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riverdogs.com | The Official Site of the Charleston RiverDogs

Front Office Staff

Main Office Contact Information

Phone: (843) 723-7241
Fax: (843) 723-2641
Main Email: admin@riverdogs.com

Ownership

Marv Goldklang, Chairman

Jeff Goldklang, President

Mike Veeck, Executive Advisor to the Chairman

Dr. Gene Budig, Co-Owner

Budig, past president of Major League Baseball's American League, has been a partner of the Charleston RiverDogs for several years. Budig was a university president/chancellor for 22 years before assuming the top job in the American League (1994-1999). He headed Illinois State University, West Virginia University and the University of Kansas.

He currently serves as a senior advisor to Major League Baseball, and is a retired major general in the Air National Guard/United States Air Force. He and his wife, Gretchen, live on the Isle of Palms.

Peter B. Freund, Co-Owner

Freund is the President of Trinity Packaging Corporation, a privately held plastics manufacturer headquartered in Armonk, N.Y. He is the fourth generation in his family's business, which began as a paper company in 1917. A lifelong baseball fan and New York Yankees season ticket holder, Freund is fulfilling his dream of ownership in professional baseball having signed on as a partner in the Charleston RiverDogs in 2009. He and his wife, Mimi, reside in Pound Ridge, N.Y. with their twin daughters, Winnie and Wren, and visit Charleston as often as they can.

Freund also has ownership stakes in Minor League teams in both Williamsport, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn.

Al Phillips, Co-Owner

Phillips was born in Sumter, S.C. and has lived in Charleston since he was a child. Phillips earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Management from Clemson in 1985. After obtaining his MBA from UNC in 1988, Phillips began work with Carolina Eastern, a Charleston-based company that markets and distributes fertilizers. In 1995 Phillips became President of Carolina Eastern and has continued to hold that office to this day. Phillips is active among the Charleston community, serving on the board of Porter-Gaud School and Palmetto Agri-Business Council. In addition to serving in the community, Phillips has a minority partnership interest in various baseball clubs. He is married to Kathryn Pearce Phillips with whom he has four children.

Bill Murray, Co-Owner/Director of Fun

Management

Dave Echols, President/General Manager

Echols has guided the RiverDogs through some of their most successful seasons since being named general manager in 2004. He led the staff in hosting the highly successful 2004 and 2012 South Atlantic League All-Star games, and has twice earned SAL General Manager of the Year honors. Under his guidance, the RiverDogs have been named recipients of MiLB national awards for excellence in promotions, marketing, and sustained excellence. And, in 2016, the RiverDogs won the inaugural Patriot Award, given to the Minor League team that best exemplifies outstanding support of the military branches and engagement with veterans.

 

He's a member of the Rotary Club of Charleston, the Executive Association of Greater Charleston, and the boards of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and Trident Technical College. He was a founding member and vice president of the Palmetto Military Support Group, and currently serves as an Air Mobility Command Civic Leader.

 

From 2002-04 Echols served as GM of the Brockton (Mass.) Rox and was named Northeast League Executive of the Year in 2003. The University of Dayton graduate has also worked for teams in Kinston, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Echols is active in community affairs and resides on Johns Island with his wife, Debra, and son, Logan.

Ben Abzug, Assistant General Manager

Abzug, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was named the Assistant General Manager of the Charleston RiverDogs in 2013 after spending the previous four seasons with the Burlington Royals of the Appalachian League. With Burlington, Abzug was named the 2012 Appalachian League Executive of the Year and helped increase the Royals' sponsorship sales by 80 percent in two years. Attendance also rose 23 percent in Burlington under Abzug's leadership.

A graduate of Purdue University, Abzug previously spent two years as an intern with the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League. Abzug currently resides in Mt. Pleasant with his wife, Jess, and their daughter, Joanna.

Andy Lange, Vice President/Corporate Sales

Lange began his career in baseball with the Charleston RiverDogs in October 2001, having joined the sales staff after two years with the historic Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston. During his career, he received 2013 South Atlantic League Sales Executive of the Year honors in his tenth season as Assistant General Manager before his promotion to Vice President.

Originally from LaPorte, Ind., Lange has been in Charleston since 1996. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the local chapter of the March of Dimes. He married the former Melissa LaPlaunt on Dec. 31, 2007, and they reside in West Ashley with sons Wrigley, Hayden, and Maddux.

