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Milovich, Sonju win league honors

Myrtle Beach Pelicans logoMyrtle Beach’s Andy Milovich is the 2014 Calvin Falwell Executive of the Year Award winner in the Carolina League, while Frisco’s Scott Sonju is the Bill Valentine Texas League Executive of the Year.

Milovich, vice president and general manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, earns the award for the first time, and he is the fourth Pelicans executive to earn the award.

“Andy is a great choice for this award,” said League President John Hopkins in a league press release. “During his time at Myrtle Beach, the operation has been growing and improving in every respect. It’s a well-deserved honor.”

Although this is the first Calvin Falwell Award for Milovich, it is not the first time that his efforts have led to official recognition. Milovich was the recipient of The Sporting News Minor League Executive of the Year following his third consecutive New York-Penn League attendance record with the Erie SeaWolves during the 1997 season.

“The Carolina League is loaded with great operators and tremendous leadership,” said Milovich. “To be recognized by your peers in such a talented league is incredibly humbling. It is truly a team award that isn’t possible without an incredible staff, great community support, and the commitment from our ownership group led by Chuck Greenberg.”

During his tenure with the Pelicans, the club has increased its overall and average attendance in each of the last two seasons and posted the best average attendance in team history (3,652) in 2014. The 241,026 who poured through the gates at TicketReturn.Com Field at Pelicans Ballpark this past season was the second-most in team history in a single season, finishing behind only the 2008 season (242,397), despite four lost gates this season.

Under Milovich’s leadership, the club has also set new marks in community involvement. The Pelicans donated just under $400,000 in man-hours and monies during the 2013 season and surpassed that number this past season, totaling in $465,912 in contributions under the Play it Forward campaign.

“Our entire Pelicans family is happy and proud for Andy on this well-deserved honor,” added Pelicans Chairman and Managing Partner Chuck Greenberg. “His dynamic and creative leadership and personality have had a remarkable impact on our community and our franchise during his first two seasons in Myrtle Beach. We can’t wait to see what innovative ideas he comes up with next.”

The upcoming 2015 season will be Milovich’s twenty-fifth in professional baseball. The South Bend, Indiana native graduated from Valparaiso University where he obtained a B.S. in both Business Administration and Sports Management and completed the Sport Management Graduate Program at the University of Georgia. Over his nearly quarter of a century in the business, Milovich has worked for the Tucson Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League, the PCL’s Tucson Toros that summer, the Madison Hatters, the Erie SeaWolves, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, and the West Virginia Power. Prior to arriving in Myrtle Beach, he served as the Vice President of Palisades Baseball, managing the West Virginia Power, Power Alley Grill Restaurant, West Virginia Power Catering, and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

Andy was named Vice President and General Manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on December 22, 2012, following 18 years with Palisades Baseball.

The Carolina League office, league general managers, directors, and presidents vote on the Falwell award. The award was named in 2006 for the man who had been president of the Lynchburg club since that city joined the league in 1966. Calvin Falwell died at 90 on August 20, 2011.

Last season, John Olerud of Potomac won the award. Matt O’Brien (2005), North Johnson (2008), and Scott Brown (2012) previously earned the honor during their tenure with the Pelicans.

In Frisco, Sonju’s accomplishment marks the first time a RoughRiders executive has been honored with the award since the franchise arrived in Frisco in 2003.

For the tenth consecutive season, the RoughRiders led all 30 Double-A clubs in total and average attendance.  Additionally, Sonju helped spearhead the creation of a new ownership group with Chuck Greenberg to purchase the franchise in a transaction that was finalized in late August.

“This is a tremendous honor that I am humbled to receive,” Sonju said.  “We have amazing fan support year after year and a great group of folks in the front office working behind the scenes to make sure that every experience at Dr Pepper Ballpark is a special one.  As we close the book on another fun year here in Frisco, we are already in the midst of a busy off-season with some exciting announcements on the horizon for fans to look forward to.”

The Bill Valentine Texas League Executive of the Year was first awarded in 1965 and has honored club front office personnel every season since its inception.

“Scott is a wonderfully appropriate selection for the 2014 Bill Valentine Texas League Executive of the Year award,” said Texas League president Tom Kayser.  “This past season he guided the RoughRiders to another very successful year, while also dealing with the complexities of the sale of the franchise. The RoughRiders have been one of the most entertaining options for local sports fans for many years, in large measure to Scott’s steady guidance and hard work.”

Sonju joined the RoughRiders in 2003 as a Senior Vice President and was elevated to his current position with the club in April of 2006.  He is the son of Norm Sonju, who was the founding president and general manager of the Dallas Mavericks.


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