After two seasons as General Manager of the Alexandria Aces, Lou Nolan is stepping down from the position. Recently named the Maryland State Association of Baseball Coaches Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League Executive of the Year for 2016, Nolan is departing due to his inability to commit the time necessary to support the slate of twenty regular season home games at Frank Mann Field during the Aces upcoming 10th Season in the league. Nolan summed up his reason for resigning. “I anticipate being out of the local area for at least 10 days this June for my fulltime job. Plus driving down from the Fort Meade area of Maryland was making for extremely long work days. The distance isn’t far, but if I didn’t leave work prior to 3PM, I would be excessively delayed in rush hour traffic. On most evenings, I would get home around 11:30PM, and if we had another home game the next evening, was then spending an hour or two prepping for that event. For two months my family really didn’t see me!”
Of course, Nolan also spoke highly of his experience with the Aces. “A fan of the league, I very unexpectedly received an opportunity to assist Coach David DeSilva after the end of the 2014 campaign. After doing a lot of the preparatory work for the 2015 season, I was named General Manager. One week prior to the start of the season, we came up with a plan to run the concession stand after the expected concessionaire cancelled their support. Through this and other challenges, we collectively worked towards enhancing the ‘Aces Experience’ for the players, the game day staff, fans, host families and sponsors. Last season was particularly rewarding as Coach recruited a great mix of players and I assembled an incredibly talented game day staff, ranging from high school and college interns to adults looking to support baseball in the local community. The team made the playoffs, our attendance increased 15%, and we routinely received positive feedback from opposing coaches, our fans and the parents of the players for the game day atmosphere at Frank Mann Field.”
Nolan reflected on some of the more memorable moments during his tenure as GM. “Any night you had a kid’s group in attendance, whether little leaguers or scouts, was special. Watching them interact with the players before the game and then join them on the field for the National Anthem highlighted everything good about the game. Then there were the two young sisters who belted out a flawless National Anthem and energized the crowd. On the field of play, the 2015 miracle comeback against the Big Train after Coach was ejected for arguing a call, and winning this past season on a base loaded hit by pitch. Finally, the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie during a post game players meal of catered baked ziti.”
So what did GM Lou Nolan learn are the keys to the Aces success? “The unsung foundation of the team is the amazing group of host families that open their doors every summer to players they have never met. This permits Coach to recruit players from top-notch programs throughout the country and has even allowed us to bring in a broadcaster from outside the local area for each of the last two seasons. In addition, make each game, regardless of outcome on the field, special for all in attendance and all following the game on the internet or via social media. Our efforts do make a positive difference!”
At this time, the Aces have yet to name Nolan’s replacement. The Aces 2017 season starts on the road on June 5th against the Bethesda Big Train. Come on out to Shirley Povich Field and support your Alexandria Aces!