Cubs baseball seeking next Papa Bear

By 
M.P. Regan
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Good candidates continue to step forward but the Dillon Cubs American Legion baseball team remains open to more applicants for its vacant head coaching position.

“We want to have somebody hired before the end of November, because that is when we start finalizing next season’s schedule,” said Dillon Cubs Board President Justin Fox.

“But really, the sooner the better.”

The main qualifications for the position: loving baseball and helping develop young men enough to sacrifice a lot of the time you’d spend during warmweather months doing other things you love.

“Let’s be honest, it is a big commitment. You’ll be giving up a lot of your spring and summer,” said Fox of leading the team through spring training and halfway through the summer for dozens of games, countless hours of practice and numerous road trips, most covering at least a couple hundred miles round trip.

“It takes someone special— someone who knows the game and is willing to give his time to help kids become better baseball players and better young men,” said Fox, who volunteers triple-digit hours each summer serving as the Cubs play-by-play announcer.

“Time is just an element of the job, and its benefits far outweigh the time you put into it,” said Greg Fitzgerald, who stepped down as the Cubs skipper at the end of last season, following nearly a decade as a head coach and assistant coach with the organization.

“The time aspect flies by. I was with the program for nine years, and it feels like I started yesterday. As they say, if you love what you do, it’s not work,” added Fitzgerald, the latest in a short line of Cubs head coach’s going back to the legendary Gail Whitworth, who helped jumpstart the organization four decades ago and acted as its head coach for 19 seasons—and gets a ceremony and game played in his honor and memory each season.

During his 19 years at the helm, Whitworth guided the Cubs to four district titles and a state crown—a record of success that the next Cubs head coach could be in line to match, according to Fox.

“We have a lot of good young arms and great kids. The next head coach will step into a pipeline of promising young players,” said Fox, noting the dozens of local players who participated in Senior League last summer and the recent successes and growing popularity of Beaverhead Little League, which is loaded with future Cubs and will likely swell with more and more prospects in the coming years with the opening of the new Little League baseball complex by Cubs Field.

“We’ll have a baseball mecca,” said Fox of the series of baseball facilities set to debut next season at Ray Lynch Park near the north entrance to Dillon.

“It’s going to be one of the most beautiful baseball facilities in the state and country,” said Fox of the complex that began offering great views of mountains and big skies and baseball when the Cubs began playing their home games there with the debut of Cubs Field in 2016.

“We are in a real good spot as an organization,” said Fox.

“All the ground work is laid for a new head coach. You’d have great community support, great board support, great support from Cubs alumni and a lot of great families who grew up on Cubs baseball. And you’d probably still get help from Coach Fitzgerald and all the other great coaches in the community.”

The next Cubs head coach will draw a salary, as well as have the opportunity to earn extra money through hosting clinics, according to Fox.

And a lifetime of satisfaction. “You are so invested in the team and the kids,” said Fitzgerald. “

“There are so many rewards—the relationships you establish with the kids is really special. I still talk to and text a lot of my former players on their birthdays and other special occasions. Those relationships can last a lifetime.”

To apply to be the next head coach of the Dillon Cubs, submit a cover letter, resume and three references to justin.fox7@outlook.com. For more information, call 406-861-2528.

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