Michael takes over as CSM head base­ball coach

Long­time as­sis­tant as­sumes top role for Hawks

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDY STATES as­tates@somd­news.com

Go­ing back to the turn of the cen­tury, Aaron Michael has been a rel­a­tive fix­ture in the base­ball pro­gram at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land.

First as a player who earned All-Mary­land Ju­nior Col­lege Ath­letic Con­fer­ence and All-Re­gion XX hon­ors while play­ing short­stop and help­ing to lead the Hawks dur­ing some suc­cess­ful sea­sons, and later as an as­sis­tant coach, a role he has served in for the past nine years.

That role has now changed, as Michael will now move into the pro­gram’s head coach­ing po­si­tion, a spot va­cated when Jack Ch­e­sel­dine re­cently stepped down after four years at the Hawks’ helm.

“I’m ex­cited about it. I’m look­ing for­ward to try­ing to bring the pro­gram back,” Michael said while do­ing some scout­ing at a re­cent Amer­i­can Le­gion game. “I thought me and Jack had done pretty good work early in his ten­ure there, but we had some hic­cups in the last cou­ple years. I’m hope­ful that we can con­tinue to in­still some of the things we’ve put in play and turn the pro­gram around and get it back to where it should be.”

Michael, a 1997 McDonough High School grad­u­ate, played for CSM dur­ing some com­pet­i­tive years for the pro­gram early in the ten­ure of for­mer head coach Joe Bland­ford. A cou­ple of years after his play­ing ca­reer had con­cluded, Bland­ford asked Michael to re­turn as an as­sis­tant coach, a role that Michael had been in ever since.

“We made the play­offs both years, made the fi­nal four the sec­ond year,” Michael said of his play­ing ca­reer. “After I’d been out for a cou­ple of years he asked me to come back and help out. It started out in a smaller ca­pac­ity and as the years have gone on my role has in­creased.”

Over the past few sea­sons, it has been com­mon to see Michael and Ch­e­sel­dine out at area high school games scout­ing the lo­cal play­ers. Now, with the Hawks com­ing off a pair of sea­sons in which the win to­tals never sur­passed sin­gle dig­its, Michael will have his shot at try­ing to re­turn the pro­gram to a more com­pet­i­tive place.

“I’ve had a chance to kind of learn the ropes and get a feel for what coach­ing is all about,” he said. “I’ve been around the game all my life and cer­tainly come from a back­ground where base­ball is a way of life, so to speak. I’m ex­cited for the op­por­tu­nity. I hope I’m up for the chal­lenge and am just look­ing for­ward to see­ing what I can do out there.”

When Ch­e­sel­dine stepped down, he put to bed a coach­ing ca­reer that had spanned over half a cen­tury. He had coached in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties at Bishop McNa­mara, St. Mary’s Ryken and Thomas Stone, among oth­ers, prior to head­ing to CSM, where he served as an as­sis­tant on Bland­ford’s staff for two years be­fore tak­ing over as head coach.

“It’s time to watch my grand­chil­dren play ball and go to the beach. I fig­ure i’ve had a good run. It’s time to let younger guys take it over,” said Ch­e­sel­dine, who just re­cently cel­e­brated his 73rd birth­day. “I look back on it and hope that over the years that I’ve made a dif­fer­ence to a lot of kids. That they’ve learned some­thing, learned to re­spect the game and be com­pet­i­tive. I never got into this to be any­body’s pal or friend. It was to be a coach and to teach, but in the long run I made a lot of good friends over the years and I’ve en­joyed it. It’s been a good run.”

The now-for­mer coach doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily plan to re­main too far away, though. He just won’t have the same re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as be­fore — and that is some­thing he plans on en­joy­ing.

“It’s time for the younger guys to take it over. I can just sit in the stands and sec­ond-guess [Michael],” he said with a smile.

STAFF PHOTO BY ANDY STATES

New Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land head base­ball coach Aaron Michael, left, is tak­ing the pro­gram’s helm from Jack Ch­e­sel­dine, right. The Hawks will be look­ing to bounce back from a 7-30 cam­paign this past spring.

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