NORFOLK, VA — The Norfolk Tides and their parent club, the Baltimore Orioles, have announced the Tides’ field staff for the 2010 season. Gary Allenson returns to manage the club, while Mike Griffin will once again serve as pitching coach and Richie Hebner will join the staff as hitting coach. Rounding out the coaching staff will be batting practice/bullpen coach Greg Grall, athletic trainer Mark Shires and strength and conditioning coach Ryan Driscoll.
“We are thrilled to have Gary Allenson return to manage again this season” said Tides’ President Ken Young. “He’s done such a fantastic job of helping to develop the outstanding talent the Orioles have put together, and combined with the excellent coaching staff that’s been assembled we anticipate another exciting team in Norfolk this year.”
Allenson, 54, guided the Tides to a 71-71 record during the 2009 season and is 204-223 in three seasons as Norfolk’s manager. He also served as a coach for the International League in the 2009 Triple-A All-Star game. He has 924 wins in 15 seasons as a minor league manager and has also spent six years as a coach in the major leagues. Allenson has twice managed International League clubs to the postseason, having accomplished the feat with the Ottawa Lynx in 2003 and the Louisville Riverbats in 1998. He was the bullpen coach for Boston in 1992 and 1993 and served as the 3rd base coach for the Red Sox in 1994. Allenson was also a coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000 - 2002.
As a player, Allenson spent seven seasons (1979 - 1985) as a catcher in the major leagues with the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, hitting .221 with 19 home runs and 131 RBI. He was also named the International League MVP in 1978 after he hit .299 with 20 home runs and 78 RBI for the Pawtucket Red Sox. While playing in Norfolk, Allenson met his future wife Dorothy while she was an usherette at MetPark. The couple has three sons and has been married for 29 years.
Mike Griffin, 53, will embark on his third season in the Orioles organization and second with the Tides. Griffin coached the Tides pitching staff in 2009 and 14 different pitchers appeared with both Norfolk and a major league club under his tutelage. The 2009 pitching staff also posted a 3.87 ERA while ranking 4th in the International League with 998 strikeouts, and for his effforts Griffin was the recipient of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, presented to a minor league staff member who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of "The Oriole Way. Prior to his time in the Orioles system, Griffin served as a coach in the Red Sox system for nine years, including serving as the pitching coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox from 2003-2007. Griffin spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues, pitching a total of 50 games for the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds.
Richie Hebner, 62, will be in his first season with Norfolk and third in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Hebner managed the Class-A Frederick Keys to a 64-75 record in 2009 after joining the Keys during the 2008 season. Hebner served as the hitting coach for Double-A Birmingham in 2007, and from 2002-06 he served as hitting coach for the Durham Bulls. His major league coaching experience includes one year as the Philadelphia Phillies’ hitting coach in 2001 and three seasons (1989-91), as hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox. A third baseman, Hebner spent 18 seasons in the major leagues from 1968-85 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers. He spent 11 seasons (1968-76, 1982-83) with the Pirates and was a starter on Pittsburgh’s 1971 World Series championship team. Hebner batted .276 with 203 HR and 890 RBI in 1908 career games.
Greg Grall, 44, will be in his second season in Norfolk assisting the coaching staff after he joined the Tides in July of 2008. He’s previously worked as a hitting coach and bullpen coach with the Clinton Lumberkings and Chattanooga Lookouts in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Mark Shires, 33, will be entering his 11th season in the Orioles system and his fourth in Norfolk. During the past three seasons he has been a September addition to the Orioles Major League Athletic Training Staff and in 2009 he was named the International League Trainer of the Year.
Ryan Driscoll will be entering his 2nd season as a strength and conditioning coach in Norfolk. He spent the 2008 season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs - the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Tides open their 2010 season on Thursday, April 8 vs. the Durham Bulls at 7:15 at HarborPark.