In the middle of last season, after Oilers manager Gary Adcock had already spent 2 1/2 summers on the world-famous fishing grounds of the Kenai Peninsula, Oilers president John Lohrke invited his manager on a fishing trip.
"When I took him out, I was shocked to learn it was his first time fishing up here," Lohrke said. "He'd spent 2 1/2 summers here and hadn't even gone fishing.
"I think that sums it up right there. The reason he was up here was to win baseball games. That came first."
Ultimately, Adcock did a better job of winning baseball games than any other manager in the 27-year history of the Oilers. Ironically, that meant his time on the peninsula would come to an end.
Thursday, before the Oilers were eliminated from the National Baseball Congress World Series, Adcock announced he had accepted a position as a pitching coach at UCLA, his alma mater.
Adcock will be on a 12-month contract at UCLA, not the nine-month contracts that had allowed him to spend four summers on the peninsula -- two as the Oilers pitching coach and two as their manager.
"He's been an extremely valuable addition to the Oilers all four of his years here," said Mike Baxter, the baseball operations manager for the Oilers. "There's no question he will be missed."
In his two years as manager, Adcock led the Oilers to a pair of Alaska Baseball League titles and compiled an overall record of 71-34. That percentage of .676 is the best in the Oilers history.
"And with some of the guys we've had manage here, that's saying a lot," Baxter said.
Sonny Golloway, who is now second in winning percentage, is currently the head coach at Oral Roberts University. Adcock also finishes ahead of Mark Newman, who is now president of baseball operations for the world champion New York Yankees.
"I knew this day might come when I left the park for the last time," Adcock said in a radio interview Thursday. "I thought about it, but I didn't let it set in. ... It's been a good run."
In moving to UCLA from Purdue University, Adcock joins one of the nation's top programs. The Bruins finished 38-26 last year and had an NCAA record 12 players drafted.
Under head coach Gary Adams, the Bruins have reached 30 wins in 18 of the last 26 years.
Lohrke, who was the general manager for the North Pole Nicks from 1980-87, said what happened with Adcock is similar to what happened with former Nicks manager Mike Gillespie.
Gillespie's success in North Pole helped him get a head coaching job with USC. After coaching North Pole from 1983-85, Gillespie went to USC, where he won a national championship.
"How good these guys do in Alaska gives them a chance to move up," Lohrke said. "Because Gary did so well, I wasn't sure he'd be back again.
"I'm happy for him."
Lohrke said Adcock also will be missed for his affable demeanor and his ability to recruit quality individuals.
"That stuff is just as important when you go to businesses looking for advertising, or when you look for host families," Lohrke said.
Baxter said it was too early to speculate about Adcock's replacement.
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