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Corvallis GM Brooke Knight to Skipper 2008 Knights.

December 12, 2007

Jason Hawkins of Univ. of Redlands and John Hessel of UNLV to Round Out the Coaching Staff

Corvallis GM Brooke Knight to Skipper 2008 Knights.

Corvallis Knights GM Brooke Knight was tasked to find a new head coach after last summer's manager Matt Dorey was hired away by the World Champion Red Sox in early November. Replacing a rising coach like Dorey, a product of the Knights' system, was challenging, but in the end the Knights didn't have to look very far for their new head coach.

Who could step in and not lose a beat? Who understood the club's expectations and its commitment to winning and development?

After a few weeks of pondering and several late night discussions, Brooke and team president Dan Segel identified that person - Brooke Knight.

The emails, the resumes, the phone calls, they were all flattering and the candidates impressive, but why not Knight? He's an alumnus. He's a Corvallis native. He's a leader. He is a Knight.

The talks became more real, more serious over time. Brooke was a leading candidate.

With two years of observing and evaluating as the team's general manager, Knight got a feel for the league, its players and the unique demands of a summer coach.

He was ready.

As a Beaver, Knight was tutored by Jack Riley, the man who saved baseball at OSU. During college summers and following a short-lived professional baseball career, Knight was an assistant coach under legendary American Legion skipper Dick McClain for Richey's Market. He coached professionally in Australia. He spent three years scouting for Montreal and Florida.

He was experienced.

With the support of his wife Karlie and his staff at Knight Financial, Brooke is getting back into coaching and hopeful he can fill Dorey's shoes.

"After much deliberation, we made the decision to fill the team's head coaching spot internally," said team president Dan Segel. "Brooke has a great passion for the game and his baseball acumen is sound. He's a proven leader with a work ethic that sets him apart," continued Segel. "I'm confident Brooke and his coaching staff will do a great job."

Coach Knight will be the club's eighth skipper joining Segel (1990-1996), Brett Smith (1997), Mick Ellett (1998), Randy Rutschman (1999), Geoff Loomis (2000-2004), Dale Stebbins (2005-2006) and Dorey as Knights field managers.

"I feel very fortunate to have a chance to get back in the mix with such a first-class organization. I have missed the interaction with the athletes and the opportunity to help influence their development," said the Knights new skipper Brooke Knight. "It is going to be an exciting summer."

Brooke is a Crescent Valley High School and Western Oregon University graduate. He played both baseball and football at Oregon State in the early nineties. He currently owns and operates a mortgage company in Lake Oswego. His son Briley is 8 years old.

Jason Hawkins of University of Redlands and John Hessel of UNLV will assist Knight. Hawkins will be the team's new pitching coach and Hessel an assistant. Both Hawkins and Hessel come highly recommended by Oregon State assistant baseball coach Marty Lees and Matt Dorey.

"Jason Hawkins and John Hessel are both grinders. They are going to help us outwork the other guys. We're really excited to have them on staff," said Knight. "The players are going to love playing for both Jason and John."

Hawkins was born in Corvallis and attended West Albany High School. He's been coaching at Redlands since 2005 and brings over 10 years of baseball coaching experience to the Knights.

Hawkins finished his playing career at Western Oregon University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in English and History from WOU. He continued his schooling at Pacific University where he earned a master's degree.

Hessel also finished his playing career and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Western Oregon University. Before starring at Western, Hessel honed his skills at Linn-Benton CC under head coach Greg Hawk. He was a key member of the Roadrunners 1991 NWAACC championship team.

John started his coaching career as an assistant at Western Oregon before managing American Legion baseball in the Eugene area. Hessel then managed at Hood River High School and Sierra Vista High School (Las Vegas, NV) before taking his current job, Director of Baseball Operations at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.