Erstad reaffirms love for state

Nebraska coach Darin Erstad hits balls during practice in Lincoln on Feb. 28, 2012. 

Darin Erstad has resigned as Nebraska's baseball coach, he announced Monday in a press release.

Erstad, who also played at Nebraska, led the baseball program for eight seasons. The Huskers' season ended Sunday with a 16-1 loss to Connecticut in the NCAA tournament.

“I have made the extremely difficult decision to step away from coaching,” Erstad said in a statement. “I love this team. I love our staff and I love Nebraska. The bottom line is I do not want to miss seeing our kids grow up. I want to thank our administration and academic staff for all of their support over the last eight years. GBR forever.”

Erstad has three children and will turn 45 on Tuesday. He made a salary of $224,952 this season, and his contract ran through the 2023 season.

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said in a press release he respects and admires Erstad's decision to spend more time with his family.

“Darin earned the right to lead this baseball program well into the future, and I was hopeful that would be the case,” Moos said. “Darin loved the opportunity to represent Nebraska every day and did an outstanding job. He’s a Nebraska guy who loves this program and is a proven winner."

Moos, hired as A.D. in October 2017, will now be tasked with making another high-profile coaching hire. He's previously hired Scott Frost as football coach and Fred Hoiberg as men's basketball coach. He's also hired new coaches for the men's golf, men's tennis, women's gymnastics and rifle programs. He's also currently searching for a new women's golf coach.

NU baseball finished the 2019 season 32-24 overall and 15-9 in the Big Ten. The Huskers placed fifth in the conference during the regular season, then made a run to the Big Ten tournament championship game before losing to Ohio State in the finals.

NU received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, landing as a No. 3 seed in the Oklahoma City Regional. The Huskers won their opening game against UConn and were one out away from starting 2-0 before blowing a late lead to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Huskers were then eliminated Sunday.

Nebraska had a record of 267-193-1 during Erstad's tenure and reached the NCAA tournament four times but never advanced to a super regional. Erstad had a 2-8 record in the NCAA tournament as coach.

Erstad did lead the 2017 Huskers to a Big Ten regular-season title and was named conference coach of the year.

Erstad was a two-sport star during his playing career at Nebraska. He was a first-team All-American and conference player of the year in baseball in 1995. He was also the starting punter on Nebraska football's 1994 national championship team. He was inducted to the Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

Erstad was the No. 1 overall MLB draft pick in 1995. He played 14 seasons in the majors with the Angels, White Sox and Astros. He was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, two-time All-Star and won the 2002 World Series with the Angels.

After his playing career ended, he returned to his alma mater, first as a volunteer assistant and then as the Huskers' hitting coach. He was promoted to head coach in 2011 after Mike Anderson was fired.