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Honkers Hire New Field Manager

(Rochester, MN)-The Rochester Honkers Baseball Club announced today that Thom Dreier (pronounced Dryer), Assistant Coach at Paradise Valley Community College (Mesa, AZ)  as their Field Manager for the 2010 season.  Dreier brings both professional playing experience and summer collegiate coaching experience to the Honkers coaching staff this summer.  He replaces Rusty McNamara who led the Honkers to their 5th Northwoods League Championship in 2009 and becomes the 9th field manager in Honker history.

“I sincerely appreciate the chance to coach the Rochester Honkers,” said Dreier.  “Their strong tradition coupled with the outstanding reputation of the Northwoods League makes this a great opportunity.  Everything I’ve heard about the organization makes me extremely pleased to work with the Honkers.”

Dreier, a 6’5″ 235-pounder who turns 34 in October, has some big shoes to fill in replacing the 5’8″ McNamara.  McNamara led the Honkers to a league best 42-26 record, which produced 5 post season all-stars, the league MVP, the Coach of the Year and he was honored with Manager of the Year.  

“Rusty is an outstanding young coach,” said Dreier.  “His success up there and at UC Riverside does not surprise me in the least.  As a player he had an outstanding college and professional career.  He was one of the upperclassmen I both respected and learned a great deal from when we were teammates in college.”

Dreier finished his collegiate pitching career at Oklahoma State in 1999 where he was a teammate with McNamara.  The right-hander was drafted in the 13th round by the San Diego Padres in 1998 but opted to return to school.  He then was selected in the 20th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1999 and began his professional career.

“I strongly recommended Thom to Dan Litzinger as I have known Thom for 14 years and went to college with him at OSU,” said McNamara.  “I was torn between returning and not returning this summer.  I had such a great experience in Rochester and the team had a very successful summer to say the least.  It was a tough decision when I decided that I was going to pursue other avenues in my coaching career.”

Following a two-year stint in the Blue Jays farm system, Dreier turned to private instruction from 2000-2007.  He returned to collegiate baseball in 2007 as the Assistant Pitching Coach and Director of Baseball Operations at Marshall University.  Dreier then moved on to Arizona State University in 2008 aiding the Sun Devils in recruiting and operations.  He then spent the summer as the Pitching Coach for the Saratoga Phillies of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.  In 2009, Dreier landed the Pitching Coach position at Paradise Valley Community College.  In the first year for the program, the Pumas won their conference and finished ranked 10th in the nation.    He’s also an associate scout for the Atlanta Braves. 

This past summer, Dreier was the Head Coach for the Anchorage Bucs of the Alaska Summer Collegiate League.  He led his team to a 2nd place finish with a 31-21 record. His team landed four all-stars as well as the Alaska League’s #1 prospect.

“The Northwoods is the closest thing a college player can get to a true minor league experience while still in college,” said Dreier.  “The long schedule combined with the travel makes it very similar to what a player can expect once they enter pro ball.  Summer ball is a great chance for players to develop and improve.  I’ve been fortunate enough to coach some very talented players in summer ball and helping them progress in their playing careers is a very rewarding experience.”