Chiefs name 2011 manager, coaches

By Marc Strauss

Chiefs name 2011 manager, coaches

December 16, 2010 Updated Dec 16, 2010 at 5:51 PM CDT

PEORIA, IL- The Chicago Cubs and Peoria Chiefs have announced the 2011 Chiefs field staff, which includes a pair of familiar faces.

Manager Casey Kopitzke returns for a second season after leading the Chiefs to a 71-66 record in 2010.

He will be joined by pitching coach Jeff Fassero, a Springfield, Ilinois. native who pitched for the Cubs and Cardinals, hitting coach Ricardo Medina who was with the Chiefs in 2005 and athletic trainer A.J. Larson.

“We are excited to have Casey return to the Chiefs staff for 2011,” said Chiefs President Rocky Vonachen. “He did an outstanding job with a very young Chiefs team in 2010 and we are happy to welcome him and his family back to Central Illinois for another season. It’s also exciting to have a Central Illinois native and former Cub hurler on our staff in Jeff Fassero and Ricardo Medina was a great Chiefs player in the early 1990s and was on our first staff back with the Cubs in 2005. Overall this is a great staff and we are looking forward to the start of the 2011 season.”

Kopitzke, 32, has spent 12 seasons in the Cubs organization as a player, coach and manager. He led the Chiefs to a 71-66 overall record in 2010 with a third place finish in the first half. Under Kopitzke’s leadership the Chiefs had the third best batting average in the Midwest League last season with a .266 mark.

Pitching coach Jeff Fassero is very familiar with Central Illinois having grown up in Springfield where he played high school and college baseball before embarking on a 16-year Major League career
as a left-handed pitcher.

The 37-year old is a 1981 graduate of Griffin High School in Springfield and he pitched two seasons at Lincoln Land Community College before transferring to the University of Mississippi.

A 22nd round draft pick in the 1984 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Fassero was 121-124 with a 4.11 ERA in 720 career outings for nine different major league teams

Courtesy Peoria Chiefs