Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Keynote Speaker, senior director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation
November 30 • 4:00 p.m.
Hogshead-Makar is one of the foremost champions of gender equity in education, including sports participation, sexual harassment, employment, pregnancy, and legal enforcement under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Her book, co-authored with Andrew Zimbalist, “Equal Play, Title IX and Social Change,” has received acclaim since its release by Temple University Press. She was the lead author of “Pregnant and Parenting Student-Athletes; Resources and Model Policies,” published by the NCAA. In 2009, she brought a successful legal challenge against the Florida High School Athletic Association whose cuts to competitive seasons discriminated against female athletes. In the settlement, the competitive seasons were restored for all high school athletes throughout Florida.
Hogshead-Makar has testified in Congress numerous times on the topic of gender equity in athletics, written numerous scholarly and lay articles, and has been a frequent guest on national news programs on the topic, including “60 Minutes” on CBS, Fox News, CNN, ESPN, NPR and network morning news programming. She serves as an expert witness in Title IX cases and has written amicus briefs representing athletic organizations in precedent-setting litigation. Since 2003, she has been the co-chair of American Bar Association Committee on the Rights of Women. She was elected to the editorial board of the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport in 2009. In 2007, Sports Illustrated named her as one of the most influential people in the 35-year history of Title IX.
Hogshead-Makar has received significant awards recognizing her commitment to athletics, including: a receipt of an honorary doctorate from Springfield College, induction into the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame and the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, membership in the Hall of Fame for the National Association for Sports and Physical Education, and receipt of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators’ Honor Award. In 2011, she was presented with the National Organization for Women’s Courage Award. Hogshead-Makar is a tenured Professor of Law at the Florida Coastal School of Law, where she currently teaches sports law courses. She earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is an honors graduate of Duke University.
President, Tudor Collegiate Strategies
“Developing a Smarter Softball Recruiting Plan”
December 2 • 2:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.
Dan Tudor is the president of Tudor Collegiate Strategies, a consulting firm focused on college athletic recruiting. Tudor, who created the popular "Selling for Coaches" training program for college recruiters, preaches a mantra of more creative communication and effective selling to coaching staffs all across the country.
Previously, Tudor founded one of the nation's largest recruiting services for high school athletes and their parents, showing them how to attract the attention of college coaches and maneuver through the complicated recruiting process. It was then he discovered that most college coaches were just as unfamiliar with how to sell themselves and their programs to the athletes they needed.
Tudor Collegiate Strategies and Selling for Coaches started modestly in 2005, with Tudor sending a free weekly newsletter with recruiting tips and strategies
to about 600 athletic directors and coaches. Now, he has more than 43,000 coaches and athletic directors in college sports who receive the weekly report, "College
Recruiting Weekly." Apart from the newsletter, Tudor holds seminars and visits campuses throughout the country, and serves a growing list of coaches who
retain Tudor and his firm to improve their recruiting messaging efforts.
Sue Enquist, NFCA Hall of Famer
The Mentoring Session Facilitator
December 1 • 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Sue Enquist, former UCLA All-American and coaching great, will once again serve as the facilitator of the popular Mentoring Session at the NFCA National Convention.
Enquist, who concluded her 27-year career as UCLA head coach in 2006, holds more national championships (11) than anyone in the history of collegiate softball. Her 887-175-1 (.835) winning percentage makes her first all-time in Division I coaching, and she is the only person in NCAA softball history to win a championship as a head coach and a player. Hailed a “coaching legend” by ESPN, Sue Enquist’s tenure produced 65 All-Americans and 12 Olympians.
She was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 2006, and also is a member of the Women's Sports Foundation International Hall of Fame and the UCLA Hall of Fame. Enquist is also the recipient of multiple National Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors.
Concluding her UCLA MVP playing career with a career batting average of .401, Enquist is a former world champion and USA National Team coach and player. She played on the first Pan American gold medal team in 1979 and was a member of the USA’s national team coaching pool from 1992 to 1996.
Beyond her roles as coach and player, Enquist is regarded as a leading innovator of softball instructional materials and equipment. In addition to her 25 instructional videos covering all facets of the game, she is the author of the book 101 Offensive Drills for Softball. Together with MLB Player Don Slaught, she co-developed and co-produced RightViewPro hitting instructional software. She is also the inventor of the SB401 training bat, as well as the Kwik-Slide Sliding wrap, which increases player protection when sliding. Her forthcoming book on leadership is slated for release later this year.
