WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Nov. 16, 2016) - In conjunction with the Chicago White Sox, the Winston-Salem Dash have announced their on-field staff for the 2017 season. Former Major Leaguer Willie Harris, a member of the White Sox 2005 World Series Championship team, will manage the Dash, while Brian Drahman will take over as the pitching coach. Hitting coach Charlie Poe, athletic trainer Josh Fallin and strength and conditioning coach George Timke will return to Winston-Salem.
The 46th manager in Winston-Salem franchise history, Harris will be a skipper for the first time when he leads the Dash in 2017. His coaching career began last season as a hitting coach with rookie-level Great Falls, who posted the best regular season record in the Pioneer League (47-28).
In 12 seasons at the Major League level, Harris played 1,046 games for seven different teams, including a four-season stint with the White Sox from 2002-05. His final appearance with Chicago came in Game 4 of the World Series, when he scored the game's only run to help the White Sox clinch their first championship since 1917. The 38-year-old was a career .238 hitter and logged time at six different defensive positions.
Drahman returns to Winston-Salem as the club's pitching coach for the first time since 2008, his first professional coaching season. Since that season in the Triad, Drahman worked with Great Falls from 2009-15 and Low-A Kannapolis in 2016. Last season, eight Intimidators pitchers graduated to Winston-Salem, including productive starters Tanner Banks and Zach Thompson. Originally a second-round pick of the Brewers in 1986, Drahman pitched four seasons in the Majors, with three coming in a White Sox uniform from 1991-93. His first Major League victory was part of the White Sox first win at new Comiskey Park, which is now Guaranteed Rate Field.
For a third consecutive season, Poe will act as Winston-Salem's hitting coach. Last year, he helped Mason Robbins (.314) and Nick Basto (.308) finish first and second, respectively, in batting average amongst Carolina League qualifiers. Both men were Year-End All-Stars in 2016 after Poe oversaw four players who accomplished that feat with Winston-Salem in 2015 (Adam Engel, Trey Michalczewski, Omar Narvaez and Jake Peter). As a player, Poe suited up professionally from 1990-2002, including three seasons at the Triple-A level.
Fallin will enter his 19th season in the White Sox system and 15th with Winston-Salem in 2017. A three-time Carolina League Trainer of the Year, Fallin was in Winston-Salem from 2001-10 before a two-year stint with Double-A Birmingham. At the collegiate level, Fallin has worked for New Mexico State University, his alma mater, and Wake Forest University, with whom he served on the 2007 national championship men's soccer team.
During his first season with Winston-Salem in 2016, Timke earned the Carolina League's Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year award, as announced by the Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Coaches Society (PBSCCS). The Suffern, N.Y., native began his White Sox tenure with Great Falls in 2013 before working in Kannapolis in 2014 and 2015. His professional career began with the Royals' organization in 2009.
"The White Sox are excited about this staff, and I know that Dash fans will feel the same way," Dash President Geoff Lassiter said. "Willie's big league experience and championship pedigree will be very helpful for our team. Plus, it is great to know that the rest of our staff members have previously coached in Winston-Salem."
Jose Bautista will be the pitching coach for Double-A Birmingham after serving the same role in Winston-Salem a year ago. Former Dash managers Tim Esmay (2015) and Ryan Newman (2013) will act as skippers for Great Falls and the AZL White Sox, respectively. Justin Jirschele, who was an infielder for Winston-Salem in 2014 and 2015, has earned his first managerial assignment with Kannapolis.
Baseball returns to Winston-Salem on April 13, 2017, for the eighth season at BB&T Ballpark. A full schedule will be released soon, and season-ticket packages are on sale now. For more information, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 or visit wsdash.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.