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Though a lover of the game of baseball, team founder H.A. "Red" Boucher's main brilliance lay in promotions and executive management. Accordingly, he was always sure to surround himself with coaches whose particular talent lay in their great baseball minds. The method of ensuring coaching strength by utilizing brilliant assistants has persevered throughout the history of the Goldpanners.
Interestingly, Mike Stepovich, Red Boucher's assistant in 1963 and 1964, was a territorial governor of the state of Alaska prior to the Statehood Act of 1959. He was the 15th and final governor of Alaska before its inclusion, a few months prior to the founding of the Goldpanners program, as a full fledged member of the United States .
Boucher was also unafraid to
elevate capable players to positions of decision-making influence.
Among those were Floyd Watson (known as "the first Goldpanner"), Sam
Suplizio, Graig Nettles, and Bud Hollowell.
Another administrative figure of great renown in Goldpanners history is Lyle Olsen. Prior to his doctorate and founding of the sports literature journal "Arete/Athlon", legendary baseball educator Lyle Olsen (out of San Diego State) served under Red Boucher. Lyle was the sole assistant to Red from 1966 to 1969, filling in as interim manager at times during the 1968 and 1969 seasons, before becoming sole field manager of the club in 1970.
Serving under Oslen in 1970 was Jim Dietz, his eventual replacement at San Diego State. Jim engineered one of the greatest decades in baseball history for the Goldpanners in the 1970s. In fact, he won so many championships in the early part of the 1970s that he was named manager of the decade in 1977! Assistant coaches of particular note during the Dietz era are Bill Arce, the "father of international baseball" and NJCCA Hall of Famer Ed Olsen.
Following in the footsteps of Dietz was Ben Hines (out of LaVerne). After delivering the Goldpanners numerous championships during his coaching era with the club, Hines went on to a highly successful collegiate and professional coaching career. His professional coaching took him all the way to the major leagues with the Los Angeles, Seattle, and Houston organizations. Ben is widely regarded as one of the great baseball men of the last few decades.
Don Sneddon, assistant coach to Ben Hines in 1980, has has piloted one of the most successful programs in collegiate baseball history. Sneddon became the all-time winningest coach in California community college baseball history when he recorded his 832nd win on March 21, 2006 as Santa Ana defeated Riverside College 2-1. Sneddon passed Jerry Weinstein who held the previous record of 831 wins while coaching at Sacramento City College .
After Ben Hines' departure, the Goldpanners offered the job to his assistant Dave Snow. Following a stellar coaching career at Loyola Marymount (85-88) and Long Beach State (1989-2001), Dave was named to the NCAA Hall of Fame. He led Long Beach State to four College World Series appearances, and also coached Team USA in the 1992 Olympics. Assisting Dave in 1983 was Cerritos head coach George Horton, who later became a College World Series winning manager at Fullerton. In 2008, he built the U. of Oregon's baseball program from scratch.
Mike Weathers took over the reigns of the Goldpanners in 1986, providing three very successful seasons for Fairbanks. Weathers then moved to Long Beach State as an assistant under Snow from 1993 to 2001. In 2002, when Dave retired from coaching, Mike was named LBSU's head coach.
In 1989, the Panners enjoyed the field management of 1966 Panner infielder Pat Harrison (out of USC), who was assisted by Gary Henderson, now head coach at Kentucky. Also part of that coaching staff was Bill Mosiello, who now manages in minor league baseball.
Jim Dietz returned for four seasons in the early 90s, adding to his amazing career numbers for the club. Throughout the 90s, quality coaches assisted Jim on the field, including Rusty Filter (93), who has since become the (associate) head coach at San Diego State. Later in the 90s, major league pitchers Dan Boone and Dwight Bernard provided top notch coaching help. Dan assisted under coaches Rick Baumann and Stacey Parker. Dwight served as assistant to 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Don Leppert, who was the Goldpanners field manager in 1997.
In 1998 and 1999, Dan Cowgill was assisted by Steve Rousey, who moved on to the position of head coach for Cal-State Northridge.
In 2001, Goldpanners Field Manager Chris Jones was assisted by player/coach Brian Felten, who now serves as the head coach of Loyola of Los Angeles prep. They won the state championship under his leadership in 2008.
Many other prep head coaches are worthy of recognition, such as Jim Ozella at Hart High. Jim brought national prominence to both Mission Hills and Hart during his coaching tenures. An up and coming prep coach of note is Goldpanners pitcher Jason Hisey (88). Jason is on the fast track for great things.
In 2002, Goldpanners Field Manager Ed Cheff enjoyed what must be one of the most successful seasons ever for a collegiate coach. He was named the Coach of the Year in the NAIA Conference, the Alaska Baseball League, and the NBC Tournament. In addition, Coach Cheff won two national championships (NAIA, NBC) that year. Since then, Cheff has added to his laurels with numerous NAIA national championships. In 2009, he was awarded the Lefty Gomez award for career excellence. The award is presented by the American Baseball Coaches Association each year to an individual who has distinguished himself amongst his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally, and internationally.
Following Cheff in Fairbanks is 1978 Goldpanners infielder Tim Gloyd. He coached the Goldpanners during the 2007-08-09 seasons.
Coinciding with the club's 50th Anniversary in 2010, Hall of Fame coach Jim Dietz returned to Fairbanks. During his latest stint with the Goldpanners, Jim vaulted past the 500 win mark. His illustrious career with the Panners extended through the 2012 season.
The Goldpanners went young in 2013 with Field Manager Bryan Harris from Santa Ana College. Bryan led the club to three championship titles and a Midnight Sun Game win. Mike Grahovac from Concordia-Irvine followed that performance up with a two-title season of his own.
In 2015, the Panners with be led on the field by Jeff Stephens out of UC Irvine's program, now coaching at Sierra College.