Van Ameyde, who has served as the Spartan pitching coach since the 2009 season, has been one of the key components to MSU’s success the past three years, including helping the program to its first Big Ten Championship in 32 years in 2011.
“Mark has done a tremendous job with our pitching staff,” said Boss. “His work with the pitchers is one of the main reasons we had a championship season in 2011. He’s an outstanding coach and communicates well with his players. Mark also has done an impressive job coordinating our recruiting efforts, which has already paid dividends with a Big Ten title. I’m excited to know I’ll be alongside Mark in the future as our staff continues to strengthen the Spartan baseball program and works to take it to even greater heights.”
“I’m grateful and honored by this promotion,” Van Ameyde said. “I want to thank Coach Boss and our administration, including (Athletics Director) Mark Hollis and (Senior Associate Athletics Director) Shelley Appelbaum, for being named Associate Head Coach. Their support certainly means a lot to me.
“I believe in what we’re doing here at Michigan State and am extremely proud to be a Spartan. We have great kids in our program who work extremely hard – watching their success this year was a thrill for me as a coach. After winning a championship this past spring, I look forward to the future and continuing to help Jake lead this program in a positive direction.”
Under Van Ameyde’s guidance, the Spartan pitching staff has shown significant improvement. This past season, MSU had two first-team All-Big Ten starting pitchers (Kurt Wunderlich, Tony 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 an MSU 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 and Bucciferro is pitching for the Brewster Whitecaps this summer in the Cape Cod League, the most prestigious collegiate baseball league in the nation.
The bullpen was equally effective, ranking second in the Big Ten with 16 saves. Sophomore Tony 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 David 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 no-hit Northwestern in the first-ever game at McLane Baseball Stadium.
Van Ameyde joined the Spartans after spending the previous season at EMU and the previous three years with Georgetown, serving as an associate head coach with the Hoyas during the 2007 season. In 2008, Van Ameyde helped Eastern Michigan win 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. Former EMU pitchers Dan Puls and Matt Shoemaker both signed free agent contracts with the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels, respectively, following the 2008 season under Van Ameyde’s tutelage.
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.
Van Ameyde and his wife, Melissa, have three sons: Chase, Cole and Cash.