Little Falls, New York – The Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) have announced that first base and bench coach John Fureno is set to return for the 2023 season.

Coach Fureno will be back for his third season with the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, where he helped lead the team to a second-place finish under head coach Steve Luby.

Now in his third season with the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs, he also previously served as the first base and bench coach for the DiamondDawgs from 2008-2011. Fureno has been instrumental in putting two former DiamondDawgs in the Major Leagues (MLB) in Baltimore Orioles All-Star pitcher John Means and San Francisco Giants reliever Tyler Rodgers.

Fureno’s return ensures stability in the coaching staff as he returns to the dugout with Head Coach Steve Luby and Tyler Roper.

“I am glad to see Coach Fureno back as a DiamondDawgs for a third consecutive season. It’s important that we maintain stability in our coaching staff, and Coach Fureno is one of the best. He is a staple of the baseball community here in the Mohawk Valley, he deserves it, and we are lucky to have him”,  said Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs Owner Travis Heiser.

“Coach has such a deep knowledge of the game and baseball insight that he shares and passes on to our players. His involvement in this organization makes us a better ball club. The quest for another championship has to include strong coaching and leadership, including Coach Fureno. We are excited to start our push for another banner!”

“It’s an absolute honor to coach for such a first-class owner in Travis Heiser!”   Travis always creates such a family environment that our players which is one of the many reasons our players love playing for him!  “Coach Luby and I are always on the same page when making in-game decisions!”  Coach Luby is such a great coach, and I am blessed to be coaching alongside him again,” said Fureno, 

Fureno brings extensive coaching experience, having served eight years as an Assistant Coach with the Fort Plain Hilltoppers high school baseball program under legendary high school coach Craig Phillips. Coach Fureno was instrumental in the success of the Hilltoppers and was part of several accomplishments in the program, including:

  • New York State Championship(2016)
  • New York State runner-up (2018)
  • Sectional Championships (2016, 2018, and 2019)

In addition to baseball, Fureno has also coached bowling, football, golf, and softball for over 35 years. 

At the collegiate level, Fureno has coached four seasons with Division III Mohawk Valley Community College of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). In his time with the Hawks, he coached future MLB pitcher Patrick Corbin (Washington Nationals/Arizona Diamondbacks). 

Coach Fureno, a retired 31-year school teacher of the Fort Plain school district, resides in Canajoharie, NY, with his wife, Kristina. The couple has three sons – Drew, Brady, and Vinny. 

Drew and Brady, both catchers, played as teammates on the LeMoyne  College baseball team and have both played with the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs. 

Coach has been enjoying retirement watching his son Drew serve as a bullpen catcher for the New York Mets organization and Brady catch for the LeMoyne Dolphins. But his passion to continue coaching runs deep.

“I am excited to be back again for another exciting season,” said Fureno. “ I see this position as an opportunity to make these kids better players when they leave after the summer. I stress to these kids that the effort they put in during the summer is what they will leave here with, and with that, they will be better.”

“What I love the most is seeing these kids become a family during the summer, and as soon as that happens the quicker our Team’s success will be.”

The 2015 and 2017 PGCBL Champions Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs play at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls, New York, and have had several players reach the MLB level, including MLB World Series Champion (Houston Astros) James Hoyt, 2019 Baltimore Orioles All-Star pitcher and American League Rookie of the Year finalist John Means and San Francisco Giants pitcher Tyler Rogers and Caleb Thieldbar of the Minnesota Twins. 

The DiamondDawgs will begin their quest for another PGCBL title in June 2023. We look forward to seeing all our Dawgs fans back at the ballpark this summer.