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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Greg Johnson | NCAA.com

To help ensure calls are made correctly, the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee is recommending that umpires be allowed to conference in order to confirm or overturn an original call as to whether a fielder made a catch on a ball hit into the outfield.

If approved, the rule would take effect next season.

Committee members, who met July 14-16 in Indianapolis, also proposed to expand the experimental video instant replay rule to include those “catch” and “no catch” plays. Conferences throughout the Association will also be able to make a request through the rules committee to use the experimental video replay rule in regular season games starting in 2015 in addition to conference tournament games.

Current NCAA baseball rules allow umpires to conference on certain plays. The proposal adds catches in the outfield to that list of plays. Baseball Rules Committee Chair Dick Cooke said both recommendations follow in the steps of getting the calls right.

“These are the kinds of plays that can have a significant impact in a game,” said Cooke, who is also the head baseball coach at Davidson. “It’s likely that these types of plays may occur more than the plays umpires can currently conference on.”

All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss the baseball proposals via conference call on Aug. 26.

The video replay rule has been in effect at the Men’s College World Series since 2012 and is expected to last another two seasons. The only plays that currently may be reviewed are:

Deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul;
Deciding whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double;
Spectator-interference plays (only on plays involving home run balls); and
Deciding if a batted ball is fair or foul.

So far, the replay rule has not been used at the MCWS.

Under the “catch” or “no catch” proposal, if a play to the outfield is originally called a catch but is overturned by umpire conference or through video evidence, the play will be declared dead and the batter will be placed at first base. Each base runner will be advanced one base from the position occupied at the time of the pitch.

If the play is overturned in foul territory, it will be ruled a foul ball and all runners will return to the base they were occupying at the time of the pitch.

On plays to the outfield that are overturned from “no catch” to “catch,” all action prior to the ball being declared dead will be disallowed. The batter will be declared out and all runners will be returned to the base they occupied at the time of the pitch.

Committee members also want conferences to apply to use the experimental video instant replay rule next spring. Last season, the committee granted permission for the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the West Coast Conference to use the instant replay rule in conference tournament games.

The West Coast Conference had two video reviews in its 2014 conference tournament. One review confirmed the call of a foul ball hit down the left field line, and the other review didn’t have a conclusive angle on a ball hit down the right-field line that was ruled fair, meaning the original fair-ball call remained.

“Hopefully, this can provide more replay opportunities so that we can get feedback of how it works,” Cooke said. “The conferences will do their due diligence to make sure they can implement the video replay rule before they reach out to us.”

Hit batter

The committee also proposed a rule change regarding batters being hit by pitches.

Under the proposal, a batter must make an attempt to avoid being hit by the ball. If the umpire rules the batter did not make an attempt to get out of the way, or that he leaned into the path of the ball, a pitch inside the strike zone that touches the batter will be called a strike. If the pitch is outside the strike zone, it will be called a ball.

“I heard about this issue the most from coaches I spoke to throughout the year,” Cooke said. “We want to make this rule as simple as we can to help the umpires.”

Foul poles

Committee members recommended requiring all foul poles in NCAA baseball to be painted fluorescent yellow by the 2016 season.

The committee has received feedback that some facilities have white, red or blue foul poles, but fluorescent yellow is the best color to help umpires determine whether a potential home run is foul or fair.

Seven-inning games

The committee recommended a rule change to allow a seven-inning game that originally is scheduled as a part of a doubleheader, but cannot be started, or had been halted or suspended, to be played as a seven-inning contest the following day or at a future time.

However, stand-alone seven-inning baseball games are prohibited in NCAA play. So the committee wants to provide specific guidance to ensure the doubleheader rules are applied consistently around the country.

Third-to-first pick-off move

Committee members engaged in a thorough debate regarding the fake-to-third-base, throw-to-first-base pick-off move. Major League Baseball has made the play illegal and any pitcher attempting the move is called for a balk.

There has been some discussion about whether NCAA baseball rules should follow suit, but the committee decided to table the issue because it would like to hear more feedback on its annual survey.

Only 27 percent of coaches responded to this year’s survey, and the committee would like to know the opinions of more coaches before addressing if the move should be made illegal in NCAA baseball.


