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Young Named Academic All-America
Brandon Young, a senior from Saugus, California completed his collegiate baseball career this spring with the Vanguard University Lions, but his postseason honors continue to arrive. An outstanding student-athlete for three years at Vanguard, Young has received numerous honors, including a full slate of academic awards this spring as he graduated with his accounting degree earlier this month.
Pegg, a native of Ontario, Canada, graduated summa cum laude from Vanguard, then Southern California College, in 1997, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Mathematics.
As a student-athlete at VU, Pegg experienced considerable success, serving as the Lions' starting catcher for two seasons and being named Vanguard's male athlete of the year and baseball's most valuable player during his senior campaign (1996-97). The same year, he was a member of the All-GSAC first team and an NAIA All-America honorable mention selection.
Off of the field, Pegg maintained a 3.97 GPA, which earned him Academic All-GSAC and NAIA Scholar Athlete honors.
After graduation, Pegg broadened his baseball resume, accepting an offer to play professional baseball in the Frontier League for the Canton Crocodiles (Ohio), where his squad won the league championship in its inaugural season.
The following year, Pegg returned to SCC and received his California teaching credential in secondary school mathematics. He also began his seven-year stint as the lead baseball assistant under former head coach Kevin Kasper.
Under the guidance Coach Kasper and Coach Pegg, the program made great strides competitively, and in 2002, the team became Region II Champions and was one game from qualifying for the NAIA World Series.
In 2003, Pegg completed his M.A. in Education with a 4.0 GPA, which he earned while coaching and working full time as a Vanguard admissions counselor (1999-2004). While in admissions, Pegg gained a valuable and applicable skillset in regard to recruiting, the financial aid process and academic advising.
AJ Morris begins his first season as an assistant coach with the Vanguard University baseball program. A native of Jackson, Tennessee, this will be Morris' fourth year coaching at the collegiate level.
Championships are something Morris knows well. A graduate of The University School of Jackson, Morris helped the Bruins garner back to back State Championships and a runner-up finish before beginning his collegiate career at Chattanooga State Community College.
While at Chattanooga, Morris played a pivotal role in guiding the team to conference playoffs and set school records for doubles in a season (21) and hits in a season (73), earning Athletic and Academic All-Conference honors. Following Chattanooga, Morris played and was chosen as an All Star in the Great Lakes Collegiate League before heading west to The Master's College of the GSAC. In the summer of 2007 he got the chance to play with the then-Fairbanks Fire of the prestigious Alaska Baseball League. The Fire had their best season to date, and finished by winning the ABL Championship. Morris finished his collegiate career hitting a combined .319 with 55 doubles and 128 RBI.
After graduation Morris continued his baseball career, going to play professionally for the Roswell Invaders of the Pecos League where he helped the Invaders win the League Championship in their inaugural season. The following season he would be chosen for the PL All Star Team.
As a coach, AJ's experience includes seasons with the Alfred Thunder of the New York Collegiate Baseball League, Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas, the Canberra Rebels in Canberra, Australia, Santa Clarita Christian School, and most recently at his alma mater, the University School of Jackson, where in 2012 he helped coach the Bruins to their 5th state title.
Whether playing or coaching, AJ has never been a part of a team that did not advance to playoffs, and does not plan on breaking that streak at Vanguard. He is excited to be back in the GSAC, and especially at VU, where "It's a perfect mixture of high-caliber college baseball and people who are genuinely interested in the things of Christ and developing their relationships with Him."
Morris has a Bachelors in Communications from The Master's College, and a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Homeland Security.
Coach Browne enters his first season as an assistant coach for the baseball team at Vanguard University. He is also a Los Angeles Angel Baseball Clinic and Angels RBI Clinic instructor, an elite level private coach, and baseball team consulting pitching coach. His last assignment was rebuilding a last place high school pitching program into a pitching juggernaut…from scratch.
In 2009 (the year before his arrival), the team record was 7-20 and its ERA was 5.35. They had no returning pitchers for the 2010 season (see summary below).
From the very beginning, Browne brought a collegiate level mindset and coaching philosophy to the program. His guidance of the staff resulted in a 2012 league championship, a CIF Top 10 divisional ranking (the CIF is bigger than most states), and a 2011-2012 two year league record of 25-5. During that span, he produced two consecutive All-League Pitcher of the Year athletes, 8 All-League pitcher selections, and a school record league ERA of 1.35 (the staff compiled an era of 0.87 during the last 20 games). Not one of his pitchers experienced arm injuries.
As a collegiate pitcher (before specialization), Browne was a two slot (submarine and ¾) "stopper", pitching in the NCAA DIII World Series and finishing his last collegiate season with a 0.92 ERA. For 25 years, he held his alma mater's school records for season and career saves and strikeouts/inning. Partially as a result of these accomplishments, he was inducted with his team into his college's Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coach Browne is also very active as founder of the educational nonprofit Beyond Athletic Life Lessons ("BALL"). BALL helps kids gain Emotional Intelligence and classroom skills through learning Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success and his maxims, then linking it with historically-significant athletes. These lessons are provided to parents and coaches at no charge.