Head Coach Bob Wease
The 2022 season marks Coach Bob Wease’s 32nd year as President and General Manager of the Turks, and his 19th as Head Coach. Over that span, Wease has compiled a record of 520-338 and a winning percentage of .606%. The Turks have been ranked nationally by Perfect Game – 4th in the country in 2011, 12th in 2012, and 7th in 2013. Wease himself earned the Valley Baseball League Coach of the Year award in 2002 and 2012. During Wease’s tenure with the Turks, over 165 Turks players have signed professional baseball contracts.
Wease was the Head Coach of the 2018 Valley Baseball League All-Star Prospect Team that traveled to Kannapolis, NC to compete in the Southern Collegiate Showcase for the second year. The showcase featured the Southern Collegiate League, Valley Baseball League, Cal Ripken Collegiate League, Sunbelt League, and Florida Collegiate Summer League. The VBL played the Florida League and tied 5-5 and the next day they beat the Sun Belt League 6-4. The VBL is the only league out of the five to go undefeated 3-0-1 over the last two years of the showcase.
Wease played collegiate baseball and football at Shenandoah University before transferring to James Madison University, where he played baseball under the legendary coach Brad Babcock. His baseball career also included playing in the U.S. Army, the local Rockingham County League, and the Valley Baseball League. Wease was inducted into the Rockingham County Baseball League Hall of Fame, Class of 2013 as the youngest player ever in the RCBL at 13, Wease played for the Linville Patriots in 1958 until age 15. Wease then began his 7-year VBL playing career in 1960 for the Harrisonburg Turks, then with New Market Rebels in 1961-63. He didn’t play in 1964 due to a broken leg but played in the US Army 1965-66. He was back in New Market in 1967, Harrisonburg in 1968, and with the Shenandoah Indians in 1969. He then returned to the RCBL and played from 1970 to 1994 for numerous teams: Twin County, Grottoes, Linville, and Harrisonburg. He also managed the Linville Patriots and the Harrisonburg Chics, winning several championships. In 2016 Wease was inducted into the inaugural class of the Valley Baseball League Hall of Fame as a player, an honor of which Wease is very proud.
Coach Wease treasures his memories of the players that have played on the field of Veterans Memorial Park, watching their careers both in and out of baseball, and seeing the type of quality men that they have become. He maintains relationships with many of them that have gone on to coach at the college ranks and has sent players back to Harrisonburg to play. Coach Wease values the friendships that have been made all across the country of the players and their families that he’s had the privilege to know over the years. He enjoys staying in touch with them and hearing about the next path their journey has taken them.
The 2020 Valley Baseball League season was canceled due to the COVID virus. However, Coach Wease returned to his roots in the Rockingham County Baseball League for a shortened season and was the assistant coach of the Broadway Bruins. Wease used his connections and recruited the JMU players that he had signed to play for the 2020 Turks to join the Bruins. The Bruins had a stellar season finishing up with a regular-season record of 16-5, an 11-2 playoff record, and won the 2020 RCBL Championship crown. It was a historical season for the Bruins as it was the first time since 1931 that they won the Regular Season Pennant and the first time since 1982 they won a Championship.
Coach Wease resides in Harrisonburg where he has owned and operated Wease Auto Exchange for 45 years. He is married to Teresa Wease. Together the couple has worked tirelessly since 1990 and poured their heart and soul into the Turks and built it into a first-class organization that the Harrisonburg – Rockingham County communities can be proud of and fans of all ages can enjoy. The couple has five children and nine grandchildren.
Assistant Coach Jowell Bernacet
Coming back for his second season with the Turks, We would like to welcome back Assistant Coach Jowell Bernacet! Bernacet has spent that last four seasons at Seminole State College of Florida, where he has helped them make one run to the state regionals. Along with also helping them be in the top ten standings in the state of Florida every year since he has been there. Bernacet roles with Seminole State are working with the outfielders, hitters, and coaching first base. Under Bob Wease as head coach, Bernacet helped The Turks in his first season have a winning record last year of 25-17. While in Harrisonburg, he worked with the offense, the position players daily on their defense, and coached first base. Bernacet expressed how excited he was to be coming back to Harrisonburg for Bobs final season by saying ” I can’t wait to get back up to Harrisonburg! It was an awesome experience coaching beside Bob and him sharing all the knowledge he has to offer. I know this is Bobs final season and I just want him to leave with a championship. Can’t wait to get back up there and finish what we started!”
Assistant Coach Steve Markowitz
Joining the Turks in 2023 for his first season, it is our pleasure to welcome assistant coach Steve Markowitz to Harrisonburg! Markowitz began his coaching career in January of 2019 after a back injury ended his collegiate baseball career at Seminole State College. He took on the role of assistant coach at Seminole State and was responsible for the development and performance of the team’s catchers. Since Markowitz’s arrival, the catchers’ Runners Caught Stealing Percentage (RCS%) has improved to from the second worst in the region (15%) to the second best (38%) and Passed Balls per Game has been reduced by 38%.
Markowitz brings experience as a pitching coach from the Leesburg Lightnight in a Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL) in which he oversaw the operations of the pitching staff. The team had the FCSL’s best Win-Loss ratio (3.6), the second best Team ERA (2.91), Team strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.58), and were tied for the best Team WHIP (1.31).
Along with his work in summer ball, Steve worked as a bullpen coach for the Sioux City Explorers in the American Association of Professional Baseball (AAPB). He ensured all bullpen operations were in accordance with the strategic, developmental, and rehabilitative plans established by the manager, pitching coach, and athletic trainer. Markowitz also collected data on key pitching and hitting metrics via Rapsodo technology to provide the manager, coaching staff, and scouts with a reliable means of evaluating player development, performance, and ability.
We are excited to bring Markowitz’s experience to the Harrisonburg Turks this summer!