North Dakota State College of Science Athletic Director Stu Engen has named Chris Kappes as the first head baseball coach of its recently announced baseball program. The Wildcats will play their inaugural season of baseball in the Mon-Dak Conference beginning in Fall 2020 at John Randall Field.
A pool of applicants was narrowed down to four finalists and selected by an in-house committee that included Engen, volleyball coach Jane Passa, women’s basketball coach Tom Dryburgh and athletic trainer Michael Hilliard.
“Baseball has a strong footprint in the Breckenridge-Wahpeton community, and this entire region. Recognizing this, the committee interviewed four tremendous candidates all with strong backgrounds and ties to the community. Coach Kappes coaching success is well documented, and he laid out a plan that matched up with what the committee was looking for in a candidate. We are excited that he accepted the position and look forward to getting Wildcat Baseball started.”
Kappes comes to NDSCS after a successful coaching career at various levels, spanning nearly three decades.
Most recently, Kappes has guided the Wahpeton (ND) Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Programs, leading the organization to a North Dakota State Championship in 2019, a runner-up finish in 2018 and three third-place finishes from 2015-17.
The program won the 14u Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Regional Tournament in 2019, qualifying for the Babe Ruth World Series.
Previously, Kappes managed the Wahpeton (ND) American Legion Post 20 club from 2009-14, following his 2001-2004 stint with the Breckenridge (MN) American Legion Post 53 team, a position he held for four years.
Kappes has sent 18 former legion players to collegiate programs.
Also, a familiar face in the community, Kappes has spent time locally as a mentor at Circle of Nations and as the President of Wahpeton Baseball Association. He currently serves on the Wahpeton-Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
“I would like to first thank Mr. Engen and the athletic department for placing their trust and confidence in my abilities to assume the head coaching position for Wildcat Baseball. I would like to thank Dr. Richman and NDSCS for bringing baseball to campus to offer more opportunities for student-athletes. I would like to thank my employers OSPTI, Shawn and Chris Roberts, for being flexible and allowing this dream opportunity to happen. Lastly, I would like to thank my wife Danette and my four children for all their love and support. We spend many hours on the road and at the baseball diamonds together. I am extremely excited to be able to coach in my backyard of Wahpeton/Breckenridge.
“I am eager to build this program from the ground up and ready to go find those student-athletes that want to receive a great college education and play the great game of baseball at the collegiate level. My teams will be well prepared, they will be well disciplined, they will show respect for that the game, their opponents, umpires, fans, and the school that they are representing. I will coach my teams to do the little things better than the competition that we face. I’m already starting to envision the team taking the field for the very first time. Go Cats!”
Kappes, a 1998 graduate of Concordia College, and his wife, Danette, have four children Caden (14), Elijah (12), Treyson (7) and Windessa (2). He will begin his role at NDSCS immediately, with the recruitment of student-athletes to fill out the roster.