Bangor native and University of Maine graduate Jon Kotredes received an early birthday present last week.
Kotredes, who will turn 40 on Saturday, got a call informing him he had been promoted to the athletic training staff for the National League’s Washington Nationals.
He had been the medical and rehabilitation coordinator for the Nationals’ minor leaguers at their complex in West Palm Beach, Florida, a position he had held since 2014. Kotredes was the trainer for several of the Nationals’ minor league teams and was promoted from AA Harrisburg to the role of minor league medical and rehabilitation coordinator.
Kotredes is the latest in a string of UMaine products who have gone on to have careers as athletic trainers within Major League baseball, including Mark Letendre (New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants) and Ben Potenziano (Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates).
“It’s very exciting,” said Kotredes, who compared it to the plight of a ballplayer.
“You put in your time in the minor leagues, riding busses and doing all the fun stuff hoping you’ll get to the major leagues someday,” he added. “I don’t know if it has really all sunk in yet. Maybe it won’t until opening day.”
Kotredes has been in the Nationals’ organization since 2009 after spending three seasons with the San Francisco Giants.
Kotredes said he began thinking about a career in athletic training when he was at Bangor High School, where played hockey, soccer and tennis, and ran track.
“I had a bunch of injuries so I spent a lot of time with our trainer, John Ryan. He was a great trainer. It was something I was always interested in. John ran an athletic training class at Bangor and I took it. I thought it was something I would really like to do,” Kotredes said.
After graduating from Bangor High in 2000, Kotredes spent a year at Northeastern University in Boston before transferring to UMaine.
“Northeastern just wasn’t the right fit for me,” the son of Art and Beth Kotredes said.
“I really enjoyed it at Maine,” Kotredes said. “I spent a lot of time with the football team and I also did a little bit with hockey, softball and field hockey. I got to do a whole lot of different stuff and that was great. It prepared me to be ready for anything. It was wonderful.”
“Jon worked his butt off when he was here,” longtime UMaine athletic trainer Paul Culina said. “He worked with a lot of different sports and would always volunteer to do extra things to help out.”
Kotredes landed a job as an athletic trainer at the low Class A level with the Giants in 2006.
When he was a trainer for the Giants and Nationals, he used to return to Maine in the winter and work with his longtime friend Quinn Paradis as an assistant coach for the Bangor High School hockey team. Paradis is the head coach.
His job as the Nationals’ minor league coordinator required a number of responsibilities.
He watched over each minor league trainer as well as the one at the Nationals Academy in the Dominican Republic. He was also responsible for monitoring injured players’ rehabilitations.
“The front office would call me for an update on a player. I hoped the doctor had called me first,” Kotredes said.
He is continuing to work at the complex in West Palm Beach as players rehabilitate their injuries.
But he will move up to the Washington, D.C., area for the season next spring. He and wife Meghan live in Lake Worth, Florida.
He already knows several of the Nationals played through his time spent in the organization, which he said has treated him very well.
“They have been awesome. It’s a family-like atmosphere,” said Kotredes, who received a World Series ring after the Nationals won it in 2019.