Ryan Cougill – Head Coach
Cougill, enters his fourth season at the helm of the Roughrider Baseball program. This will mark Cougill’s 8th season at Yavapai and 11th overall.
The 2015 Roughrider squad added to the program rich tradition at Yavapai, after qualifying for the NJCAA World Series in Grand Junction, CO. Cougill led the Roughrider baseball program to a Region I Championship, a Western District Championship and the programs 8th World Series appearance. He was named NJCAA Western District Coach of the Year after finishing the season with a 45–18 (.714) record.
2015 also saw an impressive result in the MLB draft, with 7 of his current or former Roughriders selected. Four Roughriders from the 2015 squad were drafted (the most of any NJCAA program), as well as three former Riders’ from the ’13-’14 squads.
Willie Calhoun – 4th round to the Dodgers
Chance Adams – 5th round to the Yankees
Drew Turbin – 12th round to the Orioles
Chandler Eden – 17th round to the Blue Jays
Luke Doyle – 20th round to the Cardinals
Alexis Olmeda – 21st round to the Diamondbacks
Tim Arakawa – 23rd round to the Angels
The primarily freshman laden pitching staff in 15’, led D1 JC’s in the ACCAC with 419 strikeouts on the season. The Roughrider defense was equally as impressive finishing at the top of the ACCAC in double plays and fielding percentage (.967).
YC’s offense in 2015, led the ACCAC in Runs, Hits, Doubles, Homeruns, RBI’s, On-Base % and Slugging %. Although using wood bats, they finished the season near the top of the NJCAA in many categories including 6th in Runs Scored, 7th in Hits, 5th in Doubles, 6th in RBI’s, 3rd in Total Bases, 6th in Slugging, and a Nation leading 111 Homeruns.
Willie Calhoun and Alexis Olmeda had breakout seasons for the Roughriders in 2015, as both were selected as NJCAA All-Americans. Calhoun also garnered ACCAC player of the year honors, NJCAA West District hitter of the year and was a top 30 finalist for the Golden Spikes Award (given to the top amateur player in the country at any level); after setting a school record with 31 homeruns and finishing near the top of the country in several offensive statistics.
The 2015 Riders, saw 9 players selected to the YC honor roll including Will Jones who garnered Academic All-American honors.
Prior to being a Head Coach at YC, Cougill served 4 seasons as an assistant under former Head Coach, Sky Smeltzer. Cougill handled the recruiting responsibilities and served as the infield and hitting coach for the Roughriders.
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.
In 2006-07, 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.
Following graduation, 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 hall of fame 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. He is married to Jennifer (Ekstrand) Cougill from Tempe, AZ. Jennifer serves as a Physician’s Assistant in the Emergency Room at Yavapai Regional Medical Center.
Jerry Dawson – Pitching Coach
Jerry Dawson enters his sixth season as the pitching coach for the Roughriders staff after serving as the head baseball coach at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona for 37 years. Dawson owns the most high school career victories in the state of Arizona with 774. His teams enjoyed tremendous success over the years, qualifying for post season play 34 of the 36 years of the program’s existence.
The Riders’ staff has enjoyed much success over the years to include current Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Kenny Giles. Giles was taken in the 7th round of the 2011 MLB draft and rose quickly through the minor leagues to make his major league debut in 2014. Through Dawson’s tutelage, Giles ended the 2011 season as one of the nation’s premier Junior College arms and boasted a 100 mph fastball, 1.20 era and averaged 2 strikeouts per inning. Other pitchers taken in the MLB draft under Dawson, include Chance Adams (5th round, Yankees), Chandler Eden (17th round, Blue Jays), Matt Southard (28th round, Phillies), Andrew Walters (FA Sign, Astros). He has also been a part of sending 12 pitchers to the Division-I level through his five years at YC.
During his time at Chaparral, the baseball program elevated itself into the upper echelon of Arizona high school baseball and was recognized nationally, claiming 8 state championships – four of those teams became nationally-ranked. Coach Dawson was the only Head Coach in the history of the program, prior to his retirement, which produced over 160 graduates who continued their baseball careers at the college or professional levels, to include 5 current or former Major Leaguers. Most notable are Paul Konerko (Chicago White Sox), Brian Bannister (Kansas City Royals) and Ike Davis (Oakland Athletics). During his tenure at Chaparral, he coached teams that won or tied for 24 Region Championships and finished state runner-up on four occasions, in addition to the eight state championships.
Coach Dawson has been named the National High School Coach of the year on 5 occasions and has been elected to 5 Halls of fame, to include the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, as the only high school coach ever to be so honored. Dawson taught Physical Education at Chaparral for 30+ years, served as the Physical Education Department Chairman for 25+ years and school’s Athletic Director for 20+ years before retiring in 2004.
Dawson served as an assistant coach on 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 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 on the Republic of Vietnam.