborne, who coached Erstad on Nebraska’s 1994 national championship football team, said Erstad carries the traits of a successful leader.
“Character, integrity and loyalty are the types of things that are always difficult to assess, but Darin has a great track record in those areas. I have seen that first-hand. He knows our players and they have a lot of trust and confidence in him, which gives him a head start over other coaches,” Osborne said. “He is a very knowledgeable baseball person, and he will put a good staff together.”
Erstad is just the fifth head coach of the Nebraska program since 1947. A native of Jamestown, N.D., the 36-year-old Erstad and his wife, Jessica, have a daughter Jordan, 5, and two sons Zack, 3 and Adam, 1.
Darin Erstad was named the 23rd head coach of the Nebraska baseball program – and the fifth since 1947 – on June 2, 2011.
A two-time Major League All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, Erstad spent the 2011 season as a volunteer assistant coach with the Husker program. In his role, he helped lead a pair of Huskers to All-Big 12 honors, including third baseman Cody Asche, NU’s first position player to earn All-America honors since 2006. Asche hit .327 with 12 home runs and a school-record 27 doubles en route to second-team All-America honors this past season.
One of the most decorated baseball players in program history, Erstad was a first-team All-American and finalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award in 1995 before embarking on a 14-year career in Major League Baseball.
Erstad wrapped up his professional career in the fall of 2009, after playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1996-06), Chicago White Sox (2007) and Houston Astros (2008-09). During his career, he helped the Angels to a World Series title in 2002 and two other American League playoff appearances. Erstad appeared in 1,654 games, and finished as a career .282 hitter while totaling 1697 hits, 124 homers and 699 RBI. He was at his best in the postseason, hitting .339 in 29 career playoff games, including a .352 clip in 2002 to lead the Angels to their only World Series title.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Erstad spent the majority of his career playing for the Angels, where he won three Gold Gloves (2000-02-04) and was selected for the American League All-Star team in 1998 and 2000. He is the only player in Major League history to win Gold Gloves as an infielder (2004) and outfielder (2000 and 2002) and the first player in Major League history to win Gold Gloves at three positions (LF, 2000; CF, 2002; 1B, 2004). Erstad was one of the greatest players in Angels’ franchise history, as he ranks in the top five on team charts in seven categories, including hits, runs, doubles, total bases, RBIs and stolen bases.
His best year came in 2000 when he led the Major Leagues with 240 hits and finished second in the American League with a .355 batting average with 121 runs scored, 39 doubles, six triples, 25 home runs, 100 RBIs, 64 walks and 28 stolen bases en route to winning a Silver Slugger Award. That season, he topped the Angels in seven categories, and set franchise records for average, runs scored and hits. His 240 hits ranked 12th in Major League history and was the most since Hall of Famer Wade Boggs had 240 in 1985. That season, he made his second All-Star Game appearance and won his first Gold Glove, committing three errors in 362 total chances in left field for a .992 fielding percentage.
Erstad was also active in the community throughout his playing career and was the Angels’ recipient of the 2005 Roberto Clemente Award for his efforts in the Southern California community.
A two-sport star at Nebraska, Erstad was a first-team All-American and Big Eight Co-Player of the Year as a junior in 1995, batting .410 with 19 homers and 76 RBIs. He finished his Husker career holding school records for most hits (six), runs (six), and RBIs (six) in a game; most hits (103) and total bases (194) in a single season (1995) and most career hits (261). In addition to his exploits on the diamond, Erstad, a two-time academic all-conference selection, was also the starting punter for the Huskers’ 1994 national championship football team, helping NU to a 13-0 record.
(Release-Photos Courtesy Huskers.com)
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