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Hard work pays off for new OSU assistant Gipson

The great thing about baseball, according to Ryan Gipson, is that if you work hard enough and carry a passion for the sport, opportunities will undeniably come your way.

It was that way during his decorated playing career, and it’s been the same as he continues a second career in baseball as a coach.

A state champion at Crater High School in 2000 and national champion at Oregon State University in 2006, Gipson took a big step in his coaching career this summer when he was promoted to a full-time assistant role with the Beavers under head coach Mitch Canham.

Gipson had served the past two years as the team’s camp coordinator and volunteer assistant coach, and his feelings toward what the promotion meant to him were succinct when reached Monday night.

“It means everything, just everything,” said the 37-year-old Central Point native.

“It’s where I’ve wanted to be and where I’ve wanted my family to be all along,” he added after taking a breath. “It’s something that I’m super passionate about, helping develop current Beavs and the program that did a ton for me. I couldn’t ask for a better profession or career. I’m really, really lucky.”

Gipson’s luck cannot be discounted: He did bring home OSU teammate Bill Rowe with the winning run in the eighth inning of the deciding College World Series game on a grounder that was thrown away by North Carolina’s second baseman as Gipson sprinted toward first base.

That luck, however, very well could be explained by his relentless pursuit of facing challenges head on and never giving up on himself or his teammates. It took years of hard work to put himself in that CWS game with that opportunity, and it was not within him to go down easily as he applied pressure racing down the baseline to force an uncomfortable, and errant, throw.

“My Dad has tirelessly worked for my family all our lives,” said Gipson of his father, John, who has owned Stone Tech Inc. in Medford for decades, “and the example he set for me and my brother and sister growing up was second to none. I’ve always embraced challenges and taken everything head on.”

Gipson benefited from his strong ties to former OSU head coach Pat Casey and his lead assistant coach Pat Bailey as well as ex-teammates like Canham. He got a foot in the door, then took advantage.

Casey first extended an offer for Gipson to become an undergraduate assistant coach at Oregon State in 2011.

“I’m very thankful that coach Casey did that and put me in a situation to get my degree and got me back in the college game,” said Gipson, who was a player/coach for the Eastern Hills Hornets of the Western Australian Provincial League in Perth when Casey cornered him. “I quickly realized that’s where I was supposed to be and was most passionate about it, that’s for sure.”

Two years as an undergraduate assistant led to two years as an assistant coach at Dixie State University in Utah before Gipson resurrected the Linn-Benton Community College program in 2015 after a two-year hiatus in Albany.

In four years at Linn-Benton, the Roadrunners went 119-58 (.672 winning percentage), which was boosted by the program going 72-16 in his final two years at the helm.

“For me and my progression as a coach,” said Gipson, “being at L-B helped me a ton. It helped me be more organized, it was outstanding. Being a JC coach is a little different than even being a high school coach. There I was the head field guy, the academic advisor, the strength guy, the speed guy, just one thing after another when it comes to responsibilities. Baseball coach actually felt lower on the totem pole because of all I had to do.”

While thankful for his experience, Gipson couldn’t help but throw his name into the hat at Oregon State after Casey retired in the summer of 2018 and created an opening on Bailey’s staff as a volunteer assistant.

“I’m very thankful for coach Bailey because he gave me the opportunity to come in and be the volunteer that year,” said Gipson, who had no way of knowing then that he ultimately would replace Bailey on staff this summer.

In all his years of coaching, Gipson said the secret to his success has been simple.

“Nothing replaces just working hard,” he said. “That’s about as generic of an answer I can get, but just working hard and being authentic is the most important thing you can do because 18 to 22-year-old young men, they have enough of a feel to see when somebody’s not authentic and doesn’t truly care about what they’re doing and helping them. That’s something I think I’ve been able to do. I’ve always been a hard worker and I know I’ve been honest with the guys and been authentic around them.”

Gipson said he’s not only leaned on the example set by his father, but from a host of others he’s been happy to call coach and friend over the years to help form his coaching foundation.

“Coach (Chuck) Dominiak is one of those guys that really influenced me as a young man and as a baseball player,” said Gipson. “With coach (John) Weige and coach (Leon) Stupfel and coach (Jim) Powell, all of those Crater guys were strong role models and obviously lifelong friends.

“The way coach Dominiak worked and the passion that he brought to it every single day was incredible, and the same goes for coach Shannon Hunt, who was an assistant when I was at Shasta College, when it comes to his passion for developing relationships with players. The influence coach Casey has had on me obviously has been second to none.”

Helping Gipson relate to players is that he’s been in their shoes, and it wasn’t because he was the biggest and strongest player in the system.

“I’ve always been ultracompetitive and baseball was the sport for me because I’m not a big guy but I could run pretty well,” said Gipson, who also played football at Crater. “I was an OK ballplayer and it was the game that I had the most passion for because I was very confident in my abilities as a baseball player — maybe a little too confident, but I think that also helped me because I was able to overachieve. I wasn’t bigger and stronger than most but I just had the belief and will to go out and win and beat somebody.”

After two stellar seasons and three years overall at Shasta College, Gipson led the then-Pac-10 Conference with a .500 on-base percentage in 2005 and earned all-conference honorable mention acclaim by batting .330 to help OSU to its first of three straight trips to the CWS.

The two-year starting second baseman wrapped up his Beavers career with 66 starts in 79 career games, batting .270 overall with 10 doubles, one home run and 36 RBIs.

These days, Gipson is headstrong toward gearing the Beavers up for their fall season, with practices starting back recently under safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players were set to return to their virtual classes today but have already pinned their ears back for what they hope will be a triumphant 2021 spring season.

“It’s outstanding right now,” said Gipson, who with wife Ali has a 7-year-old son, Parker, and a 3-year-old daughter, Elliot. “The energy, the competitiveness, the environment that we’re seeing with our guys is outstanding. Guys are pushing each other and they’re getting after it. It’s been a lot of fun in the early part of this fall to this point.”

Helping matters is the familiarity and drive of the rest of the OSU coaching staff, which includes former North Medford standout Rich Dorman in his second year as pitching coach and Gipson’s former double-play mate in Darwin Barney on Canham’s staff.

“With Dar, Rich and obviously Mitch, it’s outstanding,” said Gipson. “It’s really neat to be a part of something where we’re fighting to be the first person in the office every morning. There’s nobody that’s dreading anything about being there. Our wives, I think, are getting pretty upset with us at this point because we’re in the office so early, and then we tend to meet and take a little bit of time after practice or whatever it may be so maybe we’re home a little bit later than they like, but it’s been great.”

All because, as Gipson has already proven time and again, hard work pays off.

Have a story idea? Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

By Kris Henry

Mail Tribune

The great thing about baseball, according to Ryan Gipson, is that if you work hard enough and carry a passion for the sport, opportunities will undeniably come your way.

It was that way during his decorated playing career, and it’s been the same as he continues a second career in baseball as a coach.

A state champion at Crater High School in 2000 and national champion at Oregon State University in 2006, Gipson took a big step in his coaching career this summer when he was promoted to a full-time assistant role with the Beavers under head coach Mitch Canham.

Gipson had served the past two years as the team’s camp coordinator and volunteer assistant coach, and his feelings toward what the promotion meant to him were succinct when reached Monday night.

“It means everything, just everything,” said the 37-year-old Central Point native.

“It’s where I’ve wanted to be and where I’ve wanted my family to be all along,” he added after taking a breath. “It’s something that I’m super passionate about, helping develop current Beavs and the program that did a ton for me. I couldn’t ask for a better profession or career. I’m really, really lucky.”

Gipson’s luck cannot be discounted: He did bring home OSU teammate Bill Rowe with the winning run in the eighth inning of the deciding College World Series game on a grounder that was thrown away by North Carolina’s second baseman as Gipson sprinted toward first base.

That luck, however, very well could be explained by his relentless pursuit of facing challenges head on and never giving up on himself or his teammates. Prior to that CWS game, it took years of hard work to put himself in position for that opportunity, and it was not within him to go down easily as he applied pressure racing down the baseline to force an uncomfortable, and errant, throw.

“My Dad has tirelessly worked for my family all our lives,” said Gipson of his father, John, who has owned Stone Tech Inc. in Medford for decades, “and the example he set for me and my brother and sister growing up was second to none. I’ve always embraced challenges and taken everything head on.”

Gipson benefited from his strong ties to former OSU head coach Pat Casey and his lead assistant coach Pat Bailey as well as ex-teammates like Canham.

In the years since Casey first extended an offer for Gipson to become an undergraduate assistant coach at Oregon State in 2011, he has taken that opportunity and run with it.

“I’m very thankful that coach Casey did that and put me in a situation to get my degree and got me back in the college game,” said Gipson, who was a player/coach for the Eastern Hills Hornets of the Western Australian Provincial League in Perth when Casey cornered him. “I quickly realized that’s where I was supposed to be and most passionate about it, that’s for sure.

Two years as an undergraduate assistant led to two years as an assistant coach at Dixie State University in Utah before Gipson resurrected the Linn-Benton Community College baseball program in 2015 after a two-year hiatus in Albany.

In four years at Linn-Benton, the Roadrunners went 119-58 (.672 winning percentage), which was boosted by the program going 72-16 in his final two years at the helm.

“For me and my progression as a coach,” said Gipson, “being at L-B helped me a ton. It helped me be more organized, it was outstanding. Being a JC coach is a little different than even being a high school coach. There I was the head field guy, the academic advisor, the strength guy, the speed guy, just one thing after another when it comes to responsibilities. Baseball coach actually felt lower on the totem pole because of all I had to do.”

While thankful for his experience, Gipson couldn’t help but throw his name into the hat at Oregon State after Casey retired in the summer of 2018 and created an opening on Bailey’s staff as a volunteer assistant.

“I’m very thankful for coach Bailey because he gave me the opportunity to come in and be the volunteer that year,” said Gipson, who had no way of knowing then that he ultimately would replace Bailey on staff this summer.

In all his years of coaching, Gipson said the secret to his success has been simple.

“Nothing replaces just working hard,” he said. “That’s about as generic of an answer I can get, but just working hard and being authentic is the most important thing you can do because 18 to 22-year-old young men, they have enough of a feel to see when somebody’s not authentic and doesn’t truly care about what they’re doing and helping them. That’s something I think I’ve been able to do, I’ve always been a hard worker and I know I’ve been honest with the guys and been authentic around them.”

Gipson said he’s not only leaned on the example set by his father, but from a host of others he’s been happy to call coach and friend over the years to help form his coaching foundation.

“Coach (Chuck) Dominiak is one of those guys that really influenced me as a young man and as a baseball player,” said Gipson. “With coach (John) Weige and coach (Leon) Stupfel and coach (Jim) Powell, all of those Crater guys were strong role models and obviously lifelong friends.

“The way coach Dominiak worked and the passion that he brought to it every single day was incredible, and the same goes for coach Shannon Hunt, who was an assistant when I was at Shasta College, when it comes to his passion for developing relationships with players. The influence coach Casey has had on me obviously has been second-to-none.”

Helping Gipson relate to players is that he’s previously been in their shoes, and it wasn’t because he was the biggest and strongest player in the system.

“I’ve always been ultra-competitive and baseball was the sport for me because I’m not a big guy but I could run pretty well,” said Gipson, who also played football at Crater. “I was an OK ballplayer and it was the game that I had the most passion for because I was very confident in my abilities as a baseball player — maybe a little too confident but I think that also helped me because I was able to overachieve. I wasn’t bigger and stronger than most but I just had the belief and will to go out and win and beat somebody.”

After two stellar seasons and three years overall at Shasta College, Gipson led the then-Pac-10 Conference with a .500 on-base percentage in 2005 and earned all-conference honorable mention acclaim by batting .330 to lead OSU to its first of three straight trips to the CWS that season.

The two-year starting second baseman wrapped up his Beavers career with 66 starts in 79 career games, batting .270 overall with 10 doubles, one home run and 36 RBIs.

These days, Gipson is headstrong toward gearing the Beavers up for their fall season, with practices starting back recently under safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players were set to return to their virtual classes today but have already pinned their ears back for what they hope will be a triumphant 2021 spring season.

“It’s outstanding right now,” said Gipson, who with wife Ali has a 7-year-old son Parker and 3-year-old daughter Elliot. “The energy, the competitiveness, the environment that we’re seeing with our guys is outstanding. Guys are pushing each other and they’re getting after it. It’s been a lot of fun in the early part of this fall to this point.”

Helping matters is the familiarity and drive of the rest of the OSU coaching staff, which includes former North Medford standout Rich Dorman in his second year as pitching coach and Gipson’s former double-play mate in Darwin Barney on Canham’s staff.

“With Dar, Rich and obviously Mitch, it’s outstanding,” said Gipson. “It’s really neat to be a part of something where we’re fighting to be the first person in the office every morning. There’s nobody that’s dreading anything about being there. Our wives, I think, are getting pretty upset with us at this point because we’re in the office so early, and then we tend to meet and take a little bit of time after practice or whatever it may be so maybe we’re home a little bit later than they like, but it’s been great.”

All because, as Gipson has already proven time and again, hard work pays off.

Have a story idea? Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Oregon State assistant baseball coach Ryan Gipson, from Central Point. Photo courtesy of Oregon State.