USA Baseball Names 2010 Pan American Qualifying Team Coaching Staff

Aug. 26, 2010, 1:20 p.m. (ET)
DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball named Ernie Young manager of its 2010 Pan American Qualifying Team on Thursday.  Young and his staff will lead a U.S. team comprised of players not currently on 40-man Major League rosters in what will serve as the qualifying event for the 2011 Pan American Games baseball tournament and 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup.

Joining Young on Team USA are pitching coach Kirk Champion, hitting coach Leon “Bull” Durham and assistant coaches Jay Bell, Carlos Tosca and Rolando “Roly” de Armas.  Young, Champion and de Armas are all veterans of past USA Baseball professional teams, including the 2009 gold medal-winning World Cup Team.

“We are thrilled with the staff we have put together for the Pan American Qualifying Team,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO.  “Ernie Young is one of the greatest competitors ever to wear the U-S-A across his chest, and we have surrounded him with a first class group of coaches.”

A veteran of eight Major League seasons with five different clubs, Ernie Young also won a gold medal as an outfielder with the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.  He also played for the 2003 Olympic Qualifying Team.  After serving a season as the hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox’s rookie-level team, he was named manager of Single-A Kannapolis prior to the 2009 season.  Most recently, Young served as the hitting coach for the 2009 World Cup Team.

Kirk Champion’s resume includes collegiate head coach and assistant coaching jobs, and he currently serves as the minor league pitching coordinator for the White Sox.  He also has USA Baseball experience, having been the Team USA pitching coach in the 2001 Baseball World Cup (silver), 2006 COPABE Olympic Qualifying Tournament (gold) and 2009 World Cup Team (gold).

Leon Durham returns for his 10th season as the hitting coach for the Toledo Mud Hens and his 15th season overall in coaching.  He spent five seasons in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization before coming to Toledo in 2001, and he started his coaching career with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League in 1996.  Durham spent 10 seasons in the Major Leagues, hitting .277 with 147 home runs and 530 RBIs in 1067 games, and he was selected to the N.L. All-Star Team from 1982-83.

A veteran of 18 big league seasons, Jay Bell finished his career with a .265 average, 195 home runs, 868 RBIs, 1123 runs and 91 stolen bases. He also won the Gold Glove Award in 1993 – breaking Ozzie Smith’s streak at shortstop in the National League of 13 straight – and was selected to the All-Star Game that season, as well as in 1999.  After retiring in 2003, Bell spent time as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom he also played from 1998-2002.  He scored the winning run in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series for Arizona.

Carlos Tosca spent 17 years as a Minor League manager before he was named as a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998.  After three years with the D-backs and an additional year of coaching at the Triple-A level, Tosca was named the third base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, and later, their manager, from 2002-04 (191-191).  He then returned to Arizona as a bench coach and held the same position for the Florida Marlins from 2007-2010.

A former minor league catcher who served as manager at several stops in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, and was a bullpen coach for the 2008 World Series Champion Phillies club, Rolando de Armas has been with USA Baseball since 2006, serving as a coach on the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Team, 2007 World Cup Team, 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team and 2009 World Cup Team.

The Pan American Qualifying Team will first gather in Cary, N.C. at the USA Baseball National Training Complex where it will train from Sept. 25-28.  It will work out on Sept. 25 and square-off against the Canadian Pan American Qualifying Team, Sept. 26-28.  The U.S. will then depart for San Juan, Puerto Rico where the qualifier is set to run from Oct. 1-10.  The 12-team tournament will feature top Pan Am talent, including host Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela.

The 2009 World Cup Team is the most recent professional team fielded by USA Baseball.  The ’09 club finished with a 14-1 record, including a 10-5 win over rival Cuba in the final.  The team was made up of some of the best Minor League players in baseball, several of whom have since made their Major League debut this season, including third baseman Pedro Alvarez and pitcher Brad Lincoln of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak, Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro, Minnesota Twins shortstop Trevor Plouffe and New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis.

The 24-man roster for the U.S. Pan American Qualifying Team will be announced in early September.

About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).  The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic Team and World Cup Team (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 16U and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year.  USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to top player in college baseball.  For more information, please visit www.USABaseball.com and www.GoldenSpikesAward.com.