Dickinson Roughriders coach Hansen resigns midseason
The Dickinson Roughriders will no longer be under the direction of head coach Cory Hansen, who announced his resignation in an email to The Press Sunday morning.Hansen did not make the trip to Omaha, Neb., with the American Legion baseball team f...
The Dickinson Roughriders will no longer be under the direction of head coach Cory Hansen, who announced his resignation in an email to The Press Sunday morning.
Hansen did not make the trip to Omaha, Neb., with the American Legion baseball team for the Omaha Tournament at the end of last week. Hansen said Monday in an interview that he met with the team the day after a doubleheader loss to Fargo Post 2 on June 14.
“We met in the locker room, discussed what their thoughts were,” Hansen said. “It was kind of a mutual agreement that it would be best to part ways. They have their vision and I have mine. It’s their season and it’s their team. … We’re not on the same wavelength. It’s just best for me to step out.”
Kyle Steffan and Jason Hopfauf, the president and vice president, respectively, of Dickinson Baseball Club, could not be reached for comment.
Hansen was first hired in 2007. He led the Roughriders to state championships in 2008 and 2009. He cited in his email the “betterment of the ball club” as the reason for leaving his post. He expanded on that Monday by adding that he and the players were at odds on the team’s direction.
“The philosophy of how I run things might not be what the players need at this time,” Hansen said. “We weren’t responding well. I’ve been doing this a long time, and you can kind of tell that things weren’t going the right way. I don’t want to see a program that’s been so good to me, I don’t want to see it decline. There were some issues or different points of views (on) how I see it and how players today see it.
“I guess I’m kind of a get-after-it kind of guy. Summer is difficult because it’s summer. They want entertainment, and I’m a competitive guy. I want to win, and you have to put the time and effort in to do that. … Not everybody wants to do that. I don’t want to be a baseball sponsor. I want to be a baseball coach.
“I come from Montana, where Legion baseball is all that there is. It’s taken very seriously and it’s competitive, and it’s not that we weren’t competitive. Just when you have high school and Legion, it gets tougher.”
The Roughriders, who host games through the end of the week starting today, will now be coached by James Kary and Stephen Greenwood, according to the email. They were Hansen’s assistants and Kary played under Hansen.
The Roughriders have a 4-9 overall record with a 1-4 mark against North Dakota opponents. They will play a doubleheader against Jamestown starting at 5:30 p.m. today at Southside Ballpark and Astoria Field.
Kelly Armstrong, the former president of Dickinson Baseball Club, said Hansen played a large role in building the Roughriders into a competitive program.
“I was a former coach here,” Armstrong said, “and between when I was the coach and Cory, we had a lot of coaching turnover, and the program suffered from that. He was vital to the rebuilding of the program 10 years ago and the success since then.”
In 2012, with Dickinson hosting the Central Plains Regional Tournament, the Roughriders finished third despite losing out of the state tournament a week earlier.
“He did a lot of things up and down the program to really instill the mentality of hard work and success from 13-year-olds to 18-year-olds,” Armstrong said. “It wasn’t always wine and roses. We’re going to have bad years and sometimes we have lower numbers. He did a great job of making us competitive. It’s been great for the program to have him as a part of it.”
Hansen made it clear, though, that he was not leaving the Roughriders with bad memories or a sour taste in his mouth.
“Overall, the experience is top-notch. It’s an excellent program,” he said. “We turned out some great young men. Some great individuals came out of that program.”