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Jackson Generals Name Coaching Staff

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- The Seattle Mariners announced on Monday, the 2011 Jackson Generals coaching staff for the Inaugural season. Jim Pankovits will manage the Generals after spending the last 16 years with the Houston Astros organization. Cory Snyder has been hired by the Mariners and will serve as the hitting coach for the Generals. Lance Painter returns for his second season as the club's pitching coach. Matt Toth also returns as the clubs trainer in 2011.
"First of all, I'm excited to be with the Seattle Mariners organization," stated new Generals manager Jim Pankovits. "They have an outstanding minor league system. I also have heard great things about Jackson. I am an original southerner from Richmond, VA and now live in Myrtle Beach, FL so I am really excited about coming back to the South."

This will not be Pankovits' or "Pank", as he is referred to by many, first experience with a "Jackson Generals" baseball club. Pankovits managed the Houston Astros Double-A team in Jackson, MS, from 1998 to 1999. "I was a little confused at first when I saw the name of the team," said Pankovits. "I was not sure if I was going to Mississippi or Tennessee at first," he added jokingly. "I am really looking forward to managing in Jackson [TN] though."

Pankovits is somewhat familiar with the players he will be managing this season. "I was able to see a lot of the young players in the Mariners system while being the roving infield instructor with Houston the first half of last year. The [High Desert] club in High-A was very talented and hopefully those guys will be here in 2011."

Pankovits (PANK uh vitz), 55, spent the last 16 years working in the Houston Astros Player Development department, including the last two seasons as the manager of the Tri-City ValleyCats. In 2010, he led the ValleyCats to the New York-Penn League Championship.

"We won last season in Tri-City and I was hoping for an opportunity at a higher level," said Pankovits.

In addition to his managerial duties, Pankovits also served as the Astros Minor League Infield Coordinator. Pankovits also managed at various levels in the Astros Minor League system from 1995-1999 and 2006-08. In 2006, he led Salem to its first Carolina League Playoff berth since 1988, and was named the league's Manager of the Year. Prior to 2006, Pankovits served for six seasons as Houston's Minor League Defense Coordinator. He also severed as the minor league infield coordinator in 2000. Pankovits began his managerial career managing Boston's Double-A affiliate in New Britain from 1992-94. Pankovits was drafted by the Astros in the fourth round of the June 1976 Draft. He spent parts of five seasons with that Astros, compiling a .250 average in 318 games. He also played in various stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox.

Snyder, 48, spent three seasons managing in the independent leagues, including managing Na Koa Ikaika in the North American League in 2010. He also managed the Golden League's St. George Roadrunners from 2007 to 2008. Snyder was the first round selection (4th overall) by the Cleveland Indians out of Brigham Young University in 1984. He made his Major League debut with Cleveland in 1986 and spent five years with the Indians. He also played for the Chicago White Sox (1991), Toronto Blue Jays (1991), San Francisco Giants (1992) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1993-94). Overall he hit .247 (902x3656) with 439 runs scored, 178 doubles, 13 triples, 149 home runs and 488 RBI in 1,068 games. He twice finished eighth in the American League in home runs, hitting 33 in 1987 and 26 in 1988. In 1984, Snyder was on the first Olympic Baseball team for the United States, which earned a Silver Medal.

Painter, 43 begins his sixth season in the Mariners organization and second as pitching coach with West Tenn/Jackson. He spent the 2009 season a pitching coach with Clinton and 2008 with High Desert, Painter spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a pitching coach in Wisconsin. Lance pitched professionally from 1990-2003, spending time in the San Diego, Colorado, St. Louis, Toronto and Milwaukee organizations, He attended the University of Wisconsin. Painter was born in England and became naturalized U.S. citizen prior to start of the 1994 season.

Toth, 33 enters his sixth season with the Mariners and third season with West Tenn/Jackson as trainer. Toth was the trainer for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2008, and spent the 2006-07 seasons as trainer with High Desert. Matt worked as a trainer for the Oregon State football and baseball teams in 2004. He also worked as a trainer in the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 2002-03 and the Chicago Cubs organization in 2001.

The Jackson Generals open the 2011 season on Thursday, April 7th when the Generals visit the Mississippi Braves. The home opener is slated for Wednesday, April 13th against the defending Southern League Champion Jacksonville Suns. Season tickets, which include a reserved seat to the All-Star Game, are currently on sale by calling Pringles Park office, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm at 731-988-5299.