Alumni: Jay Weitzel Named Head Coach of Olean Oilers
Olean Oilers team owners Brian Jr. & Rene O’Connell along with Director of Operations Matthew Fidurko announced Monday that Jay Weitzel, a native of Salamanca, N.Y., will join the organization as its second-ever head coach.
Weitzel spent 17 years as an area scout for the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball. Weitzel was responsible for the Twins signing first-round picks Alex Wimmers in 2010 and Alex Kirilloff in 2016. Wimmers, who attended Ohio State University, broke into the major leagues last season with Minnesota, appearing in sixteen games out of the bullpen. Kirilloff, who was drafted right out of Plum High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., had a great first season with the Elizabethton Twins of the Appalachian League, hitting .306 with 7 home runs and 33 RBI.
“I am excited for the new opportunity and thankful to Brian and Rene’ for bringing me on. There is not a whole lot to be said; this is a new year, we have new players. We are going to play old-school baseball with new school instruction throughout the season,” said Weitzel.
“I have been around the game of baseball for a long time as a player, coach and owner. It was incredible to be able to find someone in our own backyard that could lead the Oilers. Jay possesses the knowledge, understanding and passion for the game and has dedicated most of his life to baseball. He is a competitor through and through but most of all he is a teacher and our players will be well served by his instruction and overall approach to playing the game that we all love,” said Olean Oilers owner Brian O’Connell, Jr.
Eight players that Weitzel also played a part in signing are still currently on Minor League Baseball rosters, including 2015 third-round pick Travis Blankenhorn, who currently sits with the Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Weitzel was instrumental in the creation of the Northeast Twins, a multi-level club-baseball organization – now headed by his son Jerico Weitzel – that pulls some of the best baseball talent from Western and Central New York along with Northern Pennsylvania together competitively. So far, the Northeast Twins have placed 34 players in college baseball since 2014, with 9 players going on to play for the Olean Oilers, including current players: Jacob Burlingame, Brett Migliore, Jake Miknis, Navada Waterman, Allen Murphy, and Sean Harris.
As aforementioned, John Dry, another native of Salamanca, N.Y., will remain on the Olean Oilers coaching staff for his fifth season. The team expects to reveal the remainder of its coaching staff within a couple of weeks.
What others are saying about Jay Weitzel:
Matthew Fidurko – Director of Operations: “Working with Jay over the past couple of months has lead me to truly believe that we made the right decision as an organization. When you combine Jay’s experience, which is immense, with the fact that he is very familiar with this organization – you get someone that knows what it means to be an Olean Oiler. In our next head coach, Jay was all that we could ask for and more.”
Brad Weitzel – Assistant Coach, University of Florida: “The Oilers players will have a great experience. They will definitely learn a lot about baseball. What amazes me about my brother is how hard he works players and they still love him. Other than our dad, he’s the fiercest competitor I have ever faced. No doubt that those loyal Olean fans will enjoy another summer of winning baseball at Bradner Stadium.”
John Dry – Assistant Coach: “Jay Weitzel’s knowledge of the game and teaching philosophies are second to none in our area. Being a professional scout for 17 years and being around the game at every level has provided him with a well-rounded ability to relate to various ages and skill levels. I have been working with Jay around the area, with baseball clinics and pre-draft workouts for over 15 years and have learned his teaching methods and having him join our staff is a great addition. I think Jay will have no problem coming in and helping the Oilers continue our winning tradition.”
Kaden Darrow – 3rd Year Playing for Oilers: “Jay has so much experience with the game of baseball, he knows everything there is to know about the game; what works and what doesn’t. Him being the coach of the Oilers will be a great experience for all, especially with all they young kids we have on the team this year. Jay has molded my mind around the way he plays baseball and I believe the new players will quickly adapt to that too.”