Anthony Contreras will return for his third season as TinCaps manager in 2018, the team announced Thursday.
It is only the third time the team has had the same manager for three consecutive years. Doug Dascenzo (2007-09) and Randy Ready (2004-06) each share the distinction.
After a string of one-and-done managers in the late 2000s, team president Mike Nutter is all for it.
"It's great when the leaders come back," Nutter said. "They understand what we're trying to accomplish, and they understand what we're trying to accomplish."
Contreras, 34, led the TinCaps to the Midwest League championship series in 2017, despite having the youngest team in minor league baseball and a rough start to the season.
The former San Diego Padres prospect serves as coach, manager, mentor and father figure to players up and down the roster, Nutter said.
"He's a great communicator, he's a great leader and he's a really good human being," Nutter said. "He's wearing all those hats, and he's very good at it."
Contreras said in a press release he is excited about building on last season's success, which laid claim to the franchise's third Eastern Division title.
“I’m excited to return to Fort Wayne and build off the success we had last season,” Contreras said. “We’re looking forward to developing another group of highly talented prospects.”
Contreras won't be the only familiar face in the dugout.
Burt Hooton extends his record as longest tenured coach in franchise history as the former Major League Baseball all-star (1981) enters his sixth season as the TinCaps pitching coach.
TinCaps play-by-play announcer and media relations manager John Nolan said in addition to Hooton's pitching expertise, the long-time Chicago Cub and Brooklyn Dodger brings tradition and storytelling, too.
"Almost anyone in baseball who is anyone in the last half century, (Hooton) has some kind of connection," Nolan said.
Nutter said Hooton has turned down numerous opportunities over the years to coach the San Antonio Missions — the San Diego Padres' AA affiliate — to stay with the TinCaps.
Hooton may be 67, but he relates well with the young Fort Wayne roster.
"He can communicate about life, pitching, girls, being away from mom and dad," Nutter said.
Hooton developed the 2017 TinCaps pitching staff into a record-breaking group, striking out a league-record 1,307 batters.
Fielding coach Jhonny Carvajal returns for his second season as fielding coach, as will athletic trainer Allyse Kramer.
Hitting coach Jonathan Mathews and strength coach Sam Hoffman are new to the staff.
Doug Banks (hitting) and Jay Young (strength) departed from last season's staff.