LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2023) – Four new members joined the NFCA Hall of Fame on day three of the 2023 NFCA Convention. Additionally, there was a full lineup of speakers, the Softball Summit presented by USA Softball and Official Sponsor giveaways during the Exhibit Show.
In the signature event, Lonni Alameda (Florida State), Carol Bruggeman (NFCA), John Byrne (Moravian, retired) and Kim Wilson (Rowan) joined the NFCA Hall of Fame as the Class of 2023. At the conclusion of the event, NFCA Vice President for Awards Courtney Deifel (University of Arkansas) announced the Class of 2024 – former University of Texas head coach Connie Clark, Augustana University head coach Gretta Melted and University of Florida head coach Tim Walton. This trio will be inducted on Dec. 6, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
At the Summit, softball dignitaries - USA Softball’s Craig Cress, USA Baseball’s Jenny Dalton-Hill and Athletes Unlimited’s Sam Fischer provided overviews for the those in attendance. Additionally, each respective group representative on the Association’s Board of Directors provided insights into what they are working on for the betterment of game both on and off the field. Following those updates, the attendees discussed topics ranging from best practices for rest and recovery to mental health for coaches.
The Exhibit Show closed on Friday, which included a giveaway by NFCA Official Sponsors Sports Attack and Netting Professionals. Erica Mehalick (Drew University) went home with a Junior Hack pitching machine, while Chris Hessler won the Netting Professionals batting cage that was used for educational session in the Exhibit Hall.
NFCA Offiical Sponsor SmartMitt concluded the educational batting cage sessions for companies. Two more Exhibit Hall programming presented by Netting Professionals were conducted in the morning – featuring Boise State head coach Justin Shults and Clemson graduate assistant Taylor Roby on hitting, followed by USF and former U.S. National Team head coach Ken Eriksen and NFCA All-American from USF Georgina Corrick on pitching. Following the pitching session, Convention exhibitor Portolite raffled off a pitching lane used during the batting cage pitching sessions.
Prior to the giveaways, NFCA Official Sponsor HitTrax hosted its virtual Home Run Derby for a fifth time. The format allowed former student-athletes, some who are in the coaching realm and also play professionally, competed in a three-round derby with Maddy Grimm defeating Odicci Alexander, 8-6, for the title
Attendees grabbed some breakfast to start the day either in KICC (presented by Turface Athletics) or the Galt House (FCA). During those breakfasts, there was an opportunity to gather with fellow coaches for fellowship, talk about coaching and coping with cancer or those coaches who have gone through difficult situations at their jobs.
The day also featured numerous speakers, along with our Grassroots Summit presented by Wilson, which included a coaches’ panel Q&A session and presentations from Austin Wasserman, Jenny & Brad Fuller (Pittsburg State), Alyssa Tiumalu (Iona) and Ryan Greenwood (Fusion Softball).
The morning sessions opened with a jam-pack “OJ & Obstruction” which highlighted the major collegiate rules changes for the upcoming 2024 season. If you were up for some stories and good laughs to start the day, attendees were treated to 40 years of wisdom featuring a NFCA Hall of Fame cast – Mike Candrea (Arizona), Bill Edwards (Hofstra), Carol Hutchins (Michigan) and Linda Wells (Arizona State) – emceed by Cindy Bristow (UC Riverside).
Morning and afternoon speakers included Tony Baldwin (Georgia), Austin Wasserman, Meg Hancock (Louisville) and Paige Parker (Utah).
Also on the docket was a Developing a Financial Gameplan by Morgan Stanley, along with resume building programming and a networking session for directors of operations, which featured a Q&A with a pair of athletic administrators – NFCA Hall of Famer Jacquie Joseph (Michigan State) and Pam Stackhouse (Bellarmine).
The final day features a second helping of Drills, Drills, Drills, the Awards Brunch, Chalk Talks and a Down the Hallway session.