Yellowjackets' Coaches Called Up To The Minor Leagues
Aaron Sutton (right) and Ryan Wright depart Montana State Billings after three seasons, two GNAC regular-season titles, the 2019 GNAC championship and a trip to the NCAA West Regional.
Aaron Sutton (right) and Ryan Wright depart Montana State Billings after three seasons, two GNAC regular-season titles, the 2019 GNAC championship and a trip to the NCAA West Regional.

Thursday, November 7, 2019
by Montana State Billings Athletic Communications

BILLINGS, Mont. – After piloting the Montana State University Billings men’s baseball program for three seasons, head coach Aaron Sutton is leaving the program to take a post as the manager for the Minnesota Twins Class A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle.

In addition, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Ryan Wright will also leave his post after three seasons to become a minor league hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I want to congratulate Coach Sutton on his soon to be new role with the Minnesota Twins, and I am not at all surprised they came after him,” said MSUB athletic director Krista Montague. “Any organization at any level would be lucky to have Aaron on their staff and we feel very fortunate he was part of our Yellowjacket Family for the past 3-and-a-half years. I think any time we lose a coach to another quality program or organization, it is nothing but a compliment to what have going on here at MSUB. Coach Sutton and coach Wright leave this program in a great place, and thanks to them, we are confident we will be able to attract quality coaches to build on the incredible foundation laid for this team."

Sutton owns a record of 89-67 (.571) with MSUB and has gone 80-40 in conference games (.667) since being named head coach. He was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2019 after helping the Yellowjackets to their fourth regular-season title in the last five seasons. Sutton also led MSUB to its first-ever GNAC Championships title and the program’s first-ever berth into the NCAA Division II West Region Championships.

“It’s bittersweet for us to make this move and a difficult decision because the people at MSUB make working here so special," Sutton said. "The current team is filled with tremendous young men who made our jobs so rewarding. This team is prepared to make another jump in the right direction and I know both Ryan and I are going to be following closely their success this season. We have always shared ownership of the program between the coaching staff and the players and our goal has always been for the players to ultimately become the leaders of the program. That end is coming a little sooner than planned, but I know there is tremendous leadership in that clubhouse that is going to do special things come spring.” 

With Sutton and Wright at the helm, the Yellowjackets tied the school record for wins in 2019 and broke the GNAC record for conference wins after going 30-10 in league play. Under Wright’s guidance as hitting coach, Daniel Cipriano became the second consensus All-American in program history and the second player in school history to win GNAC Player of the Year honors.

After their time playing under Sutton and Wright, Kaleo Johnson and Adam Cox were selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft. Johnson was selected in the 32nd round by the Tampa Bay Rays and Cox was picked in the 25th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Both are still in pursuit of major league dreams.

“Beyond the on-field success, which included championships, all-Americans, and MLB draftees, Coach Sutton fostered an environment for young men to be good students, good people, and overall well-rounded and service-minded individuals,” Montague said. “I always appreciated his approach and will miss him on our staff.”

MSU Billings has not announced immediate plans for the next head coach and assistant coach of the baseball team, though Sutton and Wright plan to stay on to help in the transition until January 2. Assistant coach/pitching coach Riley Drogesen, as well as assistant coach Matt Hape, remain on the coaching staff as well.