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Maine Athletics

ORONO, Maine -- Legendary Maine baseball coach Dr. John Winkin passed away on July 19. Winkin coached the Black Bears from 1975 through 1996.

As head coach of the Black Bears, Winkin won 642 games, including a school record 48 victories during the 1991 season. Maine made 11 NCAA tournament appearances and six College World Series trips during that span. He earned multiple New England and Regional coaching honors.

Winkin was elected into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2013, he was elected into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Winkin, who coached at Colby, Maine and Husson, won more than 1,000 games in a 50-plus years as a head coach. He has been inducted into many Hall of Fames during his career.

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

USA Baseball

HAARLEM, Netherlands -- The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team defeated Japan 6-3 to win the championship game at the 27th edition of the Haarlem-Honkbal Week at Pim Mulier Stadium on Sunday.

The Honkbal Week championship is the fourth in the history of the Collegiate National Team, having previously won the title in 2000, 2002 and 2008. It now holds an all-time record of 29-5 in the tournament.

Three U.S. players earned individual awards with Chris Okey (Clemson) claiming the "Carl Angelo Most Popular Player" award, Christin Stewart (Tennessee) taking home "Best Hitter" honors and Alex Bregman (LSU) being named the Honkbal Week Most Valuable Player.

Bregman is the fourth player from the United States to win the Jacques Reuvers Award, given to the Honkbal Week MVP, joining Chris Sabo (1980), Bobby Crosby (2000) and Ryan Jackson (2008).

With the win Team USA improves to 18-3-2 overall this summer, including a 7-1 record at Honkbal Week. The Red, White and Blue won its final seven games after opening the tournament with a loss, outscoring its opponents, 34-6.

"These guys are really proud to wear the USA baseball uniform and I am really excited that we were able to win here at Honkbal Week," Team USA manager Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) said. "It was important for us to play well and I thought we played extremely hard today. For us to come back to win this tournament after losing the first game like we did, 1-0, was really something special. 

"We have a tremendous coaching staff and a great group of guys that has really come together as a team in a quick period. We felt that if we could get this team to play up to its potential we would have a shot to win this tournament and that is what happened."

Tyler Jay (Illinois) spun 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win in the championship game after Team USA starter Kyle Funkhouser gave the squad 4.1 quality frames, allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out six.

Justin Garza (Cal State Fullerton) added 2.0 innings of relief work as well to get the game to the ninth where Dillon Tate (UCSB) came on to close out the contest, retiring all three batters he faced to earn his third save of the summer.

Okey paced a 10-hit U.S. attack offensively, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles. Nick Banks (Texas A&M) also had two RBIs, while Bregman added two hits, a walk and a run scored.

Team USA jumped out in front in a hurry, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Following a one-out walk to Christin Stewart the U.S. executed a hit-and-run to perfection with Mark Mathias (Cal Poly) lining a single to center to put runners on the corners. A passed ball then allowed Stewart to trot home from third to score the game's first run.

Japan, meanwhile, put two baserunners on in each of the first three innings, only to see Funkhouser work out of the jam unscathed all three times.

The U.S. then pounced in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs on five hits to take a commanding 4-0 advantage. The big blow came from Banks who plated a pair of runs with a single to left-center. He would come around to score just moments later on an RBI single by Okey.

Japan got two of those runs back in the top of the fifth, however, as it cut the U.S. lead in half. The first run came in from second when a single to the right side of the infield was misplayed before an RBI groundout made it 4-2.

Team USA pushed its lead up by a run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to some creative baserunning. With runners on the corners and two outs, Blake Trahan (Louisiana-Lafayette) took off on a delayed steal for second. Japan threw down but Trahan avoided the tag on his way back to first base, allowing Bryan Reynolds (Vanderbilt) to scamper home from third.

Just after that play, a throwing error on a pick-off play would move Trahan to second before Okey's second RBI single of the afternoon brought him the rest of the way around the diamond to put the U.S. ahead by a 6-2 count.

Japan scored once more in the eighth but could not get any closer as Team USA closed out the game in the ninth to claim the Honkbal Week championship.

The U.S. will next be in action when it travels to Cuba for a five-game series June 23-27. The first two contests will take place at Victoria de Giron Stadium in Matanzas, while the last three will be played in Capitan San Luis Stadium in Pinar Del Rio.

Related:
Team USA schedule & results


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Teresa M. Walker | The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baseball coach Tim Corbin and his Commodores have set a new bar at Vanderbilt by winning the school's second national title last month at the College World Series.

Now athletic director David Williams wants to know who's next. Williams says winning the baseball championship sent a message to Vanderbilt's other coaches that titles are possible. He told The Associated Press that the Commodores are pleased and proud but ready to go after the next one.

And Williams includes the football team, even with a first-year head coach, trying to build on its already unprecedented success.

Would you love to win the national championship in football? Yeah. What do you have to do? You have to get to the game.
-- David Williams
"It can be done," Williams said. "We're kind of like really, really happy, really proud. But we're ready to go after the next one now."

With the baseball title, Vanderbilt finished 45th in the Directors' Cup with 11 of 16 teams reaching the postseason. Vandy also won the SEC women's golf title.

Media at the Southeastern Conference media days picked Vanderbilt to finish fifth in the East in voting released Thursday in Alabama Williams shook his head talking about similar expectations for a program that has gone 9-4 each of the past two seasons winning bowl games and finishing the season ranked in the AP's Top 25 for the first time ever.

The Commodores lost coach James Franklin to Penn State in January and replaced him by hiring Derek Mason away from Stanford where he was defensive coordinator. Mason said Monday at SEC media days he thinks the Commodores' opportunity is now to compete for the SEC East title. Such high expectations won Mason the job.

"Would you love to win the national championship in football?" Williams said. "Yeah. What do you have to do? You have to get to the game. How do you get to the game? You win the East because if you win the East, then you get to play for the SEC championship. If we don't win the SEC East, we can't even play for that. So shouldn't the goal be off the bat to win the SEC East?"

Williams said he knows critics think lightning can't strike twice for Vanderbilt, which went to four bowls before Franklin took the Commodores to three straight bowl berths. But the athletic director believes Vanderbilt hired the right coach at each time, with Mason taking over a team with a deeper talent base. Ten starters return from last season.

Vanderbilt opened a facility late last year featuring an indoor practice field for football, and new training rooms are the current construction project as part of the university's investment in athletics. The football stadium is a topic that will be addressed once the training rooms are completed.

Williams also is toughening the football schedule for the future. Starting in 2016, SEC teams will be required to play at least one game against a team from either the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Pac-12 or Big 12 — the Big Five. Vanderbilt currently is scheduled to play Georgia Tech in 2016.

Vanderbilt's non-conference opponents this season are Temple, Old Dominion, Massachusetts and Charleston Southern. Williams said they are talking with Stanford, Indiana, Wake Forest, Boston College, North Carolina State, Duke, Kansas State, California, Syracuse and Virginia.

"We are trying to make the schedule a little bit more competitive if you like, and that does require us to change some of the teams we've looked at and start to deal with more with home and home as opposed to buy-in games," Williams said.


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

kentucky-ajreed.jpg
Kentucky Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's AJ Reed has been selected as the 2014 Golden Spikes Award winner, given annually to the top amateur player in the nation by USA Baseball, making Reed a unanimous pick as the national player of the year, it was announced Thursday.

Reed’s clean sweep of the 2014 national player of the year awards includes the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Baseball America College Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year and the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year awards. Reed also was named the Southeastern Conference Male Athlete of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

A 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-handed pitcher/first baseman, Reed now becomes the third all-time SEC player to earn unanimous national player of the year honors, joining Dave Magadan (1983) and David Price (2007). Reed is the sixth SEC player to win the Golden Spikes Award and the first since Florida catcher Mike Zunino.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed edged three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto and LSU right-hander Aaron Nola, the 2014 SEC Pitcher of the Year.

Reed charted one of the top seasons in the history of college baseball in 2014, finishing the year as the NCAA leader in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211). He became the first player in SEC history to lead the conference in homers and pitching wins, while going 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA. He was the first player in league history to hit over 20 homers in the BBCOR era.

Reed finished the year with a .336 average – narrowly missing the second triple crown in SEC history – with a conference best 23 homers and 73 RBI. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.476), total bases (164) and walks (49), while adding 60 runs, 18 doubles and one triple. On the mound, Reed was UK’s Friday-night ace for a second consecutive campaign, posting the second-most wins in Kentucky history, while starting 16 games. He hurled 112 innings, walking just 29 and striking out 71.

A consensus first-team All-America selection in 2014, Reed finished his record-setting UK career with a .306 average in 172 games, slugging 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI. On the mound, Reed finished with a 19-13 record and a 2.83 ERA in his 46-game UK career, tossing 248 innings.

The first pick of the second round in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, Reed has hit .311 (32-for-103) in his professional debut in the New York-Penn League. Reed, the NY-Penn League Player of the Week, has belted nine doubles and three homers in his first 28 games, with a .415 on-base percentage and 22 RBI, sporting a 17-16 walk-strikeout ratio.

GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WINNERS

YEAR PLAYER SCHOOL
1978 Bob Horner Arizona State
1979 Tim Wallach Cal State Fullerton
1980 Terry Francona Arizona
1981 Mike Fuentes Florida State
1982 Augie Schmidt New Orleans
1983 Dave Magadan Alabama
1984 Oddibe McDowell Arizona State
1985 Will Clark Mississippi State
1986 Mike Loynd Florida State
1987 Jim Abbott Michigan
1988 Robin Ventura Oklahoma State
1989 Ben McDonald LSU
1990 Alex Fernandez Miami-Dade CC
1991 Mike Kelly Arizona State
1992 Phil Nevin Cal State Fullerton
1993 Darren Dreifort Wichita State
1994 Jason Varitek Georgia Tech
1995 Mark Kotsay Cal State Fullerton
1996 Travis Lee San Diego State
1997 J.D. Drew Florida State
1998 Pat Burrell Miami
1999 Jason Jennings Baylor
2000 Kip Bouknight South Carolina
2001 Mark Prior USC
2002 Khalil Greene Clemson
2003 Rickie Weeks Southern
2004 Jered Weaver Long Beach State
2005 Alex Gordon Nebraska
2006 Tim Lincecum Washington
2007 David Price Vanderbilt
2008 Buster Posey Florida State
2009 Stephen Strasburg San Diego State
2010 Bryce Harper Southern Nevada
2011 Trevor Bauer UCLA
2012 Mike Zunino Florida
2013 Kris Bryant San Diego
2014 AJ Reed Kentucky


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Cincinnati Athletics

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati has begun a synthetic turf installation project for Marge Schott Stadium that is scheduled to be completed on Aug. 28. The project will remove the current playing surface and replace it with a state-of-the-art surface covering the entire field.

Cincinnati has selected local contractor The Motz Group for the installation. The Motz Group has been a provider of world-class athletic surfaces for nearly 40 years.

“The replacement of the playing surface at Marge Schott Stadium is another statement that our administration is making a sincere effort to improve the experience at UC for our student-athletes” head coach Ty Neal said. “The new playing surface will allow our guys to develop year-round in a first-class facility. [Athletic director] Mike Bohn is making baseball a priority here and every member of our program is very appreciative.

“We compete in one of the most competitive baseball conferences in the country and we owe it to the American Athletic Conference to present a facility that reflects our elite status. I personally cannot wait to lace them up. The Bearcats are coming.”

The new Marge Schott Stadium turf will feature The Motz Group’s TriplePlay HP System. This system, which incorporates a texturized thatch layer, ensures consistency and minimizes infill flyout to provide the most realistic ball bounce in the industry.

All areas of the field, including the warning track, home plate, pitcher’s mound and bullpens will be turf.

Marge Schott Stadium was constructed in 2004. This will be the first field renovation in the stadium’s 10-year history.

Related:
Cincinnati gives Neal contract extension


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Mike Gillespie is 274-144 at UC Irvine; he has 996 NCAA wins overall.
UC Irvine Athletics

IRVINE, Calif. -- UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie has signed a contract extension that keeps him at the helm of the Anteater program through June 2018.

"I am thrilled that Mike Gillespie will continue to lead the UC Irvine baseball program for the next four years," UCI athletic director Mike Izzi said. "He continually brings in student-athletes who not only perform at a high level on the field, but who also successfully manage the rigorous academic demands of UCI.

"He is the quintessential baseball coach and UC Irvine baseball will continue to be a premier program with Mike at the helm."

MIKE GILLESPIE AT UC IRVINE

YEAR RECORD BIG WEST POSTSEASON
2008 42-18 14-10 (T-3) Super Regional
2009 45-15 22-2 (1) Regional
2010 39-21 17-7 (2) Regional
2011 43-18 16-8 (2) Super Regional
2012 31-25 13-11 (4) None
2013 33-22 15-12 (T-4) None
2014 41-25 15-9 (3) College World Series
() Rank
Gillespie was honored as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association National Coach of the Year after leading UC Irvine to its second College World Series appearance in 2014. His Anteater squad toppled No. 1 national seed Oregon State in regional play and swept Big 12 regular-season champion Oklahoma State at the Stillwater Super Regional to punch its ticket to Omaha, Nebraska, and finished the season with a 41-25 record. In seven seasons, Gillespie, an American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, has guided the Anteaters to the NCAA tournament five times.

"I look forward to our continued growth and trust that we will consistently compete among the Big West Conference's most elite teams, teams that distinguish themselves on the level of the nation's best," Gillespie said.

During his stint with the Anteaters, Gillespie guided the program to its first Big West Conference championship in 2009. The Anteaters were the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country that season and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in school history. UCI also became the first team in Big West history to go undefeated in home league contests, posting a 12-0 record en route to a 22-2 conference mark. Under Gillespie’s leadership, the Anteaters have posted 40 or more wins four times and finished in the top three in the Big West five of his seven years.

Voted the West Region Coach of the Year for the third time this year, Gillespie has produced 45 All-Big West Conference selections, including five Big West Pitchers of the Year, two Big West Defensive Players of the Year and a Big West Conference Player of the Year. His Anteaters have amassed 34 All-America honors and 80 scholar-athlete awards with four of his players earning UCI/Big West Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year recognition.

Recently concluding his 43rd year of coaching college baseball, Gillespie continues a storied career that began at the College of the Canyons, where he coached for 16 seasons and led the Cougars to a 420-167 record. After a 20-year term at Southern California in which he led the Trojans to four conference titles and 14 postseason appearances, including four in the CWS, Gillespie was hired as UCI's head coach in the fall of 2007.


Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Longwood Athletics

FARMVILLE, Va. -- Longwood director of athletics Troy Austin has announced the appointment of Ryan Mau as the fourth head coach of the Lancers' tradition-rich baseball program. Mau, with 12 years of collegiate coaching experience, has been an assistant coach at Navy for the past four seasons, serving as the recruiting coordinator as well as the pitching and catching coach.

"Ryan has established himself as a tireless recruiter and a stellar coach," Austin said. "I have quickly come to learn that he has a passion for developing young people and a strong desire to lead the Longwood baseball program."

Navy has attained three consecutive nationally ranked Top 100 recruiting classes, according to Perfect Game, under Mau. The Midshipmen pitching staff has led the Patriot League in strikeouts for three of the past four seasons, and featured the league pitcher of the year in 2014, Anthony Parenti.  Mau has coached seven All-Patriot League pitchers since 2011, and will be making a return to Virginia after previously serving as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at VMI in 2010 following four years as an assistant coach for the Keydets (2006-09).

"My staff and I will work tirelessly to make Lancers' baseball a program that Longwood University and the community of Farmville will be very proud of," Mau said.

Navy finished 23-28 overall, 9-11 in the Patriot League during 2014, and Mau's pitching staff compiled an impressive 3.70 earned run average and 350 strikeouts in 421.1 innings (7.48). The Midshipmen were 33-25-1 during 2011, including an NCAA Regional appearance after winning the Patriot League tournament and regular-season (12-8) championships, while posting school records for strikeouts (423) and innings (501.1). Navy was nationally ranked No. 50 in strikeouts per nine innings (7.6).

As associate head coach at VMI during 2010, Mau helped the program to the second-most wins in school history when the Keydets finished 33-22 and attained their highest national ranking (No. 26). VMI was nationally ranked No. 25 in strikeouts per nine (8.3). During his four years as the recruiting coordinator and pitching coach at VMI, he recruited three nationally recognized recruiting classes, according to Collegiate Baseball. Mau coached four All-Big South Conference pitchers while with the Keydets, the program had nine players picked in the MLB draft and set a VMI school record for wins during 2007 (34-21) -- earning its first national ranking (No. 30) and also nationally ranked No. 25 in strikeouts per nine (7.9). The 2008 squad set school records for strikeouts (441) and walks per nine (2.54), while nationally ranked No. 25 in ERA (4.13).

Mau was an assistant coach at Marist from 2004-05, helping the Red Foxes (33-19) to the 2005 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament titles, and an NCAA Regional appearance. He coached 2005 MAAC Pitcher of the Year Chris Tracz and 2005 MAAC Relief Pitcher of the Year Rob Ryan.

Mau got his start in collegiate coaching at Charleston Southern, serving as the pitching and catching coach in 2003.

Mau was a pitcher for the College of Charleston from 1998-2001 (13-10, 3.66 ERA), after one year at Flagler (1996-97). He played two seasons in the Florida Marlins organization (2001-02), before a year in the independent Frontier and Southeastern leagues (2003).

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

Eastern Michigan Athletics

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."

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Sat, 26 Jul 2014 12:11:22 +0000

NC State will look to improve upon a 3-9 record in Dave Doeren's first season as football coach.
Aaron Beard | The Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State athletic director Debbie Yow knew it would not be easy to build the Wolfpack into one of the nation's best overall sports programs. She was neither surprised nor deterred then when the Wolfpack's steady climb hit a bump during the 2013-14 season.

NC State had risen in the Directors' Cup standings in each of her first three years to inch closer to her goal of top-25 status, but the school slid after a bumpy year that included a three-win football season as well as a baseball season that fell far short of the public goal to return to the College World Series.

"What people have to understand is taking a step back doesn't mean you aren't going to take two steps forward next year," Yow said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You have to stay focused on what your core goals are and what you need to do to meet those goals. And you cannot allow yourself to lose focus."

MAN FOR THE JOB

NC State has a quarterback to fit its offensive scheme in Jacoby Brissett, who sat out last season after transferring from Florida.


Complete story

When Yow took over in 2010, NC State was coming off an 89th-place finish in the Directors' Cup, presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the nation's top overall athletic program. The school improved to 67th in her first year, 37th her second, then 34th last year to match the school's best finish since 2006.

But the Wolfpack slid slightly to 41st in 2013-14.

The football struggles under first-year coach Dave Doeren were the most glaring. Doeren, who left Northern Illinois to replace Tom O'Brien, took over a young team plagued by injuries -- it lost the starting quarterback for two months to injury on the season's third series -- and finished with the program's first winless ACC record since 1959.

"Some [fans] get it that the cupboard wasn't completely bare, but it was close," Yow said. "It would've been nice if Coach Doeren had Russell Wilson or Mike Glennon waiting in the wings to lead his first team, but that was not his situation."

In baseball, Elliott Avent's club was coming off its second College World Series appearance and had a pair of eventual top-15 draft picks in pitcher Carlos Rodon and infielder Trea Turner to go with a preseason No. 5 ranking from Baseball America. But it failed to make the NCAA tournament.

"As a former coach, I know you can have a glitch, and this was a significant glitch," Yow said. "But he's here, he's ours and he deserves all the support we can give him."

Men's and women's basketball, however, provided some positives. Coach Mark Gottfried's men's squad returned to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year and had the ACC player of the year in high-scoring forward T.J. Warren, while first-year women's coach Wes Moore was league coach of the year after guiding the program to 25 wins, a top-10 ranking and a return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

It was the first time that both programs reached the NCAAs since 2006.

Also this year, wrestling had a national champion in heavyweight Nick Gwiazdowski, the women's golf team tied for 10th at the NCAA championship for its best finish, and the men's and women's swimming and diving teams each finished in the top 20 for the first time in the same year.

The school has broken ground on a $14 million indoor football practice facility to open in the spring, part of Yow's focus on keeping things moving forward.

"I think that's the hardest part, staying focused when you have disappointments," Yow said. "I really do. So my job is to send that message -- remind [coaches] to stay focused, you're going to get there, you can't allow yourself to get distracted."




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