Mascots

Charlie T. RiverDog, Mascot

Taken with the first overall selection in the June 1994 Minor League Mascot Draft, Charlie has been an integral part of the RiverDogs since their inception. He was the first high school mascot taken with the first overall selection in the storied history of the Mascot Draft, as part of the inaugural season of RiverDogs baseball in 1994. Charlie has helped the RiverDogs become one of the most popular attractions in the Lowcountry, moving into Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in 1997, the RiverDogs pristine 5,549-seat ballpark on the banks of the Ashley River.

Charlie has witnessed many of the RiverDogs greats pass through the Lowcountry from his time in Charleston. His favorites to don the RiverDogs uniform include B.J. Pupton, Andy BARKett, Aubrey Ruff, and Rob Ruffsnyder. He is an active member of the Lowcountry community, and attends numerous events year round.

Chelsea, Mascot

Chelsea's been bringing spunk to the Lowcountry since joining the RiverDogs the early 2000's and is credited with coming up with the Monday Dog Day concept in a promotional meeting in 2014, deciphered by the Charleston front office after three hours of charades. Her favorite hobbies include watching her favorite RiverDogs hit home runs, long walks on Folly Beach, and digging for her lost bone on the Riley Park warning track to the chagrine of the grounds crew.

Bark, Mascot/Palmetto Tree Extaordinaire

Showcasing the tremendous depth in the RiverDogs' mascot ranks, Bark is the most famous tree in the Palmetto State. Bark's roots go way back in the history of the Lowcountry; his great grandfather was one of the palmetto trees that helped repel the British attack on Ft. Moultrie in 1776. After growing up as a small sappling planted in Shoeless Joe's Hill when the RiverDogs' new ballpark opened, he grew legs and sprung forth from his rooted spot after longingly watching the Charleston fans have so much fun in the stands without him. You can catch him hanging out with his friends Charlie and Chelsea at The Joe.

Ticket Sales

Garrett Randle, Director of Ticket Sales

Randle began leading the RiverDogs' ticket sales efforts starting in 2018 after most recently working as a Business Development and Account Executive with the Houston Dynamo Soccer Club, where the Dallas, Texas native mentored other staff members in business-to-business sales, while also serving as a representative for the club's brand at networking events and functions. He brings a wealth of experience in baseball, working in various sales and marketing positions for the Frisco Roughriders (Double-A, Texas) for parts of four seasons.

Randle is a graduate of Northwood University (Cedar Hill, Texas), where he pitched collegiately and garnered a degree in business management with a minor in sports management. He also earned a Master's in Journalism from the University of North Texas.

Morgan Powell, Director of Ticket Operations

A native of Alpharetta, Ga., Powell comes to Charleston from the Pittsfield (Mass.) Suns, where she was the assistant general manager for the 2014 and '15 seasons in charge of tickets. She spent the 2013 campaign with the Hudson Valley (N.Y.) Renegades as the box office manager and social media/marketing coordinator.

Powell also served as an executive trainee for the RiverDogs' South Atlantic League rival Rome Braves in 2012 and spent two years as a media relations student intern at Auburn University, where she graduated with a degree in Public Relations in 2011.

Daniel Armas, Sales Representative

Armas joined the RiverDogs sales team prior to the 2017 for his first stint in baseball. A former Naval serviceman deployed for two tours in Iraq and Kuwait, Armas most recently worked as a Navy recruiter in Raleigh, N.C. where he gained experience identifying and processing new enlistees.

During his tours of duty, the Longview, Tex. native was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn as an Operations Specialist in the Riverine Squadron 1 and Coastal Riverine Squadron 2. He was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and named Junior Sailor of the Quarter in 2013.

Claudia Davis, Sales Representative

Davis joined the RiverDogs prior to the 2019 season after most recently working with the Miami Marlins as an inside sales representative. The Florida native's first season with the RiverDogs marks her third consecutive season in baseball after serving as the box office manager for the St. Lucie Mets (High-A, Florida State League) in 2017. The Orlando native is a graduate of the University of Florida's Sport Management program.

Mike Ryan, Sales Representative

A native of New York, Ryan joined the RiverDogs in 2017 after generating business-to-business sales while selling for the teams within the Goldklang Group ownership, including the RiverDogs, as an Inside Sales Account Manager at the group's call center in Fishkill, N.Y.

