Van Ameyde Returns As MSU Baseball Assistant Coach
Former Spartan assistant returns after three seasons as head coach at Eastern Michigan.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss Jr. announced Thursday that former Spartan assistant coach Mark Van Ameyde (pronounced VAN-uh-mead) will be returning to Boss’ staff as the MSU pitching coach.
Van Ameyde was an MSU assistant coach from 2009-14, before becoming the Eastern Michigan head coach in 2015.
“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.”
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. “Mark Hollis and Shelley Appelbaum, 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 and 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 program history. MSU led the Big Ten in opposing batting average (.249), saves (15) and pickoffs (12) while ranking second in strikeouts and third in ERA.
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.
Spartans fans will have their first chance to reunite and visit with Coach Van Ameyde at the 2018 MSU Baseball First Pitch Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 4. The MSU Baseball First Pitch Dinner will feature a silent auction, door prizes, player autographs, a team poster and 2018 season ticket card.
Tickets for the First Pitch Dinner range in price from $15 per person for children and students, $25 for college students, $40 for Spartan baseball alumni and $50 each for adults. Sponsored tables of eight are also available.
For more information on the 2018 First Pitch Dinner, download the registration form here, call the MSU baseball office at 517-353-0816 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.