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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 2017 NFCA Convention kicks off in two weeks on Wednesday Dec. 6 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 9 at Bally’s Las Vegas.  Over the course of four days, attendees have a wide array of opportunities to educate themselves, network, conduct business, be recognized for their achievements, discover innovative products and have fun.

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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, Legacy Event Management “After Party” and Softball Summit presented by USA Softball are just some of the programming highlights on days three and four.

Before we dive into things, the most important item to point out is registration. Be sure to pick up your credential and lanyard. Without this combination, attendees will be unable to attend all the great sessions and social events offered in Las Vegas.

For those arriving on Tuesday, Dec. 5 and who want to beat the crowd, a four-hour window (noon-4:00 p.m.) is available to pick up your credentials and lanyards. The registration booth will be open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6 and Thursday, Dec. 7. On Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, the booth opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at noon and 10:00 a.m., respectively.

Awards
The most prestigious event of the convention takes place Friday evening when the NFCA Class of 2017 is inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sheilah Gulas (Ashland), Gary Haning (OC Batbuster/PGF), Vickee Kazee-Hollifield and Karen Mullins (UConn) will be the 27th class to earn this momentous honor and bring the hall’s membership to 77. The festivities begin at 6:30 with a 30-minute reception, followed by the Hall of Fame march as current members of the hall welcome the 2017 inductees. After dinner, Nebraska head coach and NFCA Past Preseident Rhonda Revelle (Class of ’10) will emcee the inductions.

Earlier in the day during the Softball Summit, the NFCA will present its Donna Newberry “Perseverance Award” to Indianapolis’ Melissa Frost and the Humanitarian Award to Mark Larriba of Flower Mound (Texas) High School.

Additionally on Friday, Diamond Kinetics will present its new Technology Scholarship. Following the JT Gasso session “Technology's Role in Building Elite Hitters" presented by Diamond Kinetics,” 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 Champions Brunch on Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m. Following a hearty meal, our Easton / NFCA Assistant Coaches of the Year and the national and regional Coaching Staffs of the Year will be honored.

Educational Opportunities
A full slate of speakers hit the stage on Friday and Saturday. Nineteen sessions will be available to attendees, three more options than a year ago. Gasso’s session kicks Friday off at 9:00 am, followed by two options at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., respectively. After the Softball Summit presented by USA Softball, five panels will fill the afternoon slots – three at 3:00 p.m. and two at 4:00 p.m.

Saturday gets going at 9:00 a.m. with Drills, Drills, Drills featuring sessions on hitting (Chris Malveaux), Defense (Jen McIntyre, UConn) and Taryne Mowatt (Arizona). Following the CHAMPIONS brunch, there will be four chalk talks from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Lauren Lappin (UMSL / Creating a Lockdown Defense) and Mike Stith (OC Batbusters/STC / “Non-negotiable of Developing Young Hitters”) round out the speaker sessions.

Check our schedule for more details.

New Tools
With over 135 companies in attendance, the exhibit hall opens its doors to members at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. It will be the final opportunity for members to discover innovative products, apparel and services and also invest time with companies to create a positive relationship that may be beneficial in the future. Additionally, members can take part in our silent auction and Sports Attack raffle for an opportunity to bid on and win items donated by the vendors in attendance.

Conduct Business
The Softball Summit takes center stage on Friday afternoon (1 -2:30 p.m.). An open forum that affords the entire membership an opportunity to discuss business and relevant issues across the landscape of softball. Additionally, NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor Vickie Van Kleeck and NCAA National Coordinator of Softball Umpires Craig Hyde will present to the membership along with other softball dignitaries. 

Friday morning (8-8:45 a.m.) is reserved for continuation of our NCAA caucuses as well as the High School, Travel Ball and Cal JC caucuses. Additionally, the High School All-American Committee meets from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Being Social
Take advantage of a brand new social event following the NFCA Hall of Fame banquet on Friday evening. After celebrating the achievements of our Class of 2017, head on up to Beer Park for the Legacy Event Management After Party. Located atop the Paris rooftop, enjoy an evening of free beer, wine and networking.

Health & Fitness
Want to get the juices flowing on Friday morning before a full day of learning and networking? You can as MIT head coach and director of sports performance Jen Williams is back for a second year. Coach Williams will lead a group workout session- “Slots” of Fun- from 6:15-7:15 a.m.

Lastly, while filling up on breakfast on Friday (7-8:45 a.m.) you have to the opportunity to visit with Don Porter, who will be signing his new book Inclusion/Exclusion: Softball’s Olympic Odyssey.

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