Staff & Instructors
Lance Franks, the head baseball instructor and owner of The Chico Bullpen Baseball Academy, was born and raised in Russellville, Arkansas. Lance won three state championships in high school and American Legion. In 1994 he received the Bob Fellar Pitching Award for the most strikeouts in the Arkansas state championship, Mid-West regional tournament, and American Legion World Series.
Lance spent two years at Westark Community College as a middle infielder/pitcher, and spent 1996 and 1997 playing for the Arkansas Razorbacks. In 1997, Lance was an All-American Honorable Mention. From 1997-2002 he played in the St. Louis Cardinals Organization. During the 2002 season Lance joined the Western League Champions, the Chico Heat. For the Heat, Lance was at the top of almost all pitching catagories and was a Western League All-Star. From 2003-2004 Lance played for the Kansas City T-Bones and the Quebec Capitales. After retiring from playing Lance went on to be the pitching coach for the Chico Outlaws in 2005, and was the bench coach in 2008.
Jim Franks is the Aces 10 under head coach. Jim was All Confrence and All District at the University of Central Arkansas in 1970-1972. From 1975-1977, Jim coached at Clinton High School in Arkansas winning the confrence every year.
Coach Franks was the Head Coach at Arkansas Tech University from 1980-1987. Arkansas Tech won 2 confrence championships and 2 District Championships during that span. He was Coach of the Year in 1981, 1982, 1984, and 1985. In 2010 he retired from Arkansas Education and has been in coaching for 34 years.
Josh "Monty" Montgomery
In 1992 Josh Montgomery was a stand out pitcher at Canada Junior College. He was twice voted the Peninsula Times Tribune player of the week for an 18 strikeout and 15 strikeout performance and a finalist for player of the year. This earned him a full ride scholarship to The University of Texas in 1993. In 1994 he finished his college career at Dallas Baptist University where he pitched a 3-hit shutout in the NAIA World Series. As an undrafted free agent Josh signed a professional contract with the Butte Copper Kings of the rookie Pioneer League in 1994. He played the next six years for various independent league teams including The Chico Heat where he holds many pitching records, won two games in the 1997 Championship Series and was an All Star closer in 1999.
His impressive years with the Heat earned him a AA Contract with the Atlanta Braves organization in 2000. His baseball playing career culminated with an Introduction into the Chico Professional Baseball Hall of Fame (The “Legends of the Diamond” Award) in 2008. Josh also received his Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology in 2000 and had his thesis published in a nationally recognized coaching publication in 2002. Josh has been helping with his oldest sons' Little League Teams and recently joined the coaching staff of The Bullpen in 2011. The Bullpen will be incorporating Josh's strength training expertise as we start up the Agility, Speed and Power training program in late 2011.
Omar comes to the Bullpen and Aces staff from Merced, California. Omar played baseball from little league all the way up to Double A. Omar was drafted out of high school by the San Francisco Giants but declined the offer to play baseball at Merced Junior College. After two years at Merced, Omar signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Oklahoma. That same season Omar was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, so instead, decided to chase his dream and become a professional baseball player. Omar played in the Brewers organization from 2005-2010 and was named to Brewers 40 man Roster 2009 & 2010. In the spring of 2010 Omar was traded to the Cleveland Indians and played in the Indians organization for 1 season.
In 2011 Omar came to Chico and played for the Chico Outlaws. After playing in Chico for one season, Omar and his wife, Catherine, liked Chico so much they decided to make a home in Chico. Omar will be the pitching cordinator for the Aces and Chico Bullpen.
Former Chico State star Allison Smith has now completed her fourth year on the 'Cats coaching staff. Among her many responsibilities are working with the team's hitters and infielders, managing in-game pitch selection, assisting in the team's recruiting efforts, and coordinating the program's many camps and clinics.
Smith has been part of the Chico State softball program since 2007. She joined the coaching ranks following two outstanding seasons as the Wildcats' shortstop, placing her name throughout the Chico State record books. To this day, Smith remains among the top Wildcat players in career doubles, extra-base hits, and slugging percentage. Her junior year in 2007 ranks as one of the most prolific seasons ever by a Chico State player, batting .350 and posting Wildcat single season top-10 marks in doubles (14), home runs (4), RBI (29), slugging percentage (.559), extra-base hits (20), total bases (80), and on-base percentage (.417). She served as team captain as a senior.
Smith transferred to Chico State following two seasons at San Diego State. She earned Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2005, and as a sophomore helped lead the Aztecs to the 2006 Mountain West Conference title.
Smith earned a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from Chico State in 2009. She is currently working on her masters in education, with a focus in curriculum and instruction.