Gary Hatch has informed the Bellingham Bells baseball team that he will not return to manage the West Coast League club in 2014 so that he can spend more time with his family and pursue other personal interests during the summer, according to a press release from the team on Tuesday, Sept. 3
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my relationship with team owners, Kim and Eddie Poplawski, general manager Nick Caples and his outstanding crew, the incredible coaching staff, including Jim Clem, Bill Calkins, Jacob Clem, Damon Lessler and Gabe Memmert," Hatch said in the release. "And what a great job Ryder Cunningham and Dane Siegfried have done along with the super supportive sponsors we have had come on board."
Clem and Calkins will continue to coach the team and work with the Bells front office during the offseason to recruit and assemble the Bells' roster for 2014, according to the release.
During Hatch's three seasons leading the Bells, Bellingham compiled an 80-81 record and advanced to the WCL playoffs for the first time in 2012 after posting a 32-22 record. The team missed advancing to the playoffs for a second straight year by 2½ games this summer with its 27-27 record.
Last month, the team honored him by distributing commemorative bobble heads in his likeness.
Hatch has been a teacher and baseball coach at Sehome High School for 40 years, leading the Mariners to 519 wins and three state championships.
"Gary is a true icon in Bellingham and our organization has been extremely blessed to have locked arms with him for the past three years," Bells owner Eddie Poplawski said in the press release. "Gary has helped us build the Bells into a premier franchise in the West Coast League and, more importantly, he has inspired all of us to continue to chase our dreams on and off the field. While we will miss seeing Gary in a Bells' uniform, he will always be part of our team. It is a privilege to call Gary a great friend."