Head Coach Eric Roof
Eric Roof enters his second season at the helm of the Eastern Michigan University baseball program after being officially named the Head Coach of the EMU baseball team on June 4, 2018, after spending the 2018 campaign as the squad’s interim head coach.
In 2019, Roof’s squad finished with an 11-43-1 record, including a 6-21 finish in Mid-American Conference play. Although the team did not qualify for the MAC tournament (only the top-six regular season teams go), Roof’s uni earned wo conference sweeps over MAC West Division foes Bowling Green State University, and the University of Toledo, while also racking up numerous individual awards.
In the classroom, the team finished with a conference-best 3.515 cumulative GPA. Additionally, 12 different Eagles earned Academic All-MAC honors, the most in Roof’s tenure, and the second most in the league, just one behind Western Michigan’s 13 nods. The team GPA was the best across all mens sports at EMU, and ranked fourth-best among every mens team in the MAC in 2019. Individually, Zachary Owings was named a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree for the consecutive year under Roof. Roof’s team also earned MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week honors on three different occasions during the 2019 campaign.
Individually, Roof’s guidance led to a slew of awards and accolades for his Eagles following the 2019 season. Most notably, Roof coaches Zachary Owings to his most successful season as an Eagles, where he led the team in batting (.345), slugging (.527), on-base percentage (.395), stolen bases (14), runs (38), doubles (18), as well as hits (76), and RBIs (34). Following the season, Owings was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 33rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft. With the selection, Roof has now led a student-athlete to the professional ranks in consecutive seasons, first helping Max Schuemann (drafted by the Oakland A’s), and now Owings, reach their pro potential.
In 2018, Roof guided the Eagles to a 22-34 overall mark, including a 14-13 Mid-American Conference record and a sixth place finish in the conference standings. With the sixth place finish, EMU reached its third straight MAC Tournament, the first time they have gone to three consecutive since 2011-13. The non-conference schedule was highlighted by a 2-1 weekend series win over Oklahoma State, who, later on in the season, would become nationally ranked and receive an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament.
At the end of the season, Zachary Owings, Luke DeVenney, and Max Schuemann were awarded All-MAC honors, the first time EMU has had three honorees in a single season since 2012. Owings was named to the first team after finishing in the top 10 in the MAC in six offensive categories, including a .350 batting average, the highest for an EMU player since 2014.
As a team, EMU had its best team batting average since Roof's arrival in 2015, batting .262, six points higher than the previous best mark of .257 in 2015. They also had the second most hits, runs, doubles, RBIs, on-base percentage points, and walks since 2015 as well. On the base paths, EMU once again finished in the top 20 in the country in stolen bases, ranking 20th in the nation and first in the MAC with 92 swipes.
On the pitching side, Roof's hire of pitching coach A.J. Achter proved fruitful, as EMU had the second-best conference only ERA with a 3.69 mark, 36 points better then the next best team. DeVenney finished with a 2.49 ERA, which was third in the MAC and 70th in the nation, while his 1.93 conference-only ERA was second. The 2.49 ERA was also the lowest for an EMU starter since 2007.
Roof completed his fourth year in Ypsilanti after spending the first three as an assistant coach working with the Eagles' hitters, outfielders and catchers. In 2015, the squad posted a record of 20-35 (9-18 MAC) before a MAC Tournament Semifinals appearance in 2016 when the Eagles went 23-36 (10-14 MAC). Last season, the Green and White posted a record of 27-35 (14-10 MAC) and a strong postseason run for its first MAC Tournament Championship game appearance since 2008.
Last season, the Eagles had five players drive in more than 25 runs led by Second Team All-MAC honoree John Montgomery. The left-handed slugger led Eastern in games (61), average (.289), hits (68), home runs (12), RBIs (49), total bases (117), and slugging (.498). He was one of the top home run hitting threats in the MAC, finishing tied for third. Additionally, outfielder Jordan Peterson had one of the best performances in EMU history against Northern Illinois, May 14, when he had four hits, including three home runs and nine RBIs. His efforts earned him not only MAC Player of the Week status, but also Collegiate Baseball News National Player of the Week accolades.
