Eastern Michigan names former assistant Mark Van Ameyde head coach
YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Eastern Michigan vice president and director of athletics Heather Lyke announced Tuesday that Mark Van Ameyde has been named the Eagles' new head coach. Van Ameyde returns to Ypsilanti after spending the past six seasons at Michigan State.
"From the time we first visited with Coach Van Ameyde, we saw a natural leader who is prepared to be our head baseball coach," Lyke said. "His passion for teaching student-athletes life lessons and building championship teams through the game of baseball make him an ideal candidate to lead our baseball program."
Van Ameyde brings 16 years of coaching experience to EMU, including one season as the Eagles' assistant coach in 2008 when the Green and White won the Mid-American Conference tournament to clinch a berth to the NCAA Regionals. Following that season, he and former EMU head coach Jake Boss Jr. took their talents to East Lansing to lead the MSU baseball program, where the duo has led the Spartans to continued success, going 194-137 (.586) in six seasons.
"Advancing to two College World Series in the 1970s under the recently departed Ron Oestrike and continuing throughout the years, the baseball tradition here is very strong," Van Ameyde said. "Having contributed to the championship tradition in 2008 with Jake Boss, I am confident we can bring that level of success back to the EMU program. I believe that the current players we have here plus the infusion of new leadership will allow us to make immediate improvement and pave the way for future success.
"The program will be built on relationships and trust. I want our players to know what they are going to get from the coaching staff every day -- a consistency in approach, attitude and work ethic. This type of atmosphere will allow for maximum growth in our student-athletes."
Van Ameyde has been one of the key components to MSU's success the past six seasons, including helping the program to its first Big Ten Conference championship in 32 years in 2011 and a berth in the NCAA Regionals in 2012. Under Van Ameyde's guidance, the Spartan pitching staff has shown significant improvement by dropping the team ERA year after year. As the team's pitching coach, Van Ameyde has coached seven different Spartans that have had a chance to play professional baseball, including six draftees.
In 2014, the Spartan pitching staff compiled a 3.05 ERA. One year prior, MSU also held opponents to a .240 batting average, which tied for the best in the Big Ten. For the second consecutive year, MSU ranked in the top 40 nationally in walks allowed per nine innings (22nd at 2.73), WHIP (14th at 1.18) and ERA (36th at 3.22).
Prior to joining the Spartans in 2009, Van Ameyde helped Eastern Michigan win the MAC West Division title and the MAC tournament championship while earning a berth in the NCAA tournament during the 2008 campaign. His pitching staff showed steady improvement throughout the season, as the Eagles won 25 of their last 40 games heading into postseason play.
As an assistant at Georgetown, Van Ameyde guided the pitching rotation to numerous team records, including most strikeouts in a season, fewest walks in a season and the lowest team ERA in 23 years. In 2006, the Hoyas posted the most Big East Conference victories since 1985. He also served as recruiting coordinator for the Hoya baseball program, was responsible for recruiting trips, and ran the annual Georgetown Baseball Camp.
Before his stop at Georgetown, Van Ameyde spent four seasons on staff at Detroit Mercy. He led UDM to the top of the Horizon League in batting average as the team's hitting instructor, in addition to serving as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator. From 1999-2000, Van Ameyde was the head coach at St. Mary's College (Mich.), where he was responsible for the implementation of the program. He led St. Mary's College to the NSCAA World Series in 2000.
Van Ameyde earned two letters pitching for Detroit, garnering all-conference and team MVP honors in 1994. He also pitched at Henry Ford Community College for two years and helped the team to a regional championship in 1991.
Van Ameyde graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication from UDM in 1996. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in sports administration from Wayne State.
"For our fans, recruits and alumni of the program, we will be a team that does the little things right, plays the game hard and competes every day," Van Ameyde said. "The responsibility to lead this program is something I look forward to and I cannot wait to get started."