SAUGET — The Gateway Grizzlies announced Tuesday that Mike Breyman will be returning to the coaching staff for the 2014 season.
Breyman, 32, spent seven years with the Grizzlies as a player or coach before being named the manager of the Joliet Slammers prior to the 2013 season.
In 2014, he will serve as the team's bench coach while continuing to serve as the lead hitting instructor at the Grizzlies Baseball Academy. Breyman will join hitting coach Zach Borowiak and pitching coach Randy Martz on eighth-year manager Phil Warren's staff.
"Mike helps make our team better and we are thrilled to have him back in a Grizzlies uniform," Warren said. "He's knowledgeable about the game and interacts well with the players. This is a big addition for us."
Breyman served as the Grizzlies hitting coach during the 2012 season, helping lead the team to a 57-win season, a West Division title and the team's first playoff appearance since 2008. Under Breyman's direction, the Grizzlies finished second in the league in runs and displayed impressive improvements at the plate.
"I'm excited to come back home," Breyman said. "Gateway will always be my home. I want to thank Rich (Sauget), Steve (Gomric) and Phil (Warren) for bringing me back and trusting me with this opportunity. I'm coming back to help bring a championship to Gateway."
A native of Attica, Ohio, and current resident of Belleville, the father of two played for the Grizzlies from 2004-2008 and held the role of bench coach during the 2009 season. He was the hitting coach of the River City Rascals in 2010 and 2011.
During his playing career, Breyman put up monster numbers en route to being one of the most prolific hitters to ever wear the Gateway uniform. Upon his retirement as a player in 2008, Breyman held nearly every offensive record for the Grizzlies, including most hits, RBI and total bases. He also smacked 82 home runs over parts of five seasons with the Grizzlies.
Breyman enjoyed a record-setting high school career in Ohio, batting .810 during his senior season. That record still stands as the highest single season batting average in the history of high school baseball in the United States. Breyman carried that success into a great college career at the University of Kentucky.
The Grizzlies 2014 regular season opener is on May 16 when they take on the Traverse City Beach Bums in the friendly confines of GCS Ballpark. Season and group tickets are on sale now. For more information call 618-337-3000.