PRESS RELEASE – The Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, announced today the promotion of Chuck Johnson to the position of General Manager. The Stevens Baseball Group (SBG), the parent company to the 51s, has also announced their intention to seek a new buyer for the franchise and Don Logan will remain with the franchise as Executive Director.
Johnson, who was originally hired as an Account Executive with the Stars (51s) and Thunder (IHL) in 1995, will be responsible for all day-to-day operations. The Carson City High School (1987) and University of Nevada graduate (1992) was also the Director of Corporate Sponsorships and Director of Communications for the baseball team until 2001. He was also employed with R&R Partners working with their client, Professional Bull Riders, concentrating on sponsorship and athlete representation. In 2003, he then assisted the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena Football League (AFL) with their sponsorship sales. He returned to the 51s organization in 2004 as the Director of Marketing and was promoted to Assistant General Manager/Vice President of Marketing in 2006.
“I’m very happy that Chuck will take on the day-to-day operations,” Logan said. “I have the utmost confidence in Chuck and I know he will do a fantastic job. He has earned this opportunity through his tireless efforts on behalf of our franchise.”
Johnson will continue to lead the Las Vegas franchise tradition of community involvement and corporate citizenship. He is a member of the Las Vegas Executive Association, Vice President of Membership of the Las Vegas Chapter of the American Marketing Association and sits on the Executive Board of Directors for The First Tee of Southern Nevada. Chuck and his wife, Andrea, have been married for nine years.
“It’s extremely flattering that Don Logan, Stevens Baseball Group and the Pacific Coast League have chosen me to be the GM,” Johnson said. “There is a daunting amount of responsibility managing the longest running professional sports franchise in Las Vegas and I’m excited for the challenge. Las Vegas is my home and the staff at the 51s is like family and I look forward to continuing with our goals of providing quality professional baseball and entertainment to our season ticket holders, sponsors, fans and to the entire Las Vegas community.”
Johnson becomes just the third General Manager in the 28-year franchise history joining Larry Koentopp (1983-90) and Logan (1991-2010).
The Stevens Family members who own shares in SBG have decided to concentrate their investments in opportunities more closely aligned with their other long-term goals in the Las Vegas area as well as other locations within Nevada. SBG and other Stevens’ family entities will continue to seek development opportunities and fully support any projects for a new stadium and outdoor event venue in the Las Vegas Valley among other operational and real estate developments.
“We are bittersweet about our decision to sell the franchise after just three seasons at the helm (2008-10),” SBG’s Manager Drew Dondero said. “However, we find it necessary to seek new investors in the 51s franchise to allow us to reach our goals, and to allow the franchise to continue to grow and flourish in Las Vegas.
“The 51s will be better served with an ownership group more directly suited to meet the requirements and regulations set forth by the Pacific Coast League. We are very optimistic of the continued success of the franchise under Chuck Johnson’s leadership. Chuck and the rest of the 51s staff have our full support as we look forward to the 2011 season.”
Logan, who will enter his 28th season with the franchise, will work on securing new ownership for the club and will assist Johnson and the current staff in maintaining the many solid relationships with sponsors, season ticket holders, community and business leaders that have all played a vital role with the Las Vegas franchise in achieving the success it has enjoyed for nearly three decades. He will also concentrate his efforts on a new state-of-the-art Triple-A stadium for the baseball fans of Southern Nevada.
The two-time PCL Executive of the Year will continue as PCL Vice President, under President Branch Rickey III, and as Chairman of the PCL Executive Committee.
“After 20 years as General Manager, I feel this is the right time to make this move and Chuck is the right person to assume the GM duties.” Logan said.
The current 51s front office staff will all return for the 2011 season.
The 51s open their 29th season in the Silver State on Thursday, April 7 against the Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, at Fresno, Calif. Las Vegas’ home opener is Friday, April 15 against Fresno at 7:05 p.m. at Cashman Field.
Season tickets and mini-plan packages (10, 20, 33-game plans) are available by calling the 51s office at (702) 798-7825.