After 145 wins over the past two seasons in Buffalo, GARY ALLENSON will return for a third consecutive year as manager of the Bisons in 2016. The 19th manager in the Herd's modern era, Allenson will be joined by pitching coach BOB STANLEY and hitting coach RICHIE HEBNER.
Hebner is entering his third season as the team's hitting coach after joining Buffalo in 2014. This will be Stanley's second stint with the Bisons, having served as the pitching coach during the 2013 campaign. The Bisons' pitching coach over the previous two seasons, Randy St. Claire, retired this offseason.
VOON CHONG will serve as the team's Athletic Trainer for a fourth straight year while JASON DOWSE returns for his second year as the Bisons' strength and conditioning coach.
Allenson, 60 has posted a 145-142 (.505) record in his two seasons with the Bisons, including a 77-66 mark in 2014 that was the 4th-best record in the International League that season. Last year, Buffalo finished 3rd in the IL North Division while ranking in the circuit's Top 5 in both hitting (T3rd -.260 average) and pitching (5th -3.32 ERA).
The 2016 season will be Allenson's 22nd year as a manager in the minor leagues and his 11th in the International League. He previously led Louisville (1998-1999), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-2011) before joining the Blue Jays organization in 2013. Allenson also has seven years of Major League coaching experience, working three years with the Boston Red Sox (bullpen coach: 1992-1993, 3B coach: 1994), three with the Milwaukee Brewers (1B coach: 2000, 3B coach: 2001-2002) and one with the Baltimore Orioles (third base coach in the 2010 season).
Allenson has a career managerial record of 1,245-1,362 (.478 pct.).
Allenson was drafted as a catcher by Boston in the ninth round of the 1976 draft and spent six seasons (1979-1984) as a catcher in the Major Leagues with the Red Sox before finishing his career with 14 games for the Blue Jays in 1985. Overall, Allenson hit .221 with 19 home runs and 131 RBI in 416 career big league games. He was also named the International League MVP in 1978 after he hit .299 with 20 home runs and 76 RBI for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
Under HEBNER, 68, the Bisons' offense has finished with a .260 team average in each of the last two seasons -a mark that was tied for the 3rd best in the International League in 2015. In each of the past two seasons under Hebner, the Bisons' offense has ranked in the Top 3 in the IL for fewest strikeouts (T1st in 2015, 878) and for most walks (3rd in 2015, 491). The Bisons have posted a +103 run differential in two seasons with Hebner as the hitting coach.
Hebner began his coaching career in 1988 and has served as a Major League hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox (1989-1991) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2001). He has also spent five years as a minor league manager and was named Manager of the Year in the South Atlantic League for leading the Blue Jays' Single-A affiliate Myrtle Beach to a 83-56 record.
Hebner played 18 Major League season with the Pirates, Phillies, Mets, Tigers and Cubs, posting a .276 career batting average with 1,694 hits. He had 10 or more home runs in 11 seasons, including a career high 25 for the Pirates in 1973. Hebner participated in eight National League championship series and won a World Series with Pittsburgh in 1971.
STANLEY, 61, spent the 2013 season as the Bisons pitching coach in their first year as Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays. That season, Buffalo pitchers walked 17 fewer batters (435) than any other team in the IL. He spent the 2014 season as the Blue Jays' bullpen coach before returning to the minor league side in 2015 as the pitching coach for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League.
Stanley made his coaching debut in 2012 as the pitching coach with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. He played 13 years in the Major Leagues, all of them with the Boston Red Sox. Stanley was a 1st round pick of the Red Sox in 1974 and was Boston's all-time saves leader with 132 until Jonathan Papelbon passed him during the 2009 season. Overall, Stanley was 115-97 with a 3.64ERA and 693 strikeouts in 637 career games. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000.
CHONG enters his 15th season in the Toronto organization and his seventh as the athletic trainer for the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate. He was named the 2007 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year while serving that role with New Hampshire. DOWSE will be entering his sixth season in the Blue Jays minor league system as a strength and conditioning coach.