A new Northwoods League team set to take over the former Aviators Stadium for the 2016 season announced the hiring of the club’s first manager Wednesday.
Brian Smith, a former NIU Huskie, will take the reigns of the yet-to-be-named wood-bat collegiate summer league nine.
“When I interviewed Brian, I found him to be a high-energy guy,” said Chad Bauer, Rockford Baseball Properties, LLC general manager. “He’s been there and done that. Here you have a guy who’s played in our league, been an assistant coach in our league, and has played minor-league ball.”
The gig will be Smith’s first foray in management following five seasons of coaching, most recently as the pitching coach for the Frontier League’s Windy City ThunderBolts.
Smith received his B.A. in communications from NIU in 2009 and a master’s in sport management from the school in 2011.
“It helps him greatly,” Bauer said. “Brian is a guy who understands what the mental and physical grind is on these players. That’s a big part of the challenge players face in this league.”
Rockford is the newest edition to the Northwoods League, becoming the 18th team in the 23-year-old league. For more information visit northwoodsleague.com.