All four 2022 coaches and athletic trainer returning to Danville for 2023 season
With MLB Opening Day in the rear-view mirror, the Otterbots have kicked preparation for the 2023 Appalachian League season into hyperdrive. Today the club announced the return of all five members of the 2022 on-field coaching staff, led by third year manager Desi Relaford. Joining Relaford in their third seasons
With MLB Opening Day in the rear-view mirror, the Otterbots have kicked preparation for the 2023 Appalachian League season into hyperdrive. Today the club announced the return of all five members of the 2022 on-field coaching staff, led by third year manager Desi Relaford.
Joining Relaford in their third seasons with the Otterbots are pitching coach Clyde Keller, hitting coach Ed Fulton, and athletic trainer Angela McNeely. Returning for his second season with the club is bench coach Torrey Pettiford. This Otterbots coaching staff has developed talent that is currently represented in the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees organizations.
Desi Relaford – Manager
Relaford began his coaching career in 2018 as the bench coach for the Daytona Tortugas, Advanced-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, where he helped guide the team to a 69-66 overall record and a Florida State League Championship Series berth. In his first two seasons at the helm in Danville, Relaford and the Otterbots produced five Appalachian League All-Stars, one All-Appalachian League player, two MLB Draft picks, and three MLB free agent signings.
Prior to the start of his coaching career, Relaford was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 4th round of the 1991 MLB Amateur Draft. His 11 seasons were spent with seven different Major League Baseball teams, including five years with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Throughout his career, Relaford hit .243 with 308 RBI and finished the 2001 season with a career-best .302 average, along with eight home runs and 36 RBI for the Mets. Though he excelled at the plate, Relaford was known for his versatility in the field. He played every defensive position except first base and catcher and accumulated a career .960 fielding percentage. In 2001 he pitched a three up, three down inning with one strikeout, and his career 0.00 ERA is tied for an all-time MLB record.
Clyde Keller – Pitching Coach
With a background of success in both amateur and professional baseball, Clyde Keller returns to Danville as pitching coach for the Otterbots. Previously, he served as the pitching coach at Florida State in 2019 after three seasons as the volunteer assistant for the Seminoles. He also coached in the collegiate ranks form 1997-2000 as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Western Kentucky.
Keller then moved to the professional level as the pitching coach for the Single-A Auburn Doubledays in the Toronto Blue Jays organization for the 2001 campaign. His coaching career began in 1994 when he became the head coach at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. In four years at the helm he made three trips to the regionals and one appearance in the state championship. He later returned to the school as its pitching coach from 2011-14.
The Fair Oaks, Calif., native was a two-way player for FSU from 1988-89, earning All-Metro Conference first team honors both seasons. He was also a participant in the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis as a member of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Selected in the 32nd round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, Keller spent five years in the minor leagues and was twice named the runner-up for the Rolaids Minor League Reliever of the Year Award (1991, 1992).
Keller is now the Owner of The Throwing Club, a velocity development center for pitchers in Tampa, FL.
Ed Fulton – Hitting Coach
Fulton, Danville native and longtime head coach at nearby Averett University, will resume his responsibilities as hitting coach for the 2023 Otterbots season. In 21 seasons at the helm of the Averett program, Fulton won 404 games, claimed the 2003 USA South Conference championship, and had three players chosen in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Before joining the Cougars coaching staff in 1997, he played nine seasons of Minor League Baseball, including one year in the Appalachian League with Johnson City and six at the Triple-A level. Fulton was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 16th round of the 1987 draft out of Florida State where he helped the Seminoles win 230 games and advance to the College World Series twice during his collegiate career.
As a member of the 1986 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, Fulton hit .351 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 39 games.
Fulton is married to his wife, Christie. They have three children: Justin, Kenna, and Camden.
Torrey Pettiford – Bench Coach
Pettiford returns to Danville for his second season as the Otterbots bench coach.
Prior to his time in Danville, Pettiford spent seven years as an Associate Scout for the Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Royals, and Baltimore Orioles. Pettiford is well known and respected for his eye for talent, and ability to develop players. Prior to his coaching career, Pettiford was drafted out of UNC-Pembroke in the 13th round of the MLB Amateur Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cedar Grove, NC native spent the majority of his rookie season with the Martinsville Phillies of the Appalachian League, and was later selected to the 1996 South Atlantic League (SAL) All Star Game.
Angela McNeely – Athletic Trainer
McNeely, returning for her third season as the Otterbots athletic trainer, is currently an Adjunct Professor at Liberty University teaching athletic training classes. Born and raised in Danville, VA, McNeely earned Bachelors degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology, and a Masters of Science in Athletic Training, from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.
From 2014-17 McNeely worked as the Assistant Athletic Trainer at Averett University, where she then taught in the Athletic Training and Sports Medicine programs from 2017-2022. McNeely is currently pursuing a PhD in Exercise and Sport Science though Liberty University, and working as an Outreach Athletic Trainer for Brookville Middle School in Campbell County.
Season tickets, corporate partnership opportunities, and group outings are currently available for the 2023 season. For more information, email [email protected] or call the front office at 434-554-4487. Appalachian League Opening Night will be hosted in Danville, as the Burlington Sock Puppets visit the Otterbots on Tuesday, June 6th.