Less than two weeks after Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel hired a new baseball coach in Tracy Smith, the Wolverines’ coaching staff is now complete with the hires of associate head coach Ben Greenspan and pitching coach Brock Huntzinger.
Smith had a lot of work to get done in a short amount of time once he was named head coach on July 2, including convincing recruits to stay committed to Michigan, enticing current players to stay with the program and hiring assistant coaches to help accomplish those goals.
And with the hiring of Greenspan and Huntzinger, he now has the staff in place to support him.
Smith has deep ties with Greenspan, who served as head of recruiting for Arizona State while Smith was head coach. For the Sun Devils, Greenspan orchestrated top recruiting classes every year, including the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in 2016, No. 7 class in 2017, No. 4 class in 2018, No. 8 class in 2020 and No. 10 class in 2021.
He then took his talents to Cal Poly for the 2021-22 season, when the Mustangs went 37-21 and ranked as high as No. 18 nationally.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ben to the Michigan Baseball program,” Smith said in a statement. “In addition to being an outstanding coach, Ben has earned his reputation as one of the top recruiters in the country. He has been instrumental in attracting and developing top-10 recruiting classes to programs from the Midwest to the California coast.”
Greenspan will be vital in the immediate future to convince recruits to stay, to fill holes where recruits have already left and convince current players to stick with the program. Currently, players remain in the transfer portal and 11 recruits rescinded their commitments.
In addition to Greenspan, the Wolverines have a new pitching coach in Huntzinger. As a former minor league pitcher, Huntzinger accumulated 10 years of professional experience as a player. He also has five years of experience as a coach.
Drafted out of high school by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft, Huntzinger spent seven seasons with the organization, reaching as high in the organization as Triple-A Pawtucket. After playing in two other professional leagues, he earned a spot with the Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics throughout his career.
Just like Greenspan, Huntzinger has longstanding ties to Smith. After he hung up his cleats, he became the pitching coach for Smith at Arizona State for two seasons. Most recently, Huntzinger was the pitching coach for Boise State.
“I am incredibly honored to come to Michigan in this role,” Huntzinger said in a statement. “It feels like I am coming back home. I am confident in my ability to leverage some of my experiences in order to positively impact a talented group of student-athletes at this great university.”
Added Smith: “Brock has a phenomenal approach to the game of baseball, and we are fortunate to get him here to Michigan. Brock’s pitching acumen is surpassed only by his ability to connect with individuals of all backgrounds and personalities.”
Huntzinger faces a tough task with the Wolverines’ pitching situation. Not only does he have to balance keeping current sophomore right-hander Ahmad Harajli and senior left-hander Jack White with the program — both of whom are still in the transfer portal — but he also needs to strengthen a pitching staff that held a whopping 7.00 ERA last season.
Those issues are significant, but the new hirings mean Michigan can turn to address them. As the Wolverines start to build their team for the 2023 season, Greenspan and Huntzinger will play prominent roles in those endeavors.