Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

January 5, 2009

Gladiators hire Mirabelli

Former catcher won pair of titles with Red Sox

TRAVERSE CITY -- There's an adage in the Major Leagues that catchers make the best managers.

Traverse City St. Francis is about to find out.

Former Major League catcher Doug Mirabelli was introduced on Monday as the new baseball coach for the Gladiators. This will be the first coaching position for Mirabelli, who won a pair of World Series titles playing for the Boston Red Sox. He played for four different teams in 12 seasons.

"I couldn't be more excited for our kids," St. Francis athletic director Tom Hardy said. "It's certainly outstanding that our kids get to learn from someone that played at the highest level and won the ultimate prize at that level twice. Even better than that, he's a great guy. He's a good Christian man that fits our values to a 'T.' "

Mirabelli could not be reached for comment on his appointment.

Hardy said Mirabelli told him his reasons for coaching were simple: A chance to build a program from the ground up and an opportunity to share his talent for baseball with others. Mirabelli conducted a pitching and catching clinic for the YMCA on Saturday.

St. Francis senior Joel Lints is looking forward to having a former Major League player in the dugout this season.

"It's great," Lints said. "He's going to have a wealth of knowledge."

"He'll be able to give the kids that want to play baseball an experience that is unmatched," Hardy added.

Lints is also anticipating the season because he, like his new coach, is a catcher by trade.

"It's exciting," Lints said. "I can't wait to work out with him. It's going to be great."

Optional small-squad sessions will begin at St. Francis on Jan. 17. Full-squad workouts can begin on March 9.

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