By Will Kimmey
February 10, 2004
USA Baseball named Eric Campbell general manager of national teams and Ray Darwin director of baseball operations.
Campbell replaces Steve Cohen, who left to become an area scout for the Phillies, in overseeing the administration and selection of the national team program, which features college freshmen and sophomores. Darwin will replace Campbell in heading the junior national team of 18-under players.
“Both of these gentlemen have demonstrated a very high level of quality decision-making with our Junior and Youth level teams in the past,” said Paul Seiler, USA Baseball’s executive director/CEO. “We have nothing but confidence in their leadership skills, and look forward to them carrying on the tradition of excellence and success that has been the hallmark of our national team programs for the past two decades.”
Campbell joined USA Baseball as associate director of national teams in 2000 and helped guide the junior national team to medals at the International Baseball Federation World Championships in 2000 and 2002 and at COPABE qualifying events in 2000, 2001 and 2003. He also served as a team administrator for three professional level national teams in two World Cup events and various qualifiers.
Campbell played at Creighton and was a 25th-round pick of the White Sox in 1984. He served as an assistant coach at Creighton under current Cubs general manager Jim Hendry and was also an assistant to Paul Manieri at St. Thomas University (in Miami, Fla.) and Air Force. He then succeeded Mainieri at Air Force from 1995-98 after Manieri left for Notre Dame.
“I’ve been fortunate that my baseball experiences have been dotted by great situations and great people to learn from,” Campbell said.
Campbell said his first order of business will be to help national team coach Frank Cruz (Loyola Marymount) select a coaching staff and administrative staff, including a trainer and media relations director. Then that group will follow the college season to hand out invitations to the national team’s first trials at USA Baseball’s new home in Durham, N.C., this June. The team will make two trips to the Far East, one to the 33rd annual Japan Series to compete against other college all-stars and then to the World University Championship in Taiwan.
“The philosophy is still the same,” Campbell said. “You work with your coaching pool, your athlete pool and try to put the best team on the field whether it’s the national team of college players, the junior national team or the youth national team.”
Darwin has been with USA Baseball since 1997, and has guided the 16-under youth national team and the annual USA Junior Olympic Baseball Championships since their inception. He has led the youth national team to three consecutive IBAF World Youth Championship Gold Medals (1998, 2001 and 2003).