Meg Aronowitz, ESPN Coordinating Producer
November 28 • 4 p.m.
Meg Aronowitz of ESPN has been chosen to serve as the keynote speaker at the 2012 NFCA National Convention in Orlando, Fla. She is slated to speak during the General Session on Wednesday, November 28, in the Empire Ball Room of the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa.
As a coordinating producer, Aronowitz oversees ESPN's coverage of college softball, soccer, volleyball, Olympic sports and multiple NCAA championships. She also manages ESPNU'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 League World Series. In 2007 Aronowitz was promoted to her current position as coordinating producer. Since then, she has overseen the production of college football, Under Armour events, lacrosse, baseball, wrestling, ice hockey, swimming & diving and 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.
Cindy Bristow, World-Renowned Instructor and Founder of Softball Excellence
“Innovative Strategies and Solutions for Pitching Coaches: Methods for Increasing Your Pitchers' Improvement and Success”
November 28 • 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Cindy Bristow has been involved in virtually every facet of softball throughout her 30-plus year career in the sport.
Collegiately, she played first base at Cal Poly Pomona, where she earned All-American honors before going on to play professionally for the Santa Ana Lionettes.
She coached collegiately as an assistant at Arizona State and as the head at both New Mexico State and Wichita State. In the pro ranks, Bristow served as the head coach and assistant general manager of the Georgia Pride, who later became the Florida Wahoos in the Women's Professional Softball League. In the process she guided the Wahoos to the WPSL Championship and was also selected as the WPSL Coach of the Year.
A NFCA Hall of Famer and former president of the NