Del Young is beginning his fifth season as an assistant coach with the Grand Valley State baseball program. Young handles duties as both the hitting coach and aids in defensive instruction for the team.
Young’s fourth season in Allendale saw the Lakers capture both the GLIAC regular season title and GLIAC Tournament title, the 11th tournament title in program history. The Lakers posted a 22-8 record in conference play and a 36-18-1 overall record, advancing to the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament before seasons end.
As the hitting coach for the Lakers, Young guided the team to a .305 team batting average, good for fifth in the GLIAC conference, and were third in total hits with 556.
Young's second season in Allendale saw the Lakers post a 39-13 overall record, claim its fourth consecutive GLIAC regular season title with a 24-6 record in league play and capture the 2014 GLIAC Tournament crown. GVSU bowed out of the postseason in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament. Young's work with the Laker hitters helped the team tie for eighth nationally in on-base percentage (.415) and rank 17th in home runs per game (0.79), 19th slugging percentage (.453) and 24th in batting average (.319). With Young's guidance, slugger Giancarlo Brugnoni ranked fourth in Division II in home runs (17) and broke the GLIAC record for career home runs (49). At season's end, Brugnoni was named Daktronics, Inc. Player of the Year and finished second in the Tino Martinez Award voting.
In 2013, his first season as an assistant coach, Young helped the Lakers make their sixth NCAA Division II College World Series appearance and a third-place finish. GVSU went 38-19 and boasted victories over eventual national champion Tampa and national runner-up Minnesota State. Moreover, the Lakers won the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship and took runner-up honors in the GLIAC Tournament. GVSU's three College World Series wins matched the program's best total. It also finished No. 3 in the final American Baseball Coaches Association poll.
Young, who spent the prior two years as the head coach at Owens (Ohio) Community College, where he finished his first season at the helm (2011) with a 25-13 overall record and a second-place finish in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC). The Express started off with an 8-0 mark on its spring trip and was ranked as high as 13th in NJCAA Division II polls during the 2011 season. Owens finished the 2012 campaign with a 19-35 mark.
Under Young's tutelage, six of his players were recognized and named to the All-OCCAC team. Additionally, freshman infielder Joe Sickler earned All-Region XII Team honors for the 2011 season. During his two years as a head coach at Owens nine of his players moved on to play for four year programs at the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels.
Young previously served as a NCAA Division I assistant coach for six-plus seasons at Oakland University and Eastern Michigan University prior to his appointment at Owens Community College.
At Oakland University, Young was recruiting coordinator and in his second season (2010) helped the Golden Grizzlies to the Summit League tournament. Under his tutelage, catchers threw out 41 percent of would-be base stealers. In 2009, Young's first year in Oakland, the Golden Grizzlies posted a record-high .960 fielding percentage, while turning 57 double plays en route to winning a school-record 22 games and setting 16 team and or individual records. Oakland experienced success in the classroom too, as the 2008-09 team achieved a 3.07 grade-point average and received the Community Service Award, presented annually to the team with the highest level of community service.
Young spent the prior four seasons coaching at Eastern Michigan University, starting as a second assistant in 2004 before being promoted to top assistant in the fall of 2006. In 2008, he helped the Eagles earn a NCAA Regional tournament berth after EMU won the Mid-American Conference tournament championship. The Eagles won back-to-back MAC West Division titles during Young's tenure, with Young mentoring primarily infielders and hitters. Eastern Michigan improved statistically in virtually every offensive category under his leadership, saving the best for his last season when the Eagles raised their batting average 24 points and scored 105 more runs, averaging nearly seven runs per game.
In Young's coaching career, he has coached 10 players that have signed contracts to play professionally, including former MAC Pitcher of the Year Jeff Fischer and CoSIDA Academic All-American Jeff Hehr, who were both drafted in the 2007 MLB Draft.
The Bad Axe, Mich., native was a two-year baseball letterwinner for Northwood University after playing his first two seasons collegiately at St. Clair County Community College. He earned a bachelor's of business administration degree in Management from Northwood University in 2004 and a master's degree in Sport Management from Eastern Michigan University in 2006.
Young and his wife, Jenni, reside in Hudsonville, Mich. and have a two-year-old daughter, Sydney. Young is the nephew of Curt Young, the former Major League Baseball pitcher who is now pitching coach for the Oakland Athletics.
Cody Grice recently completed his second season as an assistant coach with the Grand Valley State baseball team. Grice focuses on developing Laker position players offensively and defensively. He also manages the team's strength & conditioning program.
Grice, a former Laker, returns to GVSU after four-year career in the professional baseball minor leagues. Most recently, he enjoyed a 61-game stint with the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League, which is at the A (Advanced) level. In his 188 at bats with the Yankees, Grice tallied 35 hits and 45 total bases.
Part of his 2013 season was with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at the AAA level and the Trenton Thunder of the AA's Eastern League. The year prior, with the Charleston RiverDogs at the A (Full) level, Grice hit .212 and toted a .264 on-base percentage.
Grice's start in the minor leagues came after he was selected in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the New York Yankees. His minor league career began with a one-year stint as a member of the Staten Island Yankees, where he hit .241 and got on base at a .341 clip. In 166 at bats, Grice amassed 40 hits, including seven extra-base hits, 18 walks and 23 runs batted in.
In his three years with at GVSU, Grice collected numerous honors. As a junior, he was named the National College Baseball Writers Association, Daktronics, Inc. and American Baseball Coaches Association Midwest Region Player of the Year. A two-time ABCA and NCBWA All-Midwest Region First Team honoree, Grice holds the school record for highest career batting average (.418) and totaled 142 RBI, 170 runs, 42 doubles, 12 triples, 15 home runs and 68 walks. The three-time All-GLIAC First Team selection and 2009 GLIAC Freshman of the Year carried a career .492 on-base percentage as well. In 2010, Grice set single-season school records for highest batting average (.455) and hits (100), which led to him being named a semifinalist for the inaugural Tino Martinez Player of the Year Award.
A native of DeWitt, Michigan, Grice prepped at DeWitt High School, where he hit .375 and struck out just four times in 104 at bats as a senior, leading to an all-district laurel. He was a two-time all-conference and all-academic selection, too.
Chris Ripple recently completed his second season as an assistant coach for the Grand Valley State baseball team. Ripple will focus on developing the Laker pitchers.
Ripple joins the coaching staff after a three-year career at GVSU. After redshirting in 2012 and spending much of 2013 as a utility player, Ripple assumed the role of closer in 2014. As a senior, he appeared in 23 games, all as a reliever, and posted a 1.93 earned run average, 12 saves and 20 strikeouts in 23.1 innings of work. His 12 saves were the third-most by a Laker in a single season. At season's end, Ripple was voted onto the All-GLIAC Second Team and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Midwest Region FIrst Team. He garnered a Daktronics, Inc. All-Midwest Region First Team laurel as well.
Prior to GVSU, Ripple spent one season at Oakton Community College, where he hit .401 with three home runs and 16 doubles. Those numbers earned him all-region and Rawlings Gold Glove all-region plaudits. He also helped Oakton win a sectional championship.
Ripple's junior college career also included one season at Augustana College in 2010.
A native of Morton Grove, Illinois, Ripple prepped at Maine East High School. In his four years at Maine East, he garnered two all-conference and all-area accolades, team most valuable pitcher and team most valuable player awards.