Off the softball field, Enquist has gained the reputation as a dynamic and highly sought-after international motivational speaker. Besides speaking for companies and clinics throughout the world, she runs over 30 seminars for parents, coaches and players here in the United States.
She grew up in San Clemente, California, and is a former professional surfer. Today she lives in Huntington Beach, California, where she surfs daily and enjoys spending time with her family.
Larissa Anderson, Associate Head Coach, Hofstra
"Defensive Strategy: Is Your Team Really As Prepared As You Think?"
December 3 • 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Anderson enters her 11th year on the coaching staff at Hofstra in 2012 and her eighth as associate head coach. She has helped the Pride to eight CAA tournament championships and seven NCAA tournament appearances in her first 10 seasons on the staff. She has helped the Pride win 14 NCAA tournament games, including four in 2004, and reach the regional finals four different times (2004, 2005, 2008, 2010). She has also been a part of a Hofstra staff that has won the NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year award five times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008).
Anderson has worked closely with the Hofstra pitching staff during her career, and has helped Pride hurlers win the CAA Pitcher of the Year Award six times in the last seven seasons, including the last five – three in a row from Kayleigh Lotti (2007-09) and two in a row from Olivia Galati (2010-11). Lotti broke school records for strikeouts in a season and career, while Galati has broken single-season records for wins, strikeouts and shutouts. Galati finished second in the country in shutouts with 17 during the 2011 campaign.
Prior to coming to Hofstra, Anderson served as an assistant coach for two seasons at C.W. Post, where she helped the Pioneers to a combined 75-33 record, including a school record 42 wins during the 2000 season. She assisted in all facets of the program at C.W. Post and was in charge of coaching the pitchers and catchers. Her efforts helped the Pioneers to the 13th best team earned run average in Division II (1.11) in 2001. She was also part of a C.W. Post staff that received the NFCA Northeast Region Division II Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2000.
Anderson also served one season as an assistant coach at Gannon University in 1998, after being named a regional All-American outfielder at the school in 1997. She graduated from Gannon that same year with a Bachelor's of Science degree in therapeutic recreation.
No stranger to the Hofstra athletic community before being hired, Anderson spent the 2000-01 academic year as an administrative assistant to the women's basketball program in addition to her coaching duties at C.W. Post.
Anderson currently resides in Levittown, New York, with her husband, Patrick, who finished his third season as the Hofstra head baseball coach in 2011. The couple was married in October of 2001.
Meg Aronowitz, ESPN
“ESPN Television Panel”
December 2 • 2:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.
Meg Aronowitz oversees ESPNU’s coverage of college soccer, volleyball, softball, NCAA championships and high school football as a coordinating producer. She also manages the 24-hour college sport network’s social media efforts, as well as the logistics for the Home Depot College Football Awards.
Aronowitz joined ESPN in 2001 as an assignment editor for Major League Baseball. Shortly after, in 2002, Baseball Tonight won the Emmy Award for best studio show. She was promoted in 2005 to senior production coordinator and handled the MLB, the College World Series and the Little World Series. In 2007, Aronowitz was promoted to her current position as coordinating producer. Since that promotion, she has overseen the production of college football, Under Armour events, lacrosse, baseball, wrestling, ice hockey, swimming & diving as well as track & field events as well as her current responsibilities.
Prior to ESPN, Aronowitz worked at the news desk at CNN in Atlanta, GA. She played softball at Emory University and graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.
Denise Davis, Owner, Planet Fastpitch
“Change-Up: Speed vs. Slow … It’s All About the ‘Role’ of Thumb”
December 3 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Denise Davis is the founder and owner of Planet Fastpitch, LLC (PFP). Located in Uxbridge Massachusetts, PFP trains over 1,000 players and coaches each year inside of a 12,000-square foot performance center. Committed to personalized attention, Planet Fastpitch offers innovative instruction in all softball skills in a supportive environment.
Davis graduated from Rutgers with a B.S. in exercise science and sport management, and then from Rhode Island with a master’s in business administration. While playing softball at Rutgers, she was team captain and earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference, Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference and All-Northeast Region Honors, while helping Rutgers to win the Atlantic 10 championship and a berth to the NCAA regional tournament.
