Schaefer hired to manage Rebels

George Schaefer. Photo by Melissa T. Dodge

When George Schaefer was looking for an opportunity to coach a summer league team, the New Market Rebels caught his eye for several reasons.

Schaefer was aware of the Rebels, who play in the Valley Baseball League, because he had a few college teammates who had played for them. He also liked the idea of being able to coach in his home state.

Schaefer, a Norfolk native, was recently hired to replace C.J. Rhodes as the Rebels’ next manager and he said he’s very excited for the opportunity.

“Being from Virginia, I knew it would be nice to be able to come back and coach in my home state,” Schaefer said in a phone interview on Monday. “I also was aware of the great reputation of the organization and the community and the summer league.”

Bruce Alger, President and General Manager of the Rebels, said that they knew Rhodes would only be there for two years, so it was no surprise that he wasn’t returning this season. Alger said that they received around three dozen applicants and narrowed them down to four.

He said that Schaefer stood out among the applicants.

“We were immediately very impressed with him,” Alger said. “He has a lot of enthusiasm and he’s very intelligent. He really knows the game. We’re very excited to have him.”

Schaefer played at Charleston Southern University from 2009-2013. He was a pitcher and a co-captain in his senior year.

Last season Schaefer completed his Masters degree while serving as the Director of Baseball Operations at Lehigh University.

This season he is an assistant coach at Iona College, which is located in New Rochelle, New York.

Last summer Schaefer was the manager of the Geneva Red Wings of the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Schaefer led the Red Wings to a 32-19 record and the Eastern Division regular season championship.

“That was my first head coaching job and it was definitely a learning experience. They were a great group of guys,” Schaefer said. “They played together as a team. They were just a great group of guys to work with. If you recruit high-caliber players, it makes the job a lot easier.”

Schaefer said one of the most important things for him is that the players have fun and to try and have a relaxed atmosphere. He said that he believes if the players can relax, that will lead to success.

One thing that might help create a family and relaxed atmosphere will be the coaching staff with Schaefer.

Schaefer hired two of his best friends, J.J. Reilly and Nick Chinners, to help him coach the Rebels. Reilly was a student assistant and a volunteer assistant coach at Charleston Southern University when Schaefer played there. Chinners was a teammate of Schaefer’s at Charleston Southern, and is the program’s all-time hits leader.

“They’re two of my best friends. I’m looking forward not only to working with them, but also getting a chance to spend the summer with them in New Market,” Schaefer said.

Reilly and Chinners are currently both assistant coaches at Blythewood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina. Schaefer said that they will coach the hitters, while he works with the pitchers.

The Rebels already have much of their roster filled out with players from all over Division I and Division II schools. They have players from schools such as University of Pittsburgh and Auburn University and Francis Marion University, a top D-2 school.

Schaefer said he is trying to get players that can play more than one position. He likes to use different lineups each night, and have players play multiple positions throughout the week.

“We want guys that are versatile and can move around,” Schaefer said. “Even if they have nights off we will able to continue to work out with them and develop them, and hone them on their craft. Our goal is to get a victory every night and to try to bring some excitement to the field every night for the community of New Market. We want try to win for them. I think we have a roster that will allow us to do that.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com