The Curve announced their 2018 coaching staff on Tuesday, and manager Michael Ryan will be returning for a second straight season after helping lead the team to an Eastern League championship last year. He will be joined by returning pitching coach Bryan Hickerson and a new hitting coach, Keoni De Renne.
Over the last 19 years, Curve managers and coaches have gone on to successful careers after leaving Altoona. Like so many of their players, many of members of the Altoona coaching staffs have gone on to have major league careers as managers or coaches. Let’s take a look at some of the men who have suited up on the Altoona coaching staff over the years.
The Curve have seen a total of ten managers lead the way in Altoona since their first season in 1999. Marty Brown managed the Curve in 1999 and 2000 before spending time as the skipper for the Nashville Sounds, Buffalo Bisons and Las Vegas 51s, and he also managed for six years in Japan.
Dale Sveum managed the Curve for three years from 2001-2003. In his third and final season in Altoona, the Curve qualified for the Eastern League postseason for the first time in franchise history. The team went 78-63 that year, their best season by record at the time, and earned the Southern Division’s Wild Card spot before falling to Akron in the Division Series, three games to one. After that season, he was tabbed by Baseball America as the Eastern League’s top managerial prospect.
The following year, Sveum joined the major league staff of the Boston Red Sox as their third base coach, helping lead the team to their first World Series title in 86 years. From 2006-2011, he served in various major league coaching roles with the Milwaukee Brewers, including taking over as interim manager in September 2008. Sveum got his chance to manage in the big leagues full-time when he was hired to lead the Chicago Cubs in 2012, and he held that spot for two seasons. He became the third base coach for the Kansas City Royals in 2013 and took over as their hitting coach in May 2014, winning the ALCS that year and the World Series in 2015.
In his two seasons leading the Curve, Tony Beasley posted the best winning percentage of any skipper in team history. In 2004, the Curve posted their best-ever regular-season record and won their first division title, winning the South Division by 5.5 games over Erie. With a sweep of the SeaWolves in the division series, the Curve advanced to their first championship series in team history, but were swept by the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Beasley served as a coach for the United States in the 2004 All-Star Futures Game. The team qualified for the postseason again in 2005, but lost the best-of-five division series in five games to Akron.
Prior to joining the Curve, Beasley had managed short-season Williamsport and Single-A Hickory in the Pirates’ minor league system. In 2006, he joined Frank Robinson’s big league coaching staff with the Washington Nationals and returned to the Pirates’ organization as the minor league infield coordinator in 2007. He was then the Pirates’ third base coach for three seasons before rejoining the Nationals’ organization as the manager of the Harrisburg Senators in 2011. The following two years, he was the manager for Triple-A Syracuse and was the organization’s field coordinator in 2014. Beasley has been the third base coach for the Texas Rangers since 2015.
Tim Leiper took over as the team’s fourth manager in 2006 and led the club for three seasons. In his first year, the Curve qualified for the Eastern League playoffs for the fourth straight year, the longest streak in team history, going 75-64 before losing the division series to Akron in five games. Despite posting a winning 73-68 record in 2007, the Curve missed the playoffs.
Leiper began his coaching career in 1996 with the New York Mets’ organization and also spent time with the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles before taking over as the Pirates’ Adv.-A manager in Lynchburg in 2005. Following his stop in Altoona, Leiper spent two years managing in the Florida Marlins’ system before being named their minor league defensive coordinator for 2011 and 2012. He joined the Toronto Blue Jays’ staff as Senior Adviser in 2013 and became the big league club’s first base coach in 2014, a position he still holds today.
Matt Walbeck became the Curve’s fifth manager in team history when he took over in 2009 and the club finished 18 games under .500, going 62-80, finishing last in the Southern Division. His second year proved to be quite a turnaround, as he led the team to their second-best regular-season record in franchise history and their second division title, going 82-60. The team beat Harrisburg in four games in the division series and went on to top Trenton in the ELCS to bring the Curve their first championship in team history. He was named the Eastern League of the Year for the second time in his career in 2010.
