World Series champ Anderson excited to take reins of NorthPaws

Ex-Big Leaguer to lead 'Paws

A former Big Leaguer with a World Series title on his resume has been tapped to lead the Kamloops NorthPaws.

Brian Anderson has been named the new head coach of the West Coast League club, which will begin its second season of play next spring on McArthur Island.

“This is my first time being a head coach and I’m excited for the responsibility,” Anderson told Castanet Kamloops from his home in Tucson, Ariz.

“I’m excited about the challenges that brings, but mostly I think I’m excited to help these kids reach their goals and live their dreams. My dreams of playing have come and gone and now I’m a coach — and I want to dedicate myself to developing players and helping them reach their full potential.”

The 40-year-old former outfielder played five seasons of Major League Baseball, spending nearly all of his time with the Chicago White Sox, who won a World Series title in 2005, his rookie season.

Anderson was recommended for the job by outgoing ‘Paws bench boss Cole Armstrong. The two played together in the White Sox organization and have remained close friends.

The NorthPaws had a successful inaugural campaign last summer under Armstrong’s guidance. The team compiled a 26-27 regular season record before falling in the first round of the playoffs to the Wenatchee AppleSox.

NorBrock Stadium was hopping for many of the ‘Paws home games and the community showed the club strong support. Anderson said Armstrong did a good job of selling the team, the vibe and the city.

“I’ve learned so much from Cole about how the city rallied around the team,” he said.

“I can tell you, I am excited. I am so excited to hear and see their reactions at the stadium and rally around that energy.”

Anderson was an assistant coach with the University of Arizona, his alma mater, and now coaches at Pima Community College. He said he’d love to get back to the MLB ranks one day as a coach and he thinks a stint with the NorthPaws might prove useful on that journey.

“I wouldn’t rule out a return to pro ball,” he said.

“But for now, I’m absolutely loving the college baseball side of things — the developmental aspects of it and the fact that you can get these kids young and mentally prepare them to ultimately be professional baseball players.

“I so badly want to get a hold of these kids and steer them away from all the stupid mistakes I made. Because I can tell you first-hand, I made some really immature mistakes as a pro. The lack of focus and maturity I had at 23 really cost me a lot of time in the Big Leagues.”

The West Coast League is a collegiate summer league. Players come from some of the top college and university programs across the United States and Canada.

Anderson and his young family — wife Danielle, baby girl Scarlett and parti poodle Beau — are all making the temporary move to the Tournament Capital in time for next year’s season, which will begin in late May or early June.

He said they’re excited for the Canadian experience.

“I have wonderful memories of Canada,” he said.

“When I was in AAA in 2005, we would go play in Ottawa and had a great time. And once I made it to the Big Leagues we played Toronto at least once a year there. That was one of my favourite trips, going to play at Rogers Centre.”

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