Denfeld News

March 17, 2015
Duluth News Tribune

Huskies GM Smith resigns
By Louis St. George

When the Duluth Huskies kick off their 13th Northwoods League season at a drastically different-looking Wade Stadium on May 27, they will do so without a key figure who has been with the organization since its inception.

The Huskies on Monday announced the resignation of general manager Craig Smith, effective March 28. Smith, who worked for the city of Duluth before being hired by former owner Bobby McCarthy to oversee Duluth's new wood-bat collegiate team in October 2002, said he's found a new, locally based job in the sports business.

He called it a "better move for me and my family."

Smith informed Huskies owner Michael Rosenzweig on Sunday afternoon of his plans. Rosenzweig, part of an ownership group that purchased the Huskies from McCarthy in 2011 -- he's since bought out his partners -- was caught off-guard, but said he can't fault Smith for pursuing another opportunity. 

"It's a blow to me personally to see him go; over the years he kind of grows on you because he's just a great guy," Rosenzweig said. "Yet I understand that there comes a point in time in everyone's life when other opportunities are made available to you, and you have to move on." 

For more than a decade, Smith 's has been the one constant presence with the Huskies. Gregarious and always quick with a one-liner, he has had a hand in virtually every part of the organization - promotion, player recruitment, sales, the recent renovations at Wade Stadium, all of it. Anything Huskies-related, Smith usually was behind it. 

The biggie, of course, at least recently, is all the work that's been done to the team's historic ballpark. Artificial turf and a new scoreboard are just two of the additions fans will see at Wade this summer, with more work planned. 

"I've been working on trying to get renovations since 1996," Smith said. "We've been making piecemeal renovations until this administration came through with the match and the Legislature came through with the money needed to get it where it is now. It's just beautiful. If that's part of my legacy, I can't be happier for the kids in town. It's not just a Huskies facility, it's for every kid in the region." 

Rosenzweig will dole out Smith 's responsibilities among remaining staffers until an interim GM is named. That could take two to three weeks, he said, with Smith 's permanent replacement hopefully hired by the end of May or early June. 

While Smith 's departure leaves a gaping hole, Rosenzweig remains excited for the upcoming season. He says fans and players alike will love the changes at Wade, from the plush turf that replaces the abused and worn-out natural grass that existed previously to the new scoreboard, a retooled Kennel Klub Sports Deck that moves from the third-base line to the first-base line and refurbished seating. 

"Oh, my goodness. Bring your cameras," he said. "It's very awesome." 

Smith is similarly eager to see the upgrades at a stadium that is closing in on its 75th birthday, though he noted more work - and more funding - remains. 

"That's kind of my baby, so you always want to follow it for sure," he said.

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