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LAS VEGAS -- Record-breaking attendee numbers and keynote speaker Jessica Mendoza highlighted the opening day of the 2017 NFCA Convention at Bally’s Las Vegas. With 1,685 attendees, it is the second straight year the association’s marquee event set a record, eclipsing last year’s 1,592 attendees.

Wednesday kicked off with three, three-hour pre-convention seminars, one more offering for the membership this year. Arkansas assistant coach Matt Meuchel crunched the numbers in “How Statistics & Metrics Can Help You Win More Games”, five highly successful veteran coaches imparted their wisdom in “Lessons in Leadership" and the third year of the Assistant Coaches University.

Following various committee meetings, the Triple Crown Sports “Rookie” Orientation, designed for first-time attendees and led by Nebraska’s Rhonda Revelle, Georgetown’s Pat Conlan, NFCA executive director Carol Bruggeman and Auburn’s Mickey Dean guided members through their first-ever convention.

Led by NFCA president Karen Weekly and the respective NFCA Board of Director Division reps, the membership groups from High School through NCAA Division I brought forth their issues going into their respective caucuses in the brand new Issues Forum.

After Weekly and Bruggeman greeted the jam-packed room during the “First-Pitch” Opening Welcome, a passionate Mendoza addressed those in attendance and urged them to grow the game for the better. They are the ones who can shape young ladies lives.

The evening concluded off with USSSA’s Leadoff Reception as attendees mingled over food, beverages and music.

Thursday will focus on business, coaching milestones, exhibitors, and the first two speaking sessions. Additionally, the always popular mentoring session and two sponsored social events in the Scrap Yard Sports Happy Hour and the Diamond/PGF Social off site at Margaritaville.

Start your Thursday with a bolt of energy during Jenn Williams’ (MIT) early morning Blackjack Bootcamp and grab some food at the Schutt Sports Continental Breakfast. At 8:30 a.m., the NFCA’s membership groups will discuss important topics and issues at their respective caucuses. Following the caucuses, celebrate coaching milestones, while enjoying a hearty meal at the Victory Club Luncheon.

Be sure to check out the sold out exhibit hall with 135 companies in attendance and then listen the NFCA Hall of Famer Mike Candrea lead off our speaker lineup, followed by our Division I Championship Series pitching coaches Melyssa Lombardi of Oklahoma and Florida’s Jennifer Rocha.

In the evening, the mentoring session is followed by the Fireside Chats, which will break into hitting and pitching conversations, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ “Coaching Today’s Athlete.”

Photo courtesy of Jade Hewett

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