LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 2019 NFCA Convention kicks off in less than a month on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 7 at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. Over the course of four days, attendees enjoy a wide array of opportunities to educate themselves, network, conduct business, be recognized for their achievements, discover innovative products and celebrate the game of softball.
To get those more acquainted with the on-going proceedings, this feature takes a look at final two days of activities. Speakers sessions, Hall of Fame banquet, and Softball Summit presented by USA Softball are just some of the programming highlights on days three and four.
For those arriving on Tuesday, Dec. 3, the first opportunity to pick up your credential and lanyard is during a four-hour window from noon to 4:00 p.m. The registration booth will be open 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. On Friday, Dec. 6 hours will be 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., while Saturday, Dec. 7, the booth opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at noon.
Along with all the education, business and social events, the Exhibit Hall opens at a new time on Friday. Prior to all the speaker sessions, attendees can grab a quick breakfast and then peruse through the Exhibit Show starting at 7:30 a.m. The sold-out Exhibit Show is the largest in NFCA Convention history and features 135 companies, 38 of which are first-time vendors. Additionally, it will include education inside the hall (batting cage) for the first time.
The most prestigious event of the Convention takes place Friday evening when the NFCA’s Class of 2019 is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dee Abrahamson (Northern Illinois/NCAA), the late Anthony LaRezza (Immaculate Heart Academy) and Brad Pickler (Cypress College) will be the 29th class to earn this momentous honor and bring the hall’s membership to 83. The festivities begin at 6:30 with a 30-minute reception, followed by the Hall of Fame march when current members of the hall are recognized and then welcome the 2019 inductees. After dinner, Nebraska head coach and NFCA Past President Rhonda Revelle (Class of ’10) will emcee the inductions.
Also on Friday, NFCA Official Sponsor Diamond Kinetics will present its Technology Scholarship. Following the Jodi Hermanek (Pittsburgh) session with “Five Ways to Build Your Program Using Technology,” the winners will be announced. One fastpitch high school team and college team or training facility who has integrated technology into their respective program throughout the preceding year will be chosen to receive an honorary plaque, a $500 technology stipend and $2000 in Diamond Kinetics products for continued technology development.
We close out our awards’ recognition with the Awards Brunch on Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m. Following a hearty meal, we will honor our membership with several individual and team honors. The jam-packed schedule will feature – scholarship recipients (Mary Nutter Convention, Geri Ann Glasco Memorial, Diversity Convention), Victory Club honorees, NFCC Four-Star Master Coaches, Easton / NFCA Top Academic Teams, Outgoing Board members, Turface Athletics / NFCA Fields of the Year, Easton / NFCA Assistant Coaches of the Year, Regional/National Coaching Staffs of the Year, Humanitarian Award (Joelle Della Volpe, Immaculate Conception) and Donna Newberry “Perseverance” Award (Bari Mance, St. John Fisher).
A full slate of speakers hit the stage on Friday and Saturday. On Friday, attendees will have two to choose from at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., respectively, before U.S. National Team head coach Ken Eriksen caps off the morning session at 11:00 a.m. After the Softball Summit presented by USA Softball, Kainoa Correa (Cleveland Indians) is presenting twice- first to the general session at 3:00 p.m. and again during the Grassroots Panelpresent by Wilson. This panel, which features a one-hour Q&A with five collegiate head coaches and two skill sessions, is designed specifically for travel ball, high school and youth coaches. Rounding out Friday is the “Learn From the Legends: Hall of Fame/Coach Emeriti Panel” in which attendees will learn from and be entertained by NFCA Hall of Famers Jacquie Joseph (moderator), Deb Pallozzi (Ithaca, ret.), Julie Lenhart (Cortland State, ret.) and Bill Edwards (Hofstra, ret.).
Saturday gets going at 9:00 a.m. with a second set of Drills, Drills, Drills featuring sessions on hitting (Tony Baldwin, Georgia), infield (Ashley Waters, Boston University) and pitching (Beverly Smith, South Carolina). Following the Awards Brunch, there will be four chalk talks from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – "Think Outside the Box to Keep Your Lefties Inside the Box"(Robert Iamurri, Florida SouthWestern), “Know the Rules: 2020-21 NCAA Rule Book Education” (Vickie Van Kleeck, NCAA Softball Secretary-Rules Editor / Craig Hyde, NCAA National Umpire Coordinator), “Elite Catching Drills” (Jen Stark, New Haven) and “Building Mental Toughness” (Adrian Gregory, Texas Tech). Concluding the speaker schedule Hermanek and her Diamond Kinetics’ presentation.
Also, the education in the Exhibit Hall continues on Friday with “Introducing the new Jugs BP3 Softball Machine. The Future is Now.” – Dave Candello & Kayla Anderson| JugsSports. It will be followed by “Developing hitters with SwingTracker® and Swing Fingerprint ™” – Diamond Kinetics.
The Softball Summit presented by USA Softball takes center stage on Friday afternoon (1 -3:00 p.m.). This 'must-attend' event affords attendees the opportunity to hear relevant issues surrounding the sport from various softball dignitaries. Additionally, each division representative on the NFCA's Board of Directors will address their respective division's state of the industry.
Friday morning (8-8:45 a.m.) is reserved for the Cal JC, High School and Travel Ball Caucuses with Cal JC’s continuation at noon. On Saturday morning (8-8:45 a.m.), six All-America Committee meetings (DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, NJCAA and High School) will take place.
As previously mentioned, the Exhibit Hall opens at 7:30 a.m. and runs through 2:00 p.m. on Friday. The highly-anticipated Digital Silent Auction continues into Friday. Be sure to get your bids in by 1:00 p.m. for a chance to take home your favorite Exhibit Hall items. Additionally, NFCA Official Convention Sponsor Sports Attack will raffle off one FREE Junior Hack Attack pitching machine, while NFCA Official Sponsor HitTrax invites attendees to the batting cage for a Home Run Derby along with refreshments and snacks. You won't want to miss the action!
Health & Fitness
Want to get the juices flowing on Friday morning before a full day of learning and networking?Join Dartmouth head coach Jen Williams, as she returns for a fourth year to lead her “Boardwalk Boot Camp.” Back by popular demand for a second year is “Shore Stretch Yoga” with Bethany College’s Cassie Moore.