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Front Office Staff

Steve Desalvo
General Manager

Steve DeSalvo, a 54 year-old native of Centereach, New York, is in his 28th season with the Braves' Double-A franchise and his 34th season in professional baseball, 33 of them as a Minor League General Manager.

A Magna Cum Laude graduate of St. John's University in New York City with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management, DeSalvo began his career in Daytona Beach, FL, as Assistant General Manager of the 1981 Florida State League Champion Daytona Beach Astros.

From there, DeSalvo was promoted to General Manager of the Auburn Astros of the NY-Penn League. Spending two years in Auburn, DeSalvo's club broke an all-time attendance record, earning him the league's 1983 Executive-of-the-Year honors. 

In 1985-86, DeSalvo returned to the FSL as General Manager of the Ft. Myers Royals. At the conclusion of the 1986 season, DeSalvo accepted the position of Assistant General Manager of the Tucson Toros, Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. However, three months later, DeSalvo was named General Manager for the Greenville Braves.

DeSalvo has been named Southern League Executive of the Year three times (1990, 1998 and 2007). His peers also honored him in 1997 with the Southern League's Outstanding Community Service Award. In 1992, Greenville captured its first Southern League Championship under DeSalvo's tenure and when Mississippi won the 2008 SL title, it marked the fifth time DeSalvo has been General Manager of a championship team.

In October 2000, DeSalvo was elected Vice President of the Southern League. He is also currently a member of the Minor League Baseball Marketing Committee. DeSalvo is the Double-A Braves representative on the Southern League Board of Directors.

He involved the Braves with many charitable organizations in the Greenville, SC, area. In three consecutive years (2001-03), DeSalvo was named Man of the Year by the Upstate Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in his efforts to raise funds in the fight against devastating childhood diseases. In 2001, he was awarded the Vocational Service Award by the Pleasantburg Rotary Club.

DeSalvo was also actively involved with an effort to save middle school sports in cooperation with the School District of Greenville County. His work, through the CORE Initiative, has assisted in allowing basketball, baseball and softball to continue at the middle school level. In 2002, he was awarded the American Medal of Honor for his community service work, a national award presented through the American Biographical Institute. 

DeSalvo commuted back and forth from Greenville, SC, to the Jackson area during the 2004 baseball season and became a permanent resident of Rankin County in September 2004. Continuing the community efforts put forth in South Carolina, DeSalvo sits on several community boards including The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, The Salvation Army, The Pearl Chamber of Commerce, The Pearl Kiwanis Club and The Rankin County Chamber. DeSalvo also served as Chairman for the American Red Cross Ride for the Red and as Chairman for the Leukemia Society's Light the Night Walk in 2006. 

In addition, DeSalvo is a member of the Downtown Jackson Rotary Club and was honored by the Pearl Kiwanis Club by being selected as the 2010-11 Kiwanian of the Year. DeSalvo has involved the Mississippi Braves in numerous charitable events throughout the Jackson Metro area. The M-Braves have donated over $500,000 in cash, merchandise and tickets to many area charities and fund-raising events.

In October 2011, after the announced retirement of Southern League President Don Mincher, DeSalvo served as Interim Southern League President until the Southern League Board elected a new president in July 2012. DeSalvo was also recently elected to the Greater Greenville (SC) Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2013.

A "lifetime" member of Strathmore's Who's Who for Business Professionals in the United States, Steve and his wife Bonnie reside in Brandon with two of their three children: Hannah and Brandon. Their other child Jessica, is now married (Jessica Newton). She and her husband Jacob live in Brandon as well.

 

Jim Bishop
Assistant General Manager

Greenville, SC, native Jim Bishop, 43, begins his 19th year as the club's Assistant General Manager and his 22nd overall with the Double-A Braves. Bishop spent his first 13 years with the organization in Greenville, SC, before the club relocated to Pearl for the 2005 season.

Bishop's wide-ranging duties include assisting to manage the staff in advertising, corporate outing and promotional sales, the hiring and managing of in-season game day employees and the coordination of outside/special events hosted at Trustmark Park. In addition to his work at Trustmark Park, Bishop enjoys donating his time and efforts for various non-for-profit organizations in the community, including the Pearl Kiwanis Club, Brandon High School Athletic Programs and the Salvation Army, just to name a few.
           
Bishop's tenure with the team began in 1992 as an intern with the Food and Beverage Department, before concluding the season as Visiting Clubhouse Manager. He then progressed through the organization serving as Food & Beverage Director in 1993 and Ticket Manager for the 1994-95 seasons. Bishop was named Assistant General Manager in the fall of 1996.

A 1992 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Administration, Bishop worked for the USC Athletic Department, serving as student equipment manager with the Gamecock football team during his college years. During his tenure, Bishop worked under head coaches Joe Morrison and Sparky Woods, with the highlight of his college years being the Gamecocks facing Indiana in the 1988 Liberty Bowl.

Jim, his wife Krista and their two sons, Jack (16) and Davis (14) reside in Brandon. When not at the ballpark or working with a non-for-profit organization, "Bish", as he is known to friends around the park, enjoys spending time with his family, an occasional round of golf and cheering on the Braves and Gamecocks.

 

Dave Burke
Director of Sales

With over 22 years of experience in sales and baseball management, Dave Burke enters his third season as the M-Braves Director of Sales. Burke was appointed General Manager of the Grand Prairie AirHogs, member of the American Association, in October 2007 after serving four years as General Manager of the Hudson Valley Renegades, a Class A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, and three years as General Manager of the Fort Myers Miracle, a Class A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Under his leadership, the Grand Prairie AirHogs organization was prestigiously named one of the 2009 Top 100 Work Places in Dallas-Fort Worth by the Dallas Morning News. In addition, the team was recognized by the Grand Prairie Recreation & Parks Department as its 2008 "Partner of the Year" and Dave, himself, was recognized as the 2009 "Man of the Year" by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

He began his career in baseball with the Burlington Indians, a Class A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. As GM of the Fort Myers Miracle, Burke was deeply involved in developing a growth strategy for the team that resulted in leading league attendance for three consecutive years. In his final three years with the team, Burke served as Spring Training Coordinator for the Twins.

Burke was named Executive of the Year for the Florida State League in 2001 and was also a recipient of the Organization of the Year in 2002, an honor that encompassed all Class A minor league teams.

In 2005, Burke was awarded by the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce as a "Top 40 Under 40" for his community involvement and business leadership in the Hudson Valley. For 2006, Burke was selected by the Rotary of the Hudson Valley as "Business Person of the Year."

Also in 2006, Burke was named as League Executive of the year for the New York-Penn League as well representing the Hudson Valley Renegades as the recipient of the John Johnson award for the league.

Burke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Rutgers University.

 
Matt Taylor
Director of Field and Facility Operations

One of the premier groundskeepers in all of professional baseball, Matt Taylor returns for his 24th season grooming the playing surface for the Braves' Double-A affiliate. Taylor has been named the Southern League's Groundskeeper-of-the-Year five times, last winning the prestigious honor in 2008.

Originally from Auburndale, FL, Taylor began his career in the Kansas City Royals organization, working his way up to supervisor for the entire complex at Baseball City, FL. He joined the Greenville Braves in 1991 and made the move from Greenville to Pearl in 2005.

Taylor oversaw the building of Trustmark Park from start to finish and was promoted to Field and Facility Operations Manager in February 2005.

Taylor, 46, his wife Teresa, and their 17-year-old son, Zachary, reside in Brandon, MS. In his spare time he enjoys cheering on the Florida Gators.

 
Nick Anderson
Ticket Manager

Nick Anderson enters his sixth full season with the Mississippi Braves. In 2009, he began the season as the Assistant Ticket Manager intern and was named Ticket Manager in the second half of the season. Anderson is responsible for all ticket office functions and acts as a liaison between the Braves and Ticketmaster.

Anderson earned a degree in Sport Management from Delta State University in 2009, where he was on a soccer scholarship. While at Delta State, he was a member of several organizations, including the Student Athletic Advisory Committee.

Originally a native of Natchez, MS, Anderson is a 2004 graduate of Cathedral High School. Anderson currently resides in Jackson, MS, where he enjoys spending his free time outdoors, playing golf, cycling and fishing.

 

Sarah Banta
Merchandise Manager

Sarah Banta enters her 10th season in professional baseball as the Merchandise Manager of the Extra Innings Team Stores at Trustmark Park. She was hired in November 2004 as a Sales Associate at the Northpark Mall kiosk before being promoted to her current position.

Raised in Memphis, TN, Banta graduated from Lyon College in Batesville, AR, in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She served as an Assistant Merchandiser for JC Penney from 1984 until 1989, and worked in El Chico restaurants from 1987-1998. Banta started as a hostess and progressed to a manager position.

Banta's duties with the El Chico chain took her to Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky. In 1999, Banta moved to College Station, TX, as a General Manager for Schlotzsky's Deli. They relocated her to Pearl, MS, in 2001, so she could be closer to home.

Banta lives in Richland, MS, with her son Luke.

