Blake steps down

More news about: Simpson
Ben Blake made the IIAC tournament in nine of his 10 seasons as the head coach at Simpson.
Simpson athletics photo

INDIANOLA, Iowa - Ben Blake has stepped down as the head baseball coach at Simpson College, Director of Athletics Brian Niemuth announced Friday.

Coaching changes following the 2016 season

The 25th head coach in program history, Blake spent 10 seasons as the Storm's head coach, going 194-222 since taking over in 2007. In all, Blake spent 13 seasons on Simpson's staff, serving as associate head coach with John Sirianni in 2006 and hitting coach in 2004 and 2005.

"Ben has been a part of Simpson baseball for many years and his contributions to the program go well beyond wins and losses," Niemuth said. "We wish Ben, his wife Keri and their family the best of luck in the future."

Blake's best season with Simpson came in 2008 when he led the Storm to a 25-16 mark and a second-place finish in the Iowa Conference. He closes his career with the second-most wins in program history and is one of just three coaches in 117 years to reach the 100-win plateau. Simpson qualified for the conference tournament in nine of his 10 seasons.

"I started coaching because I didn't know what else to do," Blake said. "I never thought I'd make it 10 years, and I guarantee there were a lot of people who lost money on that bet. For the past 10 years I've been treated very well, and I get a little emotional thinking about all of the great people in the athletic department I was blessed to work alongside over the years.

"I've been fortunate to have coached great kids and I've been around coaches I truly enjoyed working with, two things that got me through the ups and downs of being a collegiate baseball coach."

Blake coached 25 all-conference players and seven all-region performers. The program's career leaders in hits (Dave Johnson, 2008-11), doubles (Joey Young, 2002-05), triples (Tyler Crandell, 2010-13), runs scored (Corey Rasmussen, 2007-10) stolen bases (Corey Rasmussen), saves (Matt Pennings, 2013-15) and strikeouts (Chris Dorff, 2009-12) all played under Blake.

Blake was a first team all-region performer for Simpson as a senior in 1992, following stops at Oral Roberts, Westark CC and Texas A&M. He earned his bachelor's degree from Simpson in 1999 after a stint in the Cleveland Indians organization. Ben is the brother of former Major Leaguer Casey Blake and son of the late Joe Blake, a longtime pitching coach for the Storm.

The Storm went 14-29 in 2016 and finished sixth in the Iowa Conference after being picked last in the preseason coaches poll.

A search for Blake's replacement will begin immediately, Niemuth said.