While only 39 years old, Will Bolt has been in the coaching game long enough to understand that standing pat doesn't get anyone very far.
Bolt learned that lesson at every level, whether it was as a junior college head coach or a high-level assistant in the SEC.
"I think every year, anything you do, if you’re not learning something new or trying something different while still sticking to your core beliefs, then you’re not getting better," Bolt said Friday after being announced as Nebraska's newest head baseball coach. "I think back to the very first day I started coaching college baseball to now, and I probably wouldn’t even recognize that guy."
Bolt brings a reputation for offense to his role with the Huskers, having coordinated Texas A&M's offense for the last five seasons.
He no doubt learned some lessons during the 2019 season. After four straight seasons of finishing in the top of of the league in hitting or runs scored, the Aggies plummeted to their lowest offensive numbers in Bolt's five seasons.
The Aggies were outside the top 100 in every major offensive category and outside the top 200 in four. They finished behind Nebraska in team batting average in a season where the Huskers struggled mightily at times to string together hits and score runs.
Texas A&M did lose Lincoln native Michael Helman to the draft after the infielder hit a team-best .369 in 2018, but the Aggies weren't able to replicate their previous offensive success despite many of the squad's regulars returning in 2019.
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It was enough to have a portion of the A&M fan base grumbling and not all that unhappy to see Bolt move on to Nebraska. Despite that, the Aggies still won 39 games and reached the championship game of the Morgantown Regional.
And if there's one thing Bolt has shown as an assistant, it's an ability to bounce back. After the Aggies went from 15th nationally in batting average in 2016 to 146th in 2017, they rebounded to finish 46th nationally in 2018.
The bounce-back was perhaps less about strategy and more about the type of attitude Bolt wants his players to have.
"I think the No. 1 word that comes to mind is toughness. You're going to fail, you're going to get knocked down, you're going to get hit on the chin," Bolt said. But being able to have that toughness to persevere, to know that you'll be able to get it done when the stakes are the highest...If you have that, and you're mentally tough, you often have an edge on your opponent in just about every situation that arises."
A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.