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The timing wasn’t great for Eastern Michigan to lose its baseball coach.

So athletic director Scott Wetherbee is trying to put time back on his side. He announced Wednesday that rather than rush a hiring for the 2018 season, Eric Roof will be promoted to interim coach for the entire season.

Wetherbee said the school will re-open its national search following the season.

“As I evaluated the timing of the search and the needs of the program for the long term, I felt that it was in the program’s best interest to promote Eric to interim head coach,” Wetherbee said in a statement. “This will allow us to maintain continuity within the program and provide the best possible student-athlete experience for the upcoming season.”

Roof is just 31, and only six years removed from a professional baseball career which topped out at Single-A Lakeland in the Tigers organization in 2011.

Roof played at Michigan State and was drafted by the Tigers in the 18th round in 2009. He is the son of Tigers minor-league coach Gene Roof. Roof’s brothers also are in coaching, Jonathan a graduate assistant at Missouri, and Shawn the manager of the Single-A Hillsboro Hops of the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Eastern Michigan was caught off-guard recently when head coach Mark Van Ameyde left the job to return to Michigan State, to again work on Jake Boss’ staff. Van Ameyde’s decision, after three years on the job, came after the completion of the 2017 fall schedule.

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Roof is in his fourth season on staff at Eastern Michigan, working with hitters, outfielders and catchers.

“From here on out, it’s business as usual,” he said in a statement. “I appreciate the opportunity athletic director Scott Wetherbee and senior associate athletic director for external affairs Andy Rowdon have granted me.”

Spencer Schmitz (assistant coach) and Matt Rembielak (volunteer assistant) round out Roof’s staff. An interim pitching coach is expected to be hired soon, and there are rumblings it could be former Michigan State pitcher A.J. Achter, who pitched in the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels.

Eastern Michigan was 27-35 and 14-10 in the Mid-American Conference in 2017.

It opens the 2018 season with a four-game series at Florida Gulf Coast from Feb. 16-18.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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