QUINCY -- The Quincy Gems announced this week that Justin Paulsen will take over as the team's manager for the upcoming 2020 season.
Paulsen is currently the hitting and infielders coach for Maryville University, and he was previously a graduate assistant with the Missouri State baseball program. Before his coaching career, Paulsen was a three-year player at Missouri State from 2015-2017, where he helped the Bears to two NCAA Super Regional appearances and a Missouri Valley Conference championship in 2015.
"I tried to get Justin to play for us a couple of times," Quincy Gems owner and general manager Jimmie Louthan said. "His knowledge of baseball is up there with the best of them, he's played at a top Division-I program and he played pro ball."
Paulsen was drafted in the 39th round of the 2017 MLB draft and spent two seasons in the San Diego Padres organization. That professional experience is part of what drew Louthan to Paulsen.
"All these kids want to get drafted, and if they don't we don't want them," Louthan said. "We want guys that expect to be drafted, and having somebody who has already been through the ropes and can guide them along in that aspect we feel is going to be a good fit."
Paulsen spent a year in the Prospect League as a freshman playing for the Richmond RiverRats in Richmond, Ind., and remembered his one trip to Quincy in the summer of 2015 fondly.
"I know they are a very good organization and very competitive," Paulsen said. "I have a couple of friends who played up there who said they had a good time so I'm looking forward to it."
Paulsen is also relatively fresh to the coaching scene, so he couldn't pass up a chance to coach the Gems.
"At a young age, to get an opportunity to coach in the Prospect League was a good opportunity to help me move on to higher levels at a quicker pace," he said.
Former Gems manager Pat Robles was known for his prowess as a pitching coach, but Paulsen brings more of a hitting background as a former first baseman.
"I'm a little more offensive, but I don't just want to score 10 runs a game, though that would be nice," Paulsen said. "I'd also like to throw a lot of shutouts as well, that would be fun."
No matter what his personal preferences are, Paulsen is only concerned with helping his players grow in the summer.
"I coach to what I have, whatever the players do well I am going to let them do that well and not change them over the course of the summer because I don't think that's the right thing to do," he said.