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Former major league manager to lead Huskies

Duluth Huskies owner Bobby McCarthy and general manager Craig Smith were having lunch on Saturday, trying to decide how to finish out the season after firing coach Adam Stahl the day before.

Terry Collins
Terry Collins was managing China Team in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. (Getty Images)

Duluth Huskies owner Bobby McCarthy and general manager Craig Smith were having lunch on Saturday, trying to decide how to finish out the season after firing coach Adam Stahl the day before.

Smith said McCarthy mentioned calling former Major League Baseball manager Terry Collins, noting that Collins had nothing else going on since coaching China's national team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

That call became reality Monday when the Huskies announced Collins will be their new coach. Smith said the Huskies have a non-binding agreement with Collins, meaning he is free to leave if he gets a job with another team.

"Terry is in the running for a couple jobs, and if that comes to fruition, he leaves, but the bottom line for bringing him here is teaching our kids," Smith said. "He loves to teach, and that's why he is coming up, so God bless him for that. He has a heck of a pedigree."

Collins, 60, managed the Houston Astros from 1994-96 and the Anaheim Angels from 1997-99, compiling a 444-434 record. He guided the Angels to runner-up finishes in the American League West Division in 1997 and 1998 and has 11 years of minor league coaching experience.

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Collins, who became acquainted with McCarthy while working in Florida with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, was traveling on Monday and wasn't available for comment.

"This will be a treat for everyone involved," McCarthy said. "Terry is a people person."

Collins replaces Adam Stahl, who was fired on Friday after 2½ seasons with the club. Stahl had an 84-99 record with Duluth, including 17-30 mark this season, and his small-ball approach frustrated some players.

Huskies All-Star Matt Patterson played for Stahl in high school and has mixed feelings.

"Coach Stahl is a great coach who worked hard, but some guys just didn't respond well," Patterson said. "That doesn't mean he is a bad coach, but maybe a little change is what we need. You can already tell the mood with the guys is lighter."

Collins will take over Wednesday, with the team's first game following the Northwoods League All-Star break at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Wade Stadium against Alexandria. The Huskies will have a news conference at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Wade Stadium to introduce their new coach.

"Terry is one of [the] best baseball teachers in the world, so even if it's just for 10 minutes, we're fortunate to get him," Smith said.

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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