Brian Ray Rose, who served as the Wingnuts' bench coach from 2010-12, passed away at the age of 34 on January 31st, 2013 following a three-year battle with stage 4 melanoma.
During Rose's three seasons with the Wingnuts, the team was a composite 164-132 (.554), captured two Central Division titles, and reached the 2012 American Association Championship Series. In addition to his on-field duties, Rose was heavily involved in off-season recruiting and player procurement. Prior to his arrival in Wichita, Rose worked in the same capacity for the Grand Prairie AirHogs from 2008-09. Rose also served as Grand Prairie's Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2008, and was selected as a coach for the 2009 American Association All-Star Game.
Although his battle intensified in 2012, Rose continued to maintain a positive spirit that inspired players in both dugouts every night. In late-July, Rose returned to his residence in Austin, TX to undergo further treatment. Initially expected to miss the rest of the season, Rose once again inspired the Wingnuts with a surprise visit in Laredo for the Division Series, and was able to remain with the team through the end of the playoffs.
Throughout his fight, Rose was actively involved in helping others cope with melanoma. He contributed his time and experiences to various charitable organizations that raised awareness of the disease, and promoted measures to prevent it. Rose embodied the phrase "fight like hell" which became a rally cry not only for the Wingnuts, but for fellow cancer patients as well.
Rose played college baseball at El Camino College in his home state of California before joining the U.S. Marine Corps in 1997. During his active duty enlistment, Rose traveled around the world and was twice promoted meritoriously for exceptional service.
Brian Ray Rose, loving husband, son, friend, coach, leader, and fighter, was born June 21st, 1978. Brian is survived by his wife Lupe. The couple wed in April of 2012.
The Wingnuts' 2013 season will be dedicated to their bench coach. Rose's jersey number "3" will be retired at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium prior to Wichita's season opener on May 16th. It will be the first number retired in the team's six-year history. Wingnuts players and coaches will also wear commemorative jersey patches throughout the season.
We lost a great one today. Brian Rose was one of the strongest individuals I will ever know. He was my right-hand man, a great friend, coach, husband, family man, teammate, and someone that fought to the very end.
- Kevin Hooper (Manager)
Brian Rose inspired so many people with the way he handled this disease, and I hope that anyone who had the chance to meet him looks at life in a much different way. He fought this battle to the very end with such a positive attitude, and it is a shame that his life was taken from us so early. He will be greatly missed, but our memories of him will live on.
- Josh Robertson (General Manager)
I've never had a coach that cared about the well-being of every single player like Brian did.
- Justin Dowdy (2009-10)
Today the world lost a great man, a courageous man. One of the most genuine people you will meet. I was proud to call him my coach and friend. His positive nature and outlook was something that makes you want to become a better person; to be like him. He stood toe to toe with cancer and fought like hell. I will never forget him, as it is hard to come by people like him.
- Eric Williams (2010)
Brian Rose was one of the most inspiring coaches I've ever had. He proved that you don't have to allow your situation to dictate how you live your life.
- Cephas Howard (2010-11)
I'm saddened today by the loss of a great friend and an amazing man that made a huge impact on my life. I believe people are put on this earth for specific reasons and his were to inspire along with remind us baseball players how great this game really is.
- Ryan Patterson (2010-11)
I watched this man make a difference in everyone's life that he came in contact with, including mine.
- Nick Singleton (2010-11)
An incredible example of positive attitude and an inspiration to anyone who he came across. I honestly can't recall a negative word coming from the mouth of a guy battling stage 4 melanoma in 100-plus degree Wichita heat every day of the summer. Our world needs a whole lot more people like Brian Rose.
- Eric Gilliland (2011)
Brian taught us to cherish every minute of our lives, and to never stop fighting.
- Caleb Beeson (Clubhouse Manager)
The man truly showed me never to quit anything, to stay strong no matter how hard things get.
- Jake Kahaulelio (2012)
One of the most resilient people I have ever known. Even when nearly crippled by melanoma, he would find a way to make the long trips to be with us on the road when he could.
- Ryan Khoury (2012)
One of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. Only a great man could overcome the obstacles he faced, and coach Rose you did it with nothing but class. This fight was not a loss!!!
- Jeff Nadeau (2012)
It was an honor learning from him and getting to know him.
- Nick Walters (2012)
Thank you for everything. You inspired more than you'll ever know!
- C.J. Ziegler (2012)
Brian Rose is an inspiration to everyone that came in contact with him! Even though cancer took his life, I will not say he lost the battle. I believe he won and accomplished so much for not only himself but others as well. No matter what he had to go through or did, he had energy, excitement, and love for the game and life. He continued to teach us to accomplish something everyday, to love your moments, and to make a difference in your life and others.
- Ryan Hinson (2011-12)