Ryan Cougill – Head Coach
Ryan Cougill, enters his third season as head coach at Yavapai College. This will mark Cougill’s seventh season as a member of the Roughrider staff and 11th overall.
In 2013, Cougill led the Roughrider baseball program to a 43-15 record (.741) and another birth in the Region I tournament.
The 2013 sophomore laden roster saw all thirteen of Cougill’s sophomores move on to either four-year universities or professional baseball ranks: (Tim Arakawa, Oklahoma State; Humberto Aranda, Grand Canyon; Aaron Blair, West Texas A&M; Jordan DePonte, Hawaii; Jacob Doyle, Oklahoma City; Michael Howard, Oregon State; Krysthian Leal, Maryland; Peter Lenstrohm, Tennessee; Austin Murphy, Oklahoma City; Ryan Petersen, New Mexico St.; Matt Southard, Philadelphia Phillies; Kyle Toth, Mississippi, Drew Turbin, Dallas Baptist.
Leal, Petersen, Turbin, and Lenstrohm all graduated with above 3.4 gpa’s while Turbin garnered Academic All-Americans honors. The 2013 Roughrider offense led the conference in every major regular season team statistic (R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI).
While serving as an assistant, Cougill handled the recruiting responsibilities and served as the infield and hitting coach for the Roughriders. Roughrider All-American 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.
In 2006-2007, 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 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 fifth season as pitching coach for the Roughriders staff after serving as the head baseball coach at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona for the 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 35 of the 37 years of the program’s existence.
The Riders’ staff has enjoyed much success over the years. Three Roughrider arms were taken in the 2011 MLB amateur draft, including 7th round draft pick and current Philadelphia Philly, Kenny Giles. Through Dawson’s tutelage Giles ended the 2011 season as one of the Nation’s premiere Junior College arms and boasted a 100 mph fastball, 1.20 ERA and 2 strikeouts per inning.
During his time at Chaparral, the baseball program elevated itself into the upper echelon of Arizona high school athletics and was recognized nationally, claiming eight state championships—four of those teams became nationally-ranked.
Coach Dawson was the only Head Coach in the history of the school which has produced over 150 graduates who 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), and Charles Brewer (Arizona Diamondbacks). During his tenure at Chaparral, he coached teams that won or tied for 24 Region Championships and finished as state runner-up on four occasions, in addition to the eight state 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 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 Vietnam.
Andrew Ayers – Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator
2015 will be Andrew’s first year on the Roughrider staff. He joins the program after spending time in the Kansas City Royals organization and on staff at Sacramento State University, under Head Coach Reggie Christansen. Sacramento State finished the 2014 season as the WAC regular season champions as well as the WAC tournament champions; qualifying them for their first ever Regional birth and a runner-up finish, after knocking off tournament favorite Arizona State.
Following his senior season at Sacramento State, Ayers was signed by the Kansas City Royals in the 30th round of the MLB draft. During his collegiate career he was an All-WAC selection and All-WAC tournament selection. Ayers, was the first player in program history to earn WAC player of the year and All-West Region honors after leading the league in hitting and posting a .978 fielding percentage in the middle of the infield.
Andrew will serve as the Roughriders recruiting coordinator, as well as the infield and hitting coach.
“Andrew is a tireless worker and has a great eye for evaluating talent. He was instrumental in getting our program to the top of the Western Athletic Conference.” -Reggie Christansen, Head Coach, Sacramento State University.
“Andrew has an extremely successful coaching career in store for him. He will outwork his competition.” -Tommy Nicholson, Recruiting Coordinator, University of Texas.