Ryan graduated York college of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management. In 2016, Ryan worked as a box office representative for the New York Cosmos Soccer Club, selling individual game tickets and assisting with marketing groups in promotional strategies.

Serg Saradjian, Sales Representative

Joining the RiverDogs during the 2017 season, Saradjian came to Charleston after previously working within the Goldklang Group as an Inside Sales Account Manager in New York. The Peekskill, N.Y. native is a graduate of Nichols College with a degree in Business Administration.

During his final semester, Saradjian interned with Boston College Athletics in the sports marketing department where he assisted with the development and execution of brand and partnership marketing strategies.

Jake Terrell, Sales Representative

A native of Asheville, N.C. and a graduate of UNC-Asheville, Terrell began his career in baseball with the South Atlantic League rival Asheville Tourists before joining the RiverDogs in February of 2004. Terrell has served in variety of roles since joining the RiverDogs, serving as the food and beverage manager and box office manager prior to working in ticket sales.

Terrell is the son of Bob Terrell, the long time sports writer and historian who covered the Tourists for the Asheville Citizen-Times before he was enshrined into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2000.

Media Relations & Broadcasting

Matt Dean, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

Dean came to Charleston as the "voice of the RiverDogs" in November of 2015 after beginning his baseball career as the broadcast and media relations assistant for the RiverDogs' sister team, the St. Paul Saints. While in the Twin Cities, the Wisconsin native served as a color analyst and number two play-by-play man for the Saints who set a franchise record total in wins with a 74-26 season in 2015. In his first season handling the play-by-play duties in Charleston, the RiverDogs saw an 11-year playoff drought snap as Charleston finished with an impressive 70-63 regular season record and the first playoff win in RiverDogs history.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dean interned with 100.5 FM ESPN Radio while in Madison, and was a part-time broadcaster for the Big Ten Network's Student U Program.

Promotions

Nate Kurant, Director of Promotions

Kurant, who has the responsibilities of coordinating the RiverDogs' promotional schedule, joined the RiverDogs prior to the 2016 season. He earned his undergraduate degree in Mass Communications in 2007 from the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg and added a masters in Journalism and Media Studies from USF-St. Petersburg in 2012.

His previous experience includes serving four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays as their Spring Training emcee. He also worked as the director of marketing and social media for the Dunedin (Fla.) Blue Jays, where he created and developed marketing ideas to promote the organization to the local fan base and made the team more visible nationwide by creating professional baseball's first and only universal rain check. He has been an announcer for numerous teams and events, including the University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Storm, and East/West Shrine Game.

Among his other experiences, he was a high school baseball coach, served in missions in Costa Rica, and was an improv comedian.

Business Management/Accounting

Dale Stickney, Business Manager

A native of Miami, Fla., Stickney has been with the Goldklang Group since 2000 when she ran the Veeck Promotional Seminar. She joined the RiverDogs as Director of Special Events in 2003, coordinating a number of fundraising and community events for the club before transitioning to her current role as business manager in 2008.

Prior to joining the RiverDogs, Stickney spent time working for the National Association of Baseball Leagues and the Hickory Crawdads, another club with membership in the South Atlantic League. She currently resides in Mt. Pleasant with her husband, Jeff, and three children: Miles, Travis, and Sydney.

Special Events

Lisa Dingman, Director of Special Events

Dingman recently moved to Charleston from Brooklyn, N.Y. and joined the RiverDogs special events team. Prior to working as the Director of Special Events for the RiverDogs, she was the Corporate Events Manager for Alcoa Inc. During her time at Alcoa she worked with the companies Chairman, Executives and Board of Directors planning all high profile and large scale events company-wide.

A native of Johnstown, N.Y., Dingman brings a wealth of event planning experience to the Charleston club and helps oversee the RiverDogs' numerous year-round events including the RiverDogs Bark for your Brew, the Fun is Good Golf Tournament, Run Forrest Run 5K Race, and Legends in the South Alumni Game.

Maddie Grace Smith, Riley Park Club Manager

Smith is a former RiverDogs intern from the 2018 season, when she worked as a member of the promotions team while helping execute several of the RiverDogs' non-gameday special events. The Virginia native is a graduate of Charleston Southern University, where she earned a degree in Business Management with a Sports Communications minor.

Smith now manages the RiverDogs' multi-purpose, year-round event space, suitable for up to 300 guests and with a wide variety of events including weddings, banquets, networking events, business meetings, and more. Contact Maddie Grace for inquiries about your next group event.

