2013 COACHING STAFF
Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks today announce a new coaching
staff to be headed by youthful Bryan Harris of Santa Ana College and to
include Panners veterans Tim Kelly and Kevin Higgins.
The new staff steps into large
shoes following the retirement of longtime Goldpanners Field Manager Jim
Dietz, who announced his retirement at the end of the 2012 season.
Dietz, who spent 16 years with the organization in three stints over a
43-season span, stepped aside with an overall record of 585 wins --
which is not only the best among Panner mentors, but believed to be the
most wins posted ever in collegiate summer baseball.
Harris, assistant to Don Sneddon
at Santa Ana, has a strong background in collegiate and summer baseball.
He was a two-time all-star in the Cape Cod League and appeared in
Fairbanks to participate in the 2003 Midnight Sun Game with the Southern
California Running Birds.
Last summer, Harris led the
Southern California Blaze to the Orange County Collegiate League
championship. He worked several years with youth travel teams and
his Tustin Thunder won back-to-back California titles.
After Tustin High School, Harris
went to Santa Ana where he was named JUCO All-American (hitting .407,
scoring 52 runs, knocking in 52, hitting 19 doubles, 8 home runs, and
stealing 18 bases in 51 games). He moved on to Louisiana
State University, but knee surgery limited his time before he
transferred back to Cal State University Fullerton. At Fullerton,
he had two big seasons and twice played in the College World Series.
He received national recognition in Omaha for the highest individual GPA
among tourney participants both years. He was on the Dean's list
all four years in college.
The Seattle Mariners drafted
Harris out of Fullerton and he spent several years in the minor leagues
before winding up at Santa Ana for the 2011 season.
Tim Kelly returns to Fairbanks as
the club pitching coach, and will be putting in his fifth summer with
the Goldpanners. He served as pitching coach in 1980 and
'81, and then was the Alaska Goldpanners Field Manager in 1985, before
returning last season as pitching coach. In between Fairbanks
stints Kelly put together a long career in Major League Baseball where
he served as a coach and scout for the California Angels and Los Angeles
Kelly had a strong collegiate
career at Arizona State University as well -- his pitching staffs led
the tough Pac-10 (now 12) each of the years he held the position.
On the Panners' 1980 national championship team he also doubled as a
relief pitcher and held that role in '81 as well.
Kevin Higgins, who served as the
Panners' hitting coach in 2009, returns to that position.
Higgins has a long and distinguished career as a coach and athletic
director, primarily at American River College, but has long been touted
as one of the best hitting coaches in the game.
In addition to his work in
collegiate and prep coaching, Higgins has also logged several seasons as
both a coach and a manager in professional baseball. He,
like Kelly, brings a world of baseball knowledge from all levels to the
The Panners also announced that
the 2013 season will begin in Southern California, where the club will
form to take part in a three-day round-robin tournament at Barona Casino
before flying North. Opponents at Barona will be the Oceanside,
CA, Waves, Barona Stars, and the traveling team, Catholics in Action.
The home season is expected to
start June 16 against the Fairbanks Brewers and the annual W.G. & Eddie
Stroecker Midnight Sun Game will be on June 21 against the Catholic
Knights. There will also be a Midnight Sun Game on June 20
featuring the Midnight Sun Goldpanners and Dodgertown West. That
game will follow the regularly scheduled Panner game.
October 19, 2012