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FIU Promotes Frank Damas; Adds Two to Staff

MIAMI – FIU baseball Head Coach Turtle Thomas announced the promotion of Frank Damas to recruiting coordinator and the hiring of Alan Burr as Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for and Tommy Kanaganis as Director of Baseball and Softball Operations.

Damas, entering his fourth season at FIU, works with the outfielders and assists Thomas with hitting. Under his tutelage, the Panthers set Sun Belt Tournament records in 2010 for hits, runs scored and batting average for the entire championship, en route to a berth to the NCAA Tournament. In 2011, FIU reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time since 2002. Damas overseas an outfield anchored by senior centerfielder Pablo Bermudez who committed just one error during the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined, as well as freshman All-American and Cape Cod League All-Star, Jabari Henry. Damas helped mentor former FIU and current St. Louis Cardinals infielder Garrett Wittels who improved his batting average a whopping .166 points from .246 his freshman year to .412 as a sophomore. Wittels gained notoriety his sophomore season for hitting in an incredible 56-straight games, the second-longest hitting streak in Division I baseball history behind former Major Leaguer Robin Ventura, who hit safely in 58-straight games in 1988.

Damas is part of a recruiting staff that saw two of its signees taken in the first round of the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft. Manny Machado was taken third overall by the Baltimore Orioles while Kellin Deglan was taken 21st overall by the Texas Rangers. FIU was the only Florida school to have two recruits taken in the first round of the 2010 draft as Florida, Florida State and Miami each had one signee taken in the first round. LSU led the way with three, followed by FIU and Georgia Tech with two apiece. In all, Damas currently has seven former FIU players in the MLB minor league system.

“We feel like we have a great young coach who is very knowledgeable in the game of baseball, especially in the recruiting of South Florida players,” said Thomas about Damas. “He knows Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and even Puerto Rico as good as anybody out there. He’s outstanding.”

Burr comes to FIU from Central Connecticut State where he was responsible for the strength and conditioning duties for football, baseball, softball and swimming and diving. Burr’s experience stems back to Appalachian State where he earned his master’s degree in exercise and sports science. He also spent a summer at Georgia Tech.

“We’re very excited to have coach Burr working with baseball,” Thomas said. “He brings great intensity and knowledge to our program to help us get to the next level.”

Kanganis comes to FIU from St. Thomas University where he earned his master’s degree in business and sports administration. Before earning his masters’, Kanganis worked with professional sports franchises such as the Florida Panthers of the NHL and Miami Dolphins of the NFL, as well as in football operations at Florida Atlantic University.

“We’re excited to have Tommy on our staff,” Thomas said. “We’re really looking forward to having him as part of our baseball family.”

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