Press Releases

ThunderBolts hire Brian Smith as new Field Manager

New Field Manager Brian Smith

The Windy City ThunderBolts have named Brian Smith the 18th Field Manager in franchise history. Smith replaces Ron Biga, who departed after six seasons to accept an opportunity outside of baseball.

For Smith, this is the first professional managerial position after spending the last three summers managing the Rockford Rivets of the summer collegiate Northwoods League. He amassed 100 wins in three years with Rockford, which included a trip to the postseason in 2017.

Smith is no stranger to the Frontier League or the ThunderBolts. The Northern Illinois graduate and Chicago Ridge native spent his two-year playing career in the league with the Joliet Slammers. In 2011, he posted a 1.24 ERA with 31 strikeouts and four walks as he helped the Slammers bring home the Frontier League championship in their first year of existence.

After retiring as a player following the 2012 season, Smith began his professional coaching career in Crestwood, spending three years as the pitching coach for the ThunderBolts.  He oversaw two pitching all-stars, two no-hitters and nine pitchers who were signed by Major League affiliates.

"First, I want to thank the Windy City owner, Al Oremus, and front office for all of their support throughout this process.  When I was hired back in 2013, I had always envisioned myself being in the drivers seat of a Frontier League organization.  I was able to see how Ron (Biga) handled certain game situations and how Pete (former Hitting Coach Pete Pirman) and Tom (former Hitting Coach Tom Carcione) would work with the hitters to mold myself into an all around baseball guy.  Secondly, I need to thank Chad Bauer and Dick Radatz for giving me the opportunity to get my feet wet as the first manager in Rockford Rivets history.  They allowed me to take full control of all things baseball.  I was able to work with a budget, full roster control and other particulars needed to help a start up Northwoods League organization.  An experience I'm glad I had and will always hold close to my heart" said Smith.

Smith replaces Biga, who signed him as a player in Joliet and first hired him as a coach with Windy City. Biga won a franchise-record 260 games over his six years as ThunderBolts skipper. That number is more than 100 wins ahead of second place on the list. He also sent 17 players to affiliated ball, 19 to the Frontier League All-Star Game and oversaw three postseason all-stars.

"We are excited to have Brian lead the ThunderBolts in 2019.  His experience as a manager in the Northwoods League and success as a player and coach in the Frontier League will translate well to developing ballplayers and finding the right guys to build a championship caliber team in Crestwood" said ThunderBolts General Manager Mike Lucas.  "The ThunderBolts organization would like to thank Ron Biga for the last six seasons in Crestwood and wish him the best in his future endeavors."  

The ThunderBolts will open their 20th anniversary season with Brian Smith at the helm on May 9th in Joliet, where they take on the defending league champion Slammers. Smith will manage his first home game on Tuesday, May 14, when the Bolts host the Evansville Otters.



Search Archive »





Browse by Month »

June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
January 2018
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
November 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
August 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006