Mark Van Ameyde
Former Spartan assistant returns after three seasons as head coach at Eastern Michigan.
MSU takes on EMU in the Clash at Comerica.
Jordan Zimmerman enters the week with a 16-game hitting streak.
"We are all excited that Mark and his family have decided to come back to Michigan State," Boss said. "Mark is an outstanding coach and did a great job at Eastern Michigan, leading them to the MAC Tournament championship game a year ago. Mark has done an awesome job with pitching staffs everywhere that he has been, including our 2011 Big Ten Championship and 2012 NCAA Regional appearance. We couldn't be more excited that he and his family are back in East Lansing and a part of the Spartan family."
In his first season back with the Spartans in 2018, MSU’s pitching staff rang up 407 strikeouts for the season under Van Ameyde's guidance, marking the fourth-straight season that the Spartans have topped the 400 K plateau, ranking No. 4 on MSU's team strikeouts list. Redshirt-freshman pitcher Mason Erla earned All-Freshman Team accolades, after leading MSU and ranking tied for eighth in the Big Ten with six wins. Erla was also second in the B1G in opposing batting average (.216), as well as tied for 14th in the league in innings pitched (79.2 IP) and tied for seventh in games started (15), along with tied for 10th in B1G only games with 11 batters struck out looking.
Another Van Ameyde coached Spartan pitcher was Riley McCauley, who was was selected in the 14th round (pick number 428 overall) of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs.
McCauley tied for seventh in the Big Ten with five saves in 2018, which all came in conference action, ranking him fifth in the B1G only stats. McCauley also made seven starts, including firing a career-high 12 strikeouts in his first collegiate start, at Fresno State on Feb. 16. McCauley’s 12 strikeouts was tied for the most in a single-game in the Big Ten in 2018.
At EMU, Van Ameyde posted a 70-106 record in his three seasons leading the Eagles. In 2017, Van Ameyde led EMU to a 27-35 overall record and a 14-10 Mid-American Conference mark, finishing third in the MAC standings before ending as runner-up at the MAC Tournament, which was the first time the Eagles reached the title game since 2008.
"It's a little surreal; it's very unexpected, certainly when I left a few years ago to take the head coach position at Eastern Michigan. You don't think that you'd ever be back. It was really tough to leave when I left the first time," Van Ameyde said. "I'm extremely grateful for all the good people at Eastern Michigan that I worked with. It was very hard to leave all of them.
"I have a lot of great memories from my time at Michigan State, I worked with a lot of great people and got to work with a lot of outstanding student-athletes and great teams. We did a lot of winning," Van Ameyde said. "The MSU Administration, and of course Coach Boss, were very supportive when I left, and I'm very grateful to all of them for the opportunity to come back. I've known Coach Boss for a long time, and I worked with Coach (Graham) Sikes for four years when I was at MSU the first time, and I coached Coach (Jordan) Keur, so I'm really comfortable with all of those guys, and I've won with them. So to get an opportunity to come back and work together again with a goal to win another Big Ten Championship like we did back in 2011, I thought `hey let's go do it.' I'm excited to work with the pitchers and that talented group. I've been at Michigan State more than I've been at any other school, so I sort of feel like a Spartan after being there for so long and winning a Big Ten title, even though I didn't go to school there. I'm fired up, and my family and I are excited to rejoin the Spartan family."
At Eastern Michigan, Van Ameyde coached five All-MAC honorees, including two in 2017 after two in 2016, marking the first time that EMU had multiple players selected for all-conference honors since 2011-12. Senior pitcher Sam Delaplane earned first-team All-MAC accolades in 2017, after leading EMU with a 3.27 ERA and a 4-3 record, with 92 strikeouts in 20 appearances. The 92 strikeouts ranked second in the MAC. Delaplane was selected in the 23rd round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, becoming the first EMU player since 2012 to be drafted.
Off the field, 28 EMU players earned Academic All-MAC honors in the three seasons under Van Ameyde, with 10 accolades in 2017, the second-most in the MAC, including four MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.
During his six seasons at Michigan State, Van Ameyde was assistant coach for the 2009-11 seasons, before becoming associate head coach for the 2012-14 seasons. Van Ameyde was one of the key components to MSU's success, including helping the program to its first Big Ten Championship in 32 years in 2011 and a berth in the NCAA Regionals in 2012. Under Van Ameyde's tutelage, the Spartan pitching staff demonstrated significant improvement.
In 2014, the pitching staff ranked second in the Big Ten with a 3.09 ERA, which was also the 10th lowest in MSU single-season history.
In 2013, the Spartan pitching staff compiled a 3.22 ERA, the 10th lowest in program history. 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).
