Our Coaching Staff

Rickie Diehl

Pitching Instructor + Head Coach of the 2020 14U Black VBA Travel Baseball Teams


Rickie Diehl started North Alabama Vipers travel baseball team in 1998 to provide a more competitive atmosphere and a more structured learning environment for the players in his area. The success of this one team helped to establish Viper Baseball Academy in 2003 - bringing kids from not only the North Alabama region, but players from all over the state of Alabama and Tennessee.


Since then, Rickie has produced teams that have gone on to win countless state championships and world series.  Over the past 15 years alone, Rickie has served as head coach for over 150 college baseball players and 30 drafted Major League Baseball players.  Along with the success of his players, Rickie has won over 1500 games, 78 tournaments, 4 world series, and 11 USSSA state championships.  Coach Diehl has also served as the 2011 USSSA Alabama Coach of the Year and has been inducted into the Alabama USSSA Coaches Hall of Fame.


Along with the success of Viper Baseball Academy, Rickie also operates his family business Diehl Automotive in Huntsville, Alabama where he resides.  He is a husband to Patricia Diehl and father to his three children: Shawn, Ryan, and Megan.  When he’s not out coaching baseball, he enjoys spending time with his family and fishing.

Contact Info:



Shawn Diehl

Hitting Instructor + Fielding Instructor + Head Coach of the 2020 15U Black VBA Travel Baseball Team + an Assistant Coach of the 2020 17u Red and Black VBA Travel Baseball Teams

Coach Shawn Diehl is a graduate from Belhaven University where he played under, Mississippi Hall of Fame Coach, Hill Denson. Shawn was a switch hitting shortstop and helped lead Belhaven to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. He has coached 10U-17U VBA teams. Shawn has been training and developing baseball players at VBA from 2010 to present. He also assists other local travel teams to help develop better coaching and spread knowledge to the baseball community. " My ultimate goal is to teach a player how to coach himself both mentally and mechanically, thats when I know I've done a good job."

Contact info:

(256) 508-6723


Roger Wright

Pitching Instructor 

Coach Wright is a 1983 graduate of Lee High School.  He helped lead the Generals to two state semi-final appearances in 1981 and 1983.  His 30 year career wins as a pitcher at Lee makes him the school's all-time wins' leader.  He played baseball at Calhoun Community College and the University of North Alabama.  Coach Wright began his coaching career at Lee High School, coaching football, basketball and baseball before moving to Buckhorn in 1997 as the head baseball coach and a history teacher.  His 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 teams all competed in the state playoffs at the 5A level.  The 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012 teams competed at the state playoffs at the 6A level.  The 2012 team set the BHS school record for wins at 36.  At the end of 2014, Coach Wright retired from BHS and became the pitching coach at the University of Alabama Huntsville.  In 2016, he was inducted into the Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame.  Coach Wright is married to Belinda and they have three sons:  Mitchell (25) who is now a pitching coach at Tennessee Tech, Kyle (22) who is a Pitcher with the Atlanta Braves and Trey (17) who is a junior at BHS.

Contact info:

(256) 653-2931

Ryan Diehl

Hitting Instructor + Head Coach of VBA Vegas Gold


Coach Ryan Diehl is a 2009 graduate of Sparkman High School where he help lead the Senators to consecutive playoff appearances and a semi finals appearance in 2008. Ryan went on to play baseball at Northwest Shoals Community College, and later finished his degree at the University of Alabama. Ryan's competitive playing career with VBA started 1998 with the North Alabama Vipers, where he helped the vipers win countless tournaments, state championships, world series championships, and a prized Cooperstown championship in week 2 of 2002. Ryan's baseball knowledge, experience, and love for the game now translates into coaching, where he is a hitting instructor at VBA and coaches the 14u VBA Red travel team. Ryan lives in Madison with his wife Nichole, and their two children Banks and Parker. 

Contact info:

(256) 541-5882



Chris Telaga

Hitting Instructor + Assistant Coach of the 2019, 16u Black VBA Travel Baseball Team

Coach Telaga has been training and developing hitters at VBA from 2006 to present.  He began coaching Viper Baseball teams in 2007 and recently served as head coach of the 2015 12u team. Coach Telaga spent the last 4 years on the Bob Jones baseball staff and prior to that was the assistant head coach at Sparkman High School for 10 years.  Chris lives in Meridianville with his wife Sherri and his two kids Maggie and Garrett.

