De Renne assumes first managerial role
It sounds like former Revolution players Keoni De Renne and Vince Harrison will be going in different directions in 2013 a year after both spent their first season in coaching.
Harrison, 33, cut ties with the Pirates after serving as bench coach at Class A West Virginia. Currently living in Cincinnati, he’s staying busy providing baseball lessons and is aiming to open an indoor baseball/softball facility (more on that below).
De Renne, meanwhile, earned a promotion from a player-coach role last season with the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League team. He will assume managerial duties for one of two Pirates’ summer league teams in the Dominican Republic. It marks the first time in his career he will be a manager/head coach.
“This is something that’s totally new,” De Renne said by phone (while sitting outside in 70-degree weather in Hawaii). “I’m very nervous but at the same time I’m very enthusiastic and excited for the opportunity. I’ll be 34 in April. Not many guys my age have had the opportunity to be a manager. I’ll take my lumps and learn from it. I’ll have great people to guide me in the drection the organization wants to go.”
De Renne will have assistance from coach Gera Alvarez. The two played against each other in the Atlantic League in 2008 when Alvarez was a member of the Somerset Patriots.
“He’s done everything I’ve done but basically one year in front of me,” De Renne said. “I’m kind of following in his footsteps. We’re right around the same age.”
The Dominican Summer League very match resembles rookie-level ball.
“There’s gonna be kids 17, 18, 19 years old who just signed back in July,” De Renne said. “This is an opportunity for them to play and and me as a coach to develop them into men.”
De Renne first got a taste of the Dominican league last year after he finished up coaching in the Gulf Coast League.
“I went down to there for 21 days. They had instructional league where games don’t count,” he said. “When I came back to the states they called me and asked my feelings. What did I like? What didn’t I like? The baseball side of it was awesome. Players are very receptive to instruction. They’re very energetic and inspired to get better.
“They (the Pirates) had three options they were looking at for me,” De Renne said. “And one was to be a coach down in the DR. I was honest with my feelings. In order for me to grow as a coach I want to be in a managerial position because in the long run it’s what I want to do. I didn’t want to be down there as a coach. I can just stay in the states and be a coach. Around Jan. 4 they called me back and offered me a managerial position.”
De Renne said he’ll report to the Pirates’ minor league camp in early February in Bradenton, Florida, for a few weeks before heading further south to prepare for the 2013 season.
Harrison: Harrison has been staying busy this winter by providing baseball lessons (sometimes with younger brother, Josh, who will likely be the starting thirdbaseman for the Pirates big league club in 2013).
“We (Josh and I) get together at least two or three times a week where it’s just me and him,” Harrison said. “Two times out of the week after we work out, we’ll work out these high school kids at our alma mater, Princeton High School.”
After providing lessons to youngsters for the last nine years, Harrison would like to start up his own academy.
“I’ve always had people who took care of the business aspect and hired me to come in and work with hitters,” he said. “At this point my brother and I want to be able to do our own thing. For instance, yesterday we put on a camp for Martin Luther King day but we were using somebody else’s facility.”
The 2011 Atlantic League Playoff MVP for the Revs’ championship team, Harrison said he would still like to get back into coaching should the right opportunity come up.