SVSU Athletics Announces Baseball Coaching Staff Changes

SVSU Athletics Announces Baseball Coaching Staff Changes

UNIVERSITY CENTER — Saginaw Valley State University Athletics has announced changes to the baseball coaching staff, as assistant coach and pitching coach Clay VanderLaan will take over as the Interim Head Coach of the program for the upcoming 2018-19 season. 

VanderLaan took over the coaching duties with 12 games left in the season for head coach and alum, Chris Ebright, who has retired from coaching due to personal reasons.  

"Saginaw Valley State has always had a special place in my heart and that will always be the case," said Ebright. "I had some of the best times of my life as both a player and coach for the Cardinals. I made lifelong friends during both of those spans with the SVSU Baseball program. After a health scare last month, I have decided to retire from the rigorous day-to-day grind of being a collegiate baseball coach and set out on a new career path. I have full confidence that SVSU Baseball is in good hands and wish nothing but the best for the program as it progresses forward. Go Cards!!"

VanderLaan shared his excitement on the new opportunity with the program after serving one season as the assistant and pitching coach...

"First and foremost, I want to thank Athletic Director John Decker and Deputy Athletic Director Angela Pohl for entrusting me with this program and I do not take the responsibility lightly. I wish the circumstances of my promotion to this position was under different circumstances and I truly want to thank Coach Ebright for everything he has done for me. The potential here at SVSU is tremendous and I believe with every ounce of me that this program is headed for great things and a bright future. To all of the alumni, all of my players and the Cardinal family as a whole: I hope you know that I will give you every ounce of energy, passion and effort that I have and pour it into this program and to bring it to the level you all expect it to be at."

VanderLaan brings experience as a player at the Division 1 and 2 levels, as well as the professional level. He pitched at Michigan State University under Coach Jake Boss, Cameron University (DII, Lone Star Conference) under Coach Todd Holland, and professionally with the Frontier Greys, Alexandria Aces, and Brownsville Charros.
 
Prior to joining the SVSU Baseball coaching staff, VanderLaan served for three years as pitching coach for St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas. During his time leading the St. Thomas arms, the staff accumulated an ERA of 2.85, record of 80-21 (65-4 during the last two seasons), sent 11 pitchers on to pitch at the collegite level and won a Texas state championship in 2017.
 
Additionally, after finishing his playing career in baseball, VanderLaan played two seasons of college football at Graceland University (NAIA, Heart of America Athletic Conference) in Lamoni, IA under Coach Jeff Douglas. He earned his bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Graceland in 2014. 

VanderLaan has been with the Cardinal Baseball staff since the fall of 2017, where he was hired in as the team's pitching coach. As the season came to an end in 2018, SVSU finished with two pitchers in the top-10 for earned run average, as well as two pitchers in the top six for most strikeouts per nine inning contest.

VanderLaan is a native of Houston, Texas and is the only child of Ron and Giulia VanderLaan. 

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