LOVES PARK, Ill. – A familiar face will remain in the Rockford RiverHawks’ dugout in 2011.
Rockford’s only professional baseball team announced Monday that it has retained Bob Koopmann as the team’s manager. Koopmann, who managed the team to the 2004 pennant, is in his second stint as skipper.
The RiverHawks went 47-52 in 2010, their only season in the Northern League, and finished in fifth place, 4½ games out of the last playoff spot. Koopmann, who managed the team from 2002, its first year in the Stateline, through 2004 and again from 2008 on, has an all-time record of 291-268 (.521). When the RiverHawks left the Frontier League at the end of the 2009 season, he was eighth in that circuit’s career wins list.
“We’re glad to have him back,” said RiverHawks co-owner and director of baseball operations Dave Ciarrachi. “He’s done a quality job year in and year out. He knows baseball and knows how to handle people. I know Bob and we’ve always had a great working relationship. He’s easy to work with, because I know I’m not always easy to work with. We’re in this to win, and he gives us the ability to put a competitive team on the field, year in year out.”
This season, the team’s 10th, will be the ninth with Koopmann on the staff.
“The great thing we’ve had here is continuity,” Ciarrachi said. “It’s very unusual, even in the major leagues, to have 10 years of continuity. In the time Bob’s been here, the Cubs have had five managers.”
Twelve RiverHawks, including seven pitchers, have signed with major-league teams while Koopmann has been manager.
“He’s pitching-oriented, as am I,” Ciarrachi said. “If you don’t have good pitching, you don’t win, typically. My goal in the offseason is to formulate the best pitching I can and to turn it over to him to manage the best he can. We’ve had an awful lot of pitchers signed to major-league organizations while Bob’s been the manager.
“That’s his strength from the technical side. From the player side, they love playing for Bob.”
Bob treats them like professionals, he treats them like men, and as a result they perform like professionals.”
The 2004 RiverHawks went 59-37 and won Rockford’s first pennant since the 1950 Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Koopmann resigned in December 2004 to become head coach at the Franciscan University, now named Ashford University. He rejoined the team in 2006 and spent two seasons as the bench coach under then-manager J.D. Arndt. Koopmann resumed managerial duties in 2008.
Koopmann has also been the head coach at NCAA Division III Rockford College for the last four seasons. He has won two Northern Athletics Conference titles and coached two All-Americans there.
Koopmann, 46, was Pittsburgh’s eighth-round pick in the 1983 draft.
The RiverHawks will play their 10th season in the Stateline in 2011. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit www.rockfordriverhawks.com.