Prior to joining the Curve, Walbeck spent four seasons managing in the Detroit Tigers’ organization, including leading Erie in 2007. He spent 2008 as the Texas Rangers’ third base coach before coming to Altoona in 2009. After his two seasons with the Curve, Walbeck was hired as the manager for the Atlanta Braves’ Single-A team in Rome for the 2011 campaign. He now runs a baseball academy in California.
P.J. Forbes, a former major league infielder, managed the Curve from 2011-2012. Following his time in Altoona, he spent two seasons managing with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Carlos Garcia spent ten seasons as an infielder in the majors before beginning his coaching career. He managed the Curve in 2013 and 2014.
After missing out on the playoffs in four straight seasons, Tom Prince led the Curve back to the postseason in 2015 for the first time since 2010. A nine-year player in the Pirates’ organization and long-time coach or manager in their minor league system, Prince guided Altoona to the Western Division Wild Card before falling in four games to Bowie in the division series. Prince also served as a coach for the United States in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game in Cincinnati.
Prince has spent 24 total years with the Pirates’ organization and 34 in professional baseball. He began his coaching career in 2004 with short-season Williamsport before finishing that season as the manager for A-Adv. Lynchburg. He returned to Williamsport as a manager for the next two seasons and spent six years as the skipper for the GCL Pirats from 2007-2012, winning the Gulf Coast League championship in his last year. He was the Pirates’ coordinator of instruction for 2013 and managed A-Adv. Bradenton in 2014 before taking over in Altoona. In 2016, Prince was named the Pirates’ minor league field coordinator and joined Clint Hurdle’s major league staff in 2017 as the Pirates’ bench coach.
In 2016, Joey Cora took over as the skipper for Curve with a more decorated resume than any manager in team history. The former American League All-Star infielder had plenty of major league coaching experience before coming to the Curve, and led the team to their second consecutive postseason berth. The Curve went 76-64 in 2016, winning the Western Division Wild Card for the second straight season before being bounced in the division series in four games by Akron. The Curve took over the top spot in the Western Division on June 26 and held that spot for 55-of-63 games before falling back to second on the next-to-last day of the regular season.
Cora began his coaching career in 2000 with the Daytona Cubs, helping the team to a Florida State League championship. He was hired for his first minor league managing job the next year by the New York Mets, leading rookie-level Kingsport for two seasons. He spent one year as the manager of the Montreal Expos’ Single-A team in Savanna in 2003. Cora joined his first major league coaching staff in 2004, working under manager Ozzie Guillen with the Chicago White Sox. Cora spent the first three years as the third base coach, was the team’s bench coach for five years and managed the final two games in 2011. Cora won a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005. He followed Guillen to the Miami Marlins in 2012 and spent five games that year as their interim manager. He spent time working in television with MLB Network before joining the Curve in 2016. Cora is now the Pirates’ third base and infield coach.
A native of Indiana, Pa., Michael Ryan returned to his home region to manage the Curve in 2017. In his first as the club’s manager, Ryan led the Curve to the postseason for the third straight year, the longest streak in the Eastern League, and won the team’s third regular-season division title. The Curve swept the Bowie Baysox in the Western Division Series and followed with another sweep of the Trenton Thunder, a 92-win team in the regular season, in the Eastern League Championship Series to bring Altoona its second league title in franchise history.
Ryan was a coach for the Curve in 2012 under Forbes before earning his first managerial job with the Single-A West Virginia Power in 2013, where he led the club to an 82-58 record and a second-half division championship. He returned to the Power in 2014 and was promoted as the manager of the A-Adv. Bradenton Marauders in 2015. Back with Bradenton in 2016, Ryan led the Marauders to a first-half division title and the team went on to win the Florida State League championship. He will lead the Curve again in 2018.
Scott Lovecamp was the Curve’s pitching coach during their inaugural season in 1999 and again in 2001. He has spent the last several years as a pitching analyst with the New York Yankees.
Bruce Tanner was the Curve’s second pitching coach during the 2000 season. Son of former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner, Bruce is now a major league scout for the Detroit Tigers.
Bob Milacki was the pitching coach for the Curve in 2002 and spent the next six seasons in the same role with Single-A Hickory and A-Adv. Lynchburg. From 2009-2014, he was a pitching coach in the minors with the Phillies organization. For the last three seasons, he has been the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals’ Triple-A team in Syracuse.
