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Bisons retain Allenson, top coaches

The Buffalo Bisons announced Friday that Gary Allenson will return for a second season as manager in 2015 along with pitching coach Randy St. Claire, hitting coach Richie Hebner and athletic trainer Voon Chong.

The parent Toronto Blue Jays named Jason Dowse as the Bisons’ new strength and conditioning coach.

Under Allenson in 2014, the Bisons finished with a 77-66 record (.538), the fourth-best in the International League.

The club finished 1ø games out of the IL’s lone wild-card position despite setting franchise records for number of players (73) and total transactions (239) during the year. The 73 total players were two shy of the all-time IL record of 75 set by Norfolk in 2012.

Allenson, 59, the 19th manager in the team’s modern era, will enter his 21st season as a manager in the minor leagues.

The 2015 season will be his 10th in the International League, having also managed in Louisville (1998-1999), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-2011). Allenson also has seven years of major league coaching experience, working three years with the Boston Red Sox (bullpen coach 1992-1993, third-base coach 1994) and three with the Milwaukee Brewers (first base coach 2000, third-base coach 2001-2002). He was the Baltimore Orioles’ third-base coach for the second half of the 2010 season. Allenson has a career managerial record of 1,177-1,286 (.478).

St. Claire, 54, enters his second year as the Bisons’ pitching coach. In 2014, the Herd posted a league-best 3.52 team ERA and walked the second-fewest batters (438) in the circuit. Buffalo featured 37 different pitchers last year, including 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game MVP Liam Hendriks and 2014 midseason and postseason IL All-Star Bobby Korecky. Both pitchers are set to return to the Blue Jays organization in 2015.

St. Claire began his coaching career in 1996 and spent 10 years in the major leagues, serving as the pitching coach for Montreal/Washington from 2003-2009 before joining the Florida/Miami organization as a pitching coach in 2010.

Hebner, 67, guided a Bisons’ lineup that finished 2014 with a .260 team average, eighth best in the IL. Buffalo struck out the third fewest times during the campaign (981) and drew the third most walks (518) while posting a plus-69 run differential.

Hebner began his coaching career in 1988 and has served as a major league hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox (1989-1991) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2001).

Chong enters his 14th season in the Toronto organization and his sixth as the athletic trainer for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate. He was named the 2007 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year while serving that role with New Hampshire.

Dowse spent last season as the strength and conditioning coach for Toronto’s Class-A affiliate in the Florida State League, the Dunedin Blue Jays.