In 2016, the Eagle offense collected 19 more hits and scored 43 more runs in 2016 than in 2015. The team saw a power surge, slugging 35 points better this season, including clubbing 47 home runs, 28 better than 2015 and the most since 2010. The home run total ranked third in the MAC and 51st in the country.
In his first season coaching the catchers in 2015, Roof helped Tony DiLeo throw out 43 percent of base stealers, which led the Mid-American Conference. As a team, the Eagles threw out the second most would-be base stealers in the Conference.
Before arriving at Eastern Michigan in 2015, Roof spent two years as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Michigan State University.
At MSU with Roof coaching the catchers, the Spartan mask men threw out 39 baserunners on attempted steals throughout the 2014 campaign, leading the Big Ten Conference. Roof coached Joel Fisher, the Danny Litwhiler Defensive Player of the Year and Third Team All-Big Ten honoree, who was the conference leader in gunning down baserunners with 30. Following the season, Fisher was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 23rd round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Returning to East Lansing as a coach in 2013, the MSU battery caught 27 stealing on the base path while Spartan sluggers hit at a .281 clip to rank fourth in the conference.
Roof played three seasons in the minor leagues (2009-11) for the Tigers organization. He began his professional career in 2009 with the Oneonta Tigers in the Class A New York-Penn League before playing in the New York-Penn League for the Connecticut Tigers in 2010 as well as the West Michigan Whitecaps in the Class A Midwest League. Wrapping up his playing career in 2011, Roof appeared in 40 games with the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Class A Advanced Florida State League.
As a student-athlete at Michigan State from 2007-09, Roof was a three-year letterwinner and served as a captain his senior season. He compiled a .314 batting average in 136 career games, including 115 starts, to go along with 10 homers and 83 RBIs. Prior to arriving in East Lansing, the Paducah, Ky. native played his freshman season at St. Catherine (Ky.) College.
Roof batted .308 as a junior in 2008 and was rewarded by being selected in the 46th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Detroit Tigers; however, he elected to return to MSU for his senior year. The decision paid off as the team captain started all 54 games and led the Spartans in batting average (.345), hits (69), doubles (14), RBIs (41), slugging percentage (.525) and on-base percentage (.440). For his strong season, Roof was named Michigan State’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year and jumped 28 rounds in the 2009 MLB Draft as the Tigers picked him up in the 18th round.
Roof is not the only one in his family that has been successful on all levels of baseball. His father, Gene, played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Montreal Expos in the 1980s, and is currently a coach in the Detroit Tigers organization as the baserunning coordinator. Eric's younger brother, Jonathan, was also a three-year letterwinner (2008-10) at MSU as a shortstop and was chosen in the eighth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by Texas. He is currently a graduate assistant for the University of Missouri baseball team. His older brother, Shawn, played at Illinois and was with the Frederick Keys, a High A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He is now the manager for the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. His sister, Jacqueline, was a two-time All-American softball player at Campbellsville University.
Assistant Coach Jonathan Roof
Jonathan Roof is in his second year as a member of brother Eric Roof’s staff, after being named an assistant coach of the EMU baseball team for the 2019 season, July 2.
In 2019, Jonathan helped redefine the EMU defense, and worked with EMU hitters to find new success. His efforts helped lead Zachary Owings to be named a Second Team All-MAC and All-MAC Defensive Team selection following the 2019 season.
The team’s primary hitting coach, Roof led an offense that amassed better than 450 his, and a .338 on-base percentage. Roof’s star hitter, Owings, led the team in batting (.345), slugging (.527), on-base percentage (.395), stolen bases (14), runs (38), doubles (18), as well as hits (76), and RBIs (34). Following the season, Owings was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 33rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft.
Jonathan came to Ypsilanti after a stint at the University of Missouri as the teams' volunteer assistant coach in 2018. While with the Tigers, Jonathan served as the defensive coordinator, as well as the first base coach. He helped take the Mizzou defense from 195th in the country in fielding percentage in 2017, to seventh in the nation in 2018.
