Will Bolt reflects on first season as Huskers’ skipper
"Initial reaction of course is shock," Bolt said. "You know, everybody is just super disappointed that our season isn't going to happen."
LINCOLN – It was certainly a year Will Bolt won’t soon forget. It just happened to be his first as Nebraska’s baseball coach.
Bolt and the Huskers saw the 2020 season cut short after 15 games in mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic began its war on the world.
“Initial reaction of course is shock,” Bolt said. “You know, everybody is just super disappointed that our season isn’t going to happen.”
Bolt’s Huskers had gotten off to a rocky start, beginning the year just 1-7 after losing three-straight series. However, they had won six of their final seven games before the year was cancelled.
Bolt said he saw plenty of positive signs during that stretch, like his team’s .281 batting average. That only made the sudden stoppage all the more difficult.
“At some point you’re thinking, ‘This isn’t fair,'” Bolt said. “You know, we’re trying to keep it together for our players because we’re frustrated and disappointed. Then you start to realize, well this is going to be a lot bigger than baseball. There’s a lot bigger things going on around our country and across the world with the pandemic.
“So you just start to run the gambit of emotions. Baseball is not as important as you thought it was. It’s a great lesson for life and we try to teach our guys that every day. You can’t take a day for granted. You don’t know when it can be ripped away from you. You’ve got to treat each game, each day, each practice like it could be your last. Boy, we’re learning the ultimate lesson that way right now.”
As for what Bolt learned about himself during his first season as the Huskers’ skipper? Perspective and optimism go a long way.
“As a head coach, it’s really important to try and keep a positive spin on things, an even-keel mindset,” Bolt said. “All the while expecting greatness from your team. You know, there’s just always that fine you’re walking all the time. We’ve got to challenge our players. We’ve got to put them in a position to succeed. Try to be as consistent as possible across the board because that’s what we’re asking of our players is to have a consistent mindset. I felt great because I have a great staff. I have a staff that I can trust. Guys that I know can do the job so that I can just focus on the job at hand for me as a head coach.”