We have personnel news to report from a trio of clubs, including the Biloxi Shuckers (Class AA; Southern League), Iowa Cubs (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), and Portland Pickles (summer collegiate; West Coast League).
In Biloxi, the Shuckers have announced the departure of General Manager Chuck Arnold. Arnold has accepted a position as Vice President of Sales for the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League).
Arnold was hired as GM in 2015, and the team has seen an increase in corporate sales and group ticket sales each season as well as new community initiatives and attendance milestones. Under Arnold’s leadership, the Shuckers recorded seven of the top eight highest attended events at MGM Park, including two of the sellouts at the 6,098 seat facility. Arnold’s customer service priority led to the Shuckers being ranked first out of 10 participating minor league baseball teams in customer satisfaction this past season, according to a Turnkey Intelligence survey. Arnold bolstered the club’s promotional schedule and in-game entertainment with fan-friendly weekly promotions and theme nights, premium giveaways and fireworks shows. He also oversaw the addition of Schooner’s Fun Zone and the popular Crawfish Boil mascots.
“Chuck did an outstanding job for us over the past two seasons, and we are thankful for all that he has done to lead our staff and to make the Shuckers a pillar of the Biloxi community,” said Ken Young, team President, and Owner. “We wish Chuck and his family the best as he begins his new endeavor in Charlotte.”
During his time in Biloxi, Arnold made community outreach a top priority. The Shuckers were nominated by Minor League Baseball as a finalist for a “Golden Bobblehead” award for the “Best Community Promotion or Event” after helping with the Hattiesburg/Petal tornado relief efforts and William Carey University vs. Biloxi Shuckers exhibition game. Shuckers’ employees traveled to Petal, Mississippi to assist cleanup crews. Arnold scheduled a benefit exhibition game against the school’s baseball team before the first road trip of the season. The game raised $6,090 for the university’s tornado recovery efforts. This effort along with numerous other community initiatives garnered recognition throughout Minor League Baseball and led to the Shuckers being named a finalist for the Southern League’s Community Service Award in 2017.
Over Arnold’s two seasons with the Shuckers, the club has raised $339,156 for over 100 charitable organizations.
“I want to thank Shuckers Owner, Ken Young, for providing me with the opportunity to lead this team,” stated Arnold. “I also want to credit our amazing staff for their hard work and dedication to this organization and their commitment to serve this community. The future is bright for the Biloxi Shuckers under their leadership. I want to especially thank our Shuckers fans and corporate partners for all of their support. My wife and I will miss the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the hospitality we received during our time here, but are excited about this great opportunity to join the Charlotte Knights organization.”
Arnold will be joining a club that has led the International League in attendance three of the past four seasons and was listed by Forbes Magazine as the second most valuable minor league franchise in 2016.
He has served on the Southern League’s Board of Directors the past two seasons and served on the March of Dimes Executive Leadership Team. Arnold was also recently elected to serve on the 2018 Biloxi Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Arnold came to the Shuckers after serving two years as Sales Director and Vice President of Sales for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League). Before joining the Blue Wahoos, Arnold spent eight years as General Manager of the Johnson City Cardinals (Rookie; Appalachian League). A native of East Tennessee, Arnold attended Milligan College where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Performance and Exercise Science and was also a member of the Buffaloes baseball team. Following his time at Milligan, Chuck attended East Tennessee State University and received a master’s degree in Sports and Leisure Management.
Hunter Reed, currently the Assistant General Manager of the Biloxi Shuckers will assume the role of Interim General Manager.
In Iowa, the Cubs have announced several additions to their front office.
Alex Cohen – Broadcaster / Account Executive
Alex joins the Iowa Cubs radio booth and sales staff this season after spending the last two years as the Play-By-Play Broadcaster/Media Relations Manager for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. Prior to his time with the Hot Rods, Alex also worked for the Idaho Falls Chukars (Rookie/Royals) and the Huntsville Stars (Double-A/Brewers). Overall, Alex has broadcasted over 750 minor league baseball games since 2012 and has worked in professional baseball since 2009. He has also called baseball games globally for the Australian Baseball League as well as in Taiwan for the Premier 12 tournament in 2015. Aside from baseball, Alex was born and raised just outside of Philadelphia, PA and is a 2011 graduate of Indiana University. In his spare time, the 29-year-old enjoys fantasy football, playing below-average golf and being a useless trivia expert. Alex looks forward to getting to know the city and the people Des Moines. #GoCubsGo
John Rodgers – Account Executive
John joins the Iowa Cubs sales team after spending the past two years as the Director of Revenue Development for the University of Evansville (Ind.) Athletic Department. John bring 18 years of baseball experience to the Iowa Cubs, having previously worked for the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Single-A) as the Play-by-Play Broadcaster and a Sales Professional from 1996-2010, and for the St. Louis Cardinals as a Busch Stadium Tour Guide, Academic Program (CAP) Facilitator, Museum Docent and Family Pavilion Host from 2012-14. John is excited to get back to his baseball roots with the Iowa Cubs.
Lisa Hufford – Director of Merchandise
Lisa is a local addition to the Iowa Cubs staff, hailing from Des Moines and currently living in Grimes. Most recently, Lisa was the owner of Limerglam Boutique in Valley Junction, and also brings over 25 years of finance experience to the Iowa Cubs. Lisa is passionate about interior design, fashion and tutoring elementary kids, while her hobbies include socializing with family and friends, yoga, dancing, biking, traveling and, of course, shopping!
In Portland, the Pickles have named Justin Barchus as their new manager. In his role, Barchus will perform all managerial duties required by the West Coast League and the Portland Pickles as well as the organization of the club.
Rose City Baseball brings Barchus to Portland after managing the Gresham GreyWolves to a 46-61 record over the past two seasons in the West Coast League.
“I am thrilled to be a part of Pickles, a team that has already established itself as elite,” Barchus said.
Before his time in Gresham, Barchus managed the Klamath Falls Gems, formerly of the WCL. At the time of his hiring in Klamath, he was the youngest coach in WCL history.
Barchus was also the head coach of Capital City Select, an 18U college prep team, where he won a total of 206 games over seven seasons. A three-sport graduate of McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon, Barchus is known for his competitive nature.
Barchus previously worked in the sports world as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the University of Illinois before returning to his home state to work for Oregon City Strength and Conditioning.