MYRTLE BEACH — Andy Milovich has been loyal to the Alan Levin ownership group and its Palisades Baseball company for 19 seasons.
So only an opportunity that Milovich considered extraordinary was going to draw him away from his position as executive vice president of Palisades Baseball, which owns and operates the Class-A West Virginia Power, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates located in Charleston, W.Va.
A chance to become vice president and general manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans is that opportunity.
The Pelicans, the Class-A Advanced Carolina League affiliate of the Texas Rangers, and chairman and managing partner Chuck Greenberg announced Milovich’s hiring Saturday.
“The combination of the community, the ballpark, the location, Chuck Greenberg and the Greenberg Sports Group – the combination was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Milovich said by phone Saturday.
The 43-year old Milovich had stints as the top executive of the Erie (Pa.) SeaWolves from 1997-98, the Mahoning Valley (Ohio) Scrappers from 1999-2004, and the Power since 2005. He will begin his Pelicans tenure in mid-January.
Milovich’s career highlights include being named the 1997 Sporting News Minor League Executive of the Year and 2000 New York-Penn League Executive of the Year, and his 1999 Mahoning Valley club was awarded the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy for overall franchise excellence in Minor League Baseball.
Milovich also has been instrumental in launching new ballparks in Erie (1994), Mahoning Valley (1999) and West Virginia (2005). He started with Palisades Baseball through an internship in 1994.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to leave, but by far this was the most compelling combination and the most complete package,” Milovich said.
Milovich replaces Scott Brown, who left the Pelicans earlier this month after three years to accept the GM position with the Triple-A Charlotte (N.C.) Knights of the International League, a team that will open a new downtown stadium in 2014.
Greenberg was well aware of Milovich’s exploits; he just didn’t believe he was available until a recent conversation.
“We were very aggressive in pursuing him and we’re excited he has decided to bring his family to the Grand Strand,” Greenberg said. “Andy has been one of the most respected operators for a long time and done a great job in multiple locations. For him to come here and follow up the great job Scotty did, we feel lucky like we just hit the lottery.”
A native of South Bend, Ind., Milovich holds degrees in both Business Administration and Sports Management from Valparaiso University in Indiana and a Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of Georgia. He was a four-year letter winner for the Valparaiso baseball program.
Milovich got his start in professional baseball while in college, spending the 1990 season as an intern with the South Bend White Sox in the Midwest League. He also worked for teams in Tucson, Ariz., and Madison, Wis., before joining Palisades Baseball in ’94.
Milovich has been friends with Brown and former Pelicans executives North Johnson and Todd Parnell for several years, so he has been familiar with the Pelicans franchise. He visited Myrtle Beach in September 2011 for the first time since childhood for the Minor League Baseball Promotional Seminar and also attended a wedding here this past spring.
He toured the area with his wife of five years, Cher, two weeks ago. He and Cher, a personal trainer who has competed nationally in fitness competitions, have daughters ages 2 and 3.
“I’ve visited as a tourist in the past, but I haven’t known the community outside of the beach aspect of it,” Milovich said. “We came away [two weeks ago] with such a positive feeling we would love to raise our two little girls there.”
The Pelicans plan to formally introduce their new GM at a press conference the week of Jan. 7.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 843-626-0284.