Three West Coast League teams based in Oregon made key front office moves earlier this month. Medford and Corvallis got things started as the Rogues named Ian Church their new general manager and the Knights announced the return of Holly Jones to the club. Shortly thereafter, Klamath Falls added Bryce Mallory to its front office.
Church replaces Chuck Heeman who left the Rogues in December to accept a position with the City of Yuma, Arizona. Heeman spent four years in the West Coast League as a general manager for Klamath Falls (2011-2012) and Medford (2013-2014). Chuck helped build followings for both expansion clubs, with Klamath in 2011 and Medford in 2013.
Jones was also a general manager for an expansion team in the West Coast League, as she helped launch the Victoria HarbourCats in 2013. For her efforts, Holly was named the 2013 WCL Executive of the Year. She was the second female gm in the league with only her new boss in Corvallis – Bre Miller – earning the distinction of being the first woman general manager in the WCL by only a few days.
Mallory, a native of Weed, California, played college baseball at University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. While attending Saint Mary, he also worked for Nike in Kansas City earning valuable experience in sales, public relations and customer service. Bryce most recently was a member of the Weed Police Department where he served as a community service officer, and he was an assistant baseball coach at Weed High School. Now, he will lead the Gems’ sales and marketing efforts.
“We feel Bryce is a perfect fit for the Gems,” said Lisa Walker, general manager and co-owner of the Klamath Falls Gems. “He has a passion for baseball and excels in customer service and is committed to making baseball all it can be in Klamath Falls. He remembers fondly the games he personally played at Kiger Stadium and he looks forward to creating lasting memories for all whom attend Gems’ games this summer.”
“I am looking forward to this great opportunity to work for the Klamath Falls Gems as well as the opportunity to work closely with the Klamath Falls community,” said Mallory. “My first order of business is to connect with returning and new season ticket holders, sponsors, and partners. I plan to create new promotional nights and get the community excited about the Gems. The 2015 season can’t come soon enough and I look forward to meeting all Gems’ fans personally this summer at historic Kiger Stadium.”
Ian Church, 33, comes to Medford after playing baseball for and graduating from Stetson University and spending six years as a minor league player. After his playing career, Church put his focus on the overall development of baseball players, their athleticism, and their preparation to compete. He has successfully opened two indoor athletic training facilities: ProSwing of Port Chester in Westchester, NY and most recently Pro Performance Athletics in Mount Pleasant, SC.
As a player, Church starred in 2006, belting 31 home runs for the Frontier League’s Kalamazoo Kings and was named Baseball America’s “Independent Player of the Year,” Frontier League MVP, Frontier League All Star Game MVP, as well as winning the league’s All-Star Game Home Run Derby Contest. He has also played in the Mexican Pacific League with Los Algodoneros de Guasave, spent four years with various Northern League teams and played high-A ball in the Florida State League with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.
“I’m so excited to be named the General Manager of Rogue Nation,” Church said. “It has always been a dream of mine to be a part of such an outstanding organization. Gary and Chuck have done such a fantastic job building the stadium and infrastructure of the business. With the continued support of the fans and local community, I know we can grow Rogue Nation and continue to positively impact the local economy and grow together.”
Gary Gelinas, President of the Rogues’ ownership group, CSH International, expressed his satisfaction in bringing Church aboard.
”We are excited to bring Ian on board as GM of the Rogues and management of the stadium,” Gelinas said. “Chuck has created a strong business and because of that we are able to hire someone of the quality of Ian, he comes highly recommended. He has passion, excitement, he comes from the baseball world and most of all he is a quality family man. He will bring creative ideas, help find new revenue streams, continue to make the Rogues the thing to do in the summer, while he builds to bring a title to Rogue nation!”
A former Knights’ staffer from 2005-07 as a University of Oregon undergraduate, Jones will serve as the Knights’ new Senior Vice-President of Operations, responsible for event operations, marketing, ticketing, analytics and food and beverage service.
“I’m ecstatic to be back with the Knights’ baseball family and to be back in the great Willamette Valley,” said Jones.
“I’m so proud of how much this organization has grown. I’m honored to be part of the next growth phase of this very special team.”
Jones originally worked with the Knights in 2005-06 at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham as an intern. She returned in 2007 and helped facilitate the team’s relocation to Corvallis as an assistant to president Dan Segel.
After graduation, Jones worked in Global Marketing Partnerships with the National Basketball Association in New York City. She then joined JetBlue in NYC in that airline’s Loyalty Marketing program, working with the airline’s key relationship with American Express.
Segel said Jones will be a key component of the team’s larger rebranding strategy for the 2015 season, its ninth in Corvallis since the club moved south in the WCL’s third season.
“Holly will be responsible for transforming the guest experience at Goss Stadium and further connecting our partners and fans with the hometown team,” Segel said.
“We’re thrilled to team her with [general manager] Bre Miller to move forward with arguably the most impactful female leadership tandem in Northwest sports.
“I’m eager to see what is possible with the addition of Holly. I think the community and our fans will benefit greatly from this key hire.”