Waterloo Bucks Announce Full 2021 Coaching Staff
Waterloo, Iowa – The Waterloo Bucks have announced first-year field manager Ryan Gaynor’s full coaching staff ahead of the 2021 campaign. Gaynor will be assisted by returners Freddy Smith and Aidan Wirshing along with newcomer Tyler Willis. Smith and Wirshing served as the Bucks’ third and first base coaches respectively during the franchise’s 2020 Minnesota-Iowa Pod Championship season.
Freddy Smith returns to the Cedar Valley for a second season after serving as Waterloo’s Infield and Third Base Coach in 2020, helping the Bucks lead the Northwoods League in OPS and fielding percentage while landing second in batting average and home runs. Smith currently serves as the Director of Player Development at Cal State Northridge, a position he has held since the 2020 season. CSUN has gone 30-21 in his time as a coach with the program. He played four years of collegiate baseball, earning First Team All-South Coast Conference in each of his two seasons at El Camino College before spending his junior and senior campaigns as Cal State Northridge’s starting shortstop. Smith started 183 games, slashing .302/.351/.399 with 114 runs scored, 39 doubles, 10 triples, five homers, 102 RBI and 40 stolen bases. Notably, Smith fielded better than .970 over two years as CSUN’s starting shortstop and struck out in a miniscule 8.5% of his collegiate plate appearances.
Aidan Wirshing served as the Bucks’ First Base Coach in 2020, guiding Waterloo to the Minnesota-Iowa Pod Championship. Under his tutelage, Waterloo’s second baseman Jalen Smith earned the Northwoods League’s Big Stick award and Xane Washington was named a Rawlings Finest in the Field winner in the outfield. He presently serves as an Assistant Coach and Director of Analytics at Santa Barbara City College, where he coaches current Bucks players Blake Corsentino and Gabe Baldovino. Wirshing spent 2020 as a student assistant at UC-Santa Barbara following a two-year playing career at Santa Barbara City College.
Tyler Willis has served as the Hitting Coach at Central College in Pella, Iowa since the 2019 season where he has guided the Dutch to two American Rivers Conference Tournament appearances. In his first season at Central, Willis had three players earn All-American Rivers Conference honors and one earn an ABCA Third Team All-Central Region nod. Ten of his student-athletes hit better than .300 and the Dutch carried a .292 team batting average, the program’s highest mark since 2014. Prior to his time at Central College, Willis spent two seasons as the Graduate Assistant Coach at Simpson College and worked with the University of Minnesota’s Gopher Baseball camps in 2017. Willis played four seasons of collegiate baseball at Wartburg College in Waverly, playing in 100 games with a .277 lifetime batting average, 64 runs scored, 10 doubles, 44 RBI and 20 steals. He drew walks at a 12.2% clip as a collegiate player and never posted a fielding percentage below .972 as an everyday starter in the infield.
The 2020 Minnesota-Iowa Region Champion Bucks open their 2021 season on May 31 before returning to Waterloo for their Home Opener on June 3 at Cost Cutters Field at Riverfront Stadium. Single-game tickets are currently on sale. The ballpark welcomed a new state of the art video board in 2016 thanks to a matching grant from the Black Hawk County Gaming Association. Team ownership has invested nearly $400,000 in stadium improvements since the end of the 2014 season including group outing areas, painted bleachers, public Wi-Fi, sound system, kids zone inflatables, wiffle ball field, and concessions equipment. Fans are encouraged to stay in touch with the Bucks by utilizing their website at www.waterloobucks.com or utilizing the Northwoods League Mobile App.
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The Waterloo Bucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 250 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.waterloobucks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Bucks as your favorite team.