Eastern Mennonite University has announced the resignation of Head Baseball Coach Ben Spotts, effective May 20. He has accepted a similar position at his alma mater, Bridgewater College, taking over for the retiring Curt Kendall.
Spotts recently completed his seventh season at EMU with his program's second trip to the ODAC Tournament. He earned the second most wins of any coach in program history, finishing with an overall record of 117-149-1. Spotts' teams averaged 16.7 wins per season, the highest mark of the ten coaches in the program's 51 years.
"I would like to thank the EMU community for welcoming myself and my family over the last seven years," Spotts said. "I have enjoyed my time here and will certainly miss the relationships with the campus community and the support our program has received. I would like to especially thank Director of Athletics Dave King for his support, guidance, professionalism, and friendship in my time here. He played a major role in allowing our program to move forward and be able to compete at a high level. I have always taken pride in giving our players a first class experience in all that we do in our program, and Dave's support allowed my vision of the program to become a reality."
Before Spotts was hired in the summer of 2012, the Royals were averaging 11.3 wins over a 10-year drought from the postseason. In his second season, the team reached 20 wins for just the third time in program history, and followed that by tying the program record with 10 conference victories to claim a spot in the ODAC Tournament in 2015.
"There isn't enough space or time to describe what Ben has done for the EMU baseball program and university as a whole," King commented. "While he is an excellent coach of the game and got the most that he could out of his players, perhaps his greatest achievement has been the development of a culture that elevated the baseball program to new levels. He created something that players wanted to be part of and in that process they became both better players and better young men."
Spotts' teams produced seven All-ODAC First Team honors, including a pair of two-time winners in Joe Hall (2015, 17) and Damon Frazier (2017-18). Overall, Royals players have earned four All-Region citations and 20 All-ODAC awards (including four this season), with Hall (2017) and Frazier (2018) also claiming ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors. Spotts was named the ODAC Coach of the Year when he guided the team to the postseason in 2015.
"I am proud of what we were able to accomplish in my time at EMU," Spotts said. "In addition to the individual awards, we were able to improve our facility to be one of the best in the conference, reach new heights with our team GPA and academic profile of players in our program, and graduate well prepared men that are ready to support themselves and make positive impacts in their community."
In his leaving, Spotts focused on his players, citing their "buy in" as the reason the program was able to reach new heights and graduate alumni who were proud to say they played baseball at EMU.
"I am thankful to all of the players I have coached in my time at EMU," he said. "I will forever be grateful to these players for their commitment not only to EMU and their education but also to our coaching staff and their teammates."
King pointed to Spotts' commitment to his players and their student-athlete experience as the springboard for the culture of the renewed EMU baseball program.
"Ben gave his all to EMU baseball," said King. "His work ethic, commitment to players and organizational skills allowed him to develop practice and game plans that gave players the best opportunities for success on the field while minimizing missed class time, supporting their academic pursuits."
As the attention turns to a replacement, King said Spotts left a positive mark.
"While this is a huge loss, I am grateful that we were able to provide him with his first head coaching job and wish him the best as he returns to his alma mater," King said. "I learned a lot from him that will help me be a better administrator. Ben is, and will continue to be, a really good coach, but he is an even better person. He uses baseball to develop young men. His holistic approach was a good fit for EMU and he developed a baseball program that supported the values and goals of the university. I will always be grateful for the contributions he made to EMU."
The Royals finished 16-23-1 this spring, tying the program record for ODAC wins at 10-12, and advancing to the ODAC Tournament. Despite the departure of nine seniors, all four All-ODAC honorees will return from a young nucleus.
King said the search for Spotts' replacement has already started.