Meet The 2024 Leesburg Lightning Staff

Meet The 2024 Leesburg Lightning Staff

A very experienced coaching staff leads the Leesburg Lightning into the 2024 season, following the team's 4th all-time league title last summer in 2023. Rich Billings is back at the helm as Head Coach for the Leesburg Lightning, with his father Rich Billings Sr. and Marc Colon back in returning roles with the team, while Ryan Dease jumps in for his first season with the Lightning. 

Off the field, the Leesburg Lightning will feature three new interns who will help lead the operations, including a handful of returning staff.

Last season, Leesburg found "Lightning in a Bottle" after a few early season games, finishing with a 21-12 record on the season. The Lightning went on to sweep the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs in the semi-finals before reaching the championship, taking Game 3 from the Winter Garden Squeeze in front of the hometown crowd.

The Coaching Staff

Rich Billings enters his 10th season in Leesburg, 13th overall in the FCSL, and comes off a season in which he clinched 2023 FCSL Coach of the Year honors for the 2nd time in his FCSL coaching career (2021). During the collegiate season, Billings is the head coach for the NJCAA Lake-Sumter State LakeHawks and has posted an all-time record of 209-144-1. Billings also played baseball for Lake-Sumter State from 2002–2003. Billings graduated and played baseball at Leesburg High School in 2001.

Rich Billings Sr. is back with his son for a 6th season, returning to his assistant coaching position. Billings Sr. also takes on a familiar role during the college season, working with his son, Rich Billings as an assistant for Lake-Sumter State.

"My dad has been with us for a handful of years now, and he loves it," said Billings. "He loves the kids and he loves the atmosphere. He loves putting on the uniform."

Marc Colon is the second of two assistants to return to Rich Billings staff, back for a 2nd season and looking to bring back another championship to Leesburg.

"He is just so much fun," said Head Coach Rich Billings. "He has a blast out there. He never gets too high. He never gets too low. He is just extremely consistent with his demeanor, and we need that. We need guys like that."
Amongst the familiar faces on the staff, new pitching coach Ryan Dease slots into the experienced coaching staff for Lightning. Drafted in the 4th round by the Texas Rangers in 2017 out of TNXL Academy, Dease brings to the group four years of pro baseball experience in the Texas Rangers Organization. Appearing in 24 games across three levels of pro baseball, Dease stepped away due to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), a condition caused by his rib and collarbone being too close together, which would have required the removal of the first rib. However, this has allowed Dease to kickstart his coaching career.

"I am really excited to learn some stuff from Ryan because I think he is going to bring a lot of really, really good info to our pitching staff, but to the rest of our coaches as well," said Billings. "I think it's as much a learning process for us as it is for the players. We learn from each other, and Ryan certainly will contribute there."

The Staff

Tyler Bradenburg returns to the Lightning, heading the ship as team president for the upcoming 2024 season, along with John "Stats" Meier, who serves as both a member of the Board and the team's official scorekeeper. Glenn Cowham also returns behind the mic, continuing his role as "The Voice of the Lightning" over PA. 

Team Trainer Diane Rey joins back for her 6th season, while Jacob Wittman returns for a second as one of two Team Ops interns for the season.

The three new additions to the team are Cailyn Henson, who attends FSU, entering in as the 2nd Team Ops. Intern; Ansley Gray, who attends the University of Auburn, joining as the team's Social Media Intern; and Dylan Spaulding will join as Comms. Intern, attending the University of South Florida.

Rich Billings, his staff and the Leesburg Lightning kick off the defense of their 2023 crown Thursday, opening on the road against the Sanford River Rats at Sanford Memorial Stadium. First Pitch is at 7 p.m. EST.

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