Former Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister joins the University of Northern Colorado’s baseball staff as Director of Player Development. The 2015 American League Manager of the Year comes to Greeley after being a special assistant for the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent years.
“It is great to have Bani join the Bears baseball program for the upcoming season. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and will be a great asset in mentoring our current players and coaching staff,” head coach Carl Iwasaki said. “He has been a great friend and mentor to me for the past twenty-plus years, welcome Jeff and Karen to the Bear Den!”
Iwasaki and Banister’s relationship goes back to 1995-96 when they worked together in the MLB affiliated Hawaiian Winter Baseball League.
As the manager of the Texas Rangers, he led the team to back-to-back AL West titles in 2015 and 2016. He earned the 2015 AL Manager of the Year award after the team went from below .500 as late as August 13 to winning the AL West title on the last day of the season. The 2016 Rangers had the best regular season record in the American League.
Banister’s coaching career includes a long history of working with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 1994-2014 in various roles including as a minor league coach and as the Pirates bench coach from 2011-14.
As the bench coach, he helped Pittsburgh to its first postseason appearance since 1992 when they made it to the NL Wild Card game in 2013 and won 6-2 over the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates returned to the Wild Card game
He played professionally after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. Banister is only one of 15 batters to record a hit in their only major league plate appearance.
Banister joins Dan Martony and Danny-David Linahan as new members of the UNC baseball staff.
Along with the hiring of Banister, Iwasaki announced the promotion of Patrick Jolly to Associate Head Coach.
To stay up to date on all things UNC baseball, visit UNCBears.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.
This story originally ran on the UNC Bears athletics website (uncbears.com).