The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced managerial and coaching assignments for their player development system for the 2012 season, including the coaching staff for the State College Spikes. The Spikes will be managed by 46-year old Dave Turgeon
, who will be joined on the bench by second-year pitching coach Justin Meccage
(pronounced like "message") and new hitting coach Dave Howard
Turgeon was slated to manage the 2011 Spikes, but was reassigned to pitching coach at Low Class-A West Virginia shortly before the start of the Spikes' New York-Penn League season in mid-June. He was replaced by Kimera Bartee, who managed the Spikes to a 31-44 (.413) record. Bartee will return to his position as Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator for the Pirates' minor league system.
Turgeon made his return to professional baseball in 2011 after having spent eight years in the college ranks, including four years as associate head coach and pitching coach at Virginia Tech from 2007-10. He also held NCAA assistant coaching positions at Duke University (2006), the University of Connecticut (2004-05) and Boston College (2002-03).
The Spikes' new skipper is no stranger to managing in the professional ranks. From 2000 to '02, Turgeon worked as a minor league field boss in the Cleveland Indians' system, managing the Burlington (NC) Indians in the rookie-level Appalachian League in 2000 and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the New York-Penn League in 2001. In 2002, he managed at the Indians' extended spring training program in Winter Haven, FL, and was set to return to Mahoning Valley for a second season before accepting a coaching position at Boston College.
Meccage, 32, returns for his second season as Spikes' pitching coach. In his debut season with State College, and as a coach at the professional level, he worked with some of the top pitching talent in the Pirates' system, including Pitcher-of-the-Year Nick Kingham and top Bucco prospect Stetson Allie.
Prior to joining Pittsburgh as a minor league coach, Justin, a native of Montana and product of Oklahoma State University, held pitching coach positions at Arkansas State University (2007-10) and the University of Texas-Pan American (2004-07). In his final collegiate stop at ASU, he was named the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Assistant Coach-of-the-Year by SEBaseball.com.
The 53-year old Howard is in his fourth season as a coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates' Player Development System, having made previous stops at the Advanced Class-A level with Lynchburg (2009) and Bradenton (2010) and at the Low Class-A level with West Virginia (2011).
Prior to joining Pittsburgh in 2009, Howard served as a minor league manager and coach in the Tampa Bay and New York Yankees' organizations. With the Rays, he managed for six seasons, including five as the skipper of the New York-Penn League's Hudson Valley Renegades from 2001-05. He also managed the rookie-level Princeton Rays to a first-place finish in the Appalachian League in 1998.
The new coaching staff will make its debut when the Spikes open their 2012 New York-Penn League schedule on Monday, June 18 at Williamsport. The Spikes 2012 Home Opener will take place the following night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.