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Jake Boss Names Two Assistant Baseball Coaches

Jake Boss Head baseball Coach at Michigan State.

Jake Boss Head baseball Coach at Michigan State.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – First-year head baseball coach Jake Boss Jr. has named Mark Van Ameyde and Billy Gernon as assistant coaches. Van Ameyde (VAN-uh-mead) was an assistant on Boss’ staff last year at Eastern Michigan, while Gernon arrives in East Lansing with nine years of head coaching experience at IPFW.

“I’m very excited to add Mark Van Ameyde and Billy Gernon to the Michigan State baseball family,” said Boss. “Both are very dynamic, high energy individuals who are very passionate about winning and doing things the right way. They are both high character and family men who share many of the same values I have.

“Mark was my pitching coach at Eastern Michigan University and did a tremendous job in one year there with the staff. By the end of the year, our staff was throwing extremely well and was a major reason we were able to win the Mid-American Conference championship. He is an outstanding recruiter with experience both in the Midwest and on a national level and brings a wealth of knowledge to Michigan State.

“Billy has been the head coach at IPFW for the past nine years and has worked tirelessly to build that program from NCAA Division II, to an NCAA Division I independent, to now a fixture in the Summit League. The job that Billy did at IPFW is extraordinary given the limited resources he had to work with. He is also a tremendous recruiter and an outstanding judge of talent. His head coaching experience will prove invaluable as we look to build the Michigan State program into a consistent contender for the Big Ten title.”

Van Ameyde joined Boss’ staff at EMU after spending the previous three years with Georgetown, serving as an associate head coach with the Hoyas during the 2007 season. Last season, Van Ameyde helped Eastern Michigan win the 2008 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.

While 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.

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, 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.

Van Ameyde and his wife, Melissa, have three sons: Chase, Cole and Cash.

Gernon, who has spent the past nine seasons as head coach at IPFW, leaves the Mastodons as the winningest coach in program history. He had the challenge of coaching IPFW in its transition from an NCAA Division II team to an NCAA Division I independent to its entry in the Summit League in 2008. Gernon averaged just under 20 wins per season as the head coach, including three straight 20-win campaigns from 2004-06. In 2005, IPFW ranked 28th in the nation in batting (.315) and ninth in stolen bases (113).

Billy Gernon has spent the past nine seasons as the head coach at IPFW.

Highly regarded for the academic success of his program, his teams maintained over a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average in his nine years and in the 2007 fall semester, the team posted a 3.25 GPA, which was the highest among all male programs and highest in program history. In 2007, shortstop Chris Venvertloh was named the Student of the Year from the Communication and Athletic Department for graduating with a 4.0 GPA, while Zach Wilson, who now works in the front office as Manager of Scouting for the Colorado Rockies, received the prestigious Doc Skelton Award for his academic excellence and community service. Under Gernon, the Mastodon program was also recognized for its involvement in the Fort Wayne community, as the team helped Habit for Humanity and the United Way Big Brothers Program.

Gernon has had five of his own players offered professional contracts while working with over 20 in his coaching career. He tutored the highest draft pick in IPFW history, shortstop Ryan Steinbach, who was selected in the 20th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.

Before being named the head coach at IPFW, Gernon was the pitching coach for the Mastodons for two years (1996-97).

Gernon’s first coaching position arrived at Indiana, where he was a student assistant coach in 1995-96 for former IU Coach Bob Morgan. Gernon also played for Morgan for one season in 1990 and served as the team’s closer. As a coach, Gernon and the Hoosiers claimed the 1996 Big Ten tournament title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Hoosiers had five players offered professional contracts.

The head coach of the Lexington Dixie in the summer of 1996, Gernon’s squad won the regional tournament and three players went on to sign professional contracts.

Gernon began his playing career at Indiana University Southeast, where he played three years (1986-88) and earned team MVP honors as a sophomore.

Gernon’s respect in the coaching community is evident by his speaking and camp experiences. He was the featured speaker at the IHSAA state clinic in 2004 and 2007 and was also invited to be an instructor at the Indiana, Michigan and Notre Dame elite baseball camps.

Gernon earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Indiana in 1991 and a bachelor’s in education from IPFW in 1998. He is married to the former Annie Recker; they have a son Jacob (7) and a daughter Abby (4).

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