Longtime Michigan HS baseball volunteer coach dies after throwing batting practice

Photo: Image courtesy of Mark Pendred

Longtime Michigan HS baseball volunteer coach dies after throwing batting practice

Baseball

Longtime Michigan HS baseball volunteer coach dies after throwing batting practice

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EAST LANSING — A longtime assistant baseball coach at East Lansing High School who took pride in volunteering his time for young people has passed away.

Ed Outslay died Monday after throwing batting practice for the Trojans’ varsity team at the high school before a game. He was 67.

Outslay took a break from throwing pitches between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Monday and collapsed, Trojans head coach Mark Pendred said.

Pendred administered CPR to Outslay until paramedics arrived. Paramedics also tried to revive Outslay while he was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“He loved East Lansing baseball; he loved the kids,” Pendred of Outlsay. “He was just a caring, giving guy.”

Ed Outslay, 67, died Monday after throwing batting practice at East Lansing High School. He took pride in maintaining the field for several years, especially its pitcher’s mound. (Photo: Image courtesy of Mark Pendred)

Outslay collapsed about two hours before East Lansing played Pewamo-Westphalia in the Dean Shippey Capital Diamond Classic at Michigan State University’s McLane Stadium.

The Trojans lost 4-3. Players and coaches didn’t know Outlay had died until after their game, Pendred said.

This is Pendred’s 24th year as East Lansing’s head coach. Outlsay had been an unpaid coach under the 55-year-old Pendred for 23 of those years.

Outslay was so resistant to recognition that he declined to be in team photos every season, Pendred said.

“He just wanted to make sure it wasn’t about him,” Pendred said. “It was never about him. It was about the kids all the time.”

Nationally recognized

After coaching nine seasons at East Lansing, Outlsay won in 2003 the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year award.

Outslay, then 51, was one of about 500 assistant coaches in the country to earn the honor from the insurance company.

He was one of 1,100 high school and college assistant coaches nominated for the award out of over 350,000 in the U.S.

Also that year, Outslay earned a similar honor from the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.

After Outslay received the two awards, he told the State Journal “there’s nothing better” than being out on East Lansing’s baseball field at about 8:30 p.m. with the sun going down.

“I don’t think there’s a better place in the world,” Outslay said. “I know I sound like Kevin Costner in ‘Field of Dreams’ but there’s truth to it.”

Grand Ledge High School baseball coach Pat O’Keefe, now in his 52nd season, has known Outslay for several decades.

During that time, Outlsay developed a reputation as a “low key guy” who took pride in the pristine conditions of East Lansing’s field, especially its pitcher’s mound.

O’Keefe said Outslay cared for the field “like it was his baby.”

O’Keefe said he’s not surprised the Trojans played a game Monday night just hours after Outslay collapsed.

“Knowing Ed, I think he would have told the kids to go and play,” O’Keefe said.

East Lansing assistant baseball coach Ed Outslay, right, is seen here in 2010 reacting to player Grant Messerschmidt being called out at first base during a Diamond Classic quarterfinal game with Fowlerville. (Photo: State Journal file photo)

Academic excellence

Former East Lansing players like Greg Pollack, 31, remember fondly how Outslay encouraged them to have fun and not take the game too seriously.

Pollack describes Outslay as “the heartbeat of the team” and “glue that held the team together.”

After each season, Outslay would present each player at the team banquet with a humorous, multi-page “Season in Review” report created on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

“It wasn’t written from a factual perspective,” Pollack said. “He would take some journalistic liberties.”

In addition to baseball, Outslay was an accomplished professor at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business who traveled the country often for speaking engagements.

Outslay was one of three faculty members within the college’s Accounting and Information System who received in 2018 an American Taxation Assocaition/Deloitte Teaching Innovation Award.

The award is presented annually to tax accounting professors “whose innovative teaching techniques encourage critical thinking and enhance the overall learning experience,” according to the college’s website.

Innovative approach

Former East Lansing player Marcus Calverley, 33, said Outslay demonstrated the qualities of an award-winning educator as a coach.

Calverley recalls winter practice sessions when Outslay would conduct innovative ground ball drills in the high school’s gymnasium.

Outslay would have players tie wooden paddles to their hands so they could improve their coordination and muscle memory as they corralled each ball.

“He always found a way to make drills fun,” Calverley said. “He showed a lot of patience. The attention to detail he had was borderline obsessive.”

Outslay is survived by his wife, Jane, and sons Mark and Jeff.

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Longtime Michigan HS baseball volunteer coach dies after throwing batting practice
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