“I couldn’t be more excited about coming to East Tennessee,” said new Smokies manager Pat Listach. “I enjoyed managing in Smokies Park last season with West Tennessee, as the playing field was fantastic. The crowd really gets into the game, and I am looking forward to meeting the Smokies fans this year. The team will play hard every day, and we will have an exciting team to watch this season.”
Pat Listach served as manager for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx of the Southern League during the 2006 season, where he compiled a record of 75-65 in his first full season as a Minor League manager. He began his coaching career in 2000 as the hitting coach for the single-A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League, and in the Arizona Fall League in 2001.
Listach served as the hitting coach for the AAA Iowa Cubs for five seasons from 2001-2005, with a brief stint as manager for Iowa in 2002, when Bruce Kimm was named interim manager of the Chicago Cubs. He began his professional baseball career in 1988 as a 5th round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers from Arizona State University.
Listach was named the 1992 American League Rookie of the Year, posting a .290 batting average along with 54 stolen bases in 149 games as a shortstop with the Brewers. He spent six full seasons in the majors with Milwaukee (1992-1996) and the Houston Astros (1997).
Dennis Lewallyn began his coaching career with the Diamondbacks as pitching coach for Lethbridge (Rookie-Advanced) in 1996. He then worked with South Bend (Low A) in 1997 and moved on to High Desert (High A) in 1998 before spending three seasons in El Paso (AA) from 1999-2001.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, Dennis spent 13 years as a pitching instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization. Dennis is a former 1st round draft pick and has appeared in the majors with the Dodgers, the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Indians.
Barbaro Garbey will begin his 2nd year in the Cubs organization as the Smokies hitting coach. Garbey served as the hitting coach for the single-A Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League in 2006, where the team batted .250 on the year. Barbaro has the unique distinction of being the first Cuban born player to defect to the United States. He spent three years in the majors with the Detroit Tigers (1984-1985) and the Texas Rangers (1988). Barbaro was named the Detroit Sports Broadcasters’ Association Tigers Rookie of the Year after hitting .287 in 110 games for the 1984 World Champion Tigers.
Matt Johnson will serve as the Smokies athletic trainer for the 2007 season. He served as the athletic trainer for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx during the 2006 season. This will be Matt’s sixth year in the Cubs organization.