The German Baseball-Bundesliga club SOLINGEN ALLIGATORS introduced their new head coach for the 2009 season. The American Andy Fleischacker signs a two-year contract with the 2008 northern conference champion. He succeeds Craig Spilker, who returned to the United States due to family reasons.
The 38-year-old Fleischacker is well known in Europe, as he collected experience as a player/coach all over Europe, including stops in Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. In 1998 he was the head coach of the COLOGNE CARDINALS in the 2nd Baseball-Bundesliga (second division in Germany). He moved back to the United States to work with MINNESOTA TWINS pitcher Boof Bonser as pitching coach at the Gibbs High School.
In 2000 he came back to Europe, joining the ZURICH CHALLENGERS for his first stint. He won two Swiss Championships till 2002. He again went back to his home country to coach at the Greensboro College for five years. In 2007 and 2008 he returned to the CHALLENGERS, winning the Swiss Cup in 2007. He is currently working as an assistant coach at the Lake Erie College in Painsville, Ohio.
According to the press release, Fleischacker was already interested to take over in Solingen two years ago, but the team signed Zeke Mitchem due to his connection to the German Baseball and Softball Federation. The ALLIGATORS aimed to find a coach for at least two years and Fleischacker agreed right away. He will arrive in Germany in mid-January to start his job.
SOLINGEN was ranked in first place in the north after the regular season thanks to a dominating 27-1 record. In the playoffs they were able to eliminate the 2007 champion MAINZ ATHLETICS, but were stopped in the semis by the new champion BUCHBINDER LEGIONAERE REGENSBURG. They are currently looking for two American players for the 2009 season. They also might need to replace their two top starters Enorbel Marquez-Ramirez and Andre Hughes, as both gather interest among European clubs.