Ryan Bethel has ascended to the head of the Grand Canyon University (GCU) baseball program, albeit temporarily. The Willcox High School graduate was named the interim head coach of the NCAA Division-II University program in Phoenix after previous head coach Dave Stapleton was dismissed on March 10.
Winning the position "is definitely bittersweet," said Bethel. "Stapleton recruited me, I played for and coached for him since '02."
Bethel is in his sixth year as a member of the coaching staff at GCU, where he also played college ball from 2002-05, earning all-region honors, before being drafted by major league baseball's Tampa Bay Rays in 2005. He helped lead Willcox High to three consecutive state baseball titles in 1999-2001 under his father, head coach Russ Bethel.