It’s been a whirlwind two weeks for Will Bolt. Texas A&M—the program Bolt just departed as an assistant coach—ended its season with a loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament on June 2. One day later, Darin Erstad stepped down as Nebraska’s head baseball coach and Bolt’s name was one of a few quickly attached to the open position. Eleven days later, he was hired as the Huskers’ 24th coach in program history.
Bolt joined the Husker Sports Nightly radio show on Friday to talk about his new job and why it was a no-brainer to accept the position.
“It’s the state, it’s the people, it’s the passion for Big Red,” Bolt said. “It’s just how much everyone supports and is behind [the team] and [it’s] the blue-collar mentality, the Midwest values. I could go on and on and on about how special of a place Lincoln is, how special Husker Nation is, how much myself and my family just loves Nebraska. Again, to be able to be in this position, I just feel so fortunate and just so pumped to get going.”
As for the expectations on the program, Bolt knows Nebraska fans want to see results. He has firsthand experience with the expectations. He played for Nebraska from 1999-2002, and later served as a volunteer assistant in 2005 and associate head coach from 2012-14.
However, Bolt doesn’t want fans to worry much. While he knows their expectations are high, his are even higher.
“There’s no expectations that are going to be higher than the ones we have within our program,” Bolt said. “I applaud and appreciate the expectations that the Husker fans have because they expect a certain level of play and a certain type of mentality, how guys go about their business. That’s the type of thing [where the] expectations in our program are going to be higher than what anyone could ever expect for us. Day in and day out, we’re going to strive to achieve the highest and you can’t reach the top of the mountain without taking care of the little things day in and day out. That’s something our guys are going to get preached until they’re probably sick of hearing it.”
Other news and notes:
>> Bolt said he has his staff “pretty much in place” but wasn’t able to share many details. He did mention there are two individuals he’s “fired up” about.
>> When it comes to where Nebraska baseball is at now, Bolt was quick to say that Erstad left the team in a really good spot.
Speaking of Erstad, he was the one to tell athletic director Bill Moos that he should hire Bolt. "I'm fortunate to have him in my corner,” Bolt said. Moos later said on Sports Nightly that he also received positive feedback on Bolt from others in the college baseball community.
>> Moos said Bolt’s salary and the salary pool for his assistants are some of the highest in the Big Ten. It’s important to him that to be the best, you have to hire the best and compensate them fairly for that.
“We’re very competitive in regards to salaries,” Moos said. “Will will definitely be in the upper-tier where I feel he should be.”
Moos also said Bolt was the only coach he talked to and the only coach he offered the job to. He was clear that he did his homework prior to making that offer though.
>> Bolt isn’t concerned about recruiting to Nebraska because he expects to recruit a lot of in-state kids who are already familiar with the weather. He knows he and his staff will still have to make sure they’re finding those kids and ensuring they don’t leave the state to go elsewhere.
"We're going to work hard to make sure the best players in the state of Nebraska want to play for the Huskers,” Bolt said.
>> Bolt’s first official day is Monday. He plans to start getting the phone numbers of current players and reaching out.
>> And if there was ever any doubt, Bolt confirmed he has always remained a Nebraska football and basketball fan.