Benjamin Van Alstyne

Benjamin Van Alstyne (1893-1972)

Teams coached: Ohio Wesleyan Battlin’ Bishops, Michigan State Spartans
Ohio Wesleyan record^: 75-31 (.708)
Michigan State record: 231-163 (.586)
Overall record^: 306-194 (.612)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  0

Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1926-1949 Michigan State
1920-1926 Ohio Wesleyan

Benjamin Van Alstyne Facts

  • Benjamin F. Van Alstyne
  • Born 1893
  • Died August 4, 1972
  • Hometown: Canajoharie, New York
  • Alma Mater: Colgate University (BA, 1917)
  • The NY-native played basketball, baseball and football at Colgate, the former for head coach Walt Hammond
  • After graduation, Van Alstyne completed a military service and coached for a time at the high school level in North Carolina
  • Became the head basketball coach at Ohio Wesleyan (now D-III) in 1920, leading the Bishops for six seasons
    • Went 75-31 overall and finished above .500 each season; also coached baseball and was assistant athletic director
  • Arrived at Michigan State in 1926, where he would coach the Spartans basketball program for the next 23 years
    • Compiled an overall record of 231-163, with much of his tenure coming before the NCAA Tournament and NIT existed
    • Was also an assistant football coach from 1926-32, then became the head golf coach
    • Stepped away from the basketball court in 1949, but continued to coach golf until his retirement in 1961
  • Inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame for his overall contributions to the game in 1959
  • Passed away in August 1972 at the age of 79 following a brief illness; was survived by his daughter, Jane

Benjamin Van Alstyne Coaching Tree

  • Al Kircher (Michigan State)
  • Bob Stevens (Oklahoma, South Carolina)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA University (D-I) and College (D-III) levels