Contact info:

(256) 682-3918



Blake Talley

Pitching Instructor + Head Coach of the 2019, 15u Black VBA Travel Baseball Team



Coach Talley is a 2012 graduate of Buckhorn High School. At Buckhorn he helped lead the Bucks to a 2012 elite eight playoff appearance, which also set the school record for team wins. During the same season he was named team MVP at Buckhorn and named to the all - area team. After his career at Buckhorn Coach Talley went to Calhoun Community College where he played 3rd base and pitched. As a sophomore he hit .346 and was named to the all ACCC - North team. After Calhoun, he finished his playing career at the University of North Alabama where as a senior he won Academic All - Gulf South Conference and led the team with a 1.86 ERA and 5 saves. During that same year Coach Talley won the Bob Stephenson award given by UNA for the person that best represents UNA baseball on and off the field. Currently Coach Talley is the head coach at Scottsboro High School.

Contact Info:


Andrew Dennis

Head Coach of the 2020, 17u Black VBA Travel Baseball Team


Andrew Dennis “A.D.” is a former minor league catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  He played for VBA since 2002.  A.D. also played on the 2005, week 3 Cooperstown Championship Team, the Rocket City Stingers.  He graduated from Huntsville High where he played baseball and had the privilege of playing on their 2011 State championship team and was crowned the 2011 player of the year.  Following high school, Andrew signed with Wallace State and was a 2 year starter on their baseball team.  In 2013 he signed with UAB, but was instead drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 37th round.  A.D. is a tough competitor but has the heart and patience of a teacher and desires to pass his knowledge on to the next generation of Elite players.

Contact info:

(256) 417-3679


Kris West

Coach of the 2019, 17u Red and Black VBA Travel Baseball Teams

Coach West is a graduate and former pitcher at Auburn University, 2007-2009.  He graduated from Sparkman High School where he played baseball, football, and basketball.  Coach West played baseball for Rickie Diehl before VBA was established and has coached the 11U - 15U Viper teams over the previous 4 seasons.  Coach West is a tremendous motivator and teacher of the game. 

“I consider it a privilege to share my knowledge of the game with young athletes.  I am also honored to learn from Coach Diehl as I grow as a mentor.  Rickie is the ultimate competitor and his passion to teach young players how to compete in the game of baseball, as well as life, is evident every day I am around him.”  

Contact Info:




Josh Wright

Head Coach of the 2019, 13u Red VBA Travel Baseball Team

GA Student- Athlete of the year 2007, Rawlings Top 25 Seniors 2008, Team Georgia Top 20 2008, School Record 0.90 ERA  2008, Team USA selection for WolrdPort Games 2009, Sunbelt League All Star 2010-11, College World Series 2012 and 2013, SSAC Gold Glove Winner 2013, College World Series All Tournament Team 2013, Roswell Invaders 2014-2015, Led league in ERA 2014, Won Champoinship in 2015, Fargo Redhawks 2015, Florence Freedom 2016, River City Rascals 2016

Head Coach- Tigers Baseball 13U, Top 15 in state 2016-2017

Married to Jeannie Wright and have a dog named Wilson.


Coach John Frost

Head Coach of the 2021 VBA 17u Red Team

Coach Frost is a 2009 graduate of Decatur High School. From 2010-2013, he played at UAB under Brian Shoop. During his four years at UAB he was named to the Conference USA All Freshman team in 2010, and 1st Team All Conference Team in 2013. The 2012 season concluded with a conference tournament title and an appearance in Tallahassee Regional. In the summer of 2011, he was a member of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

His coaching career began in the fall of 2013 at The University of Alabama as a graduate assistant. After 2 seasons with the Crimson Tide, he earned a Master’s Degree in Sport Management. In the summer of 2015, John was hired as the Director of Baseball Operations at UAB. After serving 3 years with the Blazers, he was hired as the head coach at Decatur High. He’s in his third season with the Raiders.

Coach Frost resides in Huntsville with his wife Jennifer.

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Jess Smith

Head Coach of the 2019, 16u Red VBA Travel Baseball Team

From Fort Payne, AL. Student Athlete/ Catcher at Central Alabama Community College and the University North Alabama. Current Hitting Coach at Russellville High School.


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