Mark Coronado, who oversaw Surprise recreation amenities and was a recent past president of the Cactus League, died Thursday, according to city officials.
He was 59.
Coronado spent 17 years in Surprise, overseeing the 2003 opening of the city’s spring-training stadium that is home to the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals.
He led numerous other projects in the growing city.
“Mark Coronado’s legacy in Surprise will live on through the smiles of the thousands of children that play at our recreation campus — the campus that was built thanks to his leadership and vision,” Mayor Sharon Wolcott said in a released statement.
His service extended beyond his role as community and recreation services director. He was often called upon to fill leadership needs. He served as interim city manager from 2010-2011 and also filled in as acting economic development director, acting public works director and acting communications director.
He was an executive board member and past president of the Arizona Cactus League Association, which helps establish and maintain relationships between Phoenix-area cities and Major League Baseball. Former colleagues described Coronado as passionate advocate for the league.
“Mark’s leadership helped define the Cactus League for Arizonans and baseball fans everywhere,” Cactus League President Jeff Meyer said in a written statement. “He understood the impact of spring training to Arizona’s economy and was a true advocate for America’s pastime. He will be missed by everyone associated with the Cactus League.”
Tom Sadler, the president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, shared similar praise.
“Mark understood as well as anyone that spring training is an Arizona treasure – and his hard work over the years helped increase its value to the State of Arizona,” Sadler said in a written statement. “His loss will be greatly felt by everyone associated with the Cactus League.”
The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals issued a joint statement saying they were “deeply saddened” by Coronado’s passing after dealing with “a long illness.”
“Mr. Coronado was instrumental in the planning and construction of the spring training and player development complex that the Royals and Rangers have shared in Surprise, Arizona since 2003,” the statement says. “For the last 15 years he oversaw the day-to-day operation of one of the finest spring training facilities in the Major Leagues and played a key role in the renovations for both teams in 2016.”
Before joining Surprise, Coronado spent eight years as a recreation supervisor for Peoria.
Coronado is survived by his son, Matthew; sister, Alice; and brothers Richard and Tommy, according to the city.
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