Brent Clevlen - Manager
Brent Clevlen was named Field Manager of the Cleburne Railroaders on November 9, 2018. The 2020 season will be his second at the helm of the Railroaders.
Clevlen helped the Railroaders to a 57-33 mark in his debut season in 2019, the best record in franchise history by ten games. The 24-win improvement from the 2018 season is the fourth-largest single-season increase in American Association history. The 'Roaders finished the season in a tie for second place in the South Division, missing out on the franchise's first playoff berth by tiebreaker. Along the way, Cleburne earned five Mid-Season All-Star selections (Zach Nehrir, John Nester, Jesus Sanchez, Chase Simpson, Tyler Wilson) and two Postseason All-Stars (John Nester and Chase Simpson).
Following a record-setting career as a player, Clevlen made his managerial debut in 2018 with the Wichita Wingnuts, leading the club to a 61-39 record. That mark was the best in American Association history for a team that did not qualify for the postseason, as the Wingnuts finished 1.5 games behind the eventual champion Kansas City T-Bones for the final playoff spot in the South Division.
Clevlen’s playing career spanned 16 professional seasons and more than 1,700 total hits. A former second round draft pick, he spent parts of four seasons in the major leagues, three with the Detroit Tigers and one with the Atlanta Braves. Clevlen played seven seasons with the Wingnuts, becoming the franchise’s career leader in virtually every offensive category. In 398 games, Clevlen amassed 513 hits, including 132 doubles and 71 home runs, driving in 312 runs while scoring 315 of his own. Each mark tops the Wingnuts all-time leaderboard, while the doubles total places him sixth in American Association history. His best season in a Wichita uniform came as a part of the Wingnuts 2014 championship campaign, when he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player with a .372 average and 20 home runs.
Clevlen, 36, resides in Austin with his wife Amanda and sons Brady and Cameron.
John Rodriguez - Hitting Coach
Rodriguez enters his second season as Hitting Coach in 2020. Under his direction, the Railroaders were one of the American Association's most dynamic offensive clubs in 2019, becoming the only team to notch both 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases. From 2018 to 2019, the Railroaders improved the team batting average 32 points (.244 - .272), the team on-base percentage 34 points (.323 - .357), and the team slugging percentage 62 points (.372 - .434), for a staggering 95 point increase in on-base plus slugging percentage (.695 - .790). The 'Roaders finished second in the league in doubles (202), third in home runs (101), second in walks (394) and third in stolen bases (104).
As a player, Rodriguez spent parts of the 2005 and 2006 seasons at the game’s highest level with the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the Cardinals to a World Series title in 2006. The native of New York, New York retired in 2013 following an 18-year professional career that took him through five Major League organizations, two independent circuits, and leagues in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Mexico. The outfielder notched 1,661 hits, including 245 home runs, and finished his career with a cumulative batting average of .283.
Mike Jeffcoat - Pitching Coach
Jeffcoat enters his second season as Pitching Coach in 2020. Jeffcoat helped craft one of the American Association's most effective pitching staffs in his first season with the club, as the Railroaders 3.90 team ERA finished second on the circuit. Cleburne's pitchers saw a marked improvement across the board from 2018-2019 under Jeffcoat's direction, cutting down on walks (386 - 327) and hits allowed (961 - 892), while increasing the number of strikeouts (736 - 776). Cleburne pitchers Jesus Sanchez and Tyler Wilson were selected as American Association Mid-Season All-Stars.
Jeffcoat brings a wealth of experience to the Railroaders as both a player and coach. Originally a 13th round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians out of Louisiana Tech, the native of Pine Bluff, Ark., made his MLB debut in 1983, the first of three seasons he would spend with Cleveland. Jeffcoat was traded to the San Francisco Giants early in the 1985 season, and then later signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent prior to the 1987 campaign. It was with the Rangers that Jeffcoat put together some of his best seasons as a professional, including in 1989, when he went 9-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 22 starts. After six seasons in Texas, Jeffcoat finished out his major league career in 1994 by making four appearances for the Florida Marlins.
Over the course of 15 pro seasons, Jeffcoat produced 110 wins to 85 losses, compiling a 3.98 ERA in more than 1,700 career innings.
Jeffcoat came to Cleburne after 16 seasons as head coach at Texas Wesleyan, where he built the Rams into one of the most consistently successful programs in the NAIA. Jeffcoat inherited a program in 2002 that hadn’t produced a 40-win season in more than 20 years, a mark that the Rams would reach five times under his guidance. With more than 500 career victories, Jeffcoat is the all-time winningest coach in Texas Wesleyan history, including eight appearances in the Regional/NAIA National Championship Opening Round Tournament.
Jeffcoat, 60, resides in Godley with his wife, Elaine. He has a daughter, Haley, two granddaughters, Olivia and Caroline, and a grandson, Jordan.