PAPILLION, NE – The Kansas City Royals announced today the 2024 Omaha Storm Chasers coaching staff, headlined by Manager Mike Jirschele returning for his 16th season at the helm of the Triple-A Omaha franchise. "Jirsch" will be joined on the Storm Chasers coaching staff by three returning coaches – pitching
PAPILLION, NE – The Kansas City Royals announced today the 2024 Omaha Storm Chasers coaching staff, headlined by Manager Mike Jirschele returning for his 16th season at the helm of the Triple-A Omaha franchise. "Jirsch" will be joined on the Storm Chasers coaching staff by three returning coaches – pitching coach Dane Johnson, hitting coach Bijan Rademacher and assistant hitting coach David Noworyta. New to the organization in 2024 are assistant pitching coach David Lundquist and assistant coach Tripp Keister. Jirschele’s staff is rounded out with returning athletic trainer James Stone, assistant athletic trainer Danny Accola, strength and conditioning coach CJ Mikkelsen and returning coordinator of clubhouse operations Mike Brown. The support staff also includes player development trainees Drew Epperson and Jeremy Owens.
“We’re thrilled to have Jirsch, Dane, Bijan, David, James and Mike return to Werner Park.” Storm Chasers President Martie Cordaro said. “We’re equally excited to welcome David, Tripp, Danny and CJ to Omaha. It was fantastic to have Jirsch back in a Chasers uniform last year and to celebrate his 1,000th victory with the franchise. We also love seeing the depth of knowledge and experience that will surround him in 2024.”
Jirschele continues his third stint as Omaha manager, after leading the club from 1995 to 1997 and again from 2003 through 2013, before returning to skipper the Storm Chasers in 2023. 2024 marks Jirschele’s 33rd season with the Royals and he holds an all-time franchise managerial record of 1,063-1,096, making Jirschele Omaha’s all-time winningest manager. Jirschele won his 1,000th game with the Omaha franchise early in 2023 as the Storm Chasers topped the Toledo Mud Hens 13-8 on April 8, 2023. Prior to rejoining the Chasers, Jirschele held roles as the bench coach in Double-A Northwest Arkansas (Royals Double-A Affiliate) and High-A Quad Cities (Royals High-A affiliate), having also spent six seasons on the Major League staff in Kansas City as the Royals’ third base coach from 2014 to 2019.
“Omaha is like a second home for me and my family, so it felt good to hear that I’d be coming back to manage the Storm Chasers another season,” Jirschele said. “I’m happy to go wherever the Royals want me to but I'm obviously excited to come back to Werner Park. It’ll be good to have a mix of returners to the staff and some new additions too.”
Johnson returns for his fourth season as Omaha’s pitching coach after guiding the Storm Chasers’ staff in 2023. Now entering his 25th season as a coach, he joined the Royals organization in 2020 after spending 2019 with the Miami Marlins organization and the previous 19 years with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he served as the Major League bullpen coach (2015-2018), a pitching coordinator (2004-2014) and Minor League pitching coach (2000-2003). A second-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 1984, Johnson pitched parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues for the White Sox (1994), Blue Jays (1996) and Athletics (1997).
Rademacherenters his second season as the Chasers’ hitting coach after holding the same role in 2023. He joined the Royals last year after spending two seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization as the Arizona Complex League hitting coach (2022) and Minor League hitting coordinator (2021). The Anaheim Hills, CA native was the Chicago Cubs’ 13th round draft pick in 2012 and played seven seasons in the Cubs system through the 2018 season, including parts of three seasons with Triple-A Iowa.
Noworyta is back for his second season with the Chasers and his first as assistant hitting coach after serving as the bench coach in 2023, a role where he coached third base for Omaha and served as the acting manager when needed. He joined the Royals organization in 2022 as the assistant hitting coach for High-A Quad Cities after three seasons as a player between the Detroit Tigers system and the independent Pioneer League. Noworyta was originally drafted by the Royals out of high school in the 37th round of the 2014 MLB draft but chose to attend the University of Hawaii where he played collegiately before signing with the Tigers as a free agent.
