End of an Era: Larks Seek New Head Coach for 2020
The Larks current manager Sean Repay announced he will pass the baton at the end of the 2019 season. Repay was the inaugural coach of the Larks, leading them to a 2018 first half championship and their first playoff berth.
Repay, formerly of NAIA Indiana Southeast University, has now moved onto Division I University of Toledo where he will be the assistant pitching coach. Repay’s duties at Toledo will require him to work within the Rockets’ baseball program year-round.
“Without the Larks, I would not be in the position that I’m in right now,” said Repay. “My freedom to recruit helped me build relationships with coaches at every level across the country and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”
Repay and the Larks’ first season was in 2017 and the team finished 31-40. Despite the losing record, the inaugural season was wildly successful as the Larks sold out 27 of 36 games and the team stayed competitive in a tough division filled with established opposition.
“This place will always be special to me,” Repay said. “Opening Day of year one, we won on a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the ninth. It was a beautiful game and we won on a base hit by a hometown kid. You couldn’t have scripted it better. It was truly one of the most beautiful moments I’ve had as a coach.”
During the 2018 season, Repay and the Larks finished above .500 with a 37-34 record. The Larks made the playoffs for the first time, but they fell to the Duluth Huskies in the first round of the Northwoods League (NWL) playoffs. It was still a huge leap in the right direction for a franchise in just its second season in the 25-year-old NWL.
This season, the Larks had a very competitive first half after starting out red hot with a 8-2 record in the first 10 games of the season. The team barely missed the playoffs, finishing only two games out of first place in the Great Plains West Division with a record of 20-16. The Larks as of July 31, have an overall record of 27-34 this season.
“This is a community that appreciates hard work,” Repay said. “I will miss being a member of this community and the support that comes with it.”
Repay has also coached four players who were drafted by major league organizations during his time with the Larks including Ryan Anderson who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2018, Ripken Reyes who was drafted by the Padres in 2019, Conner Perry who was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2019 and Jeff Lindgren who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2019.
The Larks won several NWL awards under Coach Repay. In 2017, Ryan Anderson won the Rawlings “Big Stick” award. In 2018, the Larks had two Rawlings “Finest in the Field” award winners: first baseman Matt Warkentin and shortstop Ripken Reyes. The Larks had four players selected as NWL all-stars in both 2018 and 2019 under Repay. The Larks won NWL “Organization of the Year” in both 2017 and 2018.
“On behalf of the entire Bismarck Larks organization, our fans, and the community, I’d like to thank Sean for helping make the Larks what they are today and wish him and his family all the best in their new adventure,” said John Bollinger, team general manager. “Sean brought in great players, but more importantly, he built a culture of having fun and getting our guys involved with the fans and community. You can’t ask for much more from your head coach.”
The Larks will conduct a national search for a new head coach after the conclusion of the 2019 season. All interested candidates can apply at https://northwoodsleague.com/bismarck-larks/new-head-coach-position/