Nebraska has hired former Husker player and assistant Will Bolt to succeed Darin Erstad as the baseball team’s coach.
Bolt will be the 24th coach in program history. He follows Erstad, who announced his resignation June 3 after eight seasons.
Bolt signed a five-year contract worth $300,000 annually. An introductory press conference will be held Thursday, June 20.
“The opportunity to come back home to Nebraska and lead the Husker baseball program is such a blessing and honor for my family and me,” Bolt said in a press release. “It is such an exciting time in Husker athletics with the foundation laid by (Athletic Director) Bill Moos within the athletic department, and the success Coach Erstad and staff have had on the field.
“My family and I have the fondest affection for the Huskers and the city of Lincoln, and truly cannot wait to become part of the Husker family again!”
Bolt, 39, is entering his fourth stint at Nebraska after a four-year playing career (1999-2002) and serving as a volunteer assistant (2005) and later associate head coach (2012-2014) under Erstad.
Bolt’s primary roles as a full-time assistant at NU and in the last five years as A&M’s assistant have included coordinating the offensive game, mentoring the infielders and serving as third-base coach. Run production and power spiked upon his arrival at both stops.
Nebraska’s scoring went from 5.4 runs per game (163rd nationally) to 7.1 (eighth) in 2012 under Bolt’s guidance, accompanied by a sharp jump in on-base percentage (from .359 to .384) and slugging percentage (.383 to .445). The Huskers produced 5.9 runs per game (47th) in 2014 before dropping to 4.8 (209th) after he left.
Texas A&M experienced a similar bump early in his tenure. Scoring went from 5.3 (111th) in 2014 to 6.6 (33rd), and slugging improved from .379 (95th) to .457 (14th). On-base percentage rose 26 points to .388 (19th).
But Bolt drew the ire of A&M fans in recent seasons. While the pitching remained at elite levels, scoring dropped from 6.1 (90th) in 2017 to 5.9 (105th) and 5.5 (181st) the two years after that. This spring’s regional team ended 224th in slugging (.362) and 271st in OBP (.333).
Nebraska this season finished at a scoring clip of 5.5 (136th) with a .405 slugging percentage (106th) and .361 OBP (135th).
As a Husker infielder from 1999-2002, Bolt was a team captain for his last two seasons. He helped lead Nebraska to four NCAA tournament appearances, including three super regionals and back-to-back trips to the College World Series. He finished his career with school records in games (251), games started (242), at-bats (922), hits (281), doubles (56) and assists (639).
“Will Bolt has been a winner at every stop he has made as a coach and player, and I am proud to welcome him back to Lincoln as our next head baseball coach,” Moos said in a press release. “Will was a part of the most successful teams in the history of our baseball program, and he knows what it takes to win here.
“Will has proven to be an outstanding recruiter wherever he has coached. He understands the appeal of Nebraska and everything our baseball program and University has to offer to student-athletes.”
Bolt launched his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate manager in 2004 for Dave Van Horn. He then spent the 2005 season as the Huskers’ volunteer assistant.
When Van Horn left for Arkansas, Bolt went to A&M with Childress to again be a volunteer assistant in 2006 and 2007.
Bolt landed his first head coaching job in 2008 at Texarkana College. He went 140-82 in four seasons.
He returned to Nebraska on Erstad’s staff in 2012, spending three seasons as the associate head coach. The Huskers made the NCAA tournament once during that span.
With Bolt on staff at A&M the past five seasons, the Aggies have reached the NCAA tournament each year. They advanced to a super regional three times and made a trip to the CWS in 2018.
Bolt, who grew up in Conroe, Texas, is married with three children.