The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Duo on the Diamond

Photo by Provided

Will Bolt and Justin Seely, now both assistant coaches at Texas A&M, helped bring Nebraska to the College World Series in 2001 and 2002.

In the late 1990s, Will Bolt and Justin Seely were two hard-nosed high school baseball players from Texas cities barely 100 miles apart — Bolt from Conroe and Seely from Nacogdoches. They had played summer ball against each other since they were 12 years old and both would have loved to continue their respective careers at Texas A&M.
That didn’t work out, as Bolt was recruited to Nebraska as part of new coach Dave Van Horn’s first recruiting class and Seely took his talents to Northeast Texas College in Mount Pleasant. Bolt immediately became a starter in the infield and became one of the most productive hitters in the Cornhuskers’ history to that point. After two years, Seely was able to join him in Lincoln.
The duo led Nebraska to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 2001 and 2002. They each hit over .300 in their senior seasons, and Seely delivered four hits and a pivotal eighth-inning grand slam in the decisive third game of the Super Regional against Richmond to send the Cornhuskers to Omaha.
The pitching coach on those Nebraska teams? Rob Childress. Although Bolt played third base and thus wasn’t receiving direct instruction from Childress, he was impressed with how much Childress cared about his players.
“Anytime you needed to talk to one of the coaches he was always the one you felt like had an ear for you,” Bolt says.
Childress, who enters his 12th season as Texas A&M’s head coach, remembers Bolt and Seely as being similar in their styles of play — very competitive and willing to do whatever it took to win.
“They were fun to coach as players because they loved to throw down,” Childress says. “They loved to compete and they were two players that if they weren’t on your team, you hated them. That’s what kind of players they were — having them on your team you loved it because there wasn’t a day that went by that they weren’t ready to go and compete at the drop of a hat. They were winners in every sense of the word.”
After graduation, Bolt and Seely embarked on career paths that went in different directions but remained intertwined. Seely started coaching at Paris Junior College, Bolt at Nebraska as a volunteer assistant. When Childress accepted the head job at Texas A&M in 2006, he added Bolt to his first staff. Meanwhile, Seely went to Nebraska and assumed Bolt’s old post as a volunteer assistant for the Cornhuskers.
Two years later, they both applied for the head job at Texarkana College. Bolt got the job and brought Seely on as his top assistant and recruiting coordinator. They only assembled one class together because Seely once again took Bolt’s old position as volunteer assistant under Childress at Texas A&M. That class produced 10 players that went on to play Division I baseball, including pitcher John Stilson, who starred at A&M from 2010 to 2011 and now pitches in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. 
Then, in 2015, Bolt returned to College Station after serving as Nebraska’s associate head coach for three seasons. The three men who bonded at Nebraska nearly 15 years earlier were together again and now comprise one of college baseball’s best coaching staffs. After last season, outgoing senior JB Moss called the A&M coaching staff “The greatest collection of men in this sport.”
Through it all, Bolt and Seely remained close. Even when they were coaching in different areas for different schools, they would talk on the phone regularly and made it a point to spend time at one another’s houses at Christmas. Now, they live a street apart in College Station and spend most days down the hall from each other in the Aggies’ baseball complex.
“This is a dream scenario for all of us I think,” Bolt says. “Coach Childress recruited both of us, we played together, we’re best friends, but I also have a tremendous amount of respect for the job [Seely] does as a coach. We’re not just working together because we’re buddies; We’ve gotten to this point because we feel like we’ve worked hard to get here.”
Says Seely: “They’re as close to a family as I can have without them actually being in my blood. It makes coming to work really fun.”
The duo was recognized for their efforts this past offseason, when included both of them in its ranking of the Top 30 assistant coaches in the country — Seely was No. 8, while Bolt checked in at No. 29. Clemson and Louisville were the only other schools to have two representatives on the list. But the coaches are much more concerned with the Aggies’ team success and building relationships with their players than some leaderboard. 
“I don’t coach for any kind of accolades except for a team accolade,” Bolt says. “I coach to make an impact on kids, so that’s all the assurance I need.”
Childress handles the A&M pitching staff and trusts his two top assistants enough to handle the hitting duties. Bolt and Seely believe in the same hitting philosophies and split the responsibility, and Seely says their friendship ensures their egos don’t get in the way of teaching the players. The duo also coaches fielding for the Aggies — Bolt handles the infielders and Seely the outfielders. On game days, Bolt coaches third base and Seely can be found in the dugout, where he feels he can make the most impact by setting the tone for a player as he walks to the on-deck circle or offering advice in between innings.
“Will and I are on the same page with everything,” Seely says, “so the players are getting the same consistent message whether it’s out on the field or in the dugout.”
Seely’s ability as a recruiter will be on full display this season, as the Aggies boast a blend of both experience and youth despite losing six starters from last year’s Super Regional team. Two years ago, Seely realized the team was going to lose that large crop of pivotal players, so he turned to the junior college ranks to bring some players to the program who could make an immediate impact. The result: Guys like Austin Homan, Joel Davis and Walker Pennington got their feet wet in 2016 and will now step into increased roles in their senior seasons. 
Ultimately, the two assistant coaches have seen their lives come full circle. Long gone are the two kids who didn’t particularly like each other because they were both ultra-competitive opponents. Now, they are best friends doing what they love and working under a man they admire at a university where they once wanted to play.
“This is a dream scenario to be here and be able to coach with people who you respect not only as coaches but also as men,” Bolt says.
Childress, meanwhile, knows how fortunate he is to have Bolt and Seely as his assistants. 
“They could be head coaches at a lot of programs across the country. They were amazing to coach as players, they were incredibly competitive and were big winners,” Childress says. “They both got to play in Omaha a couple of times and they’re even better coaches, better husbands, better fathers and friends. Texas A&M should be thankful and feel blessed to have them here as assistants — I know I do.”

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  • Bolt and Seely

  • Bolt/Seely

  • Justin Seely (left) and Will Bolt (right) have known each other since the 1990s and now coach for the A&M baseball team together.

    Photo by Photo by Lawrence Smelser
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