James Named New G.M. at Prospect Meadows
January 23, 2020 | Metro Sports Report
When Jack Roeder hired Steve James as the assistant general manager at Prospect Meadows in June of 2018, he figured he was hiring the guy who would succeed as the G.M. some day.
Nobody expected it would happen this quickly.
“When we hired Steve, we felt good about it. And I would say we feel even better today,” said Roeder. “We knew that Steve would become the general manager at some point. That point is now.
“And it’s well-deserved,” he said. “You don’t give somebody a title that they don’t deserve.”
Roeder has received a promotion as well. He’s now the president and CEO of Prospect Meadows after steering the new facility to completion last year.
The promotions were approved Wednesday by the Prospect Meadows Board of Directors.
“I think the main thing is, we wanted to have a title that’s more reflective of their duties,” said Tim Strellner, the chairman of the board. “I think that’s the significance of it.
“We are fortunate at Prospect Meadows to have two people like Steve and Jack that are of the highest character and very dedicated to Prospect Meadows.”
James, 37, is flattered by the quick promotion.
“It’s a great honor,” he said. “It’s a bit of a surprise, with the timing of it. I’ve only been working here 18 months. It’s a real good feeling.”
James worked at Perfect Game in Cedar Rapids for 15 years before becoming the assistant general manager at Prospect Meadows. He learned the inner workings of a major baseball operation at Perfect Game and was serving as a scouting coordinator and Iowa League Director when he left.
James said working at Perfect Game was great training for his new position at Prospect Meadows, where he’ll gradually assume more day-to-day duties from Roeder while Roeder focuses even more on strategic planning and future developments at the facility.
James was looking for a new job where he wouldn’t have to travel as much as he did at Perfect Game. He and his wife, Andrea, a grade school teacher, have two young children with Isabelle, 3, and Grady, three months, and James wanted to spend more time at home.
He jumped at the chance to join Prospect Meadows about 12 months before it opened. He’s known Roeder for a long time, since Roeder’s years as general manager of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, and he’s also known Strellner for a long time, having coached baseball with Strellner when both of Strellner’s sons were playing.
James has performed a variety of duties at Prospect Meadows. He’s heavily involved with scheduling games and events, and he also helped put the finishing touches on the facility before it opened last May by working on dugouts, fields and other aspects.
“It’s part of the job,” he said. “You’ve got to figure it out and do it.”
Roeder and James have worked closely together the last 18 months and Roeder has been very impressed.
“Long-term, Prospect Meadows is going to be in good hands with Steve’s involvement,” he said. “As long as I feel good and I’m having fun, I will continue to work, but the clock is ticking.
“I would say if I’m not here tomorrow, Prospect Meadows would be in good hands. So that’s a good feeling for the organization to have.”
James graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington, then played baseball at Kirkwood and Coe. He comes from a sports family and his father, Paul, is the head football coach at Linn-Mar after serving as the football coach, girls basketball coach and athletic director at Washington.
Roeder said James fits all the requirements for serving as the new general manager. “If there are 10 boxes, he checks them all,” said Roeder. “That’s really all you need to know.”
Roeder said the transition for James and himself has already begun. He said the general public might not see any big changes right away, but they will as time goes by.
“Steve needs to become the face of the organization,” said Roeder. “That’s what we’re gearing for.”
Roeder has served as the face of the organization for the last 10 years, taking Prospect Meadows from concept to reality. Strellner said Roeder’s new titles as president and CEO are well-deserved.
“I think it is a tribute to Jack,” he said. “It’s a reflection of Jack’s past, present and future. Without Jack’s dedication the last 10 years, Prospect Meadows would not be a reality.”