Just six days before the start of their 2021 Northwoods League season, the Waterloo Bucks have announced a change in field managers.

Ryan Gaynor will be guiding the club this summer, following the late resignation of Casey Harms. In early March, team officials announced that Harms would be returning to Waterloo for a third season after managing the Bucks to a pair of championships each of the previous two seasons. Since the announcement, Harms has accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

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“The entire Waterloo Bucks organization is thrilled for Casey and his new opportunity in professional baseball,” Bucks General Manager Dan Corbin said. “During the interview process to find Casey’s replacement, Ryan easily stood out as the top candidate. His experience in collegiate, professional, and summer-collegiate baseball brings me confidence in his abilities, and his management and communication skills excite us about his future here in Waterloo.”

Gaynor, currently the pitching coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, is coming to Waterloo with Northwoods League experience. He spent last summer serving as pitching coach for the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders.

A Chicago native, Gaynor started his baseball career as an operations assistant for the University of California in 2013. He moved on to professional baseball in 2014 and was part of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Player Development Department, assigned to the organization's Triple-A club in Nashville. Gaynor’s pro ball career continued with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015, working four of his five seasons there as the Player Development Coordinator of Minor League Video.

In 2019, Gaynor moved back to collegiate baseball, crossing paths with Harms at Santa Barbara City College as the team’s Volunteer Assistant Coach. Gaynor was named the pitching coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff prior to the 2020 season.

Gaynor graduated from Arizona State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

"I am beyond excited to join the Waterloo organization,” Gaynor said in a press release announcing his hiring. “Everyone has welcomed me with open arms, and I cannot wait to be involved in the community, with the fans, and the host families. Baseball in the Midwest means everything to families, and I am eager to continue what Casey and the organization have been building."

With his hiring, Gaynor becomes the 12th manager in Bucks' history. Harms was hired by the Pirates to be a hitting coach for the organization's Gulf Coast League team in Florida.

Harms leaves Waterloo with an overall record of 62-48. His .563 winning percentage ranks fifth among the team's managers, while the 62 victories are the sixth-most by any manager in franchise history. The California native navigated the Bucks through the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, winning the Northwoods League Minnesota-Iowa Region Championship with a record of 28-13. Harms led Waterloo to the Great Plains East Subdivision First Half Championship in 2019 and a berth in the NWL playoffs.

“My wife and I are so thankful for the memories made these past two summers in the Cedar Valley,” Harms said. “Although the winning was certainly fun, we are most appreciative of the loyal fans, host families, and players who made our experience in Waterloo so memorable. Lastly, I want to thank Dan Corbin and the entire Bucks organization for all of their tireless work and support. We will miss being at Riverfront Stadium this summer but look forward to cheering on the Bucks from afar. Go Bucks!”

The Bucks open their 27th summer campaign Monday night, when they play the first of three consecutive games on the road. Waterloo begins the season with a two-game series at Duluth before playing a single game at Rochester on June 2. Waterloo's home opener is scheduled for June 3 against Rochester at Riverfront Stadium.

Casey Harms / Courtesy: Waterloo Bucks
Source: Waterloo Bucks

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