Nebraska's former hitting coach is taking over the program that led the nation in scoring this spring.
New Mexico State named Mike Kirby its coach Monday morning, three weeks after Darin Erstad's assistant learned his boss was retiring to spend more time with family.
Kirby spent the last five seasons at Nebraska. He filled the void left by Will Bolt — now the Huskers' coach — when Bolt departed for Texas A&M. Kirby worked with infielders and was the team's third-base coach. Nebraska's best offense under Kirby was in 2018, when it generated 6.5 runs per game (53rd nationally). It finished at 5.8 (140th) this year.
"After a nationwide search that yielded several top candidates, I felt that the right coach and the right fit for the Aggie baseball program was Mike (Kirby)," New Mexico State Athletic Director Mario Moccia said in a release. "Mike is an extremely passionate individual who I know will do everything in his power to keep our program successful, take it to new heights and excite our community."
Kirby takes over for Brian Green, who won at least 34 games in each of the past four seasons at NMSU. He was hired by Washington State earlier this month. The Aggies were supposed to play at Nebraska in mid-March but poor weather forced the series to be canceled. The team went on to win the WAC regular-season title and finish 38-17.
New Mexico State led the country this year in several offensive categories including batting average, hit by pitch, on-base percentage, runs, scoring, slugging percentage and triples.
Kirby, a native of Huntington Beach, California, was at Cal State Fullerton (2012-14) prior to arriving at Nebraska. NU's other former full-time assistant, pitching coach Ted Silva, has already joined USC in the same role.
In the Aggies' release, Erstad endorsed the latest hire.
"The thing that I have been impressed over the last five years working with him is that he cares more about the student-athletes as a person than the baseball side of things," Erstad said. "His abilities to communicate with the kids; I was just in awe of how he did that and learned so much from him. I couldn't be happier for him."