 
Miranda Black
Media Relations Manager
Miranda Black enters her fifth season with the Mississippi Braves in 2014 and her second season as Media Relations Manager. After spending two seasons (2010-11) as a media relations/sales trainee, Black was hired as a full time Sales Associate in September 2011. She held that position until transitioning to her current role in March 2013.

Black is responsible for roster moves, game notes, press releases, game recaps and newsletters. She fulfills photo requests and manages the M-Braves social media outlets. Black also maintains her previous role selling season tickets, mini plans, groups, parties and advertising.

A 2011 honors graduate from The University of Southern Mississippi, Black earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business Administration. During her two years at Southern Miss, Black served as Baseball Secretary and Media Relations Staff Assistant.

Black is a 2009 graduate of Jones County Junior College where she received an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration. At Jones, she worked in both the athletic and marketing departments while also working in the alumni/foundation office. Black spent two years as Baseball Statistician, and she also served as Sports Editor for The Radionian.

Originally from Ellisville, MS, Black is a 2007 graduate of South Jones High School. Having grown up playing fastpitch softball, she is an avid sports fan, especially baseball and NASCAR. Black currently resides in Flowood, and in her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family.
 
Joe Crocker
Sales Associate

Joe Crocker isn't a name you will recognize at Trustmark Park; however, if you have been to an M-Braves game in the last three years you have more than likely seen Crocker perform as Trusty, the Mississippi Braves mascot. After three years as the mascot, Joe now works in the front office as a Sales Associate.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in communications from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2012, Crocker has worked in the film industry and has served as a cameraman on various projects around the state.

A native of Clinton, MS, Crocker still works on various productions in his free time and enjoys traveling, trying exotic foods and sleeping late when he can.

 
Tina Funches
Head Chef

With 19 years of experience in the food service industry, Tina Funches enters her eighth season with the Mississippi Braves as Head Chef in 2014. She brings a wealth of experience to the Braves as 10 of her 18 years in the business have been as a Manager.

Funches was a Supervisor at Hudspeth Regional Center for five years before leaving in 1999 for a post with Winn Dixie. She served full time as Winn Dixie's Deli-Bakery Manager before leaving that post in 2005. She is a wife and a mother of five, and in her spare time Funches enjoys shopping and spending time with her family.
 

Sean Guillotte
Sales Associate

Sean Guillotte, a lifelong resident of Pearl realized a childhood dream when the Braves moved to town and he was hired as a Sales Associate in August of 2004. Guillotte had been trying to get into the sports industry for about nine years, working behind the scenes on many athletic events in the central Mississippi area.

Guillotte spent 12 years as an on-air personality for Rock 93.9 FM and Z106, but his work in the industry is much more far-reaching. He was recognized by the International Who's Who in Business in 1995 and served as the Sports Marketing Director for the "LDDS WorldCom Kickoff Classic," in 1996. The NFL-preseason game, played at Memorial Stadium in Jackson, featured the Houston Oilers and the New York Jets.

Guillotte, 45, also worked on the Grand Opening Committee for The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and assisted with the Grand Opening at the VIP Gala. The 1987 graduate of Pearl High School lives in Pearl with his wife, Renee. They have two sons, Christopher and Daniel, and two grandsons, Mason and Kayden.

 
Deborah Herrington
Suites and Catering Manager

Suites and Catering Manager Debbie Herrington, the daughter of an Air Force Colonel that moved around the world throughout her childhood, returns for her 10th season with the Mississippi Braves.

Herrington settled in Mississippi in 1983 and has been here ever since. She moved to Mississippi after graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education. She served as the Program and Communications Director for the Mississippi March of Dimes before moving to Jackson Medical Clinic as the Secretary/Office Manager.

She then worked as Manager of the Parker House Restaurant in Ridgeland before taking her current position with the Braves. As Suites and Catering Manager, Herrington provides catering for all amenities at Trustmark Park including suites, party decks and the picnic pavilion.

Herrington lives in Flowood with her husband Jeff who also works in the food and beverage industry in the Jackson area. They have two children, Kimberly, 27, and Christopher, 23.

 
Matt McCoy
Stadium Operations Manager

Matt McCoy enters his sixth season with the Mississippi Braves as Stadium Operations Manager/Sales Associate. Before accepting his current position, McCoy spent the 2008 season as the Stadium Operations intern for the Birmingham Barons. He also served as an Assistant Manager for Wal-Mart stores for four years in McComb and Vicksburg.

McCoy is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a BFA in Theatre Performance.

