Storm Chasers Announce Coaching Staff for 2021 Season
PAPILLION, Neb. - The Kansas City Royals have announced the organization's minor league staff assignments for the 2021 season. The Omaha Storm Chasers coaching staff is led by Brian Poldberg, who will return for his seventh season as manager.
Poldberg will be joined in the dugout by pitching coach Dane Johnson and hitting coach Brian Buchanan, who returns for his third season at Werner Park. James Stone returns for his second season as the Chasers' athletic trainer and Yannick Plante will be the team's strength and conditioning coach.
"We are delighted to have Poley, Buck, and James return, and also welcome Dane and Yannick to Omaha," Storm Chasers General Manager Laurie Schlender said. "All five bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working with them and the Kansas City Royals organization in 2021."
Poldberg, the second-longest tenured skipper in Omaha franchise history (Mike Jirschele, 14 seasons), enters the 2021 season with 1,342 career wins across 20 seasons, including 408 wins with the Storm Chasers. An Omaha native, Poldberg led the Storm Chasers to the Triple-A National Championship in 2014, becoming the second manager in team history to win a league title in their first year at the helm (Jack McKeon, 1969).
Prior to joining the Storm Chasers, Poldberg spent six seasons as the manager for Double-A Northwest Arkansas, which included winning the Texas League Championship in 2010. He was a member of the Royals' Major League staff from 2004-2007 in various roles, including third base coach (2007), first base coach (2006), and bullpen coach (2004-2005). As a player, Poldberg appeared in 179 games for the Omaha Royals across three seasons (1983-1985).
Johnson, who was also slated to be the team's pitching coach in 2020, joined the Royals organization after serving as a pitching consultant for the Miami Marlins in 2019. 2021 marks Johnson's 22nd season in coaching, including 19 years with the Toronto Blue Jays organization as a minor league pitching coach (2000-2003), pitching coordinator (2004-2014), and Major League bullpen coach (2015-2018). He played parts of three seasons in the Majors with the Chicago White Sox (1994), Toronto Blue Jays (1996), and Oakland Athletics (1997).
Buchanan, who was also slated to be the team's hitting coach in 2020, returns to the Storm Chasers for his third season following a stint as the Royals' Major League assistant hitting coach in 2017 and a season as the hitting coach for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2016. 2021 marks Buchanan's 12th season as a coach in the Royals' organization, which has included managerial stops in Wilmington (2015), Lexington (2013-2014), Kane County (2012), and Idaho Falls (2010-2011). Buchanan entered the coaching ranks after a 16-year playing career, which included five Major League seasons and 98 games with the Omaha Royals between 2008 and 2009.
Stone, who was also slated to be the team's athletic trainer in 2020, returns to Omaha for his second season. He spent the previous seven seasons with High-A Wilmington (2011-2018), where he was named the Carolina League Athletic Trainer of the Year in 2015. Stone joined the Royals organization in 2010 as the trainer for Rookie-level Burlington after spending one season with the Central Valley Coyotes in Arena Football 2. He worked the previous three seasons in the Miami Marlins' organization, earning New York-Penn League Trainer of the Year honors in 2006. Stone has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Cal State-Northridge.
Plante enters his first season as the strength and conditioning coach for the Storm Chasers after he was slated to serve in the same role for Double-A Northwest Arkansas in 2020. Plante joined the Royals' organization in 2019 as the strength and conditioning coach for Rookie-level Burlington and was a staff member of the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League later that year. He previously worked in a similar capacity with Crash Conditioning, the Calgary Flames, the University of Calgary Dinos basketball team, and with the Gatineau Olympiques junior hockey squad. Plante has a master's degree in kinesiology from the University of Calgary and a bachelor's degree in human kinetics with a specialization in biophysics from the University of Ottawa.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are scheduled to begin the 2021 season on April 6 at Toledo before welcoming fans to Werner Park for the home opener on April 13 vs. St. Paul. The full schedule can be found here.
For more information, please visit omahastormchasers.com, call the Werner Park Ticket office at (402) 738-5100, and follow the team on social media. You can follow the team on Twitter @omastormchasers, on Instagram @omahastormchasers, and "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/omahastormchasers.
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