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Stingers name Hollod manager

Matt Hollod

Matt Hollod has been named the manager of the Willmar Stingers' new Northwoods League baseball team for the inaugural 2010 season.

Hollod, who is currently an assistant coach at Southern Utah University, will take over duties here in his first head coaching position. He is currently working on hiring two assistant coaches.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity," said Hollod, by telephone on Monday. "I think it's a great experience for me. The Northwoods League is the best summer college league in the nation and it's an honor to be a part of it."

Terms of the multi-year contract have not been announced.

Hollod, 31 and single, is familiar with the Northwoods League, having been a player for the Grand Forks Channel Cats in 1997 and '98. He was among the top 10 hitters in the league with a .320 average in 1998.

"It's a minor league atmosphere," he said about the league. "It's going to be a great experience for these kids to come here and play in this league. Every kid wants to perform in front of people and the league generally can draw from a thousand to six thousand fans a game."

Hollod was raised in Washington and played prep baseball for Longview High School, about 40 miles north of Portland, Ore. He was recruited by several Division I schools and chose to play for the University of Washington. After spending two seasons there as a pitcher, he transferred to the University of Portland so he could both pitch and hit. He earned honorable mention all-West Coast Conference honors as a pitcher his junior year with Portland and also led the team in hitting his senior year with a .346 average.

"Matt was a top college player and has been around the game his whole life," said Stingers co-owner Ryan Voz in a press release. "Following his playing career, he jumped right into coaching and has proven to us that he is ready to be a field manager in the Northwoods League."

Hollod was also an assistant coach with the University of Portland from 2003-08. Six of the players he helped coach were drafted and are currently playing in the minor leagues. He also coached one season at Williamette University where he served as the batting coach. The team hit .313 under him and led the league with 53 home runs.

"I knew about my junior year in college that I wanted to get into coaching," he said. "My dad and my uncle were coaches. I got a few offers to play minor league baseball, but I didn't want to spend five or six years in the minors. I wanted to get started right away so I got into coaching."

This summer, Hollod coached the Oahu Paddlers of the Hawaii Baseball Collegiate League. He will continue to coach at Southern Utah until the season ends in May and then will spend the summer in Willmar. The Northwoods League will play 68 games in the summer, 34 home and 34 on the road, and Hollod will return to Utah at the conclusion of the season.

"I want to help these kids develop as players, but at the same time teach them how to compete and win," said Hollod. "When you are done with baseball, learning how to compete and win will help with other things in life."

Hollod immediately began working on assembling a roster. He will name his assistants soon and also is looking for a couple of volunteers to help serve the team in various capacities.

"There will be kids on the team from all over," said Hollod. "It's going to be a lot of fun to see these kids all come together and learn to win together."

The Northwoods League allows college players who have not yet graduated to compete. The season begins in early June.