The Wilmington Sharks (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League) have been sold to Peter B. Freund, a minority owner of the New York Yankees and partner in the Charleston RiverDogs (Low Class A; Sally League).
“I am thrilled to begin a new era of Sharks baseball in the beautiful Port City of Wilmington, North Carolina,” said Freund. “Our goal is a simple one – to listen to our fans and continue to offer families a fun and affordable evening of baseball in a minor league setting. We have many upcoming surprises for 2014 and will be working hard between now and opening night on May 28th to ensure a memorable season for all inside the Shark Tank.”
“On behalf of the Coastal Plain League, we want to officially welcome Peter into our family,” said CPL Commissioner Justin Sellers. “Peter has an impressive background, both as a business professional and baseball enthusiast, and we feel he will be a great asset for our league. We are excited about what he and his staff have in store for Sharks fans and look forward to working with them as they grow the Wilmington franchise into one of the best.”
The team was owned by Lew and Darrell Handelsman, who also own the Fayetteville SwampDogs in the same summer-collegiate circuit.
There are several personnel moves along with new ownership to announce. The Sharks organization has brought back former General Manager Amanda Blackwell to run the team. Blackwell was the first female GM in Coastal Plain League history before more recently serving as the Director of Sales for the USL Pro Soccer Wilmington Hammerheads.
“I am thrilled to be back with the Sharks,” said Blackwell. “Peter and I share the same vision for this club, and I am committed and excited to see it through.”
“Amanda has the kind of leadership skills, work ethic and positive energy that I believe will be immediately felt throughout the Sharks organization and the Wilmington community as a whole,” Freund added.
Blackwell takes over as General Manager for Pat Hutchins, who will remain with the Sharks as a sales executive and host family coordinator.
“Pat put his heart and soul into this team last season and we are pleased that he has agreed to stay on as part of the Sharks family,” said Blackwell.
On the field, the Sharks have hired Parker Bangs as the new head coach. Bangs was an assistant coach last season with the Columbia Blowfish of the CPL, which made it to the Petitt Cup Championship Series after winning the league’s West Division Championship. He also played for the CPL’s Fayetteville SwampDogs in 2007 and 2008, while at the University of South Carolina. Further, Bangs was a member of the 2010 Gamecocks National Championship baseball team.
“Parker is a proven winner and is dedicated to putting together a fantastic product on the field for the Sharks in 2014,” Freund commented. “Our goal, as it will be every season, will be to bring home the Petitt Cup to the City of Wilmington.”
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