by Jim Swanson
March 31, 2014, VICTORIA, B.C. (ISN) – The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Miller to the position of Head Coach for the 2014 West Coast League season.
Miller (left), Co-Head Coach in the inaugural season for the HarbourCats in 2013, has been an integral part of developing the HarbourCats program and recruiting the quality college players who represented Victoria in the WCL last season. Miller has been key to the recruiting process for the 2014 roster.
Dennis Rogers, the Head Coach in 2013 while Miller served as Co-Head Coach, informed the team he will be unable to return to Victoria this summer. Family health and business reasons will not allow him to commit in a way he would expect of himself.
“Bob is a quality coach with a winning track record and he is excited for this opportunity to move from Co-Head Coach to Head Coach. We are pleased to have such a seamless transition process in place for a situation such as this,” said John McLean, President of the HarbourCats. “Dennis has done so much for our team and helped us establish the HarbourCats as a go-to location for collegiate summer baseball. His network within the baseball community gave us credibility from the start, and we wish him and his family all the best. We cannot thank Dennis enough.”
McLean and General Manager Jim Swanson met with both Rogers (at left) and Miller this past weekend in California, in addition to meeting with players from both the 2013 and 2014 rosters. Rogers and Miller remain in close contact and have used their extensive networks to procure players for 2014, focusing on the goal of bringing a WCL championship to Victoria. The team starts its second season at SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park in June, opening on the road (at the Kelowna Falcons) on June 6, before the home opener on June 10 against the Cowlitz Black Bears.
Miller, the Head Coach at Cuesta College, located in San Luis Obispo, California, has long had a connection with Rogers, and the two worked side-by-side last summer. Beyond his success at Cuesta, Miller spent four years as a head coach in the Alaska League, winning three championships in four years there with the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and twice being named coach of the year, and also led the Glacier Pilots to the 2001 National Baseball Congress World Series championship.
“Dennis has been my mentor in so many ways, and I feel very comfortable continuing with the program in Victoria,” said Miller. “We have worked together all winter in putting together the quality roster, and feel good about the direction.”
Ben Jackson, from the University of Kentucky, will be back for a second season as pitching coach, and another coach will be brought in to complete the coaching staff and contribute to the implementation of the Cats Camps youth instructional sessions – details of those are to be announced soon.
WHITE, SANDY ALOMAR ADDED – The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce that two more outstanding instructors have been added to the Honda Super Camp youth skills camp, set for SPORTS TRADERS DIAMOND at Royal Athletic Park, July 2-3.
Former Toronto Blue Jays starting centre fielder Devon White, who won World Series titles with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993, and long-time MLB coach Sandy Alomar Sr. have been added to an already strong set of lead instructors – Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar, former outfielders Brian McRae, Jesse Barfield and Lloyd Moseby, and ex-Jays closer Duane Ward, who was the winning pitcher the night Joe Carter hit his famous game-winning home run at SkyDome to cap the 1993 World Series. HarbourCats players and coaches will also assist with the instruction. The camp is being put on by the HarbourCats and Greater Victoria Baseball Association, and is open to all youth players aged 8-16 – players with GVBA, Little League and softball associations are welcome along with youth who are not currently registered in baseball or softball.
The Blue Jays have teamed with Little League Canada and Baseball Canada to provide 25 camps across the country, including Victoria, Vancouver and Nanaimo in B.C.
RUTCKYJ INJURED, RULED OUT – Outfielder Nick Rutckyj, a freshman at Cuesta College, has been removed from the 2014 roster due to tendinitis in his knee. Rutckyj, who collected the first hit in HarbourCats history, will complete his college season then take the summer off to be ready for next fall’s season.
“Nick is a battler and wanted to gut it out, but this is the best call for him,” said Head Coach Bob Miller, also his coach at the collegiate level. “He’s a character guy – this was not easy for him to accept, but it’s the right thing to do. We think we’ll have an outstanding outfield with the HarbourCats this year, but we will miss Nick’s contributions.”