Rockers introduce Krepline as new field manager
By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – The Green Bay Rockers recently announced the hiring of Chris Krepline as the new field manager.
Krepline, who takes over for Tristan Toorie, currently serves as the head baseball coach at Lawrence University in Appleton, where he has led the program since 2018.
“I’m ecstatic and thankful for the opportunity,” Krepline said. “Being from the area and understanding the passion for baseball around here, I’m excited to get going and hopefully bring us a championship next summer.”
Krepline is no stranger to the Northwoods League.
He joins the Rockers after spending last summer as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Mud Puppies, an expansion team that played in the Great Plains Division following Thunder Bay’s pause due to border travel with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Krepline also served as an assistant coach for the Green Bay Bullfrogs during the 2013 season and was a pitcher for the team in 2007 during its inaugural season.
“Even when the team was named the Booyah, I was still a Bullfrogs guy,” Krepline laughed. “I still have my T-shirt from 2007 because we were first-half champs. I also still have my batting practice top and hat. It was a great summer.”
During that 2007 season, Krepline was signed to a temporary contract but earned a full contract and played the whole summer in Green Bay.
“I pitched three times in one week when I got there,” Krepline said. “That was enough to earn me a full-time contract.”
With Krepline being the fourth new manager for the franchise in the last five seasons, he said he’s not worried about turnover.
“Like it is for the players, it’s a grind for the managers,” Krepline said. “Playing 72 games in 74 days is not easy. Most managers are in the League for two to six years, so it doesn’t surprise me there’s been some turnover here. Many of the managers have other duties in their lives.”
Krepline, a Reedsville native now residing in Appleton with his wife Bri with their two children, Boe and Sadie, said living in the area is a huge advantage.
“The recent managers were not from around the area,” he said. “That’s a huge benefit for me. Being with a team all summer is hard on your family when you live away from home, so me being within 30 minutes from Appleton, I can still be with my family during a homestand. The convenience is nice for me. When I was looking for a coaching job (next summer), I was mindful of wanting to stay close to home.”
Rockers Vice President/General Manager John Fanta said he’s happy to have Krepline.
“We’re excited to have a guy like Chris leading the way from the dugout as we enter this new era of Rockers baseball,” Fanta said in a statement. “With his experience as an assistant coach and player in the Northwoods League, coupled with running his successful program at Lawrence, we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him into the fold.”
Last spring, Krepline oversaw a Lawrence program that finished the season with the third-highest win total in school history.
Before being selected to lead the program, he also spent time as an assistant coach for the Vikings (2013-15), working closely with pitchers, catchers and infielders.
In between his two stints at Lawrence, Krepline served as an assistant coach at St. Norbert College, where he worked with the pitching staff for four seasons (2015-18).
During that time, he coached six All-Midwest Conference and four All-Central Region pitchers.
St. Norbert also had the Midwest Conference North Division Pitcher of the Year in three separate seasons he was there.
With Krepline on the staff, St. Norbert won three Midwest Conference North Division titles, a Midwest Conference championship and played in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament.
With Krepline coaching at Lawrence and his familiarity with the local talent, he said he’s hoping to get as many local players as possible.
“I have a strong record of recruiting in the area,” he said. “I have that knowledge of kids I’ve recruited or who I’ve kept in contact with.”
In addition to his new gig with the Rockers, Krepline said he will continue his coaching duties at Lawrence.
“Our conference tournament (at Lawrence) is the second week of May, and then regionals are after that,” he said. “Our first Rockers’ game will be at the end of May, so it’s all good.”
Before starting his coaching career, Krepline played professional baseball for two years with stints on the Lake County Fielders, Macon Pinetoppers, Saskatchewan Silver Sox and Rockford River Hawks.
Krepline is a 2009 graduate of Carthage College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science.
He earned a master’s degree in applied exercise science from Concordia University Chicago in 2015.
He is also strength and conditioning certified as a performance enhancement specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.