Michael Ryan | Manager
Managerial & Coaching Career
Michael Ryan, a native of Western Pennsylvania, returns for his second season as the manager of the Altoona Curve in 2018. He was announced to the position on December 23, 2016. The Pirates announced Ryan's return to Altoona on January 16, 2018.
In his first season with the Curve in 2017, Ryan led the club to its second Eastern League championship in franchise history with a three-game sweep over the Trenton Thunder in the ELCS. The Curve went 74-66 in the regular season, winning their second Western Division title in team history by two games over the second-place Bowie Baysox.
The title was the second for Ryan in as many seasons. In 2016, he managed the Class-A Adv. Bradenton Marauders to a Florida State League championship. It was the first A-Adv. championship for a Pirates-affiliate team since the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League title in 2009.
Ryan began his managerial career in 2013 with the West Virginia Power, the Pirates' Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League, leading the club to an 82-58 overall record and second-half Northern Division championship while setting the franchise record in wins. The Power were eliminated in the division series by the Hagerstown Suns, two games to one. He returned to Charleston with the Power in 2014 before earning a promotion to manage Bradenton in 2015. Overall, Ryan has compiled a 354-335 record over ive seasons as a minor league manager. Ryan was also a coach with the Curve in 2012 under former manager P.J. Forbes.
|2013||West Virginia (PIT)||South Atlantic League (A)||82-58||3rd/1st||Lost DS, 2-1|
|2014||West Virginia (PIT)||South Atlantic League (A)||54-81||7th/4th||--|
|2015||Bradenton (PIT)||Florida State League (A+)||74-64||6th/2nd||--|
|2016||Bradenton (PIT)||Florida State League (A+)||70-66||1st/4th||Won FSL title|
|2017||Altoona (PIT)||Eastern League (AA)||74-66||1st||Won EL title|
|2018||Altoona (PIT)||Eastern League (AA)||78-60||1st||Lost DS, 3-1|
Ryan was drafted in the ﬁfth round by the Minnesota Twins out of Indiana Area Senior High School in 1996, where he played baseball, basketball and football and was an all-state selection in football and baseball in 1996. Ryan played 15 professional seasons, including ﬁve in the majors. The former outﬁelder spent four seasons in the big leagues with the Twins from 2002-05 and played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2010. He played in the 2003 ALDS with the Twins in 2003, going 0-for-1.
Ryan was a non-roster invitee with the Pirates in 2007 after 10 seasons with the Minnesota organization (1996-05) and one with Atlanta (2006). He played 149 major league games, compiling a .258 batting average, seven home runs and 35 RBIs. He was a Paciﬁc Coast League All-Star in 2002 with Edmonton after clubbing 31 homers and 101 RBIs.
Ryan currently resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, Alicia, and their two sons, Brennan (8) and Blake (6).
Bryan Hickerson | Pitching Coach
Bryan Hickerson, 54, returns to the Altoona staff for his second year in the Pittsburgh organization. He had spent the previous 18 years working in ministry, mostly in the context of professional baseball and the military.
A left-handed pitcher in his playing days, Hickerson attended the University of Minnesota, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sport and exercise science in 1987. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the seventh round of the 1986 draft. Hickerson was traded in June 1987 along with Jose Dominguez and Ray Velasquez to the Giants for Dave Blakley and Dan Gladden. He made his Major League debut with the Giants on July 25, 1991, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Hickerson played with the Giants from 1991-1994, working in 153 games with 36 starts. He went 5-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 61 games in his first full big league season in 1992. He started 15 of his 47 outings in 1993, going 7-5 with a 4.26 ERA. He was claimed off waivers by the Cubs in November 1994 and played 38 games for Chicago before being traded to Colorado, where he worked 18 games to finish the year. Overall, he spent five seasons in the Majors, going 21-21 with two saves and a 4.72 ERA.
After concluding his playing career, Hickerson served as a pitching coach in the Giants organization, first in Single-A Bakersfield in 1997, then with A-Adv. San Jose in 1998, where he worked with Joe Nathan and Ryan Vogelsong. Hickerson lives in Warsaw, Ind. with his wife, Jo. He has four children: Emily (25), Joey (25), Claire (22) and Tommy (20).
Keoni De Renne | Hitting Coach
Keoni De Renne, 38, joins as the Curve's hitting coach after spending the last two seasons in the same role with Bradenton. He was the hitting coach with the West Virginia Power for two seasons from 2014-15. In 2013, De Renne managed the Pirates' affiliate in the Dominican Summer League to a 46-26 record.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, De Renne was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round in 2000 out of the University of Arizona and played eight affiliated minor league seasons as an infielder with the Braves, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox organizations and three years with the independent York Revolution. In affiliated baseball, De Renne played 699 games and hit .263 with 13 homers and 242 RBIs. He spent three seasons in the Eastern League, playing in 2003 with the Trenton Thunder (Yankees), 2006 with the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox) and 2010 with the Reading Phillies (Phillies).
De Renne lives in Honolulu. His great-grandfather, Wilbur Cooper, played for the Pirates from 1912-1924 and holds the franchise record for career wins as a pitcher with 202.
Stephen Morales | Coach
Stephen Morales, 39, joins the Curve for his first season working as a coach in the Pirates organization. He spent the last five seasons as a coach with Indios de Mayagüez of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League) in Puerto Rico, working mostly with catchers, including major leaguers Martin Maldonado, Roberto Perez, Christian Vasquez, Rafael Lopez and Rene Rivera. Morales also worked with youth players ages 14-17 in Puerto Rico through an MLB development program. A native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Morales was drafted in the 23rd round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins and played 15 professional seasons with the Marlins, White Sox, Padres and independent teams.
Justin Ahrens | Trainer
Justin Ahrens returns to the Curve for his second season in Altoona and his seventh with the Pittsburgh organization. He spent the previous two years with the Bradenton Marauders and was named the Florida State League's Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2016. From 2013-2014, he was the trainer with the Single-A West Virginia Power after working with the short-season State College Spikes in 2012. He has spent each of the last five seasons on the same staff as new Curve manager Michael Ryan. Prior to joining the Pirates organization, Ahrens worked with the Oakland Athletics in the Dominican Republic in 2011 as an assistant athletic trainer and as an intern with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. Ahrens, 29, received a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisc. in 2011 and a master's degree in kinesiology from Fresno Pacific University in 2016. He is a native of Beloit, Wisc., and he makes his offseason home in Milwaukee.
Joe Schlesinger | Strength & Conditioning Coach
Schlesinger returns to the Curve for second first season as the team's strength and conditioning coach and his fifth with the Pittsburgh organization. In 2016, he held the same position with the Single-A West Virginia Power after spending the previous year with the short-season West Virginia Black Bears. He began his tenure with the Pirates in 2014 with the short-season Jamestown Jammers. Prior to joining the Pirates, Schlesinger served as a strength and conditioning graduate assistant at Duquesne University, and preceded that with time working at the University of Southern California and University of Toledo. Born in Cleveland, Schlesinger graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in exercise science in 2011 and completed his master's of science in sports leadership at Duquesne in 2014. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.