Ryan Cougill – Interim Head Baseball Coach
Roughrider Associate Head Coach Ryan Cougill takes over the reigns for his first head job. Cougill has been with the Roughrider staff for five seasons and is ready to continue the legacy that is Roughrider Baseball.
While serving as an assistant under former head coach Sky Smeltzer, Cougill handled the recruiting responsibilities and served as the infield and hitting coach for Roughriders. During Cougill’s tenure the YC hitters have led the ACCAC in batting average, doubles, and homeruns. Roughrider catcher, Nolan Clark had a breakout season in ‘11, ranking amongst the top of the conference in hits and batting average with an impressive .390 clip. The’11 Roughriders again posted above a .300 team batting average following the 2009 and 2010 seasons which saw the Roughriders lead the ACCAC in hitting.
The 2009 and 2010 YC offenses led the ACCAC in batting average, home runs and doubles. 2010 Roughrider outfielder Demarcus Tidwell had a breakout season in his first season at Yavapai, leading the conference in hits, average, and triples. The ’09 Roughriders had 2 players end the regular season with batting averages above .400, seven players hit over .350 and eleven players hit over .300.
Prior to Yavapai College, Cougill spent the 2008 season as an assistant at New Mexico Junior College. That ’08 NMJC team captured the WJCAC Championship with a remarkable team batting average of .376, belting 78 homeruns, a mark good enough for third in the country. The ’08 Thunderbirds were equally as impressive defensively, finishing second in the country in team fielding percentage.
For the 2006 and 2007 seasons Cougill served as an assistant coach at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, IL. Joliet, a perennial powerhouse in the Div III NJCAA ranks saw back to back trips to the Junior College World Series, finishing 3rd in ‘06 and runner up in ’07.
Cougill spent one season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. He served as the infield coach on a team that finished second in the Mid-Continent Conference and one game away from earning an NCAA Division I Regional birth.
From 2001-2002, Cougill played at Joliet Junior College for coach Wayne King, where he earned All-Conference honors in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He then transferred to Western Illinois University where he played for the late Stan Hyman. Cougill was named to the All Mid-Continent Conference team in 2003 and 2004. Cougill left his mark at WIU finishing his career amongst the top of the record books in single season hits, runs scored, and career batting average.
Cougill earned his B.S. in Exercise Science from Western Illinois University in 2004 and is working towards a Masters degree in Sports Management from Emporia State University.
Jerry Dawson – Assistant Coach
Jerry Dawson enters his second season as pitching coach for the Roughriders staff after serving as the head baseball coach at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona for the past 37 years. Dawson owns the most high school career victories in the state of Arizona with 773. His teams have enjoyed tremendous success over the years, qualifying for post-season play 35 of the last 37 years.
The 2011 Riders’ staff enjoyed much success led by Dawson. Three Roughrider arms were taken in the 2011 MLB amateur draft, including 7th round draft pick Kenny Giles. Through Dawson’s tutelage Giles ended the 2011 season as one of the Nation’s premiere Junior College arms and boasted a 98 mph fastball, 1.20 ERA and 2 strikeouts per inning.
During his time at Chaparral, the athletic program elevated itself into the upper echelon of Arizona high school athletics, claiming nine state championships—four of which were won by Dawson’s teams which became nationally-ranked.
Coach Dawson has been the only Head Coach in the history of the school which has produced over 150 graduates who have continued their baseball careers at the college or professional levels. Most notable are current Major Leaguers Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox), Brian Bannister (Kansas City Royals), and Ike Davis (New York Mets). During his tenure at Chaparral, he coached teams that won or tied for 24 Region Championships. Coach Dawson has been named National High School Coach of the Year on 5 occasions and has been elected to the Arizona Coaches Association, Arizona Baseball Coaches Association and the National High School Baseball Coaches Association Halls of Fame.
Dawson taught Physical Education at Chaparral for 30+ years, served as the Physical Education Department Chairman for 25+ years and was the school’s Athletic Director for 20+ years before retiring in 2004. In 2003-04 Dawson was selected as the Arizona’s Victory with Honor Coach of the Year, which is given by the Arizona Interscholastic Association (A.I.A.) to the outstanding coach for all sports in Arizona.
Dawson served with Yavapai head coach Sky Smeltzer as a member of the USA Baseball Junior National team staff in 2004, which competed in the World Games in Taipei. He also served as the Head Coach of the Junior National team in 2005 when it competed in the Pan Am games in Mexico,
winning the silver medal.
Jerry has a B. A. in Education from Southwest Missouri State University and a M. A. in Education from Arizona State
University. He served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army including a tour of duty in the Republic of
Jordan Payne, an Arizona native from Winslow, played baseball for the Yavapai Roughriders in 2007 and 2009 as an outfielder. Payne played for Ryan Cougill in 2009 where the Roughriders won an ACCAC Championship and were ranked as high as 2nd in the country. He finished his college career at Lewis-Clark State College where they finished 6th at the NAIA World Series in 2012. At Lewis-Clark, Payne made the All-West Golden Glove team. He also was an All-Conference outfielder in the MIAA Conference as a Junior at Fort Hays State University. Payne’s responsibilities at Yavapai will include recruiting and working with Yavapai Outfielders and base runners.