Jason Nell, Field Manager
Jason Nell returns for his second season at the helm in 2014 ready to build upon a record-setting 2013 campaign. Nell, a Northwoods League veteran, led the 2013 Loggers to a 43-27 record in his first season in La Crosse. The 43 wins was the second highest single-season win total in Loggers history and the third best record in the entire NWL this past summer. The Loggers also produced the most post-season NWL all-stars with five and set new single-season records for hits (651) and RBI’s (366).
The 2013 season also marked the seventh season that Nell has coached in the NWL, six of which have been as a field manager including stints in Mankato (2006-2008), Waterloo (2010-2011) and now La Crosse. Nell currently ranks fifth on the all-time career wins list for managers in the NWL with a 216-196 mark, good enough for a .524 winning percentage, and was named the 2008 NWL Field Manager of the Year. He will enter the 2014 season just 14 wins behind former Madison skipper C.J. Thielke (230), who ranks fourth all-time, and 39 victories behind Tom Fleenor (255) who ranks third on the all-time managerial wins list. Nell has also coached 60 players that have been taken in the Major League Baseball draft, including current San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.
Nell is entering his thirteenth season as the head coach at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, Iowa where he has enjoyed much success. Nell has produced 304 wins, 5 All-Americans, 8 Academic All-Americans and 35 All-Region selections. As well as these honors, the Lakers program has sent 65 players to continue their baseball careers at different NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA programs.
At Iowa Lakes, Nell is also an instructor and works in the Success Center assisting students with a variety of needs. Nell currently resides in Estherville with his wife Lisa, and his daughters Gracie and Chloe.
Mike Siwiec, Pitching Coach
Mike Siwiec returns for his second season in 2014 as the Loggers Pitching Coach. Under Siwiec’s guidance in 2013, the Loggers pitching staff ranked second in the entire NWL with a 3.52 team ERA while limiting opponents to a .238 batting average. Loggers pitchers also ranked fourth in the NWL with 545 strikeouts. Siwiec is currently in his fifth season as an assistant coach at Kishwaukee Junior College in Malta, Ill. where he oversees the Kougars pitching staff. Summer baseball is familiar territory to Siwiec as he served as the field manager of the Dekalb County Liners of the Prospect League & Midwest Collegiate League from 2010-2012, compiling a 79-72 record during that span. Siwiec is also familiar with professional baseball as he spent two seasons in the New York Yankees farm system after being drafted by them in the 29th round of the 1981 MLB amateur draft out of Triton Junior College.
Brian Lewis, Assistant Coach
Alton, Ill. Native Brian Lewis is currently in his third season as the hitting coach at Illinois Central College and excited to be returning to La Crosse for his second stint in 2014. Along with manning the third base coaching box this past summer, Lewis was instrumental in helping Logger hitters set new single season for most hits in a season (651) and most RBI’s in a season (366). Prior to joining the staff at Illinois Central College, Lewis served as assistant coach at Lewis & Clark Community College from 2001-2011. Lewis coached professionally in the Frontier League (Independent Pro) as well. He was director of baseball operations as well as the hitting coach for the River City Rascals from 2003-2006. Lewis’ summer collegiate experience dates back to the years 2001-2003 when he was the field manager of the Dubois County Bombers of the Prospect League. During his time in the coaching ranks, Lewis has coached four current major League players including Joe Thatcher, Cory Wade, Jeff Gray, and Justin Christian.
Juan Carlos Calderon, Assistant Coach
Returning to man the first base coaching box for the Lumbermen in 2014 will be Juan Calderon. Calderon is in the midst of his first season as an assistant coach at The College of Albemarle (North Carolina). Calderon previously served as the top assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College, where he worked with Loggers skipper Jason Nell. The Carcas, Venezuela native has also spent two summers as an assistant in the Perfect Game League, working in 2011 with the Amsterdam Mohawks and then in 2012 with the Cooperstown Hawkeyes. Calderon is a 2010 graduate of Oakland City College where he was a standout for their baseball program, having served as a team captain during his senior season.