The University of Northern Colorado announced on Wednesday the addition of former American League Manager of the Year, Jeff Banister, to their staff. Banister, who most recently worked as a special assistant for the Pittsburgh Pirates, joins Northern Colorado as the Director of Player Development.
Banister led the Texas Rangers to back-to-back American League West Division titles in 2015 and 2016, clinching the 2015 title on the last day of the season. The 2015 turnaround for the Texas Rangers led to Banister winning American League Manager of the Year, and the Rangers subsequently earned the best regular season record in the American League in 2016. The Rangers were eliminated by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Division Series both years.
Banister brings with him a wealth of baseball experience, having worked in the majors for over two decades with the Pittsburgh Pirate and Texas Rangers. The hiring of Banister by Northern Colorado reflects a broader commitment to improving player development. The Bears last had a player drafted in 2018 and have only had 24 total players drafted in program history.
The hiring of Banister by Northern Colorado reunites him with Northern Colorado head coach, Carl Iwasaki. The two first worked together 25 years ago in the Hawaiian Winter Baseball League.
In addition to Banister, Northern Colorado also added Dan Martony as pitching coach and Danny-David Linahan as assistant coach this offseason. Both Martony and Linahan are transitioning from Abilene Christian University.