Mark Coronado, the long-time Surprise community and recreation services director who oversaw operations at Surprise Stadium, passed away on Thursday. He was 59 years old.
Coronado was originally hired by the City of Surprise in 2000, and later played a crucial role in the development of Surprise Stadium, which has been the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals since its opening in 2003. He went on to oversee day-to-day operations at the facility, and was Cactus League president from 2012-2016.
“Mark Coronado’s legacy in Surprise will live on through the smiles of the thousands of children that play at our recreation campus- the campus that was built thanks to his leadership and vision,” Surprise mayor Sharon Wolcott said in a statement. “I’ll never forget the look of pride on his face at a Cal Ripken baseball event when he saw the hundreds of young athletes walk the bases at Surprise Stadium. He was also at the forefront in attracting Spring Training here which helped to shine a spotlight on our city to baseball fans across the country. Our hearts are heavy at City Hall and we send thoughts and prayers to Mark’s family.”
The Rangers and Royals offered their condolences in a joint statement. “All of us in the Royals’ family are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and colleague Mark Coronado,” said Royals senior VP of business operations Kevin Uhlich. “He was the driving force in convincing both the Royals and Rangers to make the move from Florida to Arizona for spring training. His efforts and dedication to the project have allowed both of our franchises to flourish in our year round training programs in Surprise. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark, his family and the staff that assists us so ably in Surprise.”
“Mark Coronado was a trusted partner and friend to the Texas Rangers organization for many years,” said Rangers executive vice president of business operations Rob Matwick. “It was his vision, determination, and years of effort that resulted in Major League Baseball coming to Surprise. The Rangers and Royals have a strong and successful relationship with the City of Surprise because of Mark. He will be greatly missed and we express our deepest sympathies to his family, colleagues, and friends at this difficult time.”
Prior to accepting the position in Surprise, Coronado spent eight years as a recreation supervisor for Peoria, AZ. He is survived by his son Matthew, as well as his sister Alice and brothers Richard and Tommy.