In the wake of its manager Tom Runnells being promoted to t he Colorado Rockies, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox have turned to a familiar face in Stu Cole to lead the team.
Cole steps in as manager of the Sky Sox after spending the past three seasons, and the first part of this season, as the Tulsa Drillers skipper. Before joining the Sky Sox this season, Cole had the Drillers in second place of the Texas League North Division. In 2006, Cole won the North Division and led the Drillers to a 41-29 record claiming a playoff birth.
Stepping in to the managerial job with the Sky Sox is a reunion of sorts for Cole as he played for the Sky Sox from 1993-1995, winning a PCL championship in the process.
“I haven’t been here in quite a while and know there has been a lot of changes in the city,” Cole said. “It feels good to come back and have people recognize you from when you played and appreciate everything that you did. That’s what makes this game so special whenever you give your all, because people notice that and they never forget you.”
Cole is no stranger to the players he has inherited either, as he has managed many of them on their way up through the Rockies farm system.
“We try to preach to these guys down at the lower level to try and get better to the point where you can be consistent at the higher level,” Cole said. “To see these guys like Miller, Frey and Colonel; they look like stronger and better men because of it, so it’s a joy to see the way these guys develop year in and year out.”
Cole admits he is a very aggressive type of manager, which fits right in with the way the Sky Sox have played this season.
“I like to make guys run and steal bases and hit and run when you have to, just kind of put pressure on the defense,” Cole said.
As far as the players are concerned, they don’t have to worry about being second guessed when making plays on the field as Cole is a very confident and enthusiastic manager.
“I want to let the guys know that they have my support on everything they are going to do out there on the field, and there is not going to be anything that is going to be second guessed,” Cole explained.
When asked what Cole wanted to achieve this season as he inherits a first place club, he was quick to focus on the development of the players.
“I just want these guys to understand that I am coming in here to help them continue to be consistent and continue to get better every single day,” Cole said, “I just want to see the team continue to get better and progress.”
On May 31, 2009, the first game of the Stu Cole era took place at Security Service Field where the Sky Sox pummeled the Tacoma Rainiers into submission by a score of 12-4. When Cole was asked how it felt to get his first victory at the Triple-A level his response was simple.
“It feels good, I mean it’s better than getting a loss,” Cole admitted.