Nationals' Spin Williams named Mike Coolbaugh Award winner

Honoring his nearly 40 years of service to the game, Washington Nationals Senior Advisor, Player Development Donald 'Spin' Williams was named Monday as the recipient of the ninth annual Mike Coolbaugh award by Minor League Baseball.

The award, which was created in 2008 to honor the late Mike Coolbaugh, a professional player and coach, is presented annually to "an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game, and skill in mentoring young players on the field." Williams will receive his award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

"On behalf of the entire Washington Nationals organization, I am thrilled to congratulate Spin Williams on being named the 2016 Mike Coolbaugh Award winner," said Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President, Player Personnel Doug Harris. "Spin's commitment to not only helping our players develop as pitchers, but also to mature as men, is second to none. For me, personally, it is an honor to know him and to work with him for as long as I have, and I'm so proud to see him earn the type of recognition he so richly deserves."     

Williams' 38 years of experience in Player Development - as a player, Minor and Major League pitching coach, Pitching Consultant and Pitching Coordinator - includes his just-completed 11th season with Washington, where he began in 2006 as a Pitching Consultant. During his time with the Nationals, Williams has served the organization in multiple capacities, including his current role as a Senior Advisor in Player Development, coordinating and overseeing the development process for more than 40 pitchers who've ascended to the Major Leagues.

"Spin Williams has dedicated his life to the game of baseball and sharing his knowledge with young players to help them reach the major leagues," said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner. "Like Mike Coolbaugh, Spin has made a positive and lasting impact on so many, it is only appropriate that he was selected for this great honor."

Williams' tenure in Washington has directly impacted the organization's success, including mentorship of some of the its best pitchers while in the Minor Leagues, such as Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark, Joe Ross, Blake Treinen, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Koda Glover, Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Rafael Martin, Matt Grace, Drew Storen, Ross Detwiler, Jordan Zimmermann, Aaron Barrett, and Craig Stammen, among many others.

Before joining the Nationals, Williams spent 27 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, serving in a variety of roles that included 13 seasons as Major League pitching coach (2000-05) and bullpen coach (1994-2000), and a plethora of positions in the Pirates' Minor League system, starting in 1981.

Williams, who was inducted into the Iowa Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in February of 2002, has devoted his life to developing young professional pitchers and pitching coaches, and he has continued to do so in Washington.

PREVIOUS MIKE COOLBAUGH AWARD WINNERS

2008

Bobby Jones, Texas

2009

Charlie Montoyo, Tampa Bay

2010

Woody Huyke, Pittsburgh

2011

Mike Jirschele, Kansas City

2012

Johnny Goryl, Cleveland

2013

Mike Guerrero, Milwaukee

2014

Tom Wiedenbauer, Cleveland

2015

John Shoemaker, LA Dodgers