Down East Wood Ducks Announce 2022 Season Coaching Staff
Kinston, N.C. - Earlier today, the Texas Rangers announced their 2022 minor league coaching staffs. The Down East Wood Ducks will feature an entirely new staff except for one familiar face, who has been in Kinston since the Wood Ducks came to town in 2017.
Steve Mintz will manage Down East in 2022 after spending the previous four seasons as the team's pitching coach. Mintz will be joined on the staff by pitching coach Demetre Kokoris and hitting coach Collin McBride who were hired by the Rangers this offseason. Kokoris spent the last three years as a pitching coach in the Blue Jays farm system, while McBride served as a strength and conditioning/hitting coach at College of Central Florida in Ocala, Fla. from 2019-21. Former Rangers infielder Guilder Rodriguez and former Texas farmhand Justin Jacobs will serve as development coaches. Rodriguez brings five years of experience as a coach on the ACL Rangers staff and Jacobs will be making his full-season coaching debut after spending 2021 as an assistant coach at George Washington University and with the Rangers in the Arizona Complex League and Fall Instructional League Down East's support staff will consist of athletic trainer Rachel Purcell and strength and conditioning coach Kevin Varitek.
Mintz enters his 10th season with the Rangers organization and fifth with the Wood Ducks will serve as the team's manager for 2022. The North Carolina native has spent nine seasons in the Texas organization as a pitching coach at the Single-A level and last filled a managerial role in 2016 with Low-A Hickory, guiding the Crawdads to a 74-66 record. Mintz also has recent managerial experience with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League. The former major league right-hander has 17 years of experience as a minor league pitching instructor. He pitched professionally for 12 seasons after he was originally drafted as a catcher by the Dodgers in the 1990 June Draft. He made his major league debut with the Giants on May 18, 1995 and recorded his first career win on June 14, 1995.
Kokoris will spend his first season in the Rangers organization as the pitching coach for Down East. Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent time in the Blue Jays organization as the pitching coach for the Vancouver Canadiens (2019-2020) and a rehab pitching coordinator at the Blue Jays training complex in Dunedin, Florida during the 2021 season. He also spent part of 2021 with the Greek National Team as their pitching coach for the 2021 European Championship Torino. Kokoris earned a BA in Sport and Entertainment Management at the University of South Carolina and a Master's of Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton. Before joining the professional ranks, Kokoris has coached at Point Loma Nazarene University, Santa Barbara City College, the University of Oregon, and the University of South Carolina.
McBride, also in his first season with the Rangers organization, will serve as the Woodies hitting coach for the 2022 season. The Waterloo, Wisconsin native played three seasons at Northwestern College and graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He most recently served as the Strength and Conditioning coach for the College of Central Florida's baseball team and owns Thundercat Baseball and Softball Academy of Wisconsin.
Jacobs will serve as one of the development coaches for the Wood Ducks. Jacobs spent time in the Rangers system after signing a free agent contract in 2017. He spent the 2018 season with Hickory and played in 80 games for the Crawdads. The Auburn, Washington native played three seasons at Gonzaga and majored in Sport Management. Jacobs will be making his full-season coaching debut after spending 2021 as an assistant coach at George Washington University and with the Rangers in the Arizona Complex League and Fall Instructional League.
Rodriguez, a former Rangers infielder, will serve as the other development coach. He brings five years of experience working as a coach on the ACL Rangers staff. A former second round pick, Rodriguez made his Major League debut in 2014 with Texas. He was a mid-season All-Star in 2013 and 2014 as a member of the Frisco Roughriders.
In her second season with the Rangers organization, Purcell will serve as the athletic trainer. A graduate of Seattle University with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science and a Master's of Science from California Baptist University, she spent two years at Grand Canyon University as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and an Adjunct Professor. Purcell also spent time as an Assistant Athletic Trainer with Scottsdale Community College and the University of California , Riverside. She spent 2020 working as an Athletic Trainer at Urban Golf Performance and in Arizona at the Rangers complex.
Varitek will begin his third season in the Rangers organization and first full-season stint. He graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. Previously, Varitek worked in the Red Sox organization with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox as their Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach before working with the Rangers. In 2019 he was the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Rangers Academy in the Dominican Republic. He spent 2021 in both the Dominican Republic and Arizona at the Rangers complex.
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