During the 2012 run to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans had one of their best seasons in school history on the mound. MSU recorded 389 strikeouts, second most in the school record book, and compiled a 3.28 ERA - the lowest for a Spartan staff since 1972. The Spartans led the Big Ten in opposing batting average (.249), saves (15) and pickoffs (12) while ranking second in strikeouts and third in ERA. Michigan State also ranked among the top 40 nationally in walks allowed per nine innings (22nd at 2.76), WHIP (33rd at 1.24) and ERA (35th at 3.28).
For the second straight year, Tony Bucciferro earned All-Big Ten honors (third team) while becoming MSU’s alltime leader in innings pitched (372.1) and games started (55). Bucciferro, who was drafted in the 14th round of the MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox, also finished his career second in school history in strikeouts (272) and tied for third in wins (26).
The Spartans led the league in saves in part due to closer Tony Wieber, who collected a career-high nine saves in 2012. Wieber finished his career as MSU’s all-time saves leader (18) and was selected in the 33rd round by the San Diego Padres.
All three of Michigan State’s Big Ten starters - Bucciferro, Andrew Waszak and David Garner - were named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week during the 2012 season, a first in school history. Bucciferro won the award twice (Feb. 20 and May 14), while Waszak (April 16) and Garner (April 30) each earned it once. The four Spartan selections for Big Ten Pitcher of the Week was also a school record (previous: three in 2011).
In 2011, MSU had two first-team All-Big Ten starting pitchers (Kurt Wunderlich, Bucciferro) for the first time in school history. In addition, Wunderlich became the first Spartan to be named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year after setting a then-MSU single-season record with 101.2 innings pitched while winning a conference-high 10 games, the second most in school history. Wunderlich was drafted in the 20th round by the Oakland Athletics in the 2011 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The bullpen was equally effective, ranking second in the Big Ten with 16 saves. Wieber led the way with a team-high eight saves, tying for third-most in an MSU season, to garner third-team All-Big Ten accolades. Van Ameyde also mentored Garner, who collected five victories on the mound and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
Overall, the Spartans finished third in the Big Ten with a 4.08 staff ERA, the lowest ERA for the program since 1978. MSU also walked the third-fewest batters (172) in the conference and the 332 strikeouts were the fifth most in school history.
During MSU’s 34-win campaign in 2010, the Spartans ranked third in the Big Ten in ERA and allowed the fewest amount of runs and walks in the conference. Michigan State also recorded 335 strikeouts as a staff, the fourth-highest total in school history.
All three of MSU’s Big Ten starting pitchers - A.J. Achter, Wunderlich and Bucciferro - ranked among the top 11 in the conference in innings pitched. Achter, who was drafted in the 46th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by Minnesota, ranked second in school history and third in the Big Ten in 2010 with 98.2 innings pitched. A third-team All-Big selection, Wunderlich led the team and tied for fifth in the conference with eight wins. Six Spartans on the staff collected at least four wins on the mound, and closer Kurtis Frymier tied for third in school history with eight saves.
In Van Ameyde’s first season in East Lansing, MSU ranked fourth in the Big Ten in ERA and opposing batting average. MSU’s 326 runs and 537 hits allowed in 2009 were each the second-lowest in the conference. The Spartan pitching staff also totaled 302 strikeouts, which was the most by a MSU squad since 2004 and the ninth-highest single-season total in school history. The Spartan pitching staff also picked-off a league-high 19 base runners. Van Ameyde was also a part of the Spartans’ first no-hitter in over 16 years as on April 4, senior pitcher Nolan Moody nohit Northwestern in the first-ever game at McLane Baseball Stadium.
Prior to his time at Michigan State, Van Ameyde spent the 2008 season on Boss' staff as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan, helping the Eagles to the MAC West Division title and the MAC Tournament championship, while earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. His pitching staff showed steady improvement throughout the season, as the Eagles won 25 of their last 40 games heading into postseason play. In conference games, Robert Wendzicki led the league in saves with seven, while Matt Shoemaker posted a perfect 3-0 record.
Before his first stint at EMU, Van Ameyde was an assistant coach for three seasons at Georgetown, including serving as the associate head coach in 2007. He 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.
Prior to joining Georgetown, Van Ameyde spent four seasons as the associate head coach at the University of 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, 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-Mercy, 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.
Van Ameyde and his wife, Melissa, have three sons: Chase, Cole and Cash.
THE VAN AMEYDE FILE
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Second Season/Eighth Overall. Re-joined staff in the December of 2017, previous at MSU from 2009-14.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: Head Coach at St. Mary’s College (1999-2000); Associate Head Coach at Detroit (2001-04); Associate Head Coach/Assistant Coach at Georgetown (2005-2007); Assistant Coach at Eastern Michigan (2008) Head Coach at Eastern Michigan (2015-17).
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Detroit in 1996.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: Two-year letterwinner at Henry Ford Community College (1991-92) and Detroit (1993-94).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Head Coach - 2000 NSCAA World Series; Assistant Coach
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