She also played for the Topton VIP’s, earning first team All-American honors at the ASA Women’s Major nationals. She was invited to attend the USA National Team Camp and first ever Olympic Team trials.
Davis served as assistant coach at Rhode Island for six years and later as consultant for several college programs and as a private coach for some professional and Olympic pitchers. She currently is the camp coordinator for the Elaine Sortino Softball School at Massachusetts and pitching coach for a roster of local college pitchers.
Mark Drosos, Head Coach, President, Lodestone Social Media
“From Coach to Chief Marketing Officer: Using Social Media to Promote You and Your Team”
December 3 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Drosos is an award winning digital/social media professional and the founder and president of Lodestone Social Media, a leading sports social media company. Lodestone provides social media services for several well known sports programs including Alabama, BYU, Texas Christian, Southern Methodist, UNLV, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Northwestern, San Diego State, Utah and professional athletes like Tina Charles. In addition, Lodestone serves several brand clients such as Dell, SolarWinds, Eloqua and ASUS computer.
Prior to Lodestone, Drosos was the chief operating officer of Powered (a social media agency acquired by the Dachis Group), vice president of business development and digital marketing at nFusion (an Inc. 500 top 100 fastest growing company during his tenure) and executive director of Worldwide Interactive Marketing for Warner Bros.
He holds an MBA from Southern California and a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State.
Bill Edwards, Head Coach, Hofstra
"Defensive Strategy: Is Your Team Really As Prepared As You Think?"
December 3 • 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Bill Edwards has completed 22 seasons as Hofstra head softball coach, and he has been the architect of a program that has grown to national prominence. As a result of his success with the Pride, he was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in December of 2009.
Edwards has led Hofstra to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament in the 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010 seasons, and helped the Pride capture a remarkable 11 straight conference tournament titles from 1998-2008, which is an NCAA Division I record for softball. His career record stands at 806-376-3 in 22 seasons, ranking him in the top 25 in NCAA history in career winning percentage and making him one of only 19 active coaches with 800 career wins.
In each of the last 20 seasons under Edwards, the Pride has won either a regular-season or a postseason conference title, including the 11 straight tournament championships, breaking the previous record of nine straight conference titles set by Massachusetts from 1995-2003.
This past season, Edwards guided Hofstra to a 40-13 record and picked up his fourth consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Year honor.
Edwards came to Hofstra from Commack High School where he coached softball for nine years. During his tenure at Commack, his teams compiled a 118-61 record and reached the Suffolk County Class A playoffs in seven of those nine years. A teacher in the Commack School District from 1967 through 1999, Edwards coached football and baseball, in addition to softball, at various periods during his career. In addition, Edwards served as head ice hockey coach at Iona College from 1968 through 1979. At Iona, his teams posted a 174-58-14 record and captured four Metropolitan Collegiate championships, and in 1988, Edwards was inducted into the Iona College Sports Hall of Fame.
Edwards and his wife, Janie, have two grown daughters, Shari, who played NCAA Division I softball at Northern Illinois and coached at Hofstra, and Karen, a licensed practical nurse. Edwards received a bachelor's in physical education from Northern Michigan in 1967 and a master's from Stony Brook in 1975. The Edwards family resides in Nesconset, New York.
Emily Friedman, Former Coach and Player
“Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Glove Work Drills”
December 3 • 12:30 p.m. to 1:05 p.m.
Emily Friedman, a 2006 graduate of California, was an assistant at Fordham for three years, following one season as an assistant coach at Vermont.
Prior to Vermont, Friedman played her college ball at Cal where she earned Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors in 2006 as a second baseman. She helped Cal win the Pac-10 championship in 2005 and advance to the Women’s College World Series. Friedman was named to the Pac-10 and academic all-region first teams and was also a third-team Academic All-American selection as a senior.
Following her collegiate career, Friedman was drafted to play for the Philadelphia Force in the National Pro Fastpitch, where she played for four seasons. She also played for the Chicago Bandits.
Since her college days, Friedman has also traveled to Honduras to provide equipment and organize a youth baseball program in conjunction with Peace Corps Volunteers and represented the NPF as an instructor for clinics sponsored by Major League Baseball.
Patti Gerckens, Head Coach, UC San Diego
"Practicing What We Preach: Mental Skills for Coaches and Athletes”
December 2 • 1:15 p.m. to 2:05 p.m.
Patti Gerckens led the UC San Diego softball team to its first-ever national championship in her 19th season as head coach in 2011. In her seventh NCAA postseason appearance and fifth at the Division II level, Gerckens guided the Tritons to a perfect 9-0 record in the NCAA tournament, capping the season off with a 10-3 win over then-No. 1 Alabama-Huntsville in the title game. She finished the season 45-13 and has compiled an overall record of 485-433 in her 19 years on the La Jolla campus.
Since guiding the team’s transition from Division III to Division II in 2001, Gerckens has accumulated a 337-269 record while competing as a member of the ultra-competitive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA), widely considered one of the best Division II conferences in the country. In CCAA play alone, Gerckens has accumulated a 194-158 mark over the last seven seasons.
For their 2011 efforts, Gerckens and assistant coaches Jessica Millsap, Allison May, Nichole Willis and Sara Robinson were named NFCA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year. Gerckens also earned 2011 CCAA Coach of the Year, the second of her storied career.
Gerckens graduated from North Carolina in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. She was a four-year starter at second base for the Tar Heels and also played for the New Jersey Blue Jays of the ASA for nine years, winning a national championship in 1992.
Shanon Hays, Head Coach, Texas Tech
“Driving the Ball: Developing the College Hitter”
December 2 • 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
In two seasons as Texas Tech's head softball coach, Shanon Hays has taken the Red Raiders to two NCAA regional berths and back-to-back 30-plus win seasons, including a 42-16 campaign in 2011 that marked the highest winning percentage in school history.
Under Hays, Tech has consistently produced one of the top lineups in the nation as the Red Raiders spent most of the 2011 season with the highest batting average in the nation before ending the year fourth overall. The squad's 7.17 runs per game ranked fourth as well in scoring nationally, while its .533 slugging percentage was just inside the top 10 nationally in ninth.
He previously served as head coach at Lubbock Christian, where his inaugural team in 2008 compiled a 60-9 record and claimed the NAIA national championship, earning Hays NAIA National Coach of the Year honors. Hays wrapped his two-year tenure at LCU with a 114-16 overall record after advancing to the national championship again in 2009.
He turned to softball after a successful career as a basketball coach that included two seasons on the Texas Tech bench as an assistant coach from 1999-2001 under James Dickey. He also was the associate head men's basketball coach at Houston in 2005-06, and held other positions in the sport at other institutions.
Hays began playing fastpitch softball as a youth, along with baseball and basketball, because his father, the legendary Texas Tech and LCU baseball coach Larry Hays, also played fastpitch softball. Hays, the elder, whose 1,509 career wins were good enough for fourth on the all-time collegiate baseball list, retired as Tech's all-time winningest coach prior to the 2009 season.
Kyla Holas Head Coach, Houston
“Adjusting the Curve Ball To Get Maximum Results”
December 3 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Head coach Kyla Holas embarks on her 12th season at the helm of the Cougar softball program, which she began constructing from scratch in 2001. In the program's 11 seasons, Houston has proven to be a mainstay at the top of the Conference USA standings on the way to national recognition with 10 consecutive winning seasons, four NCAA regional appearances in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011 and two NCAA super regional appearances in 2008 and 2011.
The program under Holas' direction has emerged as one of the top programs in Conference USA. The Cougars are three-time regular-season champions (2007, 2008, 2011) and twice the Conference USA tournament champions (2007, 2008). They became only the second team in conference history to sweep both titles in a season and replicate that feat the following season.
Holas came to the Cougar program from the Florida, where she was responsible for developing the pitchers and catchers for three seasons. She guided the Gators through its inaugural season and through a tough Southeastern Conference schedule. Before going to Florida, Holas spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Northern Illinois tutoring the Husky pitchers and coordinating the academics for the team.
The philosophy towards winning is one that Holas learned as a three-time NCAA All-America pitcher at Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana-Lafayette) after leading the Ragin' Cajuns to a third-place finish at the 1993 NCAA Women's College World Series. She received WCWS All-Tournament Team honors and was a two-time finalist (1993-94) for the prestigious Honda Broderick Cup, a national award given to the top female student-athlete at the NCAA level.
