Following two seasons as the pitching coach for the Bellingham Bells, Kevin Matthews has been promoted to head coach the organization announced Tuesday, Sept. 15, after Brandon Newell stepped down to take on a larger scouting role with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Matthews, who serves as the head coach at Skagit Valley College during the school year, brings a wealth of coaching experience to the manager’s office for Bellingham. In six seasons with Skagit Valley College, Matthews has amassed a 175-77 record and has been named the NWAACC North Division Coach of the Year by his peers three times—most recently in 2009.
“Kevin is a guy who deserves to be a head coach in this league,” said Bells owner Bobby Brett. “His proven ability to coach these players is going to help us reach that next level. He’s done a great job as the head coach at Skagit Valley College and with our pitchers and we know he can continue to be successful now as the Bells’ head coach.”
In two seasons with the Bells, Matthews helped lower the team’s ERA over 60 points from 2008 to 2009 and his pitching staff has set team records in back-to-back years for the most league wins in franchise history.
“Being in the program for the past few years and getting to know the people and the fan support, I’m excited to represent the Bells and work for the Brett brothers to hopefully put a competitive team on the field that this organization and its fans will enjoy watching next summer,” said Matthews. “This league continues to grow and get more competitive each year thanks to the work (West Coast League president) Ken Wilson and the owners are doing to promote it.”
Matthews has also worked on the coaching staffs at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, the Lewis-Clark Twins American Legion squad and USA Baseball.
While Newell will no longer man the dugout for the Bells, he will remain on the staff as a consultant, working with both the team and the front office in a variety of aspects.
“We’re grateful to Brandon for all the work that he’s done for us over the past two seasons as our head coach and while we’re sad to lose him on the bench, we’re thrilled he has decided to stay involved with the Bells organization,” said Brett. “He has a great love for the game of baseball and this community and we know his continued involvement is going to continue to help this organization reach new heights.”
In two years as the head coach, Newell led the Bells to 39 wins, including a franchise best 22 victories in 2009.
The Bells have also made a change in their front office. Derrel Ebert, who took over as the Bells general manager in the fall of 2008, has moved within the Brett Sports organization to become the general manager of the Tri-City Dust Devils, the short-season affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
Following Ebert’s departure, the Bells have hired Justin Stottlemyre to manage their business operations.
Stottlemyre has spent the last six years working in sports, including five years in baseball. His career includes stops with the Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks (Fargo, N.D.), Baylor University (Waco, Texas) and the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Greensboro, N.C.).
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work with the Bells great ownership group as we try to grow this organization throughout the community,” said Stottlemyre. “We’re going to be trying some new things in years to come that will be geared toward creating a buzz around town about the great things the Bellingham Bells are doing both on and off the field. I can’t thank Bobby and his group at Brett Sports enough for giving me this opportunity.”