Meet the 2011 Timber Rattlers staff

Appleton native Matt Erickson is new manager

New Rattlers manager Matt Erickson (L) and former Rattlers manager Jeff Isom (R) survey the field from the home dugout during a 2010 game at Time Warner Cable Field. (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/Patrick S. Blood)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | January 5, 2011 5:03 AM ET

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GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the 2011 coaching staff for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, the Midwest League affiliate of Milwaukee.  Matt Erickson, who has been Wisconsin's hitting coach for the past two seasons, steps into the role of manager.  Pitching Coach Chris Hook and athletic trainer Jeff Paxson both return to the team for 2011.  The new hitting coach for the Rattlers is former University of North Florida head coach Dusty Rhodes.  Tim Gifford has been assigned to the Timber Rattlers as the Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Erickson, who is a native of Appleton, Wisconsin and played baseball at Appleton West High School, becomes the tenth manager in team history.  He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 1997 out of the University of Arkansas and played in the Midwest League in 1998 for the Kane County Cougars.  Erickson played in the major leagues for the Brewers in 2004 and also played in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system.  He retired as a player after the 2008 season and became the Timber Rattlers hitting coach in 2009.

"I am very excited to get the opportunity to manage a Brewers affiliate in my hometown," said Erickson.  "The Brewers are the organization that I grew up watching.  They gave me a call up to play in the big leagues and now a chance to help develop the young talent in their organization.

"I have truly enjoyed the last two seasons as the hitting coach in Appleton.  The Timber Rattlers provide a fantastic family experience at the ballpark, while offering a great facility and environment for the players in the Brewers organization to have success!"

Jeff Isom, the manager of the Timber Rattlers in 2009 and 2010, has moved on to be the manager of the Brevard County Manatees, Milwaukee's Florida State League affiliate.

Chris Hook returns for his third season as the pitching coach of the Timber Rattlers.  Hook pitched in the major leagues with the San Francisco Giants during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.  He pitched for Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League as part of the Cincinnati Reds minor league system.  Hook was also in minor league systems of the Anaheim Angels, San Diego Padres, and Houston Astros during his career.  Hook has been with the Milwaukee Brewers as a minor league pitching coach since 2008.

Hitting Coach Dusty Rhodes joins the staff after retiring as the head coach of the University of North Florida at the end of the 2010 college baseball season.  Rhodes founded the baseball program at UNF in 1988 and spent 23 seasons moving the Ospreys from NAIA to NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I.  He won over 1,200 games as a college coach including over 900 at North Florida.  Rhodes, a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, has worked in the Brewers system as a manager at Helena in the Pioneer League (1988, 1989, and 1991) and as a hitting coach for the Beloit Brewers in 1990.

Trainer Jeff Paxson has been in the Brewers system since 1994.  He was recognized by his peers as the Midwest League Trainer of the Year in 2010, his first season with the Timber Rattlers.  Paxson has also been named Trainer of the Year in the Pacific Coast League (2007), the California League (2000), and the Midwest League (1997 with the Beloit Snappers).

Strength & Conditioning Coach Tim Gifford lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  This is his first season in the Brewers organization.

Opening Day for the 2011 season is Thursday, April 7.  Season ticket packages and tickets for groups of 20 or more are available now by calling 800-WI-TIMBER or by stopping at the Time Warner Cable Field ticket office from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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