St. John’s father & son together on the ball field
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There have been many father and son combinations when it comes to the world of sports. Whether it’s a coach to player relationship, or fathers watching their sons follow in their footsteps, this type of bond in sports is very rare. Fathers are life coaches to their children, but when their profession is to coach their child, this is like no other feeling.
The most notable name to date that is attached to the father-son/coach-player relationship is the McDermott’s featuring reigning Creighton’s Wooden Award winner Doug McDermott and his father and coach Greg McDermott. St. John’s also has this type of relationship with one of its sports teams but this one takes place not on a basketball court but on the baseball diamond.
St. John’s baseball coach Ed Blankmeyer has held the reigns of Red Storm baseball for almost two decades and sits as the programs leader in wins. Some of this New Jersey native’s accomplishments as coach include three Big East Tournament titles, four Big East regular season titles and he has coached Red Storm baseball to eight NCAA Tournament berths. Despite his historic success as the St. John’s head baseball coach, coaching his son, sophomore second baseman Ty Blankmeyer has been an experience like no other.
“My greatest coaching experience I’ve had in my life has been coaching my son,” father and coach Ed Blankmeyer said. “You just don’t get that opportunity.”
Surprising as it may be, this is the first time that the Blankmeyer boys are a part of the same team. Ed has never coached his son Ty prior to his time at St. John’s but he’s always been a part of developing his game and he knew when to take the coaching hat off and let Ty’s coaches take the reins.
“When he played on a team, the coach coached the team,” said coach Blankmeyer. “What I would do is with Ty I would work on his skills. If he needed extra batting practice or work on something we would always work together.”
Young athletes know when playing for a parent, its great opportunity to bond and spend time with someone who they look up to and admire. But like most experiences such as the Blankmeyers, there must be a line drawn in the sand with your father on one side and the other side your coach.
“There’s a difference. When we’re on the field he’s my coach and when we’re home he’s my dad,” Ty Blankmeyer said. “He’s a little more critical and expects more from me. It has its ups and downs but I get to see my family all the time. I like having my family around and it means a lot to see my father and it keeps us all together.”
With their on-field relationship coach Blankmeyer added, “You got to treat him like another guy, he’s got to earn his keep and hold up his end of the bargain. I’m proud of the way he approaches the game and I’m proud of the way he works. He has the respect of his teammates and everything he’s got he’s earned. I’m very happy what he’s done so far.”
Ty isn’t the only Blankmeyer child who has enough talent to play at the collegiate level. His two older sisters, Brittany and Alison both played field hockey in college; Brittany at Hofstra and Alison at Connecticut. Family is something that is important to the Blankmeyer’s and family, not his father’s coaching position at St. John’s, was the deciding factor to Ty’s decision on where he wanted to attend school.
“What it came down to was that I wanted to stay close to home, but I know he’s a great coach and has had success with infielders,” Ty Blankmeyer said. “I thought it was a good fit for me.”
Family is huge to Coach Blankmeyer as well and he’s been very supportive of his children’s decision making.
“We’ve been blessed, my wife and I, with our two daughters who are pretty good athletes that have the opportunity to play a collegiate sport and Ty was good enough to play a collegiate sport as well. We wanted to give them the opportunities to go wherever they wanted to go school. He (Ty) had opportunities outside of St. John’s and it took some time to make the decision and as long as he’s happy I’m happy. What can you say when you have the opportunity to see your son on a daily basis in a work setting, not too many people have that opportunity.”
The saying, “like father, like son” applies very well to the Blankmeyer boys when it comes to what position the two chose to play for their careers. Second base is the position that Ed Blankmeyer played when he was a student-athlete for four seasons at Seton Hall where he was the Atlantic Collegiate League Most Valuable Player in 1975. Ty is currently a second baseman for the Red Storm and he is very happy to learn the ways of the infield from his father.
“It’s pretty cool, he knows his stuff,” said the current Red Storm second baseman. I’ve learned what he’s learned. His experience has helped me out.” The former Seton Hall standout had this to say about his protégé second baseman. “He’s done everything I’ve asked him. He’s working hard and his better days are ahead of him.”
Ty Blankmeyer is only a sophomore, so his time with his father as his coach is only half way done. These two might not have the flair as the McDermott’s when it comes to popularity and success and they don’t really care. Both Ty and Ed Blankmeyer have the same mentality. They’re hard-working, dedicated to their craft, and above all, their bond they share on and off the baseball field will never be broken.