Courtesy of Lakeland College, Sports Information Department
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Michael Bachar has been promoted to head baseball coach at Lakeland College after nine seasons as a player and assistant coach with the Muskies.
Bachar played two seasons for Lakeland, helping the Muskies reach the NCAA tournament in 2003. He takes over a program that finished 16-19 this past spring, but won eight of its last nine games, all of them conference games.
"I'm eager to get us back to that next level and have people talking about Lakeland when they talk about the teams to beat in the Northern Athletics Conference," Bachar said. "Becoming a head coach has been my goal, but I didn't expect it to happen this quickly. It's a blessing, and I'm going to make the most of this opportunity."
The Berwyn, Ill., came to Lakeland in 2002 after playing two seasons at Morton Junior College, where he hit .347 and was named to the junior college all-star team both seasons.
At Lakeland, Bachar earned first team all-Lake Michigan Conference shortstop honors in 2004. He led the conference in walks (16) as a senior, was fifth in runs scored (17) and was No. 4 in defensive assists (44) while being a vacuum up the middle. He holds the Lakeland record for walks in a season (29).
After a season as a student assistant and another as a volunteer assistant, Bachar served as Lakeland's full-time assistant for five years under head coach Chris Thousand, who resigned recently when his wife accepted a job in Madison.
"Chris has been a close friend for nine years, so it was hard to say good bye to him," Bachar said. "He left the program in good standing, which will help make an easier transition. I've experienced three head coaches at Lakeland, so I'll pick and choose approaches that worked at this campus to go with my own style. I know what to expect from Lakeland's students and other aspects of the campus, and that works to my advantage."
Lakeland athletic director Jane Bouche said of the three finalists the college interviewed for the position, Bachar's passion for his alma mater made a difference.
"Mike has had a positive impact as a player and assistant, and now he gets a chance to put his own stamp on Lakeland baseball in a different way," Bouche said. "We've enjoyed watching him grow from student-athlete to assistant coach and now the leader of the program. We're confident that he can translate that passion for Lakeland and Lakeland baseball into the quality program we've come to expect."
Bachar will also serve as manager of the Wehr Center. He graduated from Lakeland in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science, and he completed a master of arts in counseling in May 2010.
Bachar is married to former Lakeland women's basketball standout Kristi Thill, a 2006 Lakeland graduate. They live in Plymouth, with their daughter, Kaelyn, who was born in December of 2009.