Holas racked up a career 104-20 record, in addition to compiling a .301 career batting average, en route to setting seven school records. Her .839 winning percentage is still in the Top 15 in NCAA record books. In 1999, Holas was inducted into the Louisiana-Lafayette Athletics Hall of Fame. A native of Pasadena, Texas, Holas now lives in Pearland, Texas, with her husband, John, and their sons, Payton and Jase and daughter Brenan.
Eric Kapitulik, CEO & Founder, The Program
"Creating and Sustaining a Championship Culture"
December 1 • 4 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
Eric Kapitulik is the founder and CEO of The Program LLC, a team building and leadership development company for high school and collegiate student-athletes and corporate teams.
Eric Kapitulik was born and raised in Thompson, Conn., and attended Pomfret Preparatory School where he was a three-sport varsity athlete. Upon graduating, he attended the United States Naval Academy and was a four-year varsity letter winner and played on three NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament teams.
During his junior year, Kapitulik received the Lt. JG Frank McKeone Award, given to the Navy player who most demonstrated spirit and sportsmanship and who served as the unsung hero. Kapitulik was also named the Navy’s Most Outstanding Defenseman and received North-South All Star honors his senior year at the Academy. He graduated in 1995 and went on to serve as both an infantry officer and special operations officer with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, 1st Marine Division. As a force reconnaissance platoon commander, he led 20 covert operations specialists in Special Forces-related missions including long-range reconnaissance patrols, hostage rescue, high altitude jump exercises, ship takeovers and gas-oil platform takedowns. He left active duty after eight years of service and graduated from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 2005.
He has been extensively involved with the Force Reconnaissance Scholarship Fund, which he established for the children of six Marines who died in a helicopter crash while serving under his command. Since 1999, he has been helping to raise funds and has done so through public speaking engagements covering “Leadership and Overcoming Adversity” and through participation in Iron Man Triathlons and other ultra endurance races around the world. In addition to finishing eight Iron Man triathlons, Kapitulik has competed in numerous marathons, the Canadian Death Race Ultra Marathon, the Eco Challenge, the American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon and was a competitor on The Outdoor Life Network’s “Global Extremes Challenge.”
Kapitulik is also an avid high altitude mountaineer. He has summated five of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on the seven continents): Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt.Elbrus and most recently Mt. Everest.
Rachel Lawson, Head Coach, Kentucky
“Not a Pitcher? No Problem. You Can Still Be a Great Pitching Coach”
December 2 • 3:15 p.m. to 4:05 p.m.
Rachel Lawson is in her fifth season as the head coach of the Kentucky softball program after being tabbed to the post in July 2007. Lawson has successfully transformed the UK softball program into a national contender in four short seasons. She has guided UK to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and three straight winning seasons for the first time in school history. In 2011, Lawson directed the Wildcats to their first NCAA super regional appearance and finished the season ranked No.12 in the country.
Lawson became just the third head coach in the history of the Kentucky softball program after spending three seasons at Western Kentucky. She also served as an assistant coach at Maryland from 1996-2002 and was the associate head coach of the Philadelphia Force professional team in 2006.
Lawson was a two-time all-conference player at Massachusetts, where she was part of a program that advanced to the 1992 Women's College World Series. During her four-year career at UMass, Lawson helped the Minutewomen post a combined record of 142-68 (67.6 percent) including a 39-3 (92.9 percent) Atlantic 10 mark. Lawson was honored individually for her accomplishments on and off the field. She was both an all-conference and All-Atlantic 10 Tournament performer in 1992 and 1994, and was also named to the A-10 academic all-conference squad following each of her final two seasons.
A 1994 graduate of Massachusetts with a degree in exercise science, Lawson also earned her master's degree in sports management from UMass in 1998. She is the daughter of Elaine and Gerald Lawson and has 12 siblings.
Brent Mayne, Former MLB Catcher
“The Art of Catching”
December 2 • 9 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
Brent Mayne was a major league catcher from 1989 to 2004. He played most of his career with the Kansas City Royals but also spent time with the Mets, A's, Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Dodgers.
He ranks 75th in the history of baseball with 1,143 pro games caught, and his .993 career fielding percentage is 4th all-time. Mayne caught Bret Saberhagen’s no-hitter in 1991, and he also has the distinction of being the only catcher in the 20th Century to have won a game as a pitcher. Offensively, Mayne compiled a career high .301 batting average in consecutive seasons (1999-2000).