Before joining the Missouri coaching staff, Jonathan returned to Michigan State in 2016 as a student assistant coach as he finished up his undergraduate degree. While back with the Spartans, Jonathan assisted the infielders and offense, while also helping with camps and other daily office duties.
The Paducah, Ky. native spent six seasons as a professional baseball player in the Red Sox, Phillies, Padres, and Rangers systems, as well as a season with the New Britain Bees in the Atlantic League. He was drafted in the eighth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Rangers. Jonathan finished his career in AAA with the Pawtucket Red Sox, and batted .254 in 504 career games, while belting 18 home runs, driving in 176 runners, and stealing 35 bags, all while playing every infield and outfield position. He was a Carolina League All-Star in 2014, as well as an organizational All-Star for Philadelphia in 2013.
During his time as a three-year letterwinner for the Spartans, Jonathan native started all 160 games he played in during his three-year career. Roof then bypassed his senior season of eligibility after getting drafted by the Rangers. At the time, he was the highest Spartan drafted since Bob Malek was chosen in the fourth round in 2002.
As a Spartan, Roof hit .299 for his career, registering 188 hits, with 31 doubles, five triples, seven home runs, 95 RBI and 31 stolen bases. Defensively, Roof had a .948 career fielding percentage with 481 assists.
In his 2010 junior season, Roof ranked tied for fifth in the Big Ten Conference in the regular season with 53 runs scored and hit .317 with four homers and 43 RBIs. Roof also collected 72 hits, 16 stolen bases, 13 doubles and owned a .372 on-base percentage.
During the regular season, the slick fielding shortstop led the league in assists (173) and tied for fifth in fielding double plays (43); both of those marks were school single-season records at the time.
For his efforts in 2010, Roof became the first Spartan since 2006 to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. Roof was also selected in the MLB Draft out of high school in the 39th round by the Boston Red Sox.
Jonathan completed his degree in social science at MSU in August of 2017. He is a 2007 graduate of St. Mary High School.
The Roof family is well known in the baseball world, as Eric and Jonathan's relatives have made marks all over the professional and college ranks. Their father, Gene, played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Montreal Expos in the 1980s, and is currently a coach in the Detroit Tigers organization as the outfield/baserunning coordinator. Their older brother, Shawn, played at Illinois and was with the Frederick Keys, a High A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He is now the manager for the Visalia Rawhide, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Finally, their younger sister, Jacqueline, was a three-time All-American softball player at Campbellsville University.
Assistant Coach A.J. Achter
Entering his third season as part of the EMU baseball program is pitching coach AJ Achter, who was named an assistant coach prior to the 2018 season. A former MLB hurler, Achter has helped guide EMU pitchers to newfound success during his time in Ypsilanti.
Achter is credited with helping to compile Eastern’s 2019 recruiting class, which includes multiple high-level pitchers. Most notably, Achter helped land freshman pitcher Cameron Wagoner, who was the 22nd round pick of the Texas Rangers in the 2019 MLB Draft.
In 2019, Achter guided Scott Granzotto to a career-best season on the bump. The sophomore southpaw appeared in 12 games, making nine starts in the mound, before being shut down due to injury. He led the team in strikeouts (47), ERA (3.88), and complete games (1). Granzotto also tossed a complete game win against Bowling Green, April 5, becoming the first Eagle to throw a complete game since 2017, and earned Mid-American Conference Pitcher the Week recognition for his efforts.
Achter was the only coach on a Division I baseball staff in the state of Michigan to have prior MLB playing experience, while being just one of two in the Mid-American Conference, joining Kent State Head Coach Jeff Duncan. As of 2019, there are just four coaches is the MAC with MLB playing experience.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Achter spent the last eight years in professional baseball, including three seasons in the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins (2014-15) and Los Angeles Angels (2016). Most recently, Achter was in the minor league system of the Detroit Tigers during the 2017 season. In his three-year MLB career, the right-handed pitcher went 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA in 62.0 innings, while striking out 33.
In his minor league career, Achter was a four-time all-star in the Twins' minor league system, including twice at the AAA level with the Rochester Red Wings. In eight seasons in the minors, Achter racked up 24 wins while pitching to a 3.11 ERA and tallying 442 strikeouts.
