Dayton, Ohio—The Dayton Dragons announced their 2022 coaching staff today, as assigned by the Cincinnati Reds.
Juan Samuel—Bench Coach
Brian Garman—Pitching Coach
Daryle Ward—Hitting Coach
Additionally, the Dragons announced that Andrew Cleves will serve as the club’s athletic trainer in 2022 while Daniel Donahue will be the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
Former Major League all-star first baseman Bryan LaHair will become the 11th manager in Dragons history. LaHair will replace Jose Moreno, the Dragons skipper in 2021, who has been promoted within the Reds farm system to Double-A Chattanooga after leading the Dragons to the East Division Co-Championship in his only year with the team.
LaHair will join the Dragons for the first time in his fifth year in the Reds organization. He served as manager with the Reds affiliate in the Arizona Complex League in 2021 and was the manager at Billings in 2019. He had been slated to return to Billings as manager in 2020 before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. LaHair opened his coaching career as the Billings hitting coach in 2018. In his two previous seasons as a manager in the Reds system, LaHair has posted a record of 72-63 (.533).
LaHair played professionally for 14 seasons from 2003-14 and 2016-17, appearing in more than 1,000 games. He was primarily a first baseman but also saw considerable time as a corner outfielder. He played in 195 Major League games with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. In 2012, he appeared in the MLB All-Star Game as a Cubs representative. LaHair led all of Minor League Baseball in home runs in 2011 with 38 with the Iowa Cubs and was selected as the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player. He played one season in Japan in 2013.
LaHair, 39, is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts and was chosen as the 2000 Massachusetts High School Player of the Year. He was selected by the Mariners in the 39th round of the 2002 draft out of St. Petersburg College in Florida.
Three-time MLB all-star Juan Samuel (sahm-WELL) will join the Dragons as bench coach in 2022, his first season in the Reds organization. The 2022 season will be Samuel’s 40th year in professional baseball as a player or coach.
Samuel enjoyed a 16-year Major League playing career from 1983-98 and was selected to play in the MLB all-star game in 1984, ’87, and ’91. Primarily a second baseman who also saw extended time in center field, Samuel collected more than 1,500 big league hits during his time with the Phillies (1983-89), Mets (1989), Dodgers (1990-92), Royals (1992, ’95), Reds (1993), Tigers (1994-95), and Blue Jays (1996-98). Samuel opened his Major League career as part of the Phillies National League championship team in 1983 that featured former Reds greats Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, and Tony Perez. In 1984, while still holding rookie status, he set an MLB record for stolen bases by a rookie with 72 and finished second to Dwight Gooden in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. His best season came in 1987 when he blasted 28 home runs and drove in 100 runs while batting .272 to win the NL Silver Slugger award at second base. Samuel led the NL in triples two times and collected at least 10 for four consecutive seasons from 1984-87. He was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008 and was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in Phillies history in a book by Robert W. Cohen.
After his retirement as a player, Samuel served as a Major League coach for 18 years. He was part of the Detroit Tigers big league coaching staff for seven years from 1999-2005. He was the manager of the Mets Double-A club in Binghamton in 2006 before returning to the Majors as a coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 2007-10. He served as the manager of the Orioles on an interim basis in 2010. He was a Major League coach for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2011-17. He served as a coach with Monclova in the Mexican League in 2021.
Samuel, 61, was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He graduated from Licey High School in Puerto Rico.
Wapakoneta, Ohio native Brian Garman returns to the Dragons in 2022 as the club’s pitching coach after filling the same role in 2021. Garman served as a pitching coach in the Los Angeles Angels system for two seasons, working at Orem in 2019 and Inland Empire in 2018.
Garman, 33, pitched at Wapakoneta High School and the University of Cincinnati before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. He spent four years as a pitcher in the Brewers system, reaching the Double-A level in his final year in 2013.
Daryle Ward will return to the Dragons as hitting coach in 2022 after serving in the same position in Dayton in 2017-18 and 2021. He is in his seventh year in coaching in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He served as the hitting coach with the Reds affiliate in the Arizona League in 2016 and with the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2019. He had been slated to coach in Chattanooga in 2020 prior to the cancellation of the season.
Ward played professionally for 22 seasons from 1994-2015. He spent seven full seasons and parts of four others in the Major Leagues, primarily as a left fielder and first baseman. Ward played in 948 big league games with the Astros, Dodgers, Pirates, Nationals, Braves, and Cubs. His best season came in 2002 with Houston when he appeared in 136 games and batted .276 with 31 doubles, 12 home runs, and 72 runs batted in. He connected on a career-high 20 home runs in 2000 with the Astros. In the later stages of Ward’s Major League career, he emerged as one of the National League’s top pinch hitters. He led all of baseball in pinch hits and runs batted in as a pinch hitter in 2006 while finishing tied for first in pinch hit home runs. Ward played in 2,318 professional games before retiring at the age of 40 following the 2015 season.
Ward, 46, was originally signed by the Tigers as a 15th round draft pick in 1994 out of Rancho Santiago College in California. He is a native of the Los Angeles area and now makes his offseason home in Riverside, California. His father, Gary Ward, was a Major League All-Star selection with both the Twins and Rangers as part of a 12-year Major League playing career.
The Dragons 2022 Opening Night is set for Friday, April 8 against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at 7:05 p.m.
Notes: Two former Dragons coaches, Freddie Benavides and Delino DeShields, are currently members of the Reds Major League staff. The Dragons have had three coaches over the course of their history who are members of the Reds Hall of Fame as players: Chris Sabo, Ken Griffey Sr., and Tom Browning.