Mayne attended Orange Coast College in 1987 and played baseball for his father Mike Mayne. He was inducted into OCCʼs Hall of Fame in 2006. After one year at OCC, he became an All-American at Cal State Fullerton and was drafted in the first round (13th pick overall) of the 1989 draft.
In retirement, Mayne has gone on to serve on the board of directors of the Braille Institute and the Center for Hope and Healing. Heʼs the author of a book titled "The Art of Catching" and creator of a website / blog at www.brentmayne.com.
Diane Milutinovich, Former Associate Athletics Director, Fresno State
“Athletics 101: Title IX Basics and Keeping Your Job”
December 3 • 2:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
Diane Milutinovich served as a head coach and athletics administrator at Fresno State and was an advocate for Title IX, gender equity. She recently retired following a 27-year career at the institution that ended when her discrimination lawsuit was settled for $3.5 million dollars. In recognition of her distinguished service, Fresno State conferred upon Milutinovich the title of “Associate Athletic Director Emerita of the Athletics Department.”
During her tenure as associate athletics director/senior woman administrator, she supervised many areas in the athletics department and served as a sports supervisor for 15 different men’s and women’s sports. She served on many university committees including the Academic Senate, WASC Accreditation and the Gender Equity Monitoring Committee. Milutinovich also served on many athletic conference (NorPAC, PCAA, Big West, WAC) committees and three NCAA committees including the Women’s Committee on Committees, Softball Rules Committee and the Division I Softball Championship Committee, which she also chaired.
Her honors and awards include: 2010 Award of Distinction from NACWAA, the 2009 Distinguished Service Award from CAHPERD and GWS (California Association of Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and Division of Girls and Women’s Sports), the 2008 Woman of the Year in California Senate District 16, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt, Following in Her Footsteps Award from the Fresno Democratic Women’s Club, the 2001 Central Valley Top 10 Business/Professional Women of the Year, the 1999 Promises to Keep Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus-Fresno Chapter, the 1993 Woman of Distinction Award from the Golden Valley Girl Scout Council and in 1991 she received a Tenth Anniversary Vase from the NCAA for her contributions to softball and women’s athletics.
She is also a speaker, consultant and expert witness on Title IX, gender equity and athletics. Recent notable consulting and speaking engagements include as an expert witness in two successful trials regarding discrimination, gender equity and retaliation (2007); panelist for American Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting, and NCAA Gender Equity Forum (2008), and a speaker for NACWAA/Hers Institute for Administrative Advancement (East & West), NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy, NACWAA Leadership Enhancement Institute and NACWAA Executive Institute.
Grant Spear, UNLV Athletics
“Softball Field Maintenance Workshop”
December 3 • 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Grant Spear has served UNLV athletics the last seven years overseeing maintenance of all athletic fields as well as landscapes and turfgrass areas within the campus athletic complex. He supervised landscape and turfgrass maintenance for the UNLV Facilities Maintenance Department for two years before joining athletics.
Prior to coming to UNLV, Spear worked three years as a research and teaching associate at Utah State with the Horticulture Department; six years teaching turfgrass management at Iowa Lakes Community College and four years as a turfgrass applicator with ChemLawn in Des Moines, Iowa.
Spear is a CSFM with Sports Turf Managers Association. He received his B.S. degree in Horticulture and his M.S. in Turfgrass Science from Iowa State University. He and his wife of 26 years, Ruth, have a grown son and daughter and are looking forward to grandchildren in the near future.
Carol Stiff, ESPN Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions
"ESPN Television Panel"
December 2 • 2:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m.
Carol Stiff was promoted to vice president, programming & acquisitions in ESPN’s programming department in April 2010. She previously was senior director, programming & acquisitions, a position she assumed in November 2005. Before that advancement, Stiff had been director, programming & acquisitions and program manager, programming & acquisitions.
In her current role, Stiff is involved in the programming acquisition and scheduling for a variety of sports on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including NCAA women’s basketball, NCAA championships (the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, Frozen Four, College World Series and Women’s College World Series), WNBA, professional softball and more.
