BOISE, Idaho — Treasure Valley baseball icon Gary Van Tol is coming home to coach once again.
Van Tol will be named the manager of the Boise Hawks and take on a full-time role within the organization, according to sources.
The former head coach of the short-lived Boise State baseball program will now be the face of a professional organization experiencing a major shift in its own approach.
This past offseason, Major League Baseball completely restructured their minor league system, eliminating 40 of the 160 teams that previously existed. On Dec. 9, the Hawks found out that they were one of the casualties. They lost their affiliation with the Colorado Rockies and Northwest League.
The Hawks quickly announced their partnership with the Pioneer League and committed to playing independent professional baseball. Without an MLB affiliation, this means the Hawks will be responsible for filling out their own roster and playing their players.
"The level of baseball our fans can expect in many ways will be significantly better than what we have been accustomed to in the Northwest League," said Hawks General Manager Mike Van Hise at the time of the announcement. "Scouting and development of our players and coaches will be our responsibility, and with that an emphasis on winning."
It wasn't that long ago that Van Tol was tasked with building a college baseball roster completely from scratch. On Nov. 28, 2017, Van Tol surrendered his career as a minor league baseball coach to accept the head coaching position for an up-start program at Boise State. Months early the university committed to reinstating its baseball team after a 37-year hiatus.
In the two years that followed, Van Tol assembled a team that was immediately successful. The Broncos posted a 9-5 record before their season was canceled due to COVID-19. Their last game was a 12-9 victory over Niagara at Memorial Stadium on Mar. 11. Little did they know it would be their final game in program history.
On the morning of July 2, then-Boise State director of athletics Curt Apsey announced the university's decision to discontinue the baseball program after just 14 games, citing financial issues stemming from the pandemic.
Van Tol responded by fundraising approximately $1 million in the two weeks that followed, however, his efforts were denied.
This will be Van Tol's second stint with the Hawks. He was an assistant coach with Boise from 2009-12, then took over as manager from 2013-14. When the Chicago Cubs moved their Northwest League affiliate to Eugene in 2015, Van Tol moved too. He stayed on staff with the Eugene Emeralds until 2017, when an upstart collegiate program at Boise State was beginning.
Van Tol has 30 years of coaching experience, 22 at the collegiate level and eight in the professional ranks. On top of that, he has offered his time and expertise to the local youth baseball scene as the owner and president of the Idaho Cubs, a developmental program for kids in Idaho.
The Hawks will play a 92-game schedule this season, 16 more than they did as members of the Northwest League. They aim to start play around Memorial Day.
2021-Current Boise Hawks (Manager)
2017-20 Boise State Baseball (Head Coach)
2016-17 Eugene Emeralds (Assistant Coach)
2015 Eugene Emeralds (Manager)
2013-14 Boise Hawks (Manager)
2009-12 Boise Hawks (Assistant Coach)
2005-08 Gonzaga University (Assistant Coach)
2002-05 University of Portland (Assistant Coach)
1996-01 Treasure Valley Community College (Head Coach)
1995-96 Treasure Valley Community College (Associate Head Coach)
1994-95 Centralia College (Head Coach)
1991-93 Gonzaga University (Assistant Coach)