PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria Chiefs are gearing up for the 2021 season by announcing the coaching staff.
The Peoria Chiefs, along with the St. Louis Cardinals, have announced that Chris Swauger will serve as manager of the Chiefs for the 2021 season. Swauger is joined by Pitching Coach Rick Harig and Hitting Coach Joey Hawkins.
Alex Wolfinger (Athletic Trainer) and Jaqueline Gover (Strength & Conditioning Coach) will also be joining the Chiefs staff.
Swauger, 34, will return for his second stint with the Chiefs, having served as manager for two
seasons (2017-18), leading the team to two playoff berths, including a trip to the Midwest
League Championship Finals in 2018. During his time in Peoria, the fifth-year manager
amassed a win-loss record of 145-133. In total, Swauger boasts a 211-200 record, having
spent the first two seasons as a manager with the Johnson City Cardinals (TN).
Harig comes to Peoria for his first season with the Chiefs, although 2020 had been slated to be his first in Central Illinois. The native of Boulder, Col. brings more than 30 years of
coaching experience at the amateur and professional levels, having earned more than 1,300
wins and nine state championships as an American Legion and high school coach.
Before the cancellation of the 2020 season, Harig spent two seasons as the pitching coach in
Johnson City, coaching the team to the fewest walks in the Appalachian League, allowing
just under three total per game (2.87). Harig has also worked part-time for the San Diego
Padres player development department in the mid-2000s and was a regional scout for various
MLB teams for 15 years.
The 2021 season will be the first year in Peoria for Hawkins, a native of Oshawa, On,
Canada, and his second (excluding 2020) as a coach for the Cardinals. In 2019, Hawkins
served as the hitting coach for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.
Prior to joining the Cardinals, the 27-year-old was a hitting coach/recruiter for St. Louis
University in 2018 and Jefferson College (MO) in 2017. As a player, Hawkins suited up
primarily for Johnson City over the course of two years (2015-16).
Wolfinger is also gearing up for his first stint in Peoria, after spending the 2019 season with the Palm Beach Cardinals (FL) and the 2018 season (his first in the Cardinals organization) in Johnson City (TN).
Gover joins the Chiefs for her first season as the Strength and Conditioning coach and comes with a wealth of experience, having served as the Graduate Assistant Athletic Performance Coach at Southern Illinois University, Strength and Conditioning Intern at the University of Maryland College Park, and Assistant Coach at USA Field Hockey.
Season Tickets and Flex Plans are on sale now. Place your deposit and lock in your spot for the return of baseball in 2021. Individuals who place their deposits by Jan. 29 will receive a 2020 bobble head of their choice.