Prior to joining ESPN in 1990, Stiff was the first assistant women’s basketball coach and recruiter at Brown (1988-89) after serving as head women’s basketball coach and physical education instructor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. from 1985-88. Stiff began her coaching career at Western Connecticut State where she served as head field hockey coach and assistant women’s basketball coach from 1983-85. She also worked as a part-time elementary school physical education teacher.
Stiff is a member of several professional groups, including the Women’s Sports Foundation, appointed to the USA Women’s Basketball Standing Committee, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors and has served as a panelist and/or lecturer for several sports-related events. Adding to her list of credentials, Stiff was inducted into the Connecticut Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2005; was named the “Top Advocate for Women’s Basketball” by the Tampa Tribune in 2008; in 2009 Sports Business Journal recognized her as one of the most influential executives leading the way in women’s sports; and was recently awarded the 2011WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award for her commitment to women’s basketball and advancing the role of the media in the game.
Stiff graduated from Southern Connecticut State in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. While in school, she competed in both basketball and field hockey. In 1989, Stiff received her master’s degree in human performance/physical education from SCSU. She is a native of Bernardsville, N.J.
Vann Stuedeman, Head Coach, Mississippi State
“Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Pitching Drills”
December 3 • 1:50 p.m. to 2:25 p.m.
Vann Stuedeman became the fifth head softball coach in Mississippi State history in the summer of 2011, after serving as the pitching coach at Alabama for 11 seasons where she helped the Crimson Tide reach the Women's College World Series six times and claim three Southeastern Conference regular-season titles.
Stuedeman has guided 10 pitchers to All-American honors in the past seven seasons and had at least one All-American under her tutelage for six consecutive seasons. During her tenure in Tuscaloosa, Alabama hurlers combined to post a 579-149 (.795) record and tossed 22 no-hitters. The Crimson Tide ranked in the top 20 nationally in ERA five of the past six seasons and led the SEC in 2011.
Prior to joining Patrick Murphy's staff at Alabama, Stuedeman coached at West Alabama, Alabama-Huntsville and East Limestone High School. A native of Birmingham, she's a 1994 graduate of Huntingdon College, where she was an All-American pitcher during her four-year career. During her four years at Huntingdon, she helped the team reach the national tournament twice, both times finishing third.
She went on to become a graduate assistant at the West Alabama while earning her master's degree in elementary education. While at West Alabama, Stuedeman helped lead the team to the Gulf South Conference championship in 1995, while the team's head coach was away from the team on maternity leave. The championship was the first in the '90s for the West Alabama program and the first winning season of the decade as well.
After spending two seasons at UWA, Stuedeman went to Alabama-Huntsville as an assistant coach for her sister, Les Stuedeman, for the next three years. She was also a part of the staff that was named South Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 1999. She then accepted the head coaching position at East Limestone High School, in Limestone County, where she led the team to its first winning season since 1994, finishing one game shy of the state tournament.
John Tschida, Head Coach, St. Thomas
“Hitting Drills To Correct Faults”
December 3 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
John Tschida is regarded among the elite coaches in all of college softball, as well as one of the top speakers in the game. In 2004 he became the first softball coach to win NCAA championships at two different schools. He's been named NFCA Division III National Coach of the Year twice in the last six seasons.
In the last eight years, Tschida has guided the Tommies to victories in 15 of 21 postseason tournaments (MIAC, regional, NCAA finals). The 54-12 overall postseason record includes a 24-0 mark in the MIAC playoffs, and an overall record is 343-43 (.889). In 17 years of college coaching, Tschida has won three national championships and became the winningest Division III coach, active or retired, (winning percentage, .854) with a 655-112 record.
The 2011 Tommies posted a 42-6 record (22-0 MIAC), winning both the regular-season and postseason crowns. They also improved to 24-0 all-time in the conference playoffs with eight titles in the eight-year history of the tournament. In addition, UST's John Tschida was named MIAC Coach of the Year. Tschida guided the Tommies to a 22-0 run to the MIAC championship and a 3-0 sweep of the MIAC playoffs. UST lost to No. 3-ranked Luther in the NCAA playoffs and finished the season ranked 20th in the final Division III rankings.
Tschida has been named MIAC Coach of the Year nine of his 17 years. His teams have been nationally ranked each year, and in the last 15 seasons have posted a 295-14 record in conference regular-season play. In 11 seasons at St. Thomas, his teams have swept 112 conference twinbills, split eight and were swept just once, and in all games vs. conference opponents are 257-10 (.963).
