Oakland Athletics Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman, and Durham Bulls Manager Charlie Montoyo have been named the recipients of the second annual Sheldon “Chief” Bender, and Mike Coolbaugh Awards.
According to MILB.com, they will be honored along with the other award winners at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis from Dec. 7 – 10.
The Bender Award is presented to an individual who has shown exceptional skills in player development.
Lieppman, over his 18-year career in the Oakland Athletics’ system, has been responsible for assigning, developing, and evaluating their minor league players as their Director of Player Development.
“I am humbled and appreciative for being selected for this award,” said Lieppman. “I had the privilege of knowing and working with Chief Bender and respect all that he presented and brought to the game. It is an honor to be associated through this award with such a man of integrity and the numerous accomplishments he has achieved.”
“We are extremely proud that Minor League Baseball is recognizing Keith Lieppman as this year’s recipient of the Chief Bender Award,” said A’s vice president & general manager, Billy Beane. “His consummate professionalism and dedication to the development of young baseball players has been a cornerstone of this organization for nearly four decades. Receiving this much deserved award, named for a highly respected figure in our business, is a testament to Keith’s unparalleled record of service with the A’s.”
Lieppman spent nine years as a player until moving on to a managerial role at every level in the A’s system for the next eight seasons.
The Mike Coolbaugh Award is awarded to an individual who has shown exceptional knowledge of the game concerning the education, and training of the players in the organization’s minor league system.
Montoyo has been a manager in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system for the past 13 seasons, and has spent the previous three campaigns with the Durham Bulls, their Triple-A affiliate. His tenure with the Bulls has been a success to say the least; three straight South Division crowns and a Triple-A National Championship this past season, having defeated the Pacific Coast League champion Memphis Redbirds.
“I am very humbled and honored to win this award because of what [Mike Coolbaugh] represents,” said Montoyo.
“Charlie has been a hard working, loyal staff member for the Rays since 1996,” said Tampa Bay director of Minor League operations, Mitch Lukevics. “He is a dedicated teacher of our game with a passion to help players both on and off the field. Charlie exemplifies everything that the Mike Coolbaugh Award stands for. We are proud and thrilled that he is receiving this award.”
His managerial career began with the Princeton Rays in the Appalachian League in 1997. Stints with the Montogomery Biscuits, Bakersfield Blaze, and Hudson Valley Renegades all concluded with a playoff berth.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is also available for hire or freelance opportunities.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.