Originally from Pontotoc, MS, McCoy, 35, lives in Brandon with his wife Brooke, daughter Maddie Grace, and two dogs, Mollie and Murphy. The McCoys are expecting a new addition to the family in August. In his free time, McCoy enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter, playing with his dogs and catching any Atlanta Braves or Southern Miss game possible.

 
Brian Prochilo
Promotions and Entertainment Manager

Brian Prochilo, Promotions and Entertainment Manager for the Mississippi Braves, returns for his 17th year with the Atlanta Braves Double-A affiliate. He has been with the Braves since 1998 when he was a trainee for three years while attending the University of South Carolina.

Prochilo graduated from USC in 2000 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Administration and earned a full-time position with the Greenville Braves in October 2001. He served as the Concessions Manager until 2004 when he was named Ticket Manager.

Prochilo, 35, was raised in Simpsonville, SC, and graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1996. He is one of four full-time employees that made the move from Greenville to Pearl.

Brian, his wife, Angie, and their son, Everett, live in Pearl. In his free time, he enjoys all sports, movies, and is a big fan of South Carolina Gamecocks athletics.

 

Christy Shaw
Office Manager

Christy Shaw enters her ninth year as Office Manager for the Mississippi Braves. She served as receptionist for the M-Braves during their inaugural campaign before accepting her current position in late 2005.

As Office Manager, some of her duties include handling various reports for the club, processing paperwork for seasonal employees, maintaining the payroll clock system, and hiring and managing the in-season game money audit staff.

Originally from Lexington, MS, she is a graduate of Central Holmes Academy, Holmes Community College and also attended Hinds Community College. Christy is a big fan of the Atlanta Braves, loves horses, enjoys softball, football, being outside and spending time with her family and friends.

 

Gene Slaughter
Restaurant Manager

For the 10th consecutive year, the Farm Bureau Grill will be under the watchful eye of Restaurant Manager, Gene Slaughter. Slaughter served as Food and Beverage Director at the Renaissance International.

Slaughter served as Caterer and Innkeeper for the Fairview Bed and Breakfast, which was named Inn-of-the-Month in "Country Inns" magazine and Inn-of-the-Year in "America's Best Little Hotels and Inns." He then became Customer Service Representative for Griffin Industries in Jackson. Slaughter also served as the Assistant Food & Beverage Director/Director of Banquets at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.

Slaughter was named Manager-of-the-Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association and received Ramada's Certification of Achievement in the Food and Beverage Management field. He served on a committee establishing Standard Operating Procedures for Food and Beverage Directors throughout North America and was the President of the Central Mississippi Chapter of Mississippi Hospitality and Lodging Association.

Slaughter, a native of Jackson, MS, lives in Madison with his wife Susan and their Daschund, Maxx.

 
Destin Smith
Sales Associate

Destin Smith enters his ninth season with the Mississippi Braves as a new member of the sales team. He spent the previous eight years working in the clubhouse where he was a bat boy for three years and then was promoted to Visiting Clubhouse Manager in 2009. Smith held that position for five years and was awarded the Southern League's Best Visiting Clubhouse Attendant for four consecutive years, as voted upon by the leagues umpires and visiting managers.

Smith graduated from Holmes Community College where he received a degree in Sports Management in 2008. While at Holmes, Smith was a member of the golf team and the Honor Society.

Originally a native of Byram, MS, Smith is a 2005 graduate of Terry High School where he played on the golf team and was a part of the 2004 4A State Championship Team. Smith currently resides in Brandon where he enjoys spending his free time golfing, fishing and being outdoors.

 
Gerrod Speer
Sales Associate

Gerrod Speer, a native of Upstate NY, brings over 15 years of marketing experience to the Braves. He is entering his third year in Minor League Baseball, his first with the Mississippi Braves. While pursuing a Masters' degree in Sports Management from SUNY Cortland in NY, he worked in AAA baseball with the Syracuse Chiefs and in Division I Men's Basketball and Football with Syracuse University.

In addition to full-time work with the Braves, Gerrod works as a Sports Recruiter and Missionary with SCORE International. He has directed baseball, soccer and basketball sports camps and worked with youths in various international countries, which include China, Japan, Jamaica, Antigua, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.   

In the past, Gerrod served as the Director of an International Refugee Soccer League (also known as S.U.S.A.) in Syracuse, NY, which was formed from 10 different African and Asian nations of people coming together to pursue their passion in soccer. Gerrod also coaches youth baseball and basketball, and has experience assistant coaching collegiate baseball, softball and basketball.

