OLEAN, NY – After spending four years with the Olean Oilers, Matt Fidurko didn’t have plans to return for a fifth. In a July 24 Twitter post, the 2018 St. Bonaventure University graduate who had the role of director of baseball operations announced he would be moving on.
He was gone until Aug. 6, when he announced in another Twitter post that he would be returning to the Oilers.
“Towards the end of the summer, I got really sick and ended up in the hospital,” Fidurko said. “Basically, why I ended up there was due to just working too much and stress. For my health, I knew that I had to take somewhat of a step back.”
Fidurko added, “Plus, with my master’s program ending in May 2020, I knew that I had to be a little more flexible in case I had to leave the area for a job opportunity; as far as what changed, nothing really changed, I anticipated on getting offered a reduced role shortly after I announced that I would be leaving the organization.”
And that’s exactly what happened, according to Oilers Team President Brian O’Connell Jr.. Shortly after Fidurko announced he would not return to the organization in 2020, O’Connell met with Fidurko, offering him a reduced role.
“I approached Matt with staying on in a limited role as director of player personnel,” O’Connell said. “He will help with recruiting players, keeping an eye on them and working with the coaching staff with respect to all aspects of the players of the Olean Oilers. We were happy to continue his independent contracting with the Oilers.”
As the organization's director of baseball operations, he oversaw everything from providing adequate food for the Oilers players to welcoming visiting teams to Bradner Stadium.
“Matt he has been instrumental in making sure all aspects of the organization are run smoothly,” O’Connell said. “From the recruiting of the players, to making sure we have enough food for the players, housing and transportation. On game day, he would take care of our volunteer staff and make sure the press box was operational.”
O’Connell added, “He’s been a good, trusted person to work with, and I certainly didn’t want to see him leave the organization entirely.”
Fidurko said it was in the best interest of the organization to return in a limited role.
“I deeply care about the Olean Oilers. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to the organization,” Fidurko said. “I agreed, along with O’Connell, that it was in the best interest of the organization for me to continue leading the roster management, as well as a couple additional aspects.”
While Fidurko will be with the Oilers for at least another year, he said he will be leaving his options open after graduation. He had come close to earning a job with ESPN.
"I went through a pretty intense interview process with ESPN just prior to the season,” Fidurko said. “I made it all the way to an on-campus visit in Bristol, but ultimately did not end up getting the job. That was fresh in my mind as to what my abilities are. I am really just trying to make sure I have my options open once I graduate from my master’s program in May 2020 in case a job opportunity takes me out of town.”
For now, Fidurko will continue to make memories with an organization that means so much to him.
"The people, the friendships,” Fidurko said. “I cannot tell you how many good memories I have had with the players and coaches over the years. I have remained friends with a lot of former players until this day.”
Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox.