(Uptown Charlotte, NC) - Joel Skinner, who guided the Charlotte Knights to 148 wins over the past two seasons -- including an appearance in the Governors' Cup Finals in 2012 -- will return to manage the Knights in 2014 during the team's inaugural season at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte. Joining Skinner will be pitching coach Richard Dotson, hitting coach Andy Tomberlin, coach Ryan Newman, head trainer Joe Geck, and strength and conditioning coach Chad Efron. Skinner returns for his third season at the helm of the Knights, which is the longest consecutive span by a Knights manager since Nick Capra (2002-04).
"As we prepare to open BB&T Ballpark for our anticipated return to Charlotte, we are very pleased to welcome Joel, Richard, Andy, Ryan, Joe, and Chad to the Knights," said Charlotte Knights Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski. "Joel has done a terrific job developing our players and leading our team during his two seasons as manager. We look forward to having him guide our players into a new chapter of Charlotte baseball history in 2014."
Over the past two years, Skinner has compiled a 148-139 record, as well as a Southern Division Title in 2012. That season, he led the Knights to an 83-61 record -- the club's second highest single season win total in franchise history. Last season, the Knights posted a 65-78 record. Under his tutelage, 17 players were promoted to the White Sox in 2012, while 21 were promoted in 2013.
As a player, Skinner played 15 seasons of professional baseball, including nine seasons in the majors with the Chicago White Sox (1983-86), New York Yankees (1986-88) and Cleveland Indians (1989-91). He appeared in six games for the Knights in 1994.
After his playing days, Skinner began his coaching/managerial career in 1994 as a catching instructor in the Cleveland organization. A year later, the former big league catcher led Watertown to the New York Penn League championship. He earned Manager of the Year honors that season.
Among some of his other accomplishments, he was the Carolina League Manager of the Year in 1997, USA Today Baseball Weekly's Minor League Manager of the Year in 1998, and the Baseball America and The Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year in 2000.
Skinner posted a 35-41 record as the manager of the Cleveland Indians in 2002. By managing the Indians that season, the Skinners became one of three families to manage in the Majors. Joel's father Bob was manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (1968-69) and San Diego Padres (1977). The Skinners joined the Macks (Connie and Earle) and the Sislers (George and Dick) as the only father/son combo to manage a Major League team.
Dotson, 54, returns for his seventh straight season with the Knights and 13th overall in the White Sox organization. As a player, Dotson spent 12 seasons in the majors with the White Sox (1979-87, 89), Yankees (1988-89), and Royals (1990). The Cincinnati, OH native finished fourth in the American League Cy Young award voting in 1983 after posting a 22-7 record and a 3.23 ERA for the White Sox. He was an American League All-Star in 1984
Tomberlin, a native of Monroe, NC, returns to the Knights after spending the 2013 season as the hitting coach for Kannapolis (A). A product of nearby Piedmont High School, Tomberlin spent the 2012 season as Charlotte's hitting coach. The 47-year-old enters his 11th season in the White Sox organization as a coach. He played professionally for 15 seasons from 1986 to 2000.
Newman, 35, begins his sixth season in Chicago's system and first with the Knights in 2014. The Hayward, CA native managed the Winston Salem Dash (A+) to a 71-69 record last season. Previously, Newman guided Great Falls (Advanced Rookie) to a Pioneer League Championship in 2011.
Geck, 45, enters his 22nd season in the White Sox system and fourth straight with the Knights. Geck, who resides in Hickory, NC, served as the head trainer for Double-A Birmingham from 2001-2010. In 2002, he was named as the Southern League's Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Efron, a native of Plantation, FL, returns to the Knights after spending the 2013 campaign with Kannapolis (A). The 2014 season marks Efron's 11th in the White Sox system and it will be his eighth with the Knights after he spent seven years with the club from 2006-2012.
The Knights will open BB&T Ballpark on Friday night, April 11 at 7:05 p.m. against the Norfolk Tides. Season tickets, as well as group tickets for the 2014 inaugural season at BB&T Ballpark, are on sale now and can be purchased by phone at (980) 207-0079, by email at email@example.com, or in person by stopping by the Knights Uptown Offices located at Packard Place, 222 South Church Street, 3rd floor, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. For more information about Charlotte Knights Baseball, log on to www.charlotteknights.com