Dawgs head coach, staff returning in 2015

Baseball: Brett Thomas and Dave Robb together again

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas, here discussing a matter with an umpire, will return for the 2015 season.
Okotoks Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas, here discussing a matter with an umpire, will return for the 2015 season.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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The Professor is coming back.

Brett Thomas will return as the Dawgs head coach for the 2015 season, after guiding the team to third-place in the West Division of the WMBL this summer with a 24-22 record and then knocking off the top-ranked Lethbridge Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs.

“I am ecstatic about it — I had an amazing experience this summer,” Thomas said. “It seems that this community just keeps drawing me back. I love spending my summers here.” However, Thomas is used to his summer with the Dawgs going into late August. Although the Dawgs made a respectable run in the playoffs, when Thomas was a catcher with the Dawgs from 2007 to 2009, they won three league championships.

“We definitely have some unfinished business to attend to,” Thomas said.

The Dawgs also announced assistant coach Val Helldobler and pitching coach Austin Brough will return. As well, David Robb, the first head coach of the Okotoks Dawgs, is returning as a hitting coach.

If you crack open Robb’s brain, you’ll likely find a tiny ball diamond.

“To have a resource like that is incredible,” Thomas said. “For me to have a guy like that who has been around the game so much and has been a true mentor to me means so much. To have him to help us through the whole summer, you couldn’t ask for anything more… As excited as I am to return, I am equally excited to have Val and Austin comeback along with Dave.”

Thomas said having the coaching staff in place now is ideal during a busy off-season.

“From a recruiting standpoint it is good because we can get a start on things early,” Thomas said. “We can find players who kind of fit our style. The (2013) team was recruited without a head coach. We can go out and pinpoint things that we need.”

Robb, who won a WMBL title with the 2004 Calgary Dawgs, was Okotoks head coach in 2010 when the team won the West Division but lost in the semifinals. Thomas was Robb’s assistant that year.

“I was away from baseball this summer and I really missed it,” Robb said. “I can lend a hand to the hitters and offer an ear to Brett. We have a great relationship, so let’s do it.”

Robb is an assistant coach with the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds, who won the Tier II JuCo national title last year.

Thomas will return to his job as assistant coach at San Mateo Community College in northern California in a few days. With Robb coaching in Arizona and Thomas in NoCal, along with Helldobler and Brough in the Midwest, the Dawgs have the bases covered recruiting wise.

Dawgs executive director John Ircandia is glad to have Thomas and the coaches sign on the dotted line 10 months before opening day at Seaman Stadium.

“Despite an extremely tough start they built a product on the field that our fans knew was working hard,” Ircandia said. “That was all about leadership. I feel that Brett got the team through the tough times to be a playoff contender.”


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