Koopmann returns as RiverHawks manager
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October 24, 2007 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – The man who managed the Rockford RiverHawks to the Frontier League title three years ago has returned to that role.

The RiverHawks announced Wednesday that Bob Koopmann will manage the team in 2008. Koopmann had been the team’s bench coach each of the last two seasons and is also the head coach at Rockford College. J.D. Arndt, who managed the team in 2006-07, will be retained as the team’s defensive coordinator.

“It my estimation, the No. 1 manager in this league in terms of handling pitching staffs and player matchups and handing the clubhouse is Bob,” director of baseball operations Dave Ciarrachi said. When he came available, we wanted to bring him back.”

Koopmann’s staff will include Arndt, bullpen coach Sam Knaack and new hitting coach Lemmie Miller.

Koopmann managed the RiverHawks to the 2004 pennant, the first professional baseball championship won by a Rockford team since the 1950 Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. No Rockford men’s team had won a professional title since 1911 and no stateline team had won since 1995.

Koopmann was the team’s original manager. He compiled a 151-108 record in 2002-04 and is 12th on the league’s all-time wins list. He resigned on Dec. 10, 2004 to become head coach at The Franciscan University. He coached two springs at the Clinton, Iowa-based school, now called Ashford University, and moved to Rockford College in the summer of 2006. In April 2007, he led the Regents to the inaugural Northern Athletics Conference championship.

Arndt has been on the coaching staff since 2003. He served as the hitting coach in 2003-05 and replaced Mike Young as manager on Nov. 10, 2005. Arndt had a composite record of 101-90 and two playoff appearances in two seasons as manager.

“We appreciate the job J.D. did with us for two years as manager and for his entire tenure here,” Ciarrachi said.

Koopmann returned to the coaching staff under Arndt in 2006.

Knaack has been on the coaching staff in a variety of roles in each of the team’s six previous seasons in the Rock River Valley. He is also the head baseball coach at Rochelle High School.

Miller spent a decade in the minor leagues as a player and later coached in three different organizations. Miller, a Rockford resident, played at Arizona State, was a member of its 1981 national-championship team and was drafted twice in the first round before he finished his college career. After he was drafted a third time, by Los Angeles in the second round in 1981, he signed with the Dodgers. Miller played briefly in the majors with the Dodgers in 1984. He also played in the Baltimore organization, overseas in Italy and in winter leagues based in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Miller has coached in the Cincinnati, Los Angeles and San Francisco organizations, as well as the Chico Heat, an independent team in the now-defunct Western League.

“This is a guy who can help us with our hitting, helps us with our baserunning and help us with our outfield play,” Ciarrachi said. “We’re going to make a much more concentrated effort to become a better baserunning ballclub.”

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league that will play its 16th season in 2008. Advertising and season-ticket information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. Most games are broadcast live on WNTA (1330 AM) and the internet. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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