Jeff Andrews was the pitching coach for Altoona from 2003-2005. He spent the following two years in the same role with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians before being named as the Pirates’ pitching coach for 2008. He now works on the Texas Rangers’ player development staff.
In 2006 and 2007, Ray Searage was the Curve’s pitching coach. He joined the Pirates’ major league staff as their pitching coach for the 2010 season and has held that role ever since.
Brad Holman was the Curve’s pitching coach in 2008. He continued his minor league coaching career through 2015 and spent the last two seasons as the major league bullpen coach for the Texas Rangers.
Dean Treanor spent one season as Altoona’s pitching coach in 2009 and went on to spend six seasons as the manager for Triple-A Indianapolis. He joined the Marlins’ major league coaching staff as their bullpen coach last season, his first major league coaching assignment.
Tom Filer spent one year as the Curve’s pitching coach during their championship run in 2010. He spent the next four years in the same role with Indianapolis. He continues to work in player development with the Pirates organization and will be the pitching coach for the short-season West Virginia Black Bears in 2018.
Wally Whitehurst was the Curve’s pitching coach in 2011. He left baseball following the season.
Jeff Johnson spent the 2012 season as the Curve’s pitching coach. For the next two years he had the same role with A-Adv. Bradenton, coached with Rookie-level Bristol in 2015 and returned to Bradenton in 2016.
After spending four seasons as the major league bullpen coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, Stay Kyles was the Curve’s pitching coach in 2013 and 2014. He has been the pitching coach for Indianapolis ever since, and will return to that role in 2018.
From 2015 to 2016, Justin Meccage served as the Curve’s pitching coach. In 2017, he was the Pirates minor league pitching coordinator. He will join the Pirates’ major league staff as their assistant pitching coach in 2018.
Jeff Livesey was the Curve’s first hitting coach in 1999 and 2000. He went on to coach for five years in Japan and returned to the Pirates’ organization in 2011 as the minor league hitting coordinator. He was promoted to the major league staff as the assistant hitting coach in 2013.
John Wehner was a hitting coach with the Curve in 2003 and 2004 after playing nine major league seasons with the Pirates. He joined the Pirates’ broadcast team in 2005 as an analyst on both radio and television.
Matt Winters was the hitting coach for the Curve in 2005. He went on to work as a scout for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.
Brandon Moore was the hitting coach for the Curve from 2006-2008 and again in 2011. He coached with White Sox and Royals organizations after leaving Altoona and now coaches high school players in Alabama.
Ryan Long was the hitting coach for the Curve from 2009-2010 and again from 2012-2014. He worked with Bradenton in 2015 and spent the following two years with West Virginia before joining the Indianapolis staff as their hitting coach in 2018.
Kevin Riggs was the hitting coach in Altoona from 2015 through 2017, including the Curve’s championship run last year. This season, he will take over the same role with the Reading Fightin Phils, Philadelphia’s Double-A affiliate.
Jay Loviglio was the bench coach for the Curve in 2002 on Sveum’s staff. He coached with Triple-A Nashville in 2003. With minor league managerial experience dating back to 1986, he went on to manage again in 2004 with A-Adv. Lynchburg and later worked as a hitting coach with the independent Long Island Ducks and now coaches in New York.
Austin McClune was a coach with the Curve in 2013 after his five-year playing career came to a close. This year, he will serve as the hitting coach for Rookie-level Bristol.
A four-year member of the Curve as a player, Miles Durham coached in Altoona in 2014.
A former Curve catcher, Miguel Perez was a coach in Altoona during the 2015 season. He took over as the manager for the Rookie-level Bristol Pirates in 2017 and will return to that role in 2018.
Like Perez, former Curve player Greg Picart returned to Altoona as a coach for the 2017 season. This year, he will join the coaching staff in Indianapolis.
The 20th season of Altoona Curve baseball, presented by Stuckey Subaru, opens on April 5 at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Season tickets, Mini Plans and Flex Books are currently on sale by phone at 877.99.CURVE, online at AltoonaCurve.com or in person at the PNG Field offices.