Gerrod and his wife Nikki have been married for 10 years and both grew up just south of Albany, NY. While in college, Gerrod played baseball at the Division III and Division I levels. He started at third base in the Division III College World Series in 1996 in Batavia, NY. In 2013, Gerrod rekindled his baseball career in the MABL as a starting third baseman and was named to the All-Star team. Nikki received her undergrad degree in NY, and she is a published writer. She has a passion for working with teen girls and young mothers, and has led women's mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

Gerrod and Nikki attend Pinelake Church in Brandon, MS, and have three children: Colin, Savannah & Emma.

 
Marrieo Stovall
Sales Associate

Marrieo Stovall, an Artesia, MS, native and Southern Miss Alum, enters his third season with the Mississippi Braves and his first as a Sales Associate. Stovall began the 2012 season as a part-time fun zone attendant. After two weeks, he began assisting with video where he was responsible for recording and logging games for player development.

Stovall spent the 2013 season as the M-Braves Play-by-Play Video Coordinator while also serving as a Stadium Operations Intern. After working in three different departments for two seasons, Stovall accepted a full time position with the Braves in September 2013. Baseball is definitely one of Stovall's passions and he says he'll do whatever it takes to keep climbing the baseball ladder. From working with kids to operating the stadium on a daily basis and being responsible for editing, logging and charting M-Braves home and road games for instructional purposes, it seems like Stovall has done it all in his short career.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports and cheering for his beloved Atlanta Braves, San Francisco 49ers, Mississippi State Bulldogs and Southern Miss Golden Eagles. However, the most important thing to Stovall is being able to hang out with friends and family.

 

Felicia Thompson
Concessions Manager

Originally from Crystal Springs, Felicia Thompson, enters her sixth year as Concessions Manager and her second year as Commissary Manager. After graduating from Crystal Springs High School, she attended Tougaloo College where she received a BA in Education with an emphasis in Health and Recreation and Community Health.

Previously Thompson worked as a bartender/server at Applebee's in Jackson (1999-2003) while attending Tougaloo College. After graduating, she moved to Oxford where she took a job bartending at Chili's. After a year of bartending, she was offered a management position at the Chili's in Jackson.

After leaving Chili's in 2004, she accepted the position of Administrative Assistant for the Mississippi Head Start Association where she was employed until accepting her current position with the M-Braves. Felicia resides in Jackson with her puppy, Kendall.

 

Kyle Tait
Radio Broadcaster

Kyle Tait enters his fourth season as the "Voice of the M-Braves" on WYAB 103.9 FM. Tait began his play-by-play career in 2007 calling Georgia Tech baseball. Since then, he has called more than 700 baseball games, including nearly 500 with the Double-A Braves.

His resume also includes a stint hosting "The Kyle Tait Show" in Jackson, MS, and a season as color commentator for Georgia Tech Women's Basketball. In the offseason, he serves as public address announcer for Belhaven University football, basketball and baseball.

A native of Atlanta, Tait graduated from Georgia Tech in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in Management. He resides in Brandon with his wife Megan and two dogs, AJ and Indy. For more on his work, visit www.HearKyleTait.com.

 
Derrel Palmer
PA Announcer

Derrel Palmer is the "Voice of the Mississippi Braves." After starting the 2005 season as a spectator behind the home dugout, Palmer took over the PA position in the fourth inning of game two at Trustmark Park and never looked back. Once given the opportunity to perform, he proved to management that he not only had the skills to announce, but also the ability to assist in coordinating the activities of the production room. 2014 is his 10th season to announce all Mississippi Braves home games as well as most other games played at Trustmark Park, including the College Series Games featuring Miss. State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss and the MHSAA State Baseball Championships.

After spending over 23 years in the insurance and financial services industry, Palmer made a career change by becoming General Manager of the local ESPN Radio affiliate, WPBQ 1240 AM. There he was the play-by-play voice for Millsaps Majors Athletics including football, basketball and baseball. In the fall of 2007, he began a weekday sports talk show airing from 11-1 PM Monday-Friday talking about local high school and college sports as well as other sporting events in the Jackson Metro area.

In 2009, DP became the Play-by-Play broadcaster for Pearl High School Athletics. The broadcasts are aired locally on The Pirate Media Network on television and radio as well as globally, audio as well as video, on the internet. He also does announcing and event coverage for the City of Pearl with Pearl Municipal Broadcasting.

Palmer has been married to Melinda for over 36 years and is an active member of Pinelake Church where he has served as Elder, Deacon Chairman, Worship Choir President and Bible Study Leader. Currently he serves as a Deacon, Decision Counselor and as a Greeter. He has participated in a number of short-term mission projects to Mexico. In his spare time, Palmer is an avid golfer.