Webber named Wizards pitching coach

<b>Press release:</b>Fort Wayne, IN – The San Diego Padres and Fort Wayne Wizards officially announced that former Southeastern Conference head coach Steve Webber has been named the pitching coach of the 2004 Wizards staff.

Courtesy of the Fort Wayne Wizards Media Relations Department:

Webber guided the Georgia Bulldogs to a NCAA National Championship in 1990 with a win over Oklahoma State and was named the SEC coach of the year in 1987. He was named the national coach of the year following the team's 1990 championship run.

In 16 seasons, Webber led the Bulldogs to a 500-403-1 mark (.561 winning percentage). He has the ninth most wins in SEC history and was the ninth fastest coach to reach 500 wins. His 500 wins with the Bulldogs ranks first among all Georgia head coaches.

After leading Georgia, Webber landed several positions with the New York Yankees organization, serving as an area scout from 1996-1998; the pitching coach of the Greensboro Bats (South Atlantic League) in 1999; and the coordinator of instruction for the Yankees minor leagues in Tampa from 2000-2003. Webber was also a pitching coach for the Yankees Gulf Coast team from 2000-2002. He was also a part of creating the player development programs for Latin America player academies.

"I like working with pitchers in general," Webber said from his home Tampa. "They will have many ups and downs along the way. It's entirely different going from high school (baseball) to college and from college to the professional level. The work days are completely different."

Webber, a Midwest native, was born in Iowa and graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He also attended Muscatine Community College in Iowa. Before landing in Georgia as the head coach, Webber was the pitching coach for Georgia Southern University (1974-75) and the University of Florida (1976-80).

Webber joins the staff of manager Randy Ready, a 13-year major leaguer; hitting coach Tom Tornincasa, back for his fifth season; and trainer Paul Navarro, who was with the Idaho Falls Padres in the Pioneer League for the last three seasons.

The Wizards open the 2004 season on the road against the South Bend Silverhawks on Thursday, April 8. Fort Wayne will begin the home portion of the schedule at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 16 against the Beloit Snappers.


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