Kayli Varner, Special Events Manager

Varner returned to the RiverDogs prior to the 2019 season after interning in Charleston during the club's record-setting 2017 campaign. The University of Georgia alum helped in the club's community outreach efforts during that year. Varner will work in tandem with the RiverDogs' Director of Special Events, Lisa Dingman, in filling out the club's year-round schedule of non-baseball events ranging from the annual Ballpark Festival of Beers, Hot Stove Banquet & Auction, food festivals, concerts, and more.

Community Relations

Walter Nolan-Cohn, Director of Community Relations

Walter Nolan-Cohn joins the RiverDogs after spending the 2016 season with the St. Paul Saints (Independent, American Association), the RiverDogs' sister team under the Goldklang Group ownership. As an intern, the Chicago native worked in the front office performing duties ranging from sales, promotions, and appearing in community and player events as a Saints representative.

A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in Sports Marketing & Management, Nolan-Cohn previously worked as a marketing intern with IU where he coordinated several event-based promotions, fan experience, and social media for all 24 Hoosier athletic teams on campus.

As the club's new community relations director, Nolan-Cohn will coordinate the RiverDogs' community branding and extensive outreach programs which includes promoting healthy living through youth sports - especially youth baseball - as well literacy, among others. The ball club's volunteer projects along with planning appearances for Charlie T. RiverDog, the club's loveable mascot, will continue to be a focus.

Chris Singleton, Director of Community Outreach

A native of Goose Creek, Singleton joined the RiverDogs' Community Relations team before the start of the 2019 season as the club's Director of Community Outreach. A former professional outfielder, Singleton played college ball at Charleston Southern University for three seasons while becoming a nationally-renowned speaker whose message of forgiveness following the loss of his mother in the Mother Emanuel tragedy helped galvanize the Charleston community. The Goose Creek native was a standout player with the Bucs on the field, ranking among the top-20 in school history in hits and top-10 in stolen bases before being selected in the 19th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. The Goose Creek High product announced his retirement from the game as a player after finishing his second season in the minor leagues in 2018, appearing in 107 games with the Single-A South Bend Cubs that year.

 

Brooke Swetenburg, Community Relations Manager

Swetenburg returns to the Charleston front office prior to the 2019 season after working as promotions and fan engagement intern two seasons prior. Since her time with the RiverDogs during their record-setting campaign in which they welcomed over 300,000 fans for the first time in The Joe's history, she has stayed in the Lowcountry, working as a sports marketing intern with her alma mater, The College of Charleston, and as an Event Sales & Marketing Manager with the Magnolia Plantation Weddings.

Marketing & Creative Services

Courtney Lewis, Marketing & Creative Services Manager

Lewis joined the Goldklang Group's southernmost club heading into 2019 after three seasons in Massachusetts with the RiverDogs' sister club, the Pittsfield Suns (Futures Collegiate Baseball League). While under same ownership umbrella, she worked as the Director of Marketing and Ticket Sales, spearheading the club's 2018 promotional calendar, enhancing the fan experience, and creating all sponsorship and marketing creative for the club. The University of Albany graduate started out in baseball having previously worked with the Hudson Valley Renegades (Short Season, New York-Penn), one of the Goldklang Group's other clubs, in the promotions department during the 2015 season.

Jeremy Schrank, Director of Video Production

Schrank, a native of Illinois, joined the RiverDogs prior to the 2017 season as the Director of Video Production.

Prior to his time with the RiverDogs, Schrank worked for the George Washington University athletic department, creating videos for in-stadium use, game highlights, videos for Raise High TV as well as a variety of sports related duties.

Schrank graduated from the University of Missouri (Mizzou) with a degree in Sports Broadcast Journalism. He spent four years working for KOMU TV-8, an NBC affiliate, as a sports producer, sports anchor and reporter. In 2015, he had the opportunity to cover the Kansas City Royals during the ALCS and World Series performing live shots and live tweets.

Schrank produces video content for the ballpark presentation and for the club's website (riverdogs.com) while overseeing the broadcast of all 70 RiverDogs home games on MiLB.tv.