Achter was drafted out of Michigan State University in the 46th round of the 2010 draft after spending three seasons as a starting pitcher for the Spartans. Achter and Roof were teammates on the 2008 and 2009 teams while at MSU. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, Achter had an all-star season in the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2010, which led to him signing with the Twins and starting his professional career.
A 2007 graduate of Oregon Clay High School, Achter was a standout athlete for the Eagles, lettering in baseball, basketball, and football. He was a First Team All-Ohio selection on the diamond, as well as being named the Toledo City League Player of the Year in 2007. He gained national recognition by Baseball America, being tabbed as their No. 5 prospect in the state of Ohio.
Achter is the son of Rod and Cindy Achter. His father played football at the University of Toledo, and was eventually drafted into the NFL by the Minnesota Vikings, while also playing for the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. He has two siblings, a sister, Amanda, and a brother, Austin. Austin played a season of baseball at Ohio State University.
Achter resides in Brighton with his wife, Kaiti, an EMU alumnus, as well as their dog, Izzy. The couple’s first child, Ruby, was born on May 23, 2019. A healthy and beautiful child, Ruby can often be spotted spending the day with dad inside his Convocation Center office.
Volunteer Assistant Coach Cory Mee
Eastern Michigan University baseball Head Coach Eric Roof announced the hiring of Cory Mee as the team's volunteer assistant coach, Sept. 4, 2019. Mee comes to Ypsilanti by way of the University of Toledo, where he spent the previous 16 years as the head coach of the Rockets.
Mee’s tenure at Toledo was highlighted by the 2012 MAC West Division Championship, ten appearances in the MAC tournament, and a school-record 195 MAC wins. In addition, his teams set UT records in 13 different statistical categories during his time in Toledo, and ranked second all-time in three others. In his last 13 years at Toledo, the Rocket’s qualified for the MAC tournament 10 times. Only two other league members qualified for postseason play more than Toledo during that period. In that stretch, Toledo finished in the top half of the overall conference standings on nine occasions. In addition to the MAC West title in 2012, the Rockets finished second in the MAC West Division standings in 2009, 2010, and 2015.
Mee was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading UT to a record of 34-22, the program's first 30-win season since 1999, as well as a 19-8 record in conference play. The 2010 squad posted the best offensive numbers in UT history, setting school records in hits, doubles, runs scored, RBIs, and slugging percentage. The .328 batting average compiled by the squad ranks second-best in school history.
A player-development specialist, Mee has worked with 73 players that have gone on to sign professional contracts during his 26 years in the NCAA Divison I coaching ranks, including 27 while at Toledo. In addition, Mee coached 24 Rockets who earned All-MAC honors, including a two-time MAC Defensive Player of the Year, Deion Tansel, who earned that honor in both 2015 and 2016. Tansel was the first two-time winner of the award in MAC history.
Mee has always emphasized academics, an area where his players have excelled. During his tenure at UT, the Rockets achieved a 3.0-or-better GPA in 27 of 32 semesters. That includes a program-record 3.449 GPA in the fall of 2016. During Mee's tenure at UT, 48 different Toledo players were selected as Academic All-MAC honorees.
A native of Hilton, N.Y., Mee made his way to the Buckeye State after serving as an assistant coach at Michigan State from 2000-03. Prior to his stay in East Lansing, Mich., he served as an assistant coach for six seasons at his alma mater, Notre Dame (1993, '95-99).
A four-year starter at Notre Dame from 1989-92 and a captain during his senior campaign, Mee was versatile as a collegiate athlete, spending time at third base, catcher and second base during his Fighting Irish career. He graduated in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and was named first-team Academic All-America.
After graduation, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and played minor league baseball for the Yakima Bears in the Northwest League. In 1993, he returned to his alma mater as a volunteer assistant, helping the Fighting Irish reach the NCAA Regionals. He then spent one year at the Rochester Institute of Technology as an assistant coach before accepting a full-time coaching position at Notre Dame.
Mee and his wife Susan have two daughters, Reilly and McKenna, and one son, Grady.