ST. LOUIS -- Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc., the creator of the Gold Glove Award celebrating defensive excellence in baseball and softball since 1957, announced today that the award program will be expanded to include multiple levels of college softball.
At the end of the 2022 softball season, Rawlings presented Gold Glove Awards to NCAA® Division I softball athletes for the first time in the award’s 65-year history. Next season, Rawlings will also present awards to athletes playing in NCAA Division II and III, NAIA, NJCAA Division I, II and III, California Community College Athletic Association and Northwest Athletic Association.
Rawlings will recognize nine student athletes – one at each defensive position – in each level of play. The awards will be presented by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association® (NFCA) on an annual basis, with recipients being announced at each respective divisional championship culminating with the Division I recipients at the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
“We believe in honoring the women who are growing the game of softball through their excellent defensive play and work ethic,” said Julie Tobyansen, Softball Sport Marketing Manager for Rawlings. “We want to recognize the talented women playing at all collegiate levels who are worthy and deserving of the honor associated with being a Rawlings Gold Glover.”
The NFCA will select recipients of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, presented by the NFCA, throughout the special awards selection process at the end of May. Any student-athlete competing in the current championship year who has been nominated for All-Region status and whose head coach is a member in good standing with the NFCA is eligible for consideration. The selection committee will use advanced fielding analytics, fielding statistics, strength of schedule and video highlights to closely examine finalists and select the winners at each defensive position across all levels of play.
"The introduction of the prestigious Rawlings Gold Glove award into collegiate softball through the Division I rank was a huge success last year,” said Carol Bruggeman, Executive Director for the NFCA. “Thank you to Mark Kraemer and the Rawlings team for making the commitment to now include all collegiate divisions! Inclusion is a core principle of the NFCA. From our initial conversations with Rawlings the goal was to be able to honor collegiate student-athletes from all divisions and we are so appreciative of Rawlings investment to make this happen. Defense should be rewarded. The most talented defensive student-athletes at all collegiate levels each year will now earn the nation's most recognized and coveted defensive award."
As Rawlings and the NFCA expand the collegiate Gold Glove Award program, they will also continue to search for new ways to grow the game and recognize defensive excellence as a cornerstone of college softball.
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its highly-regarded student-athlete awards, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from webinars to legal counsel, to in-person events and the National Convention.
Learn more about the NFCA and consider joining over a record 6,500 coaches today!
Established in 1887, Rawlings is an innovative leading global brand and manufacturer of premium baseball and softball equipment, including gloves, balls, and protective headwear. Rawlings' unparalleled quality, innovative engineering and expert craftsmanship are the fundamental reasons why more professional athletes, national governing bodies and sports leagues choose Rawlings. Rawlings is the Official Glove, Baseball, Helmet, Face Guard and Base of Major League Baseball, the Official Baseball of Minor League Baseball and the Official Baseball and Softball of the NCAA and the NAIA. The company is headquartered in St. Louis. For more information, please visit www.Rawlings.com.