Ryan Cougill – Head Coach
Cougill, enters his fifth season at the helm of the Roughrider Baseball program. This will mark Cougill’s 9th season at Yavapai and 12th overall.
The 2016 Roughrider squad added to the program rich tradition at Yavapai, capturing a National Championship after qualifying for the NJCAA Div. 1 World Series in back to back years. Cougill led the Roughrider baseball program to a Region I Championship, a Western District Championship and the program’s 4th National Championship. In both years, Cougill was named the ABCA/Diamond NJCAA Regional and District Coach of the year and in 2016, was named the ABCA/Diamond NJCAA Division 1 National Coach of the Year after finishing the season with a 49–20 (.710) record.
2016 also saw an impressive result in the MLB draft, with 3 of his current or former Roughriders selected. Two Roughriders from the 2016 squad were drafted, as well as one former Rider from the ’15 squad. For the second year in a row the Yavapai College baseball program produced the highest MLB draft pick taken out of the ACCAC.
Joseph “Jojo” Romero – 4th round to the Phillies
Nate Easley – 23rd round to the Padres
Chandler Eden – 25th round to the Dodgers
The Roughrider pitching staff in 16’, led the ACCAC with 513 strikeouts on the season and led the D1 JC’s in the ACCAC with a team ERA of 4.45 on the season. The Roughrider defense was equally as impressive finishing at the top of the ACCAC in double plays and fielding percentage.
YC’s offense in 2016, led the ACCAC in Runs, Hits, Doubles, Homeruns, RBI’s, and Slugging %. Although using wood bats, they finished the season near the top of the NJCAA in many categories including 9th in Runs Scored, 9th in Runs Batted In, 9th in Home Runs, 3rd in Doubles, and 2nd in the Nation in Hits.
The 2016 season was also marked with individual success for many Roughrider players. Nate Easley, Ramsey Romano, Brock Ephan, Chase Beal, and Gavin Johns were all selected as All-ACCAC performers, as well as All-Region 1 Division 1 performers. The accolades did not stop there for the Riders as Nate Easley, Ramsey Romano, Rashaan “Turtle” Kuhaulua, Brock Ephan, and Jojo Romero were all selected to the All-Tournament Team of JUCO World Series. Three players were also honored individually for their efforts throughout the tournament. Turtle Kuhaulua was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Nate Easley was selected as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player, and Jojo Romero was named Most Valuable Player of the National Championship game.
The 2016 Riders, saw 17 players selected to the YC honor roll including Jacob Eder, Dylan Enwiller, Michael Hicks, and Christian Maggi 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 2007, Cougill served as an assistant coach for his father and IHSA hall of famer at Reed-Custer HS in Braidwood, IL. Cougill helped that team to its first state tournament appearance in 22 years.
In 2006, Cougill assisted his former head coach Wayne King 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 seventh 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.
In 2016 Coach Dawson’s pitching staff , led the ACCAC with 513 strikeouts on the season and led the D1 JC’s in the ACCAC with a team ERA of 4.45 on the season. Coach Dawson also saw one of his pitchers, Joseph “Jojo” Romero, taken in the MLB Draft. Romero was selected in the 1st pick of the 4th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Three more of Dawson’s pitchers moved on to play at NCAA Division 1 programs.
The Riders’ staff has enjoyed much success over the years to include current Houston Astros 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 Jojo Romero (4th round, Phillies), 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 15 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.
Kyle Wise- Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator
Kyle Wise enters his second season on the Roughrider staff. Wise is charged with the recruiting efforts as well as working with hitters, catchers and outfielders.
In his first year with the Roughriders Coach Wise saw his hitters in post a team batting average of .346 in 2016 and lead the ACCAC in Runs (557), Hits (767), Doubles (162), Homeruns (86), RBI’s (498), and Slugging % (.551). The Rider hitters also finished the season near the top of the NJCAA in many categories including 9th in Runs Scored, 9th in Runs Batted In, 9th in Home Runs, 3rd in Doubles, and 2nd in the Nation in Hits. Under his guidance Wise saw 11 of his hitters post batting averages of .300 or better and 4 of his hitters belt double digit home runs.
The 2016 season was a standout year for many of the Roughrider hitters. Nate Easley, Ramsey Romano, Brock Ephan, and Gavin Johns we all selected to the All-ACCAC and All-Region 1 Div. 1 teams. The accolades did not stop there as Brock Ephan, Rashaan “Turtle” Kuhaulua, Ramsey Romano, and Nate Easley were all selected to the JUCO World Series All-Tournament Team en route to claiming the program’s 4th National Championship. Two of Wise’s hitters also received individual honors for their performance in the World Series; Turtle Kuhaulua was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Nate Easley was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
Coach Wise also saw one of his hitters, Nate Easley, taken in the ’16 MLB Draft. Easley was selected in the 23rd round by the San Diego Padres. Wise also played a part in sending 4 Roughrider hitters to the NCAA Division 1 level in 2016.
Wise served as the hitting coach and recruiting coordinator at Feather River College in Quincy, California for 5 years. During his time at Feather River, the baseball program became a powerhouse among California Community College Baseball and was recognized nationally. Wise helped the Golden Eagles to a 153-51 record over five years, five Golden Valley Conference Championships, three Northern California Regional Championships, two Northern California Super Regional Championships, and one California Final Four appearance in 2013. In five years his hitters compiled an overall team batting average of .309 while twice leading the state of California in hitting and once finishing 2nd. He has been part of producing 4 GVC Players of the Year, 8 All-Americans, and 32 GVC All-Conference Performers. Wise has also helped send 8 of his hitters to the Division-1 level and had 5 hitters taken in the MLB Draft.
In 2007 and 2008, Wise played at Feather River College, where he earned All-Conference honors in his sophomore year while helping his teams to two Golden Valley Conference Championships, one Nor Cal Regional Championship, and one Nor Cal Super Regional Championship appearance. Coach Wise finished his playing career at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.
Wise earned his B.S. in Physical Education from Southwest Baptist University and his M.A. in Kinesiology from Fresno Pacific University. Kyle resides in Prescott with his wife Brittany.