Head Coach Tony Hurla Returns to the Helm for the Cardinals 2020 Season
The Front Royal Cardinals are thrilled to announce that Head Coach Tony Hurla will return to lead the Redbirds in the 2020 season! Coach Hurla is excited to have the opportunity to build on last year's coaching experience, and believes the 2020 team has great depth. He has recruited players who will come to Front Royal with plenty of game experience at their respective colleges, and he believes this team will be ready to compete on opening day. Hurla was known last year for building a cohesive team spirit, and his organizational leadership, combined with the exciting talent he is bringing to Front Royal, is sure to provide a summer full of top-notch baseball.
Coach Hurla is currently in his second year as the Head Coach at Kansas Christian College, where he built a baseball program at the college for the first time in their history. The first year program will begin the season February 14th. The first home game in KCC baseball history will be March 3rd. As part of the program development, Coach Hurla forged a partnership with the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy, where the Falcons will host their home games. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to practice and play in what is not only the most state of the art facility in the Kansas City area, but also to partner with an organization that provides outstanding opportunity to the underserved youth in our area. Our missions align and to have a community partner that shares our values while also providing top notch playing conditions, fan experience, and game day atmosphere is truly a blessing," Head Baseball Coach Tony Hurla said.
Before joining the KCC Falcons, he was the Associate Head Coach and Sports Information Director at the University of Saint Mary for seven years. While there, he served in several roles including directing recruiting, and coaching hitters, baserunners, outfielders and catchers. Prior to coaching at Saint Mary, Hurla was a Graduate Assistant Baseball Coach at Ottawa University, where he was instrumental in leading the Braves to a 2010 KCAC Championship.
Coach Hurla has recruited/coached one NAIA All-American and 35 all-conference award winners, seven of which were first team. He has also coached nine players who earned gold glove awards.
As a player at Ottawa, Hurla was a starter on the 2006 KCAC Championship team and upon graduation, ranked in the top 10 in hits, at bats, doubles, triples, runs, runs batted in, walks and sacrifices. He was an All-Conference selection twice. He then played one season professionally in the Baseball Bundesliga for the Dohren Wild Farmers in Germany, where he served as a coach and player as well as teaching baseball to kids at local elementary schools. Hurla led the Wild Farmers to their first berth in the top German League in program history and the junior team won the German National Championship.
Coach Hurla is from Kansas City. He is married to Anne Hurla and has one son, Anthony.
Joining Coach Hurla this season are assistant coaches Matt Swiderski and Niko Jenkins.
Following Daytona, Swiderski went on to play at Coker College, an NCAA Division II program where he batted .303 with a .400 on base percentage while playing the outfield. He graduated from Coker with a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Sports Management. He is currently working toward his Masters Degree in College Athletic Administration.
Matt Swiderski starts his first year at Daytona State College as a coach after playing in the program from 2015 to 2017. A native of Port St. Lucie Florida, Swiderski graduated from Port St. Lucie High School where he played baseball for the Jaguars.
Swiderski served as the Falcons everyday first baseman as well as spending time patrolling the outfield. He hit .343 with a .463 on base percentage his freshman year and was selected to play in the JUCO All Star Game. Swiderski helped lead the Falcons to the regional playoffs his sophomore season while posting a .992 fielding percentage.
Swiderski was named to the Presidents List once and Deans List three times during his two years at Daytona. He was also awarded the Who's Who of American College Students Award.
Niko Jenkins played for the LaSalle Explorers as a RHP. In 2019, he earned a place on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. He was second on the team with 19 appearances out of the bullpen as a junior. Jenkins had 19 strikeouts over 25.2 innings, and was fourth on team with 1.47 WHIP. Some of his highlights include stricking out two over a scoreless inning in win over Albany (3/2); went six consecutive appearances without giving up a run (3/12-4/10); gave up no earned runs over three innings in win over Saint Peter’s (4/23); gave up just one run and struck out three over 3.1 innings against UMass (4/27); notched season highs in innings pitched (3.2) and strikeouts (4) against Dayton (5/3). In 2018, he played for the Charlottesville Tom Sox in the VBL.