Jon Gambee resigns as Martin varsity baseball coach

Jon Gambee has resigned as Martin varsity baseball coach after four years at the helm.

Gambee, a 1965 graduate of Wayland High School, told Athletic Director Robert VanDenBurg of his decision this morning.

He cited several reasons for his resignation:

• He has had health issues for the past two seasons and missed the second half of the 2016 campaign with severe back problems. Most recently, he reported he has had trouble with heartbeat arrythmia and is attempting to stabilize the situation.

“I still believe that I can teach kids the game of baseball,” he said, “but I struggle with the ability to demonstrate.”

• He was the coach of a “homeless” team this spring and prospects are that the same conditions will continue in 2018. Construction projects have taken over the baseball field, so the Clippers played all of their games on the road and were regarded as the home team only once, in the districts after a coin flip.

• A realignment of the Southwest Athletic Conference divisions for next year will put Martin up against larger schools such as Parchment and Delton rather than schools of similar size such as Eau Claire and Bloomingdale.

• Coaching baseball these days is a huge challenge at the prep level because so many athletes are beckoned to be involved instead in football and basketball camps.

• The Clippers had only 10 players on the roster and more than once were forced to forfeit because of not having enough players.

Gambee was hired in August 2013. He said Martin had won only a couple of game over the previous five years and he was able to guide them to between five and seven victories in each of his four years of coaching, but it has been getting increasingly more difficult to be successful because of the above reasons.

He was head baseball coach at Kalamazoo Valley Community College for several years in the 1970s and coached varsity baseball at Gull Lake High School in the 1980s.

He worked with young offenders at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home for many years before retiring and since then has been a bail bondsman. Gambee also was a volunteer reporter of Martin varsity sports contests for, using his experience as sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News in the early 1970s.

He and his wife, Julie, live in the Hastings area.

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