With Davis & Elkins College’s Homecoming only a week away, I wish to celebrate another special homecoming that occurred this past August. A D&E graduate and student-athlete returned to his alma mater to assume a new role as the head baseball coach.
Brett Ripley describes a sense of calling to coach the Senators and shared that he jumped at the opportunity to return to D&E when the position became vacant. He describes his four years as a student as some of the most rewarding of his life. He built lifelong friendships with both classmates and teammates while receiving a high-quality education that has served him well.
A sport management major from 2002-2006, Brett came to Elkins from his hometown of New Martinsville, West Virginia. A strong academic student, as demonstrated by the bestowal of the Academic Achievement Award during his senior year from the Health, Sport, and Movement Department, Brett also made his mark on the baseball diamond. Among his accolades, he was named the 2006 Male Athlete of the Year and was the D&E Male Representative as WVIAC Student-Athlete of the Year. Following graduation, he went into coaching as well as admissions work at nearby West Virginia Wesleyan College where he also obtained a master’s degree.
As he returns to his alma mater, now as a husband and father, Brett’s vision for his players and D&E baseball is focused. He is committed to a transformative educational experience resulting in a diploma for his players. For the baseball program, he wants to return it to its winning tradition. Coach Ripley knows a bit about that tradition. His senior class was the winningest class on the baseball diamond in school history. Brett believes the key to success is having great young men in the program, effective coaching and engaging alumni.
Word of Coach Ripley’s hire quickly spread this summer. Large numbers of alumni sent well wishes and Brett was gratified by their excitement and support. He is also excited at the future trajectory of D&E baseball and Senator athletics generally. The academic and athletic quality of the student-athletes continues to improve, and D&E teams are competitive at the conference and regional levels, and a few even at the national level. Coach Ripley is a believer that the future is bright for D&E athletics.
Athletics has an important role to play at a college such as D&E by attracting hard-working students who prioritize character and achievement both in the classroom and on the field. It also nurtures pride in the College with contagious school spirit. Like Brett, D&E is fortunate to have coaches who are committed to the academic success and the athletic achievement of their players. Likewise, we are fortunate to have student-athletes who are driven to succeed in all facets of their lives.
Now that he is back home, Coach Ripley is telling prospective students that D&E is a place where you will feel like a member of a family. The faculty and staff truly care about every student and want them to succeed in everything they do. He speaks from experience.
Coach Ripley, we hit a “home run” with your hire. Welcome back home to your D&E family!
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College