As a player, Tschida is a three-time ASA Class "A" All-American. He has competed in several ISC World Tournaments, ASA National Tournament, and NAFA World Series. In 1998, Tschida was the leadoff hitter for the ASA Class "A" National Champion DMS Knights. In 2001, his Knights finished 10th in the world championships.
“Getting the Most from the Umpire/Coach Relationship”
December 2 • 4:15 p.m. to 5:05 p.m.
The NCAA's Softball Umpire Program leadership will be on hand to discuss the umpire/coach relationship, with information on how best to approach an umpire with a question (going for help), misapplication of the rules, clarification of a call, and more. A question and answer segment will also be part of the presentation. Key members of the program are:
Susie Benzel is a long-time NCAA umpire and has worked four Women's College World Series and multiple NCAA regional and super regional tournaments. In addition, she has organized, conducted and attended many college umpire training camps.
Greg Schmidt is the chairman and CEO of the California Collegiate Softball Umpires Association, worked as an observer for the NCAA's Softball Umpire Improvement Program in 2010 and currently serves as an observer for the Pac-10 and Big West Conferences. A former umpire, Schmidt worked both Division II and Division III national championship games as well as several Division I regional and super regional tournaments.
Sally Walker is the athletics director at Urbana University High School. She served as an NCAA umpire from 1995-2009, working four Women's College World Series, five Division I super regionals and 11 Division I regionals. She has also worked as an assignor for the NFCA Leadoff Classic and is currently the Missouri Valley Conference Coordinator of Umpires.
Ed Whipple has been an ASA registered umpire since 1967. He has worked multiple ASA national tournaments, two National Pro Fastpitch World Series, two Division II national championships and numerous Division I conference, regional and super regional tournaments. In addition, Whipple serves on the Florida High School Athletic Association Umpire Advisory Board and has been the organization's lead clinician for the last 10 years.
Donna Vavrinec is a retired high school science teacher. She has worked four Women's College World Series, two Division II and eight Division III national championships along with multiple regional and super regional tournaments. In addition she has observed, trained and evaluated umpires at various umpire training camps and for the previous NCAA Softball Umpire Improvement Program.
Karen Weekly, Co-Head Coach, Tennessee
“Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Slapping/Short-Game Drills”
December 3 • 1:10 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
A 15-year collegiate softball head coaching veteran boasting 737 career wins, Karen Weekly preps to enter her 11th season with her husband Ralph at the helm of the Lady Volunteer softball program. The Weeklys have guided UT to a staggering 514 victories and four top three national finishes in the Women’s College World Series (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010), since arriving prior to the 2002 season.
Karen was Ralph’s top assistant at Pacific Lutheran from 1987-94 after earning her bachelor’s degree in history and political science magna cum laude from the university in 1987. The duo spearheaded the Lutes to NAIA national championships in 1988 and 1992 and a runner-up finish in 1990.
At PLU, where she was known as Karen Kvale, Weekly excelled as a student-athlete. She was named Female Athlete of the Year and led NAIA hitters with a .440 batting average during her All-America senior season. Her skills were not limited to the diamond either, as she was a three-year starter on the basketball team. With a 3.8 grade point average, Weekly was a two-time Academic All-American, garnering honors in 1986 and 1987. In both ’85 and ’86, she was the recipient of the prestigious Pacific Lutheran University Undergraduate Fellow/Division of Social Sciences Award.
She later earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Washington’s School of Law in 1990. At Chattanooga, Weekly was an assistant professor in the College of Business Administration from August 1995 until May 2001, where she taught a course entitled the “Legal Environment of Business.” Between 1996-99, she served on the UTC Faculty Committee on Student Rating of Faculty Instruction. In addition, Weekly was an administrative law judge and a member of the school’s Gender Equity Committee from 1996 until her departure from Chattanooga. She remains an administrative law judge at the University of Tennessee.
Weekly currently is the NFCA Division I representative to the NFCA Board of Directors and also holds membership in the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. She is a member of the American Bar Association and is permitted to practice law in the states of Tennessee and Washington. Weekly is currently serving as a member of the coaching pool for the various teams associated with the USA Softball program. She traveled to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., in June 2011 to help with the USA Softball Women’s Senior National Team Selection Camp.