Program Spotlight: University of Maine

Head Coach Nick Derba of The University of Maine talked about his recruiting process and offered some advice to players with the goal of playing college baseball. The Black Bears are an NCAA Division I school that competes in the American East Conference and have become a strong contender for a conference championship under Coach Derba.

“Being a college baseball player at any level is an achievement. Find a school that is a fit for you academically… There has to be a fit with the staff and program. Reach out to the current roster and get a feel for them.”

– Coach Derba, University of Maine
courtesy of

Quick Facts

School:University of Maine
Division:NCAA Division I
Conference:American East Conference
Location:Orono, ME
Student Population:11,500
Camps:Prospect Camps

Recruiting Q&A – with Head Coach Nick Derba

What are your typical scouting methods?

We try to see games only. We will not offer based on a pro-style showcase typically. Summer or high school. Our prospect and team camps account for 30% of our roster.

How do you recommend players contact you if they are interested in your program?

Email and questionnaire are the best forms of communication.

If a player contacts you, what are you most interested in?

Game video, stats and please attach a schedule.

Any general advice for players that want to play college baseball?

Being a college baseball player at any level is an achievement. Find a school that is a fit for you academically. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be the best or the worst in the country. Make sure it has the major you are interested in. There has to be a fit with the staff and program. Reach out to the current roster and get a feel for them.

Any other comments about your program that you’d like to share?

Do your research. Every angle of any program is widely available due to social media. I always suggest reaching out to our current or past roster to ask about their experiences. You will get a good idea of what it is actually like.

>> Read more: Recruiting Q&As from college coaches <<

Program Overview – Black Bear Baseball

The University of Maine’s baseball program has been led by Coach Derba since 2017. In that time, Coach Derba has produced several MLB draft picks and players that have signed professional contracts. A former St. Louis Cardinals draft pick himself, Coach Derba recently led the Black Bears to their most successful season in recent years finishing 27-22 overall and 21-9 in conference play.

The Black Bears play at Mahaney Diamond, which is beautiful stadium which also features a state of the art clubhouse and indoor hitting facility.

The stadium, indoor facility, and clubhouse are really attractive features of the Maine baseball program. Facilities like this allow the student-athletes the ability to really thrive in both athletics and academics.

The Black Bears compete in the American East Conference, which includes schools in the NE part of the country. The program has a long history of success with 7 College World Series appearances, and 16 NCAA tournament appearances while producing over 100 professional players and 20 MLB players.

The Black Bears, which are the state of Maine’s only NCAA Division I school, maintain an active twitter account and frequently share media updates on their website. Interested players can learn more about the program from both of these sources which are linked above.

School Overview – University of Maine

Located in Orono, ME, the University of Maine is frequently included in publications ranking the best colleges in the country. A historic university, the University of Maine offers academic majors across many disciplines including business, agriculture, liberal arts, education, and engineering. The University of Maine is also really well respected as a public research university amassing many accolades, grants, and recognition for the work done at the school.

With a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, students can find of a mix of a larger public university feel with some of the benefits of a smaller school. On this note, it’s worth pointing out one of Coach Derba’s comments regarding reaching out to current and former players. Prospective players can learn a lot from student-athletes that are living their everyday life on campus and can see firsthand what campus life truly entails.

Closing Remarks

First of all, we would like to thank Coach Derba for his detailed answers and insight. There is a lot to learn from what he said, and he provides a unique perspective for players to consider during the recruiting process.

College coaches are looking for players they believe will be a good fit in their program and can positively represent the school. They also want players to have the best chance for success in the classroom and on the field. This was made clear by Coach Derba’s answers, as he emphasized the importance of finding the right fit in all aspects of being a student-athlete. We really think this is great advice. It’s not just about going to Division I, it’s about finding the right fit for future success.

In order to find the right fit, it ultimately comes down to the player being willing to do the research. Playing college baseball in a program that feels like home is an incredibly rewarding experience. Asking questions, researching schools, and thinking hard about goals both academically and athletically is the first step players can take to finding the right school. Player’s should be afraid to ask college coaches and current players what life is like as a student-athlete at their school. Remember that college coaches want to find players that are the right fit just as much as players do themselves.

Any players that are interested in the University of Maine’s program are encouraged to read Coach Derba’s responses and follow his suggestions. We think the University of Maine offers a one-of-a-kind combination of athletics, academics, and location, and can certainly be a great fit for some future Black Bears. Again, thank you to Coach Derba for the time, and best of luck to the Black Bears in the upcoming season!