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River Bandits Announce 2022 Coaching Staff

January 14, 2022 - High-A Central League (High-A Central) - Quad Cities River Bandits News Release

Davenport, Iowa - The 2021 High-A Central Champion Quad Cities River Bandits today announced their 2022 coaching staff, led by manager Brooks Conrad. Pitching coach Steve Luebber and hitting coach Andy LaRoche return to the River Bandits for the second season and will be joined by assistant hitting coach David Noworyta, assistant coach Kevin Kuntz, and athletic trainer Brad Groleau who each enter their first year in Quad Cities. The team's strength and conditioning coach will be announced at a later date.

Conrad enters his sixth season, his fifth managerial, in the Royals organization after managing the Columbia Fireflies in 2021. The 41-year-old served as first base coach for Burlington in 2017 before taking over as the club's manager in 2018. In 2019, Condrad led the Lexington Legends to a South Atlantic League Title and was honored with the Dick Howser Award, which is given annually to one player development employee for outstanding contributions to the organization. Conrad was slated to lead Lexington again in 2020 before the season's cancellation.

Prior to his coaching career, Conrad played parts of six seasons in the Majors with Oakland (2008), Atlanta (2009-11), Milwaukee (2012), Tampa Bay (2012), and San Diego (2014). He was selected in the eighth round of the 2001 Draft by Houston, where he played parts of seven seasons in the minors before making his Major League debut with the A's. The infielder also played a season in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers in 2013 and with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in 2015.

Luebber enters his 17th season in the Royals organization and the fourth season of his second stint as pitching coach at Kansas City's High-A affiliate after serving with Wilmington from 2007-15 and 2019-20. From 2016-2018, he was the pitching coach at Northwest Arkansas. Prior to joining the Royals, Luebber worked as a pitching coach in the Rangers organization and as a coach in the Marlins, Orioles, and Padres organizations. His playing career lasted 17 seasons, including 66 Major League appearances for the Twins, Blue Jays, and Orioles.

LaRoche enters his fifth season with the Royals, including one season in Omaha and another as the hitting coach in Burlington in 2019. He was slated to be the hitting coach with Wilmington in 2020. A 39th-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003, LaRoche has a six-year Major League career with the Dodgers (2007-08), Pittsburgh (2008-10), Oakland (2011), and Toronto (2013).

Noworyta begins his first season in the Royals organization. Originally drafted by Kansas City in the 37th round of the 2014 Draft, he played three collegiate seasons at the University of Hawaii, before playing two seasons in the Tigers organization and 2021 with Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League.

Kuntz enters his second season with the Royals after joining the coaching ranks with Surprise in 2021. He previously worked in the Royals front office from 2016-20 following a two-year playing career in the minors. A 28th-round pick by Kansas City in 2013, Kuntz was a two-time Gold Glove Award winner at the University of Kansas and is the son of Royals' first base coach, Rusty Kuntz.

Groleau, now in his fourth year in the Royals organization, is entering his first year as the Bandits' athletic trainer after serving in the same role with Surprise in 2021 and with Burlington from 2019-20. He was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at the University of Nebraska Omaha from 2017-19 and was also an intern athletic trainer with the Omaha Storm Chasers from 2017-18.

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