PRESS RELEASE – The Fresno Grizzlies today announced that Derek Franks has been named General Manager. General Managing Partner and Team President Chris Cummings made the announcement at an afternoon press conference at Chukchansi Park.
“Derek has proven himself as a connector whose relationships in baseball and the Central Valley appear to have no end,” stated Chris Cummings. “His strategic decisions over the last 10 months as Executive Vice President have been instrumental in directing the success of this organization. He is truly a Farm Grown leader that’s well suited to make the day-to-day decisions now and into the future.”
Franks, 30, began his tenure with the Grizzlies back in 2004 as an intern and progressed through the sales ranks, and eventually became promoted to Executive Vice President in March 2014. Born in Avenal, he attended Kingsburg High School and graduated from Fresno State in 2006. Under his leadership as Executive Vice President this past season, the Grizzlies set a single-season merchandise revenue record, and earned the highest grossing single-game ticket and corporate sales marks since 2008.
“Derek has shown a strong commitment to our community and I look forward to working together with him and the entire Grizzlies organization to help make downtown Fresno a great place to live, work, and play,” stated Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
Over the last six months, Franks has led the organization through the welcoming of a new affiliation, the enactment of new sales methods, establishment of new corporate partnerships, the branding of a Fresno-first marketing strategy, and last week revealed one of the most progressive promotional calendars in all of sports.
“Derek’s title as General Manager may be new but his talent and qualifications have been known around the league for several years,” stated Branch Rickey, President of the Pacific Coast League. “He is respected for his ability and is uncommonly successful in baseball matters because of his winning approach in dealing with his peers. The PCL is pleased to see him promoted to this new role.”
Franks and his wife, Sarah, have an 18-month old daughter: Joni.
In his first personnel move as General Manager, Franks has promoted Jerry James to Assistant General Manager. A native of Fresno, James is entering his seventh season with the organization and most recently served as Vice President of Revenue and Executive Director of the Grizzlies Community Fund. During his time with the organization, he has created many aspects of the company’s business development approach, focusing on corporate partnerships and community alliances. Prior to joining the Grizzlies, James served as the Planning Director for nearby Madera County. James attended Hoover High School and is a 1985 graduate of Fresno State.