When the Valparaiso University baseball team’s volunteer assistant coaching position came open, head coach Brian Schmack didn’t have to look far to find the perfect fit for his program.
After spending the last four years penciling the name Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) into his lineup for nearly every game, Schmack will work alongside his former shortstop this season.
“Sam has a wealth of baseball knowledge, so we’re excited about what he brings to the table,” Schmack said. “He loves Valparaiso and is excited for this opportunity. He was a great representative of Valpo baseball on and off the field as a student-athlete over the last four seasons, so we’re looking forward to seeing him continue his influence on our team in a coaching capacity.”
A 2019 Valpo graduate with a degree in business management, Shaikin clubbed 21 home runs and drove in 106 over his 187 career games. He finished ninth in program history in runs scored with 133, while his home run total is tied for ninth. Shaikin also had a propensity for drawing walks during his playing days, ranking third in program history with 104 bases on balls.
“It says a lot about this University and this program that I’m coming all the way back from California to spend more time here and be around our players and coaches,” Shaikin said. “It wasn’t easy to leave for college as an 18-year-old and go from California to Indiana, but it’s become a home away from home for me. When I got the call from Coach Schmack, this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”
Shaikin, who ranks fifth in program history with 392 assists, will serve as the team’s infield coach. He was a member of the 2018 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List by College Baseball Foundation for an award that goes to the top shortstop in the nation. Shaikin started his career in style in 2016, when he was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team.
“I’m excited to provide my input to help our players improve, but also to learn from the other members of our coaching staff,” Shaikin said. “I want to work hard and learn every day. I’m excited to be doing this, and I’m going to give it everything I have.”