Brian Colopy, GM and Managing Partner of the Kalamazoo Growlers, has been named the 2020 Northwoods League Executive of the Year. The award, which was decided by a vote of team officials, is given annually to the League’s outstanding executive. In another vote, the Kalamazoo Growlers received the Organization of the Year award.
“Considering the amazing accomplishments of the Kalamazoo organization in this unique season in the Northwoods League, and how they created a safe fan experience in the process, both the organization and its General Manager Brian Colopy are richly deserving of such recognition,” said Northwoods League, Great Lakes Division President Matt Bomberg. “We congratulate the Growlers and Brian on their sweep of the awards and are grateful for the Kalamazoo community’s support of their efforts as well.”
Of these awards, Colopy said, “”Our team and I are so honored to be named the organization and executive of the year. This was the most trying time in our team’s history and to be recognized by our peers made all the challenges and obstacles this summer worth it. I can’t thank the Northwoods League enough for the flexibility to create an entirely new experience for our fans in order to make this season a possibility.”
Colopy serves as the Managing Partner for both the Kalamazoo Growlers and the Battle Creek Bombers. Brian is known for his unique ideas such as the Salute to Selfie Night, the Emoji jersey, and the Twinkie Dog that made a television appearance on Good Morning America. Brian played collegiately at Ohio University before pursuing a professional career with the Chillicothe Paints of the Frontier League. Prior to coming to Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Brian spent two seasons working for the Ripken Group with the Augusta GreenJackets and the Aberdeen Ironbirds.
The Kalamazoo Growlers were honored as the Northwoods League Organization of the Year after a successful and safe season on and off the field. The Growlers staff formed the Southern Michigan Pod, which also featured the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies and the Battle Creek Bombers. After only being allowed 100 fans per game they got creative and went to five inning double headers during the week and five inning triple headers on the weekends. These games started with a fan favorite home run derby each night. The Mac Daddies would go on to win the Southern pod and then they defeated the Traverse City Pit Spitters to win the Michigan Pod Championship.
In the FCBL, the Nashua Silver Knights were recognized with both the Organization of the Year Award and William J. Terlecky Executive of the Year honors for General Manager Cam Cook.
The Silver Knights finished 2020 with a record fifth FCBL championship to go with trophies earned in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017, but their success extended far beyond the field of play during this unprecedented summer. President & Owner John Creedon Jr.’s staff included Cook, Assistant General Manager Katie Arend, and FCBL Manager of the Year Kyle Jackson, who were all working in their respective roles for the first time.
“Despite the fact that this was a near impossible season to pull off, the Nashua Silver Knights were the class of the Futures League,” said Commissioner Joe Paolucci via press statement. “The way they prepared for the season and implemented their plan to keep everyone safe showed incredible leadership. This organization is a class act from top to bottom and has set a great example for the entire league.”
“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as the Organization of the Year,” said Creedon, who also owns the Worcester Bravehearts, the 2019 Organization of the Year. “Success is about culture, and culture is about people. I’d say that we caught lightning in a bottle with Cam Cook and Katie Arend leading the Silver Knights in our front office and having Kyle Jackson as our skipper. They have created a winning culture on and off the field that the Silver Knights will build on for years to come.”
The Silver Knights were at the forefront of the league’s efforts to deliver a safe baseball experience for all despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. The team put together and executed a comprehensive COVID-19 Readiness Plan that allowed play to commence with strong support from Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, other city leaders and public health officials, and the New Hampshire Governor’s Policy Director. The plan covered procedures for fan, player and staff safety, food services, ballpark cleaning, and ticketing and merchandise sales, among other topics.
Operating Holman Stadium with a 25 percent seating capacity, the Silver Knights hosted two additional games during the first week of the season before Massachusetts reached the appropriate phase of reopening that allowed for sporting events, as well as the entirety of the league’s best-of-three championship. More than 11,000 fans enjoyed baseball in Nashua over the course of 24 regular-season and playoff games, including several “safety sellout” crowds.