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Falcons hire former Knight as head coach
With both West Coast League playing and coaching experience under his belt, the Kelowna Falcons decided Billy Clontz was the right man for the job.
Clontz, a 27-year-old native of Corvallis, Ore., was introduced this week as the 10th head coach in the history of the Falcons' franchise.
He played three seasons for the Corvallis Knights (2006, 2008-09) and has been an assistant coach for three seasons (2010-2011, 2013). In his six summers with the Knights, Clontz has been part of four championship series—winning the title as a player in 2008, and as part of the coaching staff in 2011 and 2013.
“He’s a proven winner,” said Falcons’ GM Mark Nonis. “We’re excited to have Billy join our club, after seeing him work with the Knights organization for many summers, he is a perfect fit to build our team and get us back to the post season.”
Clontz succeeds Kelowna native Geoff White, who has moved into the assistant general manager's role, after leading the Falcons to a 19-35 record in 2013.
Clontz is grateful for the opportunity and feels his experience with Corvallis will be a benefit as he joins the Falcons.
"I am really excited for the opportunity Dan and Mark Nonis have given me," Clontz said. "I am looking forward to putting a competitive team on the field next summer. I appreciate the time I spent playing and working in the Knights' organization, and feel like I learned from the best."
Brooke Knight has been the head coach of the Knights since Clontz was recruited in 2006.
"We are all very excited for Bill's next endeavor," Knight said. "He has a tireless work ethic and a sound knowledge of the game. He will grind the Falcons towards a playoff appearance, I have no doubt."
Clontz starred at Corvallis High School and for the Richey's Market American Legion program before playing at Mt. Hood Community College and Western Oregon. He was a starter at several infield and outfield positions for the Knights in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He earned all-WCL honours for Knights' teams that defeated Wenatchee in the 2008 WCL championship series, and that lost to the AppleSox in the 2009 finals.
Following his college career, Clontz joined a Knights' coaching staff that directed the club to the 2010 West Division regular-season title, and to the 2011 WCL championship.
Clontz recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Ohlone College in Fremont, California.
His first order of business as the Falcons skipper will be to assemble the 2014 club. A great deal of recruiting for summer baseball happens during the month of October and November. The Falcons will open their 14th summer in Kelowna in early June. The WCL schedule will be released in February.