(UPTOWN CHARLOTTE, NC) - Joel Skinner -- the winningest manager in Charlotte Knights franchise history -- will return to Uptown Charlotte in 2015 to lead the Knights into their second season at BB&T Ballpark. The 2015 season will mark Skinner's fourth consecutive season at the helm of the Knights -- the longest by a manager in franchise history. Joining Skinner in the Knights dugout are returnees Richard Dotson (pitching coach), Andy Tomberlin (hitting coach), Ryan Newman (coach), and Chad Efron (strength and conditioning coach). Athletic trainer Scott Johnson, who spent the past two seasons (2013-14) with Double-A Birmingham, returns to Knights in 2015. Johnson previously spent 12 seasons with Charlotte from 1999-2010.
"We are very pleased to embark on our second season at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte with Joel Skinner returning as our field manager," said Knights Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski. "Joel's leadership, experience, and ability to develop future Major League talent have been evident over the past three seasons. We also welcome Richard, Ryan, Andy, Chad, and Scott back to the Knights staff this year."
In three seasons as manager of the Knights, Skinner has compiled 211 wins -- the most in franchise history. Skinner and Nick Leyva (202) are the only two managers in Knights history to win 200 games. In 11 seasons overall as a Minor League manager, Skinner owns a career record of 804-712. In four seasons at the Triple-A level, he has a 297-279 record.
Last season, Skinner's squad posted a 63-81 mark in their return to Charlotte. Under his tutelage, 19 players were promoted to Chicago in 2014. Overall, 17 Knights were promoted to the White Sox in 2012 while 21 were promoted in 2013. In his first season as manager of the Knights, he led the club to an International League Southern Division title (2012). That season, the Knights posted a 83-61 mark -- the club's second highest single season win total in franchise history
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.
A year later, the La Jolla, CA native began his managerial career and led Watertown (A) to the New York Penn League championship (1995). His success that season earned him Manager of the Year honors. Among some of his other managerial accomplishments, Skinner was 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.
In 2002 as interim manager of the Cleveland Indians, Skinner led the Tribe to a 35-41 mark. By managing the Indians that season, the Skinners became one of three father-son combinations to manage at the Major League level. Bob Skinner, Joel's father, managed the Philadelphia Phillies (1968-69) and the San Diego Padres (1977). The Skinners joined the Macks (Connie and Earle) and the Sislers (George and Dick) in this exclusive club.
The 2015 season will mark the eighth consecutive for Dotson as the pitching coach of the Knights. Overall, the former Major League hurler, who won 111 big league games, returns to the White Sox system for his 14th campaign. As a player, Dotson spent 12 seasons in the majors with the White Sox (1979-87, 89), Yankees (1988-89), and Royals (1990). A native of Cincinnati, OH, Dotson 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 product of nearby Piedmont High School, is back for his third season with the Knights and second consecutive with the club. The Monroe, NC native also spent the 2012 season as Charlotte's hitting coach. Under his guidance last season, the Knights slugged 176 home runs, which tied with High Desert (California League) for the most in Minor League Baseball. The 48-year-old enters his 13th season in the White Sox organization as a coach. He played professionally for 15 seasons from 1986 to 2000.
Newman, 35, begins his seventh season in Chicago's system and second straight with the Knights. A native of Hayward, CA, Newman previously managed the Winston Salem Dash (A+) to a 71-69 record in 2013. Newman, the son of former Major Leaguer Jeff Newman, guided Great Falls (Advanced Rookie) to a Pioneer League Championship in 2011.
Johnson, a native of Bismarck, N.D., will begin his 27th season in Chicago's system and 13th with the Knights. Overall, Johnson has been the athletic trainer for Chicago's Triple-A affiliate for 13 seasons (12 with Charlotte and one with Calgary in 1998).
Efron returns to the Knights for the second straight year and ninth overall. The Plantation, FL native spent seven consecutive years with the Knights from 2006-2012. Overall, the 2015 season will be Efron's 12th in the White Sox organization.
Season tickets, as well as 18-game partial ticket plans for the 2015 season at BB&T Ballpark, are on sale now and can be purchased online at charlotteknights.com, by phone at 704-274-8282, or in person at the BB&T Ballpark Ticket Office located at 324 S. Mint St. The Charlotte Knights return home to BB&T Ballpark on Friday, April 3 as they host the Chicago White Sox in an exhibition game. Tickets for the Knights Leadoff Luncheon are also on sale now. Opening Knight of the 2015 season is set for Thursday, April 9. Uptown Knights Are Better Than Ever!