Happy National Coaches Day Black Bears Nation!

The Cowlitz Black Bears have a long history of turning out major league talent and every coach plays an instrumental role in a player’s development process. In 13 seasons of Black Bears baseball, we’ve seen over 60 former Black Bears go on to play professional baseball with 10 making it to the Major League level!

A true testament to the kind of talent that plays in Cowlitz each summer, this could not be achieved without great leadership at the helm, guiding our team. Black Bears players have had the opportunity to learn from coaches with over 36 combined Major League seasons from the likes of Brian Burres (2021), Alan Embree (2022), and Kelly Stinnett (2023).

First-year Head Coach Kelly Stinnett led the 2023 Black Bears to a franchise record 33 wins that saw a record-breaking 10-game win streak as the Black Bears clinched their first trip to the playoffs since 2012! One of the hottest teams during the second half of the West Coast League season, the Black Bears also set new highwater marks in series wins, series sweeps, and stolen bases. When coach Stinnett is not breaking records in Cowlitz, you can find him in Gilbert, Arizona where he manages the Park University Buccaneer’s baseball program.

2019 Pitching Coach Justin Parrish returned to the Black Bears this summer and guided one of the league’s most dominant pitching staffs. Arguably one of the best pitching staffs in the West Coast League this summer, the Black Bears recorded a league best 7 shutouts (tied with Bellingham) while allowing the fewest walks and posting the third lowest ERA.

Assistant Coach Shane McCarroll joined the Black Bears for his third season with the club helping with the hitting and infield defense. His efforts led to one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the West Coast League this summer. The Black Bears had the league’s 4th best fielding percentage and the second fewest unearned runs allowed, second only to the Bellingham Bells.