Black Bears Hire Van Tol as Next Head Coach

Monday, the West Coast League’s Cowlitz Black Bears unveiled their new Head Coach: Gary Van Tol, who’s been teaching and coaching young players in the Pacific Northwest for three decades.

“Gary is the ideal fit for the Black Bears and our community,” Cowlitz GM Gus Farah said. “Coach Van Tol will recruit, organize, and compete in the WCL as we look to build and improve upon past success. We have followed and admired Gary’s work for years.”

Van Tol’s amateur coaching career includes stints at Centralia College, Treasure Valley Community College, and the University of Portland. From 2008 through ’17, he coached and managed Chicago Cubs affiliates in the professional Northwest League. Most recently, Van Tol served as Head Coach at Boise State University, and in 2020 he guided his squad to an impressive 9-5 record in the pandemic-shortened season, the Cowboys’ first since 1980.

“Gary Van Tol brings tremendous experience, expertise, and credibility to the West Coast League,” Commissioner Rob Neyer said, “and so we couldn’t be more thrilled with this news. Personally, I’m expecting to learn a great deal from Gary during my visits to Cowlitz next summer!”

About the West Coast League: The West Coast League is the West’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta, the WCL showcases pro prospects from major conferences around the nation. Every summer, the league features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with the best summer weather in North America. Last year’s MLB amateur draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected with the overall No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles. Also in 2019, 317 WCL alums appeared or were active in affiliated professional baseball, including 45 in the major leagues. In 2019, overall member attendance in the West Coast League increased to nearly half a million.