Ryan Kottke — Head Baseball Coach
SC4 alum and head baseball coach Ryan Kottke has returned home with a vision to build upon and further the success of the Skippers baseball program.
“It’s about us coming together as a collective group of 40-plus players and coaches to take this program and build something that we can look back on and be proud of,” Kottke said. “As a player, I never made it to the conference tournament or beyond, so that’s one of those things that we want to stretch the program beyond where we’ve been.”
SC4 Catcher, Whitney Hughes, says he appreciates Kottke’s devotion to the team and passion for the game.
“[Kottke] is a great guy. He’s got a lot of experience playing and coaching, and he’s created a real close knit team,” Hughes said.
Kottke says he sees this as an exciting challenge that extends beyond just the stats earned on the field.
“The challenge of reestablishing a program and being a part of seeing the kids enjoy the game, and now as a parent of two kids and seeing them play, it all reminds me of my memories of playing at Sanborn Park,” Kottke said. “It truly is a unique opportunity that a lot of coaches don’t have.”
Before Kottke was making memories at Sanborn Park as a Skipper, however, he was one of Michigan’s top baseball players. During his time as a catcher at Sterling Heights High School, he earned many accolades, including spots on Michigan’s All-State team and the Macomb County Dream team.
Upon graduation, he committed to SC4, where he later became a team captain in 2003. And once his time as a Skipper was over, he transferred to Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky, where he and the team saw great success.
Kottke was named to the All-Conference team, All-Region team, and even the NAIA All-American team. His team also placed fifth at the NAIA World Series in 2005.
His career as a college athlete propelled him into playing professionally for teams all over, including the Mid-Missouri Mavericks, the RGV White Wings, the Laredo Broncos, and the Traverse City Beach Bums.
Kottke isn’t the only one on the Skippers’ coaching staff with such a wide range of experience. Assistant coaches Nick Black and Philip Walby both bring a lot of knowledge and connections to the team as well. Black was an NJCAA All-American and later played for one of the nation’s top programs at Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Florida. And Walby, after a successful college tenure, went on to pitch for the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals.
This group of stand-out of coaches is on a mission with big goals for their team.
“First and foremost, our goal is getting back into the post-season,” Kottke said. “For us, taking a step in that right direction and with that kind of success, we’re going to move more people on to four-year universities that they actually want to play at, not just moving on to keep chasing their dream.”