Client Services

Melissa McCants Azevedo, Director of Client Services

Azevedo has been with the RiverDogs in at least a part-time capacity since 1989 when she served in a variety of roles on the gameday staff. She joined as a full-time member of the front office in 1996 when she served as the Community Relations Director under Mike Veeck. A graduate of the College of Charleston, she rejoined her alma mater as the sports marketing director for the Cougars in 2000 before returning for her second stint with the RiverDogs in 2004 as a member of the special events staff.

Azevedo was awarded the College of Charleston's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and a finalist for the Local Influential Women in Business award by The Charleston Regional Business Journal in 2012. She resides in West Ashley with her husband, Tyson, and daughter, Brynlee.

Ballpark Operations

Josh Otterline, Director of Operations

Otterline joined the RiverDogs during the 2018 season after working as the Facility Manager for the Washington Nationals, where he managed the Nats' 18,000 square foot facility in D.C. The product of the University of Georgia heads back South after getting his start in baseball working in stadium operations with the Gwinnett Braves, Atlanta's Triple-A affiliate, during the two seasons prior. Otterline was also a Atlanta Braves baseball camp division leader and is a graduate of the UGA Sport Management program.

Kevin Coyne, Head Groundskeeper

Joining the Dogs heading into the 2019 season, Coyne takes over as the RiverDogs' next head groundskeeper after working on the field crew for the Minnesota Twins for the previous four seasons at Target Field. Prior to his Big League stint, the Minnesota native worked as the Assistant Field Superintendent with the San Antonio Missions of the Double-A Texas League.

Jordan Wiley, Operations Manager

A native of Irmo, S.C., Wiley joined the RiverDogs' ballpark operations team in 2019. Prior to his time in the South Atlantic League, Wiley most recently worked as a member of the Carolina Panthers' Football Operations Training Camp team, where he assisted in moving the Panthers from Bank of America Stadium to Wofford College heading into the season. The Winthrop University grad's previous experiences include an internship at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and as a Guest Relations Associate at Bank of America Stadium.

James Vining, Assistant Groundskeeper

Vining made his way to Charleston ahead of the 2019 season after spending the previous four years in Boca Raton, Fla. as a member of the Florida Atlantic University field management team. 2019 marked a return to professional baseball for the Georgia native; Vining previously worked on the grounds crew for the Baltimore Orioles in 2014 and got his start in turf management as an intern with the Jacksonville Suns (Double-A, Southern League) in 2010. He works tirelessly in tandem with Head Groundskeeper Kevin Coyne in maintaining the grounds at Riley Park, honored as the South Atlantic League's top playing surface five times in the past 10 seasons.

Food & Beverage

Mike Liedl, Director of Food & Beverage

Liedl joined the Dogs in 2019 after overseeing the general concessions operations as a manager at SunTrust Park in Atlanta during the Braves' second-year at their 41,000-seat venue. The Marquette University alum's previous experiences have included managing concessions at several professional sports stadiums across the Midwest including Lambeau Field (Green Bay, WI), Target Field (Minneapolis, MN), and Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI). Now heading the concessions operations at The Joe, Liedl looks to continue the tradition of unique food and drink offerings outside of your standard ballpark fare in one of the premier culinary cities in the country.

Matt Roddy, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage

Roddy joined the RiverDogs during the 2019 season from Columbia, where the University of South Carolina grad worked in the food and beverage department with the Columbia Fireflies (New York Mets) of the South Atlantic League. He also brings experience in marketing and sales with the Cottontown Brew Lab in Columbia, where he was involved in all aspects of the startup microbrewery.

Sara Carpenter, Merchandise and Hospitality Manager

Carpenter was onboarded with the Charleston front office in 2018, bringing with her a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, working most recently as a manager at Butcher & Bee in Charleston. She has held various roles in event management and food and beverage in the Charleston area for the last six years. A native of Virginia, Carpenter is a graduate of James Madison University with a BBA in Marketing and added a degree in graphic design at VCU.

Office Management

Cynthia Linhart, Office Manager

A native Charlestonian and a graduate of St. Andrew's Parish High School, Linhart joined the RiverDogs prior to the 2018 season as the office manager. She is a licensed real estate broker and brings over two decades of experience in the industry in both residential and commercial real estate before her first tenure in baseball.

Linhart resides in the Charleston area with her husband, Corey, and her Spring Spaniel, Beauregard. She is the proud mother of four children, Choral, Ethan, Luke, and Conrad, all pursuing careers and is an active parishioner at St. Mary of the Annunciation.