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Head Coach Brooke Knight Hires New Assistants for 2009 Season.

January 25, 2009

Ryan Heil of Riverside CC and Travis Hanson to Coach Knights

Head Coach Brooke Knight Hires New Assistants for 2009 Season.

The Corvallis Knights hired alum Travis Hanson (pictured) to complete its 2009 coaching staff. Earlier in the week, Ryan Heil of Riverside City College was hired to replace Jason Hawkins as the team's pitching coach. The Knights lost Hawkins to Occidental College as Jason took the Tigers head coaching job last August.

Hanson replaces John Hessel of UNLV. Hessel, the Director of Baseball Operations for the Rebels, could not return as Corvallis signed UNLV pitcher Thomas Whitsett and future UNLV infielder Richie Jimenez. NCAA rules won't allow John to coach a Rebel player in the summer.

Travis played for the Knights in 2001 and for a series in 2002 before starting his pro career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hanson was the Cardinals 2005 Minor League Player of the Year. He spent his final two seasons in AAA playing third base for the Memphis Redbirds before retiring in 2008.

A native of Port Orchard, Washington, Travis played his college baseball at University of Portland. Following his retirement, he landed an assistant coaching job with his alma mater and started working with the Pilots this past fall. He left the team this January as his wife Lauren, an assistant women's soccer coach at UP, was named the associate head coach for the women's soccer program at University of Oregon. The Hanson's are now living in Eugene.

"We are fortunate to have Travis in the wings. He brings great knowledge and a special demeanor to the program," said Coach Knight. "He'll be a great role model for our players and we're confident Travis will do an excellent job preparing our guys for the next level as he has a wealth of experiences to draw on and share."

Ryan Heil also brings professional experience to the Knights. Heil pitched two seasons in the New York Mets organization.

Heil replaces Hawkins who did a masterful job managing and developing the league's top pitching staff last summer. Ryan begins his first year at Riverside City College this spring. He will be groomed by RCC head coach Dennis Rogers.

"We expect Ryan to bring great energy to the yard and to offer our young pitchers the structure and routine that is so important during the summer," said Knight. "Ryan comes highly recommended by Dennis and we understand he's a grinder and good with kids. He too can share his pro experiences and help our guys gain confidence."

Heil most recently coached at Indiana State and Cal Poly Pomona and spent the last two summers as an assistant coach for the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League.

"We're excited about our two new young coaches. They have big shoes to fill as Jason and John did a fantastic job last season, but we are sure they will do a super job by getting the most out of our guys and sending them home better people and players," said Knight.