Marken taking Spring Arbor baseball reins – Hometownlife.com
When Spring Arbor University baseball coach Sam Riggleman retires following the 2016 season, a familiar face, Ryan Marken, will step in to grab the reigns of the program.
âWe are thrilled that Ryan has accepted the invitation to be the next baseball coach at Spring Arbor University,â Spring Arbor athletic director Ryan Cottingham said. âSAU has an unparalleled tradition of excellence within our baseball program and Coach Marken will undoubtedly build on the strong legacy of baseball and character development.â
Marken, a South Lyon native, is set to begin his new position on June 1.
âI’m grateful for the opportunity Ryan Cottingham, president (Dr. Brent) Ellis and the university has given me, and thankful for them believing in me,â said Marken. âI can’t help but smile knowing how much the Lord has had his hand on this whole situation.â
No stranger to the program, Marken, a former player and now in his third season as an assistant coach, has helped guide the Cougars to two consecutive Crossroads League tournament championships and NAIA National Championship opening round appearances.
As a player, Marken (2010) was part of Spring Arbor teams that captured three conference titles and made two NAIA World Series appearances, including one in 2007 where the team finished as the national runner-up. His class would go down as the winning class in program history putting together back-to-back 40-win seasons with records of 48-5 and 40-9, including a remarkable 36-game winning streak in 2007.
âThis program is so much bigger than me,â Marken said. âThe rich tradition and the level of excellence that has been on display for the last 55 years is something I hope to continue to build upon. To have the opportunity to replace two Hall of Fame coaches in (Hank) Burbridge and Riggleman is incredible.â
In addition to his time coaching in the college ranks, Marken spent five years as the head coach of the Indiana East Lake Chargers, an elite baseball academy summer travel team headquartered in northern Indiana.
As part of the Chargersâ staff, Marken has helped develop and graduate over a dozen players who have gone on to play high level collegiate baseball. His 17U team has amassed a .766 winning percentage playing against the best teams in southern Michigan and northern Indiana.
Marken is also the founder and co-director of the Next Level Baseball Academy, a highly touted camp circuit that puts on skills and leadership development training camps for youth baseball players around the Midwest. NLBA gives baseballâs ânextâ generation access to collegiate and professional level instruction that otherwise wouldnât be available.
âSAU has helped shape who I am today,â Marken said. âMy walk with the Lord was built and strengthened here. I met my beautiful wife here. My brother graduated from here. My sister is currently enrolled here. This place has been my home away from home. I’m thrilled to have the chance to build upon the storied history of this program. I’m excited to continue the expansion of the Kingdom at such a wholesome place.
Marken and his wife, Alyssa, who is also an Siena Heights alumnus and former athlete, currently reside in Grass Lake.
âTo be able to help mentor and develop young men the way Sam did for my life is my greatest anticipation,â Marken said. âI hope when it’s all said and done I’m seen as a minister disguised as a baseball coach. I love this university and I’m elated to be able to give back.â