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Waddington’s Greene guides model minor league team

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“Hello, Idaho Falls Chukars, this is Kevin.”

When you call the headquarters of the Idaho Chukars, the Class A Pioneer Baseball League team in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kevin Greene answers on the first ring.

Greene, a native of Waddington, has been answering phones for 21 years as the hands-on general manager and president of the franchise. Under his leadership, the Chukars drew 95,367 fans — the second highest in franchise history — this season while winning the franchise’s first league title.

The in-game revenues set an all-time Idaho Falls record and the franchise noted an aggregate 17 percent increase in revenues over the past season.

Under Greene’s direction, the Chukars have not only enjoyed success on the field but have also become a focal point of day-to-day summer life in Idaho Falls. The team began its season in mid-June and did not have a home game affected by weather.

“We have an ideal situation here. We have the high desert weather and no professional or college teams in the area,” said Greene, who also played a lead role in making the team the first in the Pioneer League to stream home games live in MiLB-TV. “There is no real competition for anyone wishing to spend marketing dollars in our park.”

But getting the fans to enjoy themselves at the ballpark has been the key to success in his tenure and he was recently named the Pioneer League Executive of the Year for a fourth time.

In 2010, Idaho Falls received the Bob Frieta Award as the top Class A short-season franchise in minor league baseball.

“The big thing is you have to keep things affordable,” said Greene, who remains very visible at the park doing anything and everything from taking tickets or raking dirt on the diamond.

The Chukars teamed up with 18 not-for-profit organizations for a nightly community spotlight program and established a partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory to benefit 22 additional not-for-profit groups.

“Kevin Greene is a tireless worker and a dedicated baseball executive,” said Scott Sharp, director of player development for the Kansas City Royals, in a press release. “His creativity and passion for minor league baseball is matched by few that I have been around.”

Greene’s love affair with baseball and athletics began as youngster growing up in Waddington as the son of Reggie and Fern Greene. He developed into an outstanding athlete at Madrid-Waddington Central where he graduated in 1979.

Greene says that the Chukars are prospering in a renaissance for Minor League Baseball which began about 20 years ago when Major League Baseball directed all minor league teams to upgrade their parks.

“Minor league parks all over the country now look little major league parks. But the key still remains to keep things inexpensive,” Greene said.

“Baseball has survived for 150 years and the minor leagues will continue to enjoy success. Baseball is the only pro sport which subsides its minor leagues.”

Greene and the parent company of Chukars, the Elmore Sports Group, are now preparing to oversee the marketing and operation of a multi-purpose 4,500 seat Ice Arena in Idaho Falls. The arena will become the home of a franchise in one of the Junior A Hockey leagues.

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