Since Erik Bakich left the Michigan Wolverines for Clemson, the Wolverines have been on the hunt for a new skipper. A few candidates immediately surfaced, such as UConn head coach Jim Penders and the Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter.
Well, you can scratch both those names off the list, as they both withdrew their names from consideration of the position on Tuesday.
Penders released a statement confirming he would be staying at UConn, even quoting Bo Schembechler saying, “Those who stay will be champions.” Meanwhile, Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday that Fetter told him and Tigers GM Al Avila he was going to remain with the ballclub.
As the Wolverines return to square one in their hunt for a new head coach, two new names have emerged as potential candidates. One of them is former Michigan infielder Bobby Scales, who played in Ann Arbor until he was drafted in the 14th round by the San Diego Padres in 1999.
Scales had a brief stint in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 2009 and 2010 before he left to play ball overseas for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan. After his playing career, he found work in the front offices for the Los Angeles Angels and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jon Morosi was the one who reported the Scales news; he is well-connected within not only the baseball community, but the state of Michigan as well. This one seems to have some legs, so keep Scales’ name in mind moving forward.
Another new candidate is Michael Brdar, who is currently the San Diego Padres hitting coach. He also played his college ball at Michigan and was even a volunteer coach for the program under Bakich after his playing days.
Brdar has interest in the position, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Brdar is only 28 years old and hasn’t been a coach for very long, but he has risen the coach ranks very quickly and will likely get a shot at the job.
And then there is Central Michigan head coach Jordan Bischel, who has worked his way up the ranks as a head coach — from NAIA Midland University, to DII Northwood University, all the way to finding repeated success at mid-major Division I, Central Michigan University.
Perhaps Bischel’s next step en route to a professional coaching career could land him in Ann Arbor. As of now, there is no word on whether Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel has reached out to him, or if he’s interested in the position, but logistically it makes sense.