Mequon, WI – While Eddy Morgan returns for his fourth season at the helm of the Lakeshore Chinooks in 2016, he’ll work with a completely new coaching staff as the club continues to provide professional growth opportunities to more than just players. The Northwoods League experience can be a vital experience for young coaches looking to establish a solid resume for advancement in the sport. After a solid three-year stint as the team’s pitching coach in which he was named the 2014 NWL Coach of the Year, Mark Moriarty will step up as the head coach for the Utica Brewers of the Perfect Game Collegiate League in Utica, NY. To fill the void, Morgan has hired coaches from across the coaching spectrum with Josh Rebandt, an assistant coach at Olivet Nazarene, Mike Hollenbeck, the 2013 Chinook Team MVP and former minor leaguer, Jason Godbee, an experienced high school coach from Georgia.
Josh Rebandt played collegiately for one year at Adrian College where he experienced the NCAA Division III College World Series in 2008 and then played and captained the team at Clearwater Christian College for his final three years. In 2011, CCC was the NCCAA National Runner-Up. Upon graduation and after a coaching change, Rebandt was thrust into the role of Head Coach for his alma mater, where he gained on-the-job training from 2011-2014, before accepting his current position as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator for the ONU Tigers. In addition, Rebandt skippered the Niagara Power of the New York Collegiate Baseball League for the past three summers. Rebandt will serve as pitching coach and will work closely with Morgan in all facets of the team. “Josh has a terrific baseball mind and really understands what we are trying to do in helping these young men chase their professional dreams, but also in helping them develop as people. He brings a wealth of experience and is hunger to improve his own skills,” says Morgan.
Mike Hollenbeck returned to Illinois State for his junior season after an all-star season for the Chinooks in 2013 when he played 52 games as the team’s primary catcher and hit .314 with 30 RBI. The feisty, competitive catcher was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 23rd Round of the 2014 draft, but was plagued by injuries throughout his one year playing for Chicago’s Arizona League rookie team. Hollenbeck now has refocused his career in coaching and will spend the spring coaching for his high school alma mater, Joliet West High School in Joliet, IL. Morgan is eager to help Hollenbeck make the transition to the bench. “Catchers are like coaches on the field and we haven’t had one better at Lakeshore than Mike,” added Morgan. “His professional experience in the White Sox organization and his ability to relate to his teammates will make him a tremendous addition to our staff. I’m anxious to see the impact he will have with our catchers and hitters.”
Since graduating from the University of North Florida in 2008, Jason Godbee has taught and coached throughout the Southeast and currently is the head baseball coach and History instructor for Landmark Christian High School in Fairburn, GA. In addition, Godbee worked closely with Josh Rebandt for the past two summers as an assistant coach for the Niagara Power of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Godbee has worked with numerous players who have advanced to play in college as well Chase Fontaine, a second round draft pick for the Atlanta Braves. Next fall, Godbee will begin a new position as an assistant coach for Eastern Nazarene College. With a focus on developing athletes in all areas of life, Godbee will serve as Morgan's bench coach. General Manager Dean Rennicke commented, "Jason is a mature coach who has a track record of being able to connect with his players. He will bring some new perspectives to our operation this summer as well as an enthusiasm that will help as the season progresses.”
You can catch your first glimpse of the 2016 Chinooks roster on Saturday, June 4th when Lakeshore takes on the Green Bay Bullfrogs at 6:35pm. Season tickets, mini game packages, and group tickets are all currently on sale. Single game tickets are also on sale. For tickets and more information, call 262-618-4659 or visit lakeshorechinooks.com.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.