The Chattanooga Lookouts may not be locally owned much longer, but they won't be lacking for familiar faces.
Team owner Frank Burke announced Friday that former Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo is returning to the same position with the Class AA franchise. Mozingo began working for the Lookouts in 1994, became general manager in 1999 and left after the 2002 season to run the Single-A South Atlantic League's Capital City Bombers in Columbia, S.C.
Lookouts assistant general manager John Maedel, who has been the team's public-address announcer for a decade, will remain in his role.
"I've obviously known and had a good working relationship with Rich for a long time," Burke said. "Me and my family felt that Rich and John would be a good combination to keep it running the way we would like it to be run in my absence. I really need to spend more time on the actual sale of the team, and I also need to be able to pursue other opportunities, and my family understood that."
Mozingo left the Bombers, who moved to Greenville in 2005 and are now the Greenville Drive, after the '05 season. He has spent the past six seasons as assistant GM of the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws, which is also a South Atlantic League team.
The 44-year-old Mozingo will begin working for the Lookouts again in about three weeks.
"Chattanooga has a place in my heart," Mozingo said. "My two kids were born here, and to have the opportunity to come back and work in the Lookouts organization was too hard to pass up."
Burke said it's "more than likely" his successor will be from out of town, adding that there has been some local interest but that it's not as far along as some other interest. He did not want to elaborate about where he is in the sale process.
The plan is for Burke to finish out this season, which ends Labor Day but could be extended by the playoffs.
"I want to and need to start working on my next chapter," said Burke, who has owned the team since 1995. "It's hard to work on the transaction when you're worried about the rain and the tarp and everything else. I would say the likelihood of me staying in baseball is pretty high, but I don't know."
Mozingo admits there is a risk in returning to Chattanooga without knowing who his next boss will be, but he said the Lookouts staff and his love for the city makes this a worthwhile move.
"Rich and I know each other well, and he brings an enormous amount to the table," Maedel said. "Having a strong local presence is key to an organization like ours."
Said Burke: "I hope they'll do better than me, but they won't do things significantly different."