Dec 16, 2010 1:10 AM
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox have announced their coaching staff for the 2011 campaign and the faces will be very familiar to Sky Sox fans as the entire 2010 staff returns to Security Service Field. Manager Stu Cole returns for his third season after taking over for Tom Runnells half way through the 2009 season. He'll be joined by returning hitting coach Rene Lachemann, pitching coach Doug Linton and trainer Heath Townsend.
Cole begins his 16th season with the Rockies organization, his 11th as a manager, and his second full season as skipper of the Sky Sox after being promoted to the post mid-way through the 2009 season. Last year, the Sox went 64-79 under Cole and in his year and a half at the helm the team is 108-129. Prior to the 2010 season, Cole managed the Tulsa Drillers, the Rockies Double-A affiliate, for three and a half seasons compiling a 226-238 (.487) record. Before Tulsa, Cole steadily moved his way up the Rockies' minor league system with stops in Tri-City (Short-A, 2001), Salem (High-A, 2002), Visalia (High-A, 2003-04) and Modesto (High-A, 2005). In his managerial career, Cole has compiled an overall record of 654-681 (.490) and taken teams to the playoffs on three occasions including 2003 with Visalia, 2004 with Modesto and 2005 with Tulsa. During the 2003 season with Visalia, Cole lead the club to a league and organizational best record of 79-61 en route to being named the California League's Manager of the Year. Prior to his managerial jobs, Stu spent six years as a minor league coach, all with Colorado.
As a player, the former infielder played nine seasons of pro baseball, his last three with the Sky Sox (1993-95) where he was a member of Colorado Springs' last PCL Championship team in '95. With the Sox, Cole hit .286 (234-for-817) with 13 home runs, 59 doubles, 121 runs scored and 97 RBIs in 277 games. Cole began his pro career in 1987 after being selected in the third round of that June's draft by Kansas City out of UNC-Charlotte. He made his Major League debut on September 9, 1991 at Chicago and played nine games for the Royals that season.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Lachemann's professional baseball career spans 46 years and includes managerial stints with the Mariners (1981-83), Brewers (1984) and Marlins (1993-96). Before joining the Sky Sox in 2008, the 65 year-old served three years as a coach for the Oakland A's. A former catcher, Lachemann was signed by the Kansas City Athletics in 1964 before making his Major League debut in 1965. Over three seasons with Kansas City and 118 games, he hit .210 with nine homers and 33 RBIs. Rene's two brothers, Marcel and Bill, also have Major League coaching experience with Marcel currently filling the role of special assistant to the General Manager with the Rockies.
Linton begins his second season as the Sky Sox pitching coach after spending 2009 in the same role for the Modesto Nuts. The 2011 season with be Linton's sixth in the Rockies' minor league system as a pitching coach, having handled the pitchers with Tri-City (2006-07), Asheville (2008) and Modesto. The former Major League right-handed pitcher played seven seasons in the majors with Toronto (1992-93, 2003), California (1993), New York-AL (1994), Kansas City (1995-96) and Baltimore (1999). He owns a lifetime record of 17-20 with a 5.78 ERA in 112 games (35 starts). He made his Major League debut on August 3, 1992 at Boston, pitching 3.2 innings of relief for the Blue Jays. In 2000, Linton pitched for the Sky Sox and went 10-13 with a 5.38 ERA in 28 starts. That season, he turned in one of the best pitching performances in Sox history when he tossed a one-hitter against Calgary on July 4th in the Springs as he shut down the Cannons for a 2-0 complete game victory. Linton was originally drafted by Toronto in the 43rd round of the 1986 June draft.
Townsend, a resident of McCalla, AL, returns for his sixth season as the Sky Sox athletic trainer. A graduate of the University of West Alabama, this will be Heath's 11th season in the Rockies organization. In 2010, he was named the Pacific Coast League Trainer of the Year marking the second time in his career he has won the designation. He was also named the South Atlantic League Trainer of the Year in 2001 while with the Asheville Tourists.