FARGO -- Josh Buchholz started his independent baseball career at a clubhouse manager, but now he’s helping run a league.
The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks vice president and general manager has been named executive director of the American Association, the league announced Thursday.
“I still joke about it,” said Buchholz, a Moorhead High School and Concordia College graduate. “It was kind of a summer job that never ended.”
Buchholz takes over for Dan Moushon, who had been the league’s president since its inception in 2006. Moushon is set to take over as president of the Appalachian League, an advanced rookie league in Minor League Baseball.
“We’ve worked with Dan since we were in the Northern League together,” Buchholz said. “He’s been a really good mentor. It’s big shoes to fill.”
Buchholz, 43, has been with the RedHawks since their inaugural season in 1996, when he was the clubhouse manager. He also worked in media relations and baseball operations for the franchise before he became the team’s GM in October of 2005.
“Being from the area and being with the team from Day 1 and seeing how it’s grown and maintained, that’s something that I’m proud of,” Buchholz said of the RedHawks. “I’m walking out of there knowing I did the best I could.”
Buchholz said he will help the RedHawks transition into finding a new general manager before he takes over as the American Association executive director May 1.
Brad Thom, the president and chief executive officer of the RedHawks, said a national search has started to find a replacement for Buchholz. Thom said the goal is to have a new GM in place by March 1, but no later than April 1.
“We hate to see him go,” said Thom, who added the team has heard from some strong candidates already.
“My goal leaving is to continue the grow the RedHawks as much as possible,” Buchholz added.
Buchholz said he will establish an office in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Moushon had worked out of Durham, N.C. American Association commissioner Miles Wolff will continue to be based in Durham.
“That was a big factor for me,” Buchholz said of being able to be based in Fargo-Moorhead. “This is my home. This is where I want to be. That was kind of a big selling point for me.”
Buchholz said when the chance to be the league’s executive director opened up, it was an opportunity he could not pass up.
“I worked in independent baseball for a long time and I have a passion for it,” Buchholz said. “These jobs don’t come open very often. To not at least try for it, I would have kicked myself later on.”