05/04/2021 10:36 AM -
Whiting, Ind. – May 4, 2021 – As the Northwest Indiana Oilmen searched for their next manager, a protégé of the winningest skipper in the franchise’s history seemed like a logical starting point.
That proved to be the search’s ending point as well, as the club has named TJ Marik the fifth manager in franchise history. Marik is an assistant under former Oilmen manager Adam Enright at Missouri Valley College.
Marik, who joined the Oilmen staff as the recruiting coordinator last fall and spent the offseason assembling the team’s roster, will take the reins of the Midwest Collegiate League’s most storied franchise.
“I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to be the manager of the Oilmen,” Marik said. “From the time I started coaching, my goal has been to have my own college program. This is a significant chance for me to learn everything that it takes to run a team, both on and off the field. We are going to have a very good team that will play extremely hard. I cannot express enough how excited I am for this season.”
Marik, who had collegiate coaching stops at Saint Leo University and Roosevelt University before making his way to Missouri Valley, was the head coach of Top Tier Baseball LLC from May 2018 to June 2019. In addition, he has prior summer baseball experience as an assistant coach for the Rockford Rivets of the Northwoods League during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
“We are tremendously excited to present TJ with the opportunity to manage our club this summer,” Oilmen President Don Popravak said. “His work ethic and dedication have been showcased this offseason through his efforts to build a competitive roster and recruit high-level talent. TJ comes with a strong recommendation from Adam Enright, whose accomplishments with our club speak for themselves. I can’t wait to see what TJ can accomplish this summer in terms of both team success and player development.”
Enright spent seven years on the Oilmen coaching staff including four as the team’s manager, establishing the franchise record for wins in addition to capturing two MCL titles in his four seasons at the helm. Marik hopes to follow a similar path to Enright, who used his experience in Northwest Indiana to reach his goal of becoming a collegiate head coach.
“Adam spoke very highly of being the manager of the Oilmen and said it was a huge part of where he is today as a young head coach,” Marik said. “I can’t put into words how much Adam has taught me. I am extremely grateful for the coaches who have helped me get to this point, Adam in particular.”
Marik graduated from Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Ky. in December 2018 with a degree in organizational leadership after being named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List in 2018. Before joining the Norse, the former Division-I catcher started his collegiate playing career at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee.
Marik coached a pair of all-conference second team honorees while serving as the top assistant coach at Roosevelt in 2019. He spent the COVID-shortened 2020 season as the first base coach at Saint Leo. Marik joined the Rockford Rivets in 2019 as the hitting and catching coach and led the team to a 33-win season, the second-highest victory total in franchise history. He returned for a second season in 2020 and helped the Rivets shatter the Northwoods League record for runs scored in a game (28). The team was ranked as the fifth-best summer collegiate team by D1Baseball.com. He instructed four top 150 college draft prospects during the 2020 summer.
As he takes over as Oilmen manager, Marik is well aware of the responsibility that comes with guiding the league’s most successful franchise. The Oilmen are entering their 10th anniversary season and have boasted nine consecutive winning records, earned nine straight playoff appearances, competed in six MCL championship series and won three league championships.
“I have a connection to someone who knows almost every player on our roster, so I received valuable and trusted input in assembling our team,” Marik said. “We’re going to be a scrappy group that is fun to watch. Our pitching staff will throw hard with numerous players who will light up the radar gun. Several of our position players have some juice in their bats. We’re going to try to steal a lot of bases, hit doubles and drive in runs.”
The MCL has produced 89 players who have gone on to play professionally, including four who have reached the ultimate dream of playing Major League Baseball.
“The most important aspect is for our players to have fun every day and return to their schools healthy and better than ever,” Marik said. “I want to win every single pitch of every single game, and that’s not going to change. However, my top priority is to make sure coaches see a huge jump in every single one of our players when they return to their respective campuses in the fall.”