UPDATED at 11:20 PM with VIDEO
FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Mik Aoki (pronounced A-O-key), the only head baseball coach to lead Boston College to an NCAA Regional since 1967, has been named the 20th head baseball coach in University of Notre Dame program history.
"Mik has all the characteristics that were imperative for us in the search for a new head baseball coach," said Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick. "He is not only recognized as a top-notch recruiter, but also understands the value of top-caliber student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom."
"I am so excited about the opportunity to be the next head baseball coach at the University of Notre Dame," said Aoki. "Obviously, the University and its reputation speak for itself, but I also truly feel this is one of the premier baseball jobs in America. Notre Dame possesses the perfect combination of academics and athletics. We have absolutely everything in place to compete at the highest level. My enthusiasm to start the recruiting process and bring this program back to its natural place of prominence is immediate."
Aoki was introduced Tuesday at press conference in the Joyce Center Monogram Room.
Aoki arrives in South Bend after a four-year stint in as the Eagle head coach in Chestnut Hill, Mass. He brought the Boston College baseball program into the national forefront after leading the Eagles to the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament each of the past two seasons (the only two ACC Tournament appearances in school history) and their first NCAA Regional appearance in 42 years (2009).
In 2009, the Eagles nearly knocked off number-one national seed Texas in an NCAA-record 25-inning game that would have propelled them to the finals of the ’09 Austin Regional and given Boston College a great chance at reaching its first Super Regional in program history.
Aoki’s ’09 squad qualified for its first ACC Tournament and made a statement there as well. Entering the tournament needing at least one win to likely ensure a spot in an NCAA regional, the Eagles lost their first game to seventh-ranked Florida State. Boston College responded emphatically, beating 13th-rated Georgia Tech and 16th-ranked Miami in the next two games by a combined score of 17-4 to earn its bid to Austin.
The Eagles’ 34-26 overall record qualified as their best since 2005 and their 13-15 record in ACC play marked the most league wins since joining the conference in 2006 (Boston College eclipsed that total in 2010 with 14). The New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association tabbed Boston College as its team of the year for its performance.
Despite the loss of two top-50 overall draft picks following the ’09 campaign, Boston College finished 30-28 overall, 13-15 in the ACC, and qualified for 2010 ACC Tournament. The Eagles took two of three to open the season at perennial power Tulane and recorded five victories over foes ranked in the top 10, including Miami (twice), Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech.
Aoki has coached 28 Major League Baseball draft picks and four free agent signees since his arrival at Boston College in 2004. Three of those draft picks have been first-round selections in Mike Belfiore, Chris Lambert and Tony Sanchez. In addition, 16 of those 28 picks have been pitchers and two (Lambert, Joe Martinez) have reached the Major League level.
In the most recent first-year MLB player draft, Boston College had six players selected, most in program history. In fact, three Eagles were taken in the first 10 rounds of the draft – another program first.
Boston College also had a major presence in the ’09 draft, as Sanchez was selected fourth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the highest pick ever for the Eagles’ baseball program. Belfiore was then taken in Comp Round A (45th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks, making the pair the two highest draft picks taken in the same draft from Boston College.
Aoki mentored six all-ACC performers in his four seasons as head coach, including the program’s only two first-team nominees in Sanchez (2009) and Mickey Wiswall (2010). Four Eagles earned all-conference honors in 2009, the most since joining the ACC. Aoki’s teams also produced eight all-New England selections, five all-ACC Academic Team members and two All-Americans (Belfiore and Sanchez).
Prior to being named Boston College head coach, Aoki, a Plymouth, Mass. native, spent three seasons (2004-06) as pitching coach for the Eagles. In 2004, he oversaw a staff that had five pitchers sign professional contracts at season’s end.
Prior to his arrival in Chestnut Hill, Aoki spent five years (1999-2003) as Columbia head coach, leading the Lions to an 87-140 mark during that span. His teams won 20 or more games in each of his last three seasons. Before the Aoki era, the Lions had not posted a 20-win season since 1987.
Before assuming his duties at Columbia, Aoki spent four years (1995-98) as assistant coach at Dartmouth. In that position, he focused his efforts on the team’s infielders and hitters, while also serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
He began his coaching career in 1992 as head coach at Manchester (Conn.) Community College, then served two seasons (1993-94) as an assistant coach at Ohio University.
Born Oct. 7, 1968, in Yokohama, Japan, and raised in Plymouth, Mass., Aoki attended Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. He earned four letters and started for three years in baseball at Davidson (1987-90), as a second baseman, third baseman and catcher. He still ranks among the school’s career leaders in slugging percentage (.547, eighth) and batting average (.335, ninth). In his senior season (1990), he finished with a team-leading .365 batting average. He stroked 20 doubles in his final season, second most in a single year in Davidson history. He also cracked 13 home runs in 1988, fifth-best total in a single season at Davidson. Two of those homers were grand slams – and only six other players in Davidson history have hit two grand slams in a season.
Aoki owns an undergraduate degree from Davidson in english (1990) and a master’s degree from Ohio University in physical education in athletic administration (1994).
Aoki played one summer of professional baseball in the Netherlands – for the HCAW Tigers of the Dutch Major League — following his graduation.
Mik and his wife, Sue, have three children – son, Kai (5), and daughters Bryn (2) and Reese (six months).
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT MIK AOKI
Brian O’Connor, Virginia head baseball coach (former Notre Dame assistant coach)
"I think Notre Dame got the perfect guy. First of all, Mik understands and knows what it takes to recruit at an academic institution and at a cold weather school. He will understand the pool of players he’ll be able to pursue academically. From a baseball standpoint, he knows how to get a team to compete at the highest level. He puts a very aggressive, fundamentally sound baseball team on the field."
Danny Hall, Georgia Tech head baseball coach
"Mik is an outstanding coach who did a tremendous job of elevating the program at Boston College. He put them on the map not only in the ACC, but also nationally. He is a great recruiter and a good person overall, and I think Notre Dame has hired a rising star in college baseball."
Pete Hughes, Virginia Tech head baseball coach (former Boston College head coach)
"Mik is a perfect fit for Notre Dame. He recruits great students and high-end players who are able to compete at the highest level of college baseball. There are few candidates with his academic background, having been a part of the Ivy League and at Boston College in the ACC. He’ll get involved with the same types of guys that Coach Mainieri was involved with in making Notre Dame a winner."
Kendall Rogers, college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com
"Mik Aoki’s addition to the Notre Dame baseball program is a good one for the Fighting Irish. He is most known for turning Boston College – a Catholic institution – into an NCAA regional contender while playing in the incredibly difficult Atlantic Coast Conference."
Aaron Fitt, college baseball writer for Baseball America
"Notre Dame has hired a respected and established head coach with a winning track record at a school with a similar profile. He led the Eagles to the NCAA regionals in 2009 for the first time since 1967, and he guided Boston College back to the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament for the second time in 2010, despite losing stars Tony Sanchez (fourth overall pick of ’09 MLB Draft) and Mike Belfiore (44th overall pick of ’09 MLB Draft). Aoki has built a strong foundation at Boston College in four years as the head coach."
PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO COURTESY OF COLLEGE BASEBALL 360