Lundquist joins the Storm Chasers for his first season in the Royals organization as the assistant pitching coach, his 19th season as a coach, after spending the last 15 years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. With the Phillies, he served as Major League bullpen coach (2021-2023) and assistant pitching coach (2019-2020), as well as a minor league pitching coach (2008-2018). Lundquist spent three years as a minor league pitching coach in the Pittsburgh Pirates system (2005-2007). A fifth-round pick by the Chicago White Sox in 1993, he pitched parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues for the White Sox (1999) and San Diego Padres (2001-2002), also spending 2000 Spring Training with the Royals.
Keistercomes to Omaha for his first season in the Royals organization as well as an assistant coach, his 12th year as a coach in the Minor Leagues after spending last year as the bench coach for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders in the Texas Rangers organization. He spent the previous 10 seasons as a manager in the Washington Nationals organization, for Double-A Harrisburg (2021-2022), High-A Potomac (2014-2019), Class-A Hagerstown (2013) and the rookie-level GCL Nationals (2012). A 33rd-round pick of the New York Mets in 1992, Keister played four years in the Minor Leagues, before coaching at the collegiate level with the University of South Carolina, Delaware State University and Wesley College.
Stone returns for his fifth season as Omaha’s athletic trainer and 15th year in the Royals’ organization, having worked with the Storm Chasers since 2019. He spent the previous seven seasons with Kansas City at High-A Wilmington (2011-2018), where he was named the Carolina League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2015, and one season at advanced rookie Burlington (2010). Prior to joining the Royals organization, Stone spent one year in Arena Football with the Central Valley Coyotes (2009), three seasons in the Florida Marlins’ organization (2006-2008), earning New York-Penn League Trainer of the Year honors in 2006, and one with the Baltimore Orioles (2005) as a strength and conditioning coach.
Accola joins the Storm Chasers for his first year in Omaha as an athletic trainer and ninth year with the Royals, after spending the last two seasons as the athletic trainer for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. He previously held that same role with High-A Quad Cities (2021), where he was the High-A Central League Athletic Trainer of the Year, with stops as the athletic trainer for Class-A Lexington (2019), advanced rookie Burlington (2017-2018) and rookie Surprise (2016). A 2014 graduate of the University of Central Missouri, Accola held an athletic training internship with the Denver Broncos in 2013.
Mikkelsen also heads into his first year with the Storm Chasers as Omaha’s strength and conditioning coach, his fifth year in the Royals organization. He spent the last three seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he was named the 2023 Texas League Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year. Mikkelsen joined the Royals in 2020, slated to hold the same role at Idaho Falls, after graduating in December 2019 with a master’s degree from Texas A&M, after earning his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in 2016.
Brown returns for his sixth season as the coordinator of clubhouse operations for the Storm Chasers and his 16th year overall in Omaha. He previously served as the home clubhouse manager, visiting clubhouse manager and home clubhouse assistant, both at Werner Park and Rosenblatt Stadium.
Epperson comes to Omaha for his first year with the Storm Chasers and third in the Royals system as a player development trainee, after holding a similar role in Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2022 and High-A Quad Cities in 2023. Prior to joining the Royals, Epperson worked in the Boston Red Sox system and with the baseball team at UMass Lowell.
Owens returns for his second year with the Storm Chasers and Royals as a player development trainee in Omaha, holding that same position in 2023. Owens has previously spent time in scouting and player development with the Miami Marlins and Cincinnati Reds.
FULL 2024 OMAHA STORM CHASERS FIELD AND SUPPORT STAFF
Manager: Mike Jirschele (16th season with Omaha) jursh-LEE
Pitching Coach: Dane Johnson (4th season with Omaha)
Assistant Pitching Coach: David Lundquist (1st season with Omaha) LUND-kwist
Hitting Coach: Bijan Rademacher (2nd season with Omaha) bee-ZHON RAH-de-MOCK-er
Assistant Hitting Coach: David Noworyta (2nd season with Omaha) Nova-REE-tah
Assistant Coach: Tripp Keister (1st season with Omaha) KEY-sterr
Athletic Trainer: James Stone (6th season with Omaha)
Assistant Athletic Trainer: Danny Accola (1st season with Omaha)
Strength and Conditioning Coach: CJ Mikkelsen (1st season with Omaha)
Coordinator of Clubhouse Operations: Mike Brown (16th season with Omaha)
Player Development Trainee: Drew Epperson (1st season with Omaha)
Player Development Trainee: Jeremy Owens (2nd season with Omaha)