Open Announce

Former Lobo Rachel Balkovec Makes History as First Female Minor League Manager

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A former Lobo is making history. Again.

Rachel Balkovec, who played at UNM from 2007-2008, became the first female manager in affiliated professional baseball history after the Tampa Tarpons hired her as manager on Monday. The Tarpons are the Low-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Balkovec, who was a catcher at New Mexico, previously made history when she was hired by the Yankees as a minor-league hitting coach prior to the 2019 season. She coached in the Florida Complex League and last season was selected to coach in the 2021 MLB Futures Game, which was also a trailblazing achievement.

Her experience with MLB started in 2012, starting out as a strength and conditioning coach with the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor league team and then moved on to work in the same role with the and Houston Astros’ minor league team. In addition, she has worked with the Double-A Corpus Christ Hooks, as a skill acquisition coach with the Dutch national team and coached in the Australian Baseball League.

During her two seasons at UNM, the former Lobo played in 13 games with two starts in 2007 and played in one game in 2008.  She graduated from New Mexico in 2009 with a degree in exercise science.

“It is phenomenal to see our alumna, Rachel, have such great success,” stated current Lobo head coach Paula Congleton. “We have emailed back and forth for a few years now and I can’t be more excited to congratulate her on the next step of her coaching career as the first female manager of a minor league baseball team.

“She has a gift of getting the most out of her teams, which shines through with her passion and work ethic. Her Lobo sisterhood will always root her on and we are all so very proud of her.”