Tommy Nicholson Deals With Hazing Nightmare

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

DAVIS, Calif. — The U.C. Davis baseball program has been to hell and back.

The program was suspended after the 2021 season after an internal investigation by the school six months earlier found new players were hazed via a series of challenges involving dangerously excessive drinking and other inappropriate activities.

The last reported initiation activities occurred during the 2019-20 academic year.

The U.C. Davis investigation concluded that then Head Baseball Coach Matt Vaughn failed to take appropriate steps to address a concern brought to his attention about possible hazing involving the baseball team in 2018. Vaughn ultimately resigned Nov. 12, 2021.

Six weeks after the Aggies closed out the 2021 season – finishing last in the Big West Conference with an 8-32 record – the team room, playing field and batting cages were locked up and deemed off-limits to staff and players.

Players were told not to communicate with their coaches, and the school’s athletic director told incoming recruits via email that they’re free to renounce their commitments to the university and play elsewhere.

It wasn’t until three months later in October that the baseball program was approved to resume practice and some team activities.

Tony Bloomfield, one of the most respected and successful coaches in California Community College baseball history at Cosumnes River Community College with 25 years of experience and 17 playoff appearances in 19 years, served as an interim coach along with Randy Choate and Ray Mcintire.

Finally on Dec. 16, 2021 — five months after the program was suspended — Tommy Nicholson was named the 11th head coach in program history.

He came to the school following four years as an assistant at Stanford where he served as the Cardinals’ hitting, infield and third base coach.

The decision to coach at U.C. Davis has turned into the most difficult challenge of his life.

Since the U.C. Davis administration reduced the number of non-conference games the team could play the previous July, the Aggies were forced to wait 11 days between games one time and 7 days on two other occasions early in the season.

Once U.C. Davis suspended its baseball program in July of 2021, non-conference teams took them off their schedule since they had no idea if U.C. Davis would field a team or not.

Prior to its Big West opener at U.C. Irvine on March 19, the Aggies only played 6 games (4 against St. Mary’s, 1 against San Francisco and 1 against Pacific).

To read more of this article, purchase the April 22, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.