FOLLOWING an extensive selection process over the last two months, Baseball Australia is proud to announce three-time ABL Championship winning manager David Nilsson has been appointed Team Australia manager.
Nilsson returned to the national team staff as an assistant coach for the 2018 Japan Series after winning three consecutive ABL titles with the Brisbane Bandits from 2015-2018 – both squads which involved Greenwell Point’s Tim Atherton.
Having been a leader on the field for Australia during his playing career, Nilsson believes that experience has been a key part of his journey.
“The appointment means a lot of different things to me,” Nilsson said.
“It’s been a long journey with plenty of ups and downs, but the overwhelming emotion is excitement. I’m humbled to be entrusted with the role, especially with one of the most important international competition periods right around the corner.”
Team Australia will aim for success at the 2019 Premier12 tournament, which doubles as the first opportunity to secure Olympic qualification.
Following the WBSC’s release regarding Olympic qualification, Australia must finish above Chinese Taipei and South Korea to secure qualification for the 2020 Olympics.
Speaking about the recent Japan Series, Nilsson was thankful to return to international baseball.
“It was really special to get back to international competition, I love the environment and I really missed it,” Nilsson said.
“The positive culture, the energy and the passion is there, and our players have the ability to achieve what we want to achieve.”
Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale believes Nilsson is the right man to lead Team Australia forward.
“David is an outstanding appointment to a critical period in our sport’s success, with the 2019 Premier12, 2020 Olympics and the 2021 World Baseball Classic all taking place over the next three years,” Vale said.
“We had a quality field of candidates who applied and interviewed for the position, and ultimately David was the unanimous choice of the panel.”
“David presents as a strong leader with diverse coaching and high-performance experience and success through his roles in the ABL and with Baseball Queensland.”
Nilsson’s domestic management record is unparalleled, leading the Brisbane Bandits to three consecutive ABL Championships (2016, 2017, 2018), a feat never achieved in Australian baseball.
The Bandits hold an 86-48 record under Nilsson’s guidance across those championship years.
Widely regarded as Australia’s best ever MLB player, Nilsson finished his career with a .284 batting average, 105 home runs and 470 RBIs. Nilsson created history in 1999, becoming the first Australian to be named an MLB All-Star after finishing with a .309 batting average in 115 games for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wendy Selig-Prieb (former President, CEO and Chairman - Milwaukee Brewers) and Bud Selig, (Commissioner Emeritus - MLB) passed on their congratulations to Nilsson.
“Not only did David Nilsson bring great skills to the baseball diamond in Milwaukee, but he also represented Australia wonderfully to baseball fans everywhere,” Wendy and Bud said.
“We look forward to watching his success in continuing to make baseball bigger and better in Australia.”
Nilsson was named MVP of the 1999 Intercontinental Cup where he hit .379 and lead Australia to its first gold medal at an international baseball event.
Five years later, Nilsson was an integral part of the 2004 Athens Olympic team, which claimed an historic silver medal.