SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Four new members joined the NFCA Hall of Fame on day three of the 2022 NFCA Convention at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Additionally, there was a full lineup of speakers, the Softball Summit presented by USA Softball and giveaways during the Exhibit Show.
In the signature event, Jenny Allard (Harvard), Kerri Blaylock (Southern Illinois, ret.), Sandy Montgomery (SIUE, ret.) and Mary Jo Truesdale (Sheldon High School) were enshrined into the NFCA Hall of Fame. The Association also announced its class of 2023 – Lonni Alameda (Florida State University), Carol Bruggeman (NFCA Executive Director), John Byrne (Moravian University, ret.) and Kim Wilson (Rowan University).
At the Summit, softball dignitaries - USA Softball’s Craig Cress, USA Baseball’s Jenny Dalton-Hill and Athlete’s 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.
The Exhibit Show closed on Friday, which included a giveaway by NFCA Official Sponsor Sports Attack. Ryan Buchanan of Rock Gold VA went home with a Junior Hack pitching machine. NFCA Official Sponsor HitTrax brought back its virtual Home Run Derby for a fourth time. The format allowed the athletes to select a favorite coach to compete with them, creating a powerful home run hitting team. Coming away victorious in 2022 was team of Michigan State assistant coach Nadia Taylor and Ohio University assistant coach Lilly Piper.
The day also featured numerous speakers, along with the Grassroots Summit presented by Wilson, which included a coaches’ panel Q&A session and presentations from Texas’ Melissa Schmidt (Strength & Conditioning) and Northwestern Volunteer Assistant Tony Smith on high-level movement training and throwing mechanics for youth softball players.
Six speaker sessions filled the morning before the Summit, featuring the duo of Dot Richardson (Liberty) and Bill Relyea (Rosemont) on Enneagram & Team Management, Kentucky’s Rachel Lawson on how to scout with game film, Arizona’s Lauren Lappin (Developing and Athletic Catcher) and Tampa Tarpons’ manager Rachel Balkovec (How We Hit: Revolutionizing the way we practice,” Maryland’s Mark Montgomery (1st & 3rd Plays: Hidden Offensive Opportunities) and Rita Lynn Gilman (Building the Elite Pitcher: Whip it and Rip it!).
Following the Softball Summit, Schmidt (Power Transfer in Rotational Athletes) and Wichita State’s Kristi Bredbenner wrapped up the speaker sessions.
In addition to all the programming, attendees were able to get going early in the morning with a core strength workout and yoga, while some coaches gathered on the pickleball courts for a gathering in memory of the late Jan Gentry, who was the longtime NCAA Associate Director of Championships and Alliances for Division III softball.
Also on the docket was a Developing a Financial Gameplan by Morgan Stanley, along with the first-ever Resume Building programming and Director of Operations Roundtables.
Prior to the Hall of Fame reception and banquet that capped the evening, attendees were treated to a social by SANMAR Sports.
The final day features a second helping of Drills, Drills, Drills, the Awards Brunch, and track education for Assistant Coaches and Instructors, along with a new Playing Rules track (Obstruction, Instant Replay & Pitching).
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded coaches polls and All-America awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to awards, to in-person events and National Convention.