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David Riesen gives some batting stance tips to Gavin Huddleston during the Pioneer Baseball Camp June 9, 2021, at Pioneer High School.

WAUKOMIS, Okla. — After spending the last 20 seasons as the head coach of the Pioneer baseball team, Dave Riesen feels like the luckiest guy on the planet.

He’s led his alma mater to seven state tournament appearances in that time with an overall record of 603-168. He gets to coach at a field named after his dad, John D. Riesen, who was a former coach himself and he gets to work alongside his brother, assistant coach Tim Riesen.

Dave Riesen, who’s teams have made four state semi-final appearances and finished runner-up to Rattan in 2015, said a big part of the program’s success can be credited to the players and the support he’s received from the school’s administration over the years.

“I love Pioneer,” Riesen said. “I love the people of Pioneer — it’s easy to go to work every day when you enjoy the job and you enjoy the people you’re working with.”

On Friday, Dec. 3, it’ll be Riesen’s turn to receive some of the credit, though, as he gathers with a group of his former players and coaches for a banquet celebrating his induction into the Oklahoma Baseball Coaches Association (OBCA) Hall of Fame.

Riesen said he learned he would be inducted about a month ago, during a phone call from OBCA president and Enid head coach Brad Gore.

He said he felt several different emotions when he first learned the news.

“It was pretty humbling, when I found out I was pretty shocked,” he said.

“… It’s one of those things where I kind of look at this not really as an award for me, but as an award for all the people that have been a part of our program and have made it as successful as it’s been,” Riesen said.

A group of Riesen’s former players are expected to be in attendance for the induction, including Shawn Epps (drafted by Phillies), Phillip Easterly, Cole Watley (played at Oklahoma State), Derek Epps (former all-stater) and Ryan Martin.

Riesen’s first job coaching baseball came when he was offered a position as an assistant coach for Enid’s American Legion team in the 1990s. He joined the Mustangs’ coaching staff in 1999 as the head fastpitch softball coach and as an assistant baseball coach under Larry Coonrod.

Other coaches who he said had a big impact on his coaching career were Dusty Eby (former Enid baseball coach), Steve Hendrix (Pond Creek Hunter), Scott Baugh (former Enid baseball coach, now at Alva) and of course his father.

He also had high praise for Pioneer superintendent Brent Koontz and principal Tom Betchan, who he the called two “as good of administrators as there are in the state.”

“The thing I’ve learned about coaching as I’ve gotten older is it’s more about the relationships you make with your players and coaches almost more than the wins and losses,” Riesen said.

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Masri is sports editor for the Enid News & Eagle.

Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Tarik? Send an email to tmasri@enidnews.com.

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