Baseball Coaches

Drew Keehn

Head Coach

Coach Keehn enters his sixth year leading the Matador baseball program; his first five seasons have delivered 155 wins, a pair of playoff appearances and Region I Coach of the Year honor in 2012. Coach Keehn spent one season as an assistant at AWC before taking over for John Stratton in 2012. Keehn started his collegiate coaching career in 2004 as an assistant at Odessa Junior College before moving back to Central Arizona College to work as the team’s recruiting coordinator and pitching coach from 2005 through 2007. Keehn’s final recruiting class finished 3rd in Grand Junction in 2008. During the summer Coach Keehn honed his craft by leading the pitching staff under Steve Abney for the Brainard Blue Thunder in the Northwoods League in 2005 and as head coach of the Liberal Bee Jays in 2006 & 2007 with an NBC appearance in 2006. Afterwards, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California hired Coach Keehn from 2007-2010. Keehn oversaw a Lions’ pitching staff that placed in the top of the conference in ERA and fewest walks allowed in 2009 a staff that helped lead the Lions to a 2nd place finish in the WCC Championship Series.

Coach Keehn has had the opportunity to coach 25 MLB drafted players during his coaching career including major leaguers Josh Spence of the San Diego Padres and Ryan Wheeler, currently with the Anaheim Angels. While at Arizona Western the Matadors have produced four first team all-conference players and three second team selections. The Matadors have produced academically under Coach Keehn with 41 Dean’s List recipients. The team boasts a 2.85 overall GPA in the first three years and including a 3.124 GPA in the fall of 2014.

Keehn played at Central Arizona College from 1992-94. Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the ’93 Major League Baseball draft. Keehn spent three years in the Rockies’ organization and worked his way up to Class A-Asheville. A native of Wyandotte, Michigan, Keehn earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science at the University of Arizona, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix. Keehn and his wife Aybuke, a former NJCAA All-American and NAIA All-American in track and cross-country, are blessed with two children: daughter Nisa and son Ozan.

Zeke Mitchem

Assistant Coach

Zeke comes to Arizona Western after spending nine seasons as the lead assistant at Georgia College. He served as the recruiting coordinator and the director of positional player instruction and development. He also handled the offensive philosophy and game-day management on the way several record-breaking seasons. He helped the program average 35 wins per season over his nine years while making an NCAA World Series appearance in 2010 and winning the Peach Belt Conference Tournament for the first two times in program history (2013 and 2015). The team made nine straight trips to the Peach Belt Conference tournament and five trips to the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament. Under Mitchem's direction, the offense averaged more than eight runs per game, hit better than .315, slugged more than .475 and stole more than 100 bases per season. In 2014, he helped the team lead the NCAA in scoring (9.4 runs per game). He also helped the team post its five best seasons defensively in school history while consistently ranking at the top of the Peach Belt Conference.

More than 40 of his former players have signed professional contracts in his 18 year career. Before Georgia College, he coached overseas in the German Bundesliga (pro league) for three seasons as well as working in the South Australia Baseball League. Mitchem has worked with Major League Baseball as an Envoy in Costa Rica, and he has managed three different summer league teams. He started his coaching career at Henderson State University before moving up to the NCAA Division I level at Drexel University as the recruiting coordinator and defensive coach. While at Drexel, his teams continually broke the school record for fielding percentage. He then moved to Marshall University in West Virginia and helped the team tie the school record for most wins in a season. As a player, he played at Brown Mackie College before transferring to Tri-State University. A Missouri native, he roots for the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals, but he admits to being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan as well.

Gabe Ortiz

Assistant Coach

Coach Ortiz joins the Matador coaching staff with a wealth of local knowledge after spending the last 13 seasons as an assistant at Kofa High School. Last season, he helped the Kings post their highest fielding percentage (.952) and turn the most double plays (22) in the last six years. His teams have been to the state playoffs four times while making it to the quarterfinals in 2009 and 2016. Ortiz has coached three Region Players of the Year and one All-American. During his time there, three former student-athletes sign with Division I schools, four with four-year colleges or universities, and eight players sign at the junior college level.

The Yuma native played for Kofa as an All-Rotary selection and Desert Valley Region Honorable Mention second baseman in 1998 before playing at Imperial Valley College as a lead-off hitter and second baseman. He then transferred to Concordia University-Irving for two seasons, leading the team in average in 2003 (.387, second in the Golden State Athletic Conference). He led the Eagles in batting average (.387) and tied the single game hit record with five hits at Cal State San Bernardino. Ortiz has also worked as a scout/field manager for Perfect Game for the past three seasons, and he works with the National Team Identification Series (NTIS) program for USA baseball in the Southern California and Southwest Region. He coached the 17U Southwest Regional team in at an NTIS event to a 2-0 record while allowing only four hits and outscoring opponents 18-3. Ortiz has his Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Sport Science with an emphasis in education. He is happily married to his wife Carlye, and they have two children: Ozzie (named after his favorite baseball player Ozzie Smith) and “Dizzy” Isadora Rose. His favorite team is the Dodgers, and he enjoys critiquing uniforms, working out and listening to audio books and podcasts.

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