When Steve Bruce, the executive director of athletics and activities, began his search for the Titans new baseball coach, he didn't have to look far. The team's head assistant coach, Michael Huling, was the overwhelming recommendation. "When I asked the trainers and team members for input on a new head baseball coach, the endorsements were unanimous for Mike," said Bruce. "We are excited to have him. He will be a great representative of our athletics program."
The Titans coach brings experience to the job from both sides of the diamond. Huling played center field while he was a student at Mishawaka High School and the University of Southern Indiana. Prior to joining IU South Bend as an assistant coach in 2015, he was an assistant coach at Holy Cross College for a year and Bowling Green State University for two years.
Huling embraces the coaching style of his mentor and former college coach, Tracy Archuleta, who led Indiana State to two Division II NCAA titles—one in 2011, during Huling's senior year, and the other in 2014. "He was a great coach who knew how to get the best out of his players,” said Huling. "He urged us to take one day at a time, and expected us to show up to practices and games ready to compete every day."
Off-field, Huling has high expectations for his players, too. He expects them to attend other Titan teams' games, to show up at the team study table, and to participate in team community service projects.
As Huling recruits players, he targets high school programs that embody the qualities he's looking for in his players: maturity, leadership, and character. "Their performance on the field is not my only concern," Huling explained. "I'm looking for players who display high integrity in everything they do."
The Titans baseball season does not begin until February, but Huling and his assistant coaches are shaping the team to compete on- and off-field. "My objective is to lead them to become better men who are also good baseball players."