Michael takes over as CSM head baseball coach
Longtime assistant assumes top role for Hawks
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.
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.