Former major league shortstop Travis “Gookie” Dawkins has been named by the parent Reds to manage the Dayton Dragons next season, replacing Luis Bolivar, who has been promoted to be the franchise’s director of academies in the Dominican Republic and Arizona.
Dawkins will be part of an all-new coaching staff for the Dragons, according to Shawn Pender, the Reds’ vice-president of player development.
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Joining Dawkins on the staff will be hitting coach Darryl Brinkley, pitching coach Brian Garman and bench coach Hernan Iribarren, who finished his playing career last season. Brinkley and Garman have previous experience as minor league coaches.
Seth Etherton, coming off two seasons as pitching coach for the Dragons, was promoted to Class AA Chattanooga and bench coach Kevin Mahar will be bench coach in Class AAA Louisville. Hitting coach Mike Devereaux was not retained by the organization.
Gawkins, a second-round draft choice by the Reds in 1997, appeared briefly with the major league team and with Kansas City from 1999-2003, generating a .163 batting average while displaying exceptional defense.
“I know I’m better than what my stats say,” Dawkins said in a telephone interview. “But I don’t have any regrets. I learned a lot starting games, coming off the bench and hitting against the closer, and sitting on the bench for two weeks.
“Everything worked out just the way it was supposed to work out.”
Dawkins coached a young travel ball team in his home state of South Carolina after finishing his playing career in 2011, and reached out to the Reds for a position with them. He started as a coach in 2015 and was the rookie-level Greeneville manager last season when the team was 26-41.
“We’ve always thought highly of (Dawkins) as a baseball man,” Pender said. “This is a great opportunity to challenge him, to be a full-season manager.”
Pender also had praise for Bolivar, the only guy to have played, coached and managed the Dragons.
“Bolie is very organized,” Pender said. “We think he does a wonderful job with pre-game work and his communication skills with young players.”
Dawkins becomes the 10th manager for the Dragons, who are entering their 21st season.
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