DETROIT, Mich. – Marygrove College Athletic Director Steve Bloomfield announced Wednesday (April 2) the hiring of local elite instructor Ryan Kottke as head coach of the College's new baseball program. The announcement comes just two months after the northwest Detroit institution added the sport to its growing athletic slate. Led by Kottke, the newly-formed baseball program will begin play next season (2014-15) in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).
"We had many quality candidates apply for the baseball head coaching position," Bloomfield said in regards to the College's recent search for a coach. "Coach Kottke comes to Marygrove with a wealth of experience in the game both as a player and a coach. His experience on the diamond, combined with his various coaching stops, made him the ideal choice to take the reins of our new program. If the early energy behind the program is any indication, Coach Kottke will build a winner on-and-off the field quickly here at Marygrove."Kottke, a well-known figure in the local baseball community, will rely on his extensive playing and coaching background to build the Mustangs into a championship contender immediately. After a successful high school career at Sterling Heights High School, Kottke made a stop at St. Clair County Community College before winding up at Spalding University (Ky.) to finish out his collegiate career. During his days at Spalding – a then-NAIA school in Louisville – the two-year starter was tabbed All-American Honorable Mention, All-Conference and All-Region for his play behind the plate. Kottke helped lead Spalding to a fifth place finish in the NAIA World Series in 2005.From there, Kottke played professionally for five years with the Mid-Missouri Mavericks (2005), Rio Grande Valley White Wings (2007 & 2009), Laredo Broncos (2007), Traverse City Beach Bums (2008), and the Bay Area Toros (2008). Halfway through his professional career, Kottke returned to his alma mater, this time as an assistant, as the hitting and catching coach. Kottke's responsibilities ranged from on-field coaching to the overall recruitment for the program from 2007-09. Kottke returned home to the southeast Michigan region after his professional career ended in 2009.Since then, Kottke has rebuilt his name locally in the baseball community through various coaching roles and individual instruction. Most recently, Kottke was responsible for the turnaround of the Lake Shore High School baseball program. The Shorians toppled two of the state's Top-10 teams since Kottke's arrival and were ranked in USA Today's Michigan Top-20 in March 2013.The successful coaching job was due in part to Kottke's role at 2SP, an elite athletic performance facility located in Madison Heights. Since 2011, Kottke has helped over 75 student-athletes to achieve their dreams of playing baseball at the collegiate level through his 2SP work. As 2SP's elite baseball instructor, Kottke will bridge the 17,000 square foot facility into the day-to-day operations of Marygrove's baseball program. Giving Marygrove baseball players access to 2SP is key for the early success of the program to Kottke."My relationship with the great ownership of 2SP, combined with the support of Marygrove's administration, will allow for this program to form into a championship contender quickly," said Marygrove's new head coach. "The combination my playing and coaching careers, plus the facilities and support we are gaining, are all big reasons Marygrove Baseball will come out of the gates and be competitive year one.""The outreach and support that I've received since arriving on-campus has been overwhelming," continued Kottke. "Having 17 recruits on campus in two days, plus another 10 in the days that followed, shows the belief in this program I share with the baseball community and incoming players. To see recruits and their parents having excitement on their faces after a campus visit is something that will never get old in this program. Our program goals for the first season will be the same as our goals in season 10 – to win a championship! There is a ton of talent in the metro Detroit area that is untapped for unexplained reasons. It's our goal as a program to find these players and put everyone on notice that we are here now and will be here for a long time."As for the current status of the new program, Kottke has been aggressive on the recruiting trail early by bringing over 25 recruits to campus prior to Wednesday's official announcement tabbing him as the head coach. The first-year head coach has started to recruit high school and community college student-athletes as the program prepares for year one of competition in 2014-15."We will win," relayed Kottke. "Above all else, our team will take care of business in the classroom. Very few college student-athletes move on to the next level so we will build young men to be leaders in the classroom and the community. Additionally, the student-athletes considering Marygrove should know we just don't want to have a team for the sake of having a team. We want to win and will do so with the quality of student-athlete that is already stepping onto Marygrove's campus to play next year."Want to be a part of the historic first team? Interested baseball student-athletes can fill out a recruit form here. Looking to stay connected to Marygrove athletics and the newly-formed baseball program? Follow the Mustangs on twitter at twitter.com/MGroveBASEBALL.