Merchant returns to Olivet

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OLIVET, Mich. – Olivet College Athletic Director Ryan Shockey has announced the hiring of Andy Merchant as the new head baseball coach.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to coach baseball at Olivet,” said Merchant. “It was my goal to return to the MIAA and this position at Olivet feels like home. I look forward to competing with this group of guys and building a culture of success at Olivet. Lastly, I want to thank Ryan Shockey for this opportunity to lead the Comets.”

Merchant comes to Olivet from Lansing Community College (LCC), where he served as head baseball coach for the past three seasons. In his three seasons at LCC, Merchant compiled a 69-69 overall record. The Stars set many records in this time, highlighted by a school-record 30 win season in 2016. The 2016 team earned the school’s first-ever postseason appearance in the NJCAA Region XII Tournament in Battle Creek.

While at Lansing, the single-season school records set included wins (30), runs scored (375), hits (467), doubles (104), home runs (23), batting average (.321), slugging percentage (.457) and strikeouts thrown (329) all in 2016.  The 2015 team set single-season school records for triples (19) and on-base percentage (.417). In Merchant’s first season, the 2014 squad set the school record with 82 stolen bases.

The 2016 team ranked 35th nationally in batting average and 38th in slugging percentage. Two starters on the team finished with an on-base percentage over .500. The pitching staff on the 2016 team also finished 30th nationally with 8.49 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2015, LCC finished 26th nationally with a .424 on-base percentage.

Overall, Merchant coached 14 All-Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) performers, including Austin Lansky, who was an All-District and All-Region performer in 2016. The 2014 team featured Bailey Magsig, who finished sixth nationally with a 1.17 ERA. In 2015, outfielder Jake Bozzo ranked 18th nationally with a .522 on-base percentage.  Merchant’s teams produced 16 players that continued at four-year institutions.

In 2016, LCC became a MCCAA All-Academic team for the first time in the program’s history, with a 3.025 team GPA. The team also had a program-record six Academic All-MCCAA selections. With a focus on competing at a national level, LCC played 16 of its 50 games against schools ranked in the top 20 nationally and played nine games versus schools ranked in the top six nationally.

Merchant earned a bachelor of art’s degree in business administration from Alma College in 2000. While there, he played four years of baseball for the Scots. In 1999, Alma won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship under former Boston Red Sox pitcher John Leister. A right-handed pitcher, Merchant led the Scots in appearances during the 1999 championship season.

Prior to Alma, Merchant attended Holt High School where he set the school record for strikeouts by a pitcher, a record that stood for 15 years. His playing career also included stints with East Lansing Post 205, Gratiot County League and Lansing Men’s City League.  Merchant founded and coached the Kitsmiller Baseball Club, who competed successfully in the Lansing Men’s League for three seasons.

“Andy will be a great addition to our staff and bring a new look to our baseball program,” said Shockey. “His knowledge and passion for the game will make him a great fit for Olivet College.”

Merchant’s wife Megan is in her fifth season as head women’s volleyball coach for the Comets. Andy and Megan live in DeWitt, with their son, Eli.