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Ann Arbor native Jordon Banfield succeeds Colin Kaline as Oakland baseball coach

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor native Jordon Banfield has been named Oakland University's new head coach for baseball.

The school made the announcement Friday, more than two months after Colin Kaline, the grandson of the late Tigers legend Al Kaline, stepped down suddenly with an unspecified health issue.

Oakland baseball coach Jordon Banfield

Banfield, 33, comes to Oakland after two seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Akron, where he oversaw infielders and team defense, and also helped coach the offense.

"From a very strong candidate pool, Jordon impressed with his vision for the baseball program, recruiting success at multiple institutions, and plans to engage Oakland University baseball alumni and the Michigan baseball community," Oakland athletic director Steve Waterfield said. "He appreciates Oakland University's remarkable institutional strengths and possesses an optimism that will propel the baseball program to sustained excellence."

Prior to Akron, Banfield spent a year as Arizona scouting director for Prep Baseball Report, and two seasons at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, also as recruiting coordinator. In his first season at Rio Grande Valley, the team committed a conference-best 52 errors. In his second season, the offense improved its home-run total by 15 from the year before.

In 2013-15, Banfield was at the University of Illinois-Springfield, also as recruiting coordinator.

Previously, he worked as a scout for the Texas Rangers, and also managed the Ann Arbor Travelers, one of the nation's elite travel programs. He led the team to back-to-back Connie Mack World Series appearances, and managed James Bourque, who made his major-league debut with the Washington Nationals in 2019.

Banfield graduated from Michigan, after he was an all-state player at Ann Arbor Greenhills.

"I want to thank Steve Waterfield," Banfield said in a statement. "Throughout the interview process it became clear that our vision for a first-class NCAA Division I baseball program and optimism for the future were closely aligned, and I am truly honored to be here.

"I have high expectations for Golden Grizzlies baseball moving forward and vow to do my absolute best to guide our players to success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

"I look forward to developing our program culture and building a tradition that Oakland University can be proud of."

Banfield will earn a salary of $62,368.

Oakland was 2-10 before this season was shut down, finishing with 10 consecutive losses in Kaline's first season as the sole head coach. Kaline and Jacke Healey were co-head coaches for three seasons, compiling a record of 43-109.

While the program has produced several MLB Draft picks, as well as undrafted Mike Brosseau, who burst onto the scene with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019, the program has had its struggles, particularly with infrastructure. Its ball field sits in a valley and floods easily, forcing Oakland to play a bigger road schedule.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984