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Coaching Staff

2013-14 Baseball

Drew Keehn

Drew Keehn

Baseball - Head Coach

E-Mail:  Drew Keehn

Drew Keehn got right to it in his first year at the helm of the program, earning Region I Coach of the Year honors in 2012 as he led his squad to their first Region I Playoff berth in six years last May. John Stratton hired him to be the team’s first-ever full-time lead assistant in the fall of 2010, and after one year, Stratton saw someone in Keehn that he respected enough to hand the reins of the program to after 27 years. Keehn overhauled the roster in his first season as head coach, stressing fundamentals and ‘doing the little things’ mercilessly to his new charges. Keehn’s playing and coaching experience on just about every level of the sport, his respected baseball IQ and his prior ACCAC coaching experience made him an attractive head coaching candidate. Keehn spent five of the previous 7 seasons before arriving at AWC coaching and recruiting for ACCAC baseball teams, since he earned his first collegiate coaching stripes as an assistant under current Central Arizona Head Baseball coach Jon Wente as an assistant for Wente’s Odessa Junior College Wrangler Baseball team in 2005 before moving with Wente to CAC from 2006 through 2008 as CAC’s recruiting coordinator and pitching coach. Keehn helped lead the Vaqueros to a pair of Region I Championships, and his final recruiting class eventually reached the 2008 NJCAA World Series Championship Game. Keehn then made the successful jump to the NCAA Division I level during 2008 as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. In three years at LMU, Keehn oversaw a Lions’ pitching staff that finished 3rd in the conference in earned run average and allowed the fewest walks, and the staff helped take the Lions to a 2nd-place finish in the WCC in 2009. Keehn also spent three summers coaching semi-professional baseball as pitching coach for the Brainard Blue Thunder in ’05, and as head coach of the Liberal Bee Jays in 2006 & 2007. He has even coached high school ball as head coach at Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson. Before Keehn’s coaching career took flight, Drew had a playing career that saw him reach the professional level. Keehn was a standout pitcher at Central Arizona College from 1992-94, which drew the attention of the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him in the ’93 Major League Baseball Draft. Keehn’s three years in the Rockies’ organization saw him pitch on the Rookie & Class A levels. A native of Wyandotte, Michigan, Keehn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science at the University of Arizona, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix. Keehn and his wife of four years, former 6-time NJCAA All-American and 4-time NAIA All-American track & cross-country star athlete Aybuke Kizilarslan, welcomed their first child, daughter Nisa, into the world right after the start of the Matadors’ 2011 baseball season.

   
   
Kyle Carothers Assistent Basketball Coach

Kyle Carothers

Baseball - Assistant Coach

E-Mail:  Kyle Carothers

One of Drew Keehn’s first tasks when he moved up from assistant to head baseball coach was find someone he trusted as his lead assistant as much as Keehn was trusted by longtime AWC Head Baseball Coach John Stratton. That man was Kyle Carothers, since Keehn saw that Kyle’s experience with every aspect of playing, training for and coaching baseball on the high school, junior college, four-year university, and pro levels over the last decade would benefit the program on several levels. Carothers finished off a star playing career at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, by joining Whitman’s coaching staff shortly after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from WC in 2002. He served as an assistant for the Missionaries in the spring of ’03, then extended his playing career that summer playing 1st base in the Canadian Baseball League. Carothers made the trek to the Grand Canyon State for the first time after that, spending two years as a high school assistant coach (under Keehn) at Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson. A longtime student of the fitness game, Carothers’ next move was to the four-year college level, where he spent the next two years as a fitness coordinator and personal trainer at the University of Arizona. The spring of 2006 saw Carothers return to the high school level as a hitting instructor for the Sahuaro High School varsity baseball team in Tucson. His first taste of head coaching was the next two summers at the Wilkinson Academy in Lynnwood, Washington, coordinating all on-field activities. Carothers’ junior college career began in 2006, when he returned to the Grand Canyon State to be the Strength & Conditioning Coach at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Carothers spent four years working with the Coyotes’ baseball, basketball, volleyball and golf players before jumping at the chance to return to coaching by heading to Yuma.
While at CGCC, Carothers continued to work toward his Master’s Degree, and earned it in 2008 from Arizona State University in the field of Exercise and Wellness. Carothers and his wife, Brianna, are happy to be new residents of Yuma, and dote over their four-year-old son, Peter, and their daughter, Kinley.

Bryan Casey
  Baseball - Assistant Coach
 

Bryan Casey returns for his second season on the coaching staff and has actually spent more time on the Kammann Field diamond than any one of his coaching brethren except Jack Watson.  When Matador fans think of the great players of AWC Baseball’s past, Casey’s name is certain to pop into their heads.  Casey grew up in Yuma, and because of his athletic prowess, has had to make a lot of choices along the way that others wouldn’t have had the ability to make.  He could’ve chosen to play either baseball or football at AWC, since Bryan was both a star quarterback for four years (under his father, former AWC Head Football Coach Steve Casey) at Kofa High School; and also a star third baseman/catcher/pitcher for the Kings under longtime Kings’ Head Baseball Coach (and former AWC Baseball alum) Billy Laguna.  Casey decided to take the baseball road for college, starting out as a starting pitcher/catcher for John Stratton for his freshman campaign, then moving to 3rd base and relief pitcher as a sophomore.  Casey was the Matadors’ ‘go-to’ guy both years, leading the team in saves in a sophomore while averaging a strikeout per inning on the mound, and leading the team in home runs, doubles, triples, slugging percentage and total bases at the plate.  Casey was one of the main reasons that the team reached the postseason in 2006, and because of his versatility, was drafted by major league teams during both of his seasons at AWC.  Casey signed with the Kansas City Royals as a pitcher after the 2006 season, and immediately made a name for himself by earning Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year honors in his rookie season.  Elbow problems curtailed his playing career early, but Casey realized what he had to offer those generations of players who came after him, and immediately rejoined his father as an assistant football coach at Horizon High School in Phoenix.  He was also coaching freshman softball at HHS when an early-season personnel change put him as the varsity softball coach.  His lack of coaching experience made little difference since Casey led the Lady Huskies to a Desert Valley Region title and a spot in the Arizona Division I State Tournament.  After two years coaching the Huskies, Casey earned his first chance to coach on the college baseball level with the Matadors. Casey has been happily married for two years to his beautiful wife Karley Casey who currently works as a Nurse at Yuma Regional Medical Center. Bryan and Karley are so thankful for their one year old baby boy Kaden Casey.


 
 

 
 Jack Watson Jack Watson

Baseball - Assistant Coach

This year marks the 50-year anniversary of when Jack Watson first took a step on the AWC campus. That was when a young Watson accepted the challenge of building the brand-new Matador Baseball program from the ground up. Watson began his AWC tenure in 1964 as a professor, and then one year later became the school’s athletic director and first-ever head baseball coach. Under Jack’s direction, the Matadors’ athletic programs flourished for the next decade, especially the football team, which went to six straight bowl games, and won the National Championship in 1972. Jack’s successful run overseeing the department ended in 1975, when he stepped down to move into the private sector. Watson was just as successful there as he was on campus, spending the better part of the last four decades in the insurance industry running his own business. In 2004, Watson and the Matadors reunited after then-head coach John Stratton asked Watson to join his coaching staff, and nine years later, Watson is the only remaining coach from that time. Before coming to Yuma, Jack was a baseball star-first at North Phoenix High School and then on a baseball scholarship at the University of Arizona. Jack then began his coaching career while attending graduate school at the U of A, coaching the Wildcats’ freshman baseball team. He then moved on to coach Glendale High School to the Arizona State Baseball Championship in 1959. Watson’s legacy at AWC is indelibly etched-thanks to the Jack Watson Scholarship, which was formed 5 years ago by a large group of Watson’s former players to honor him, and will give future baseball student-athletes a chance to get an education in Jack’s name. Jack and the love of his life, Marlee, are celebrating their 56th year of marriage, and still dote on their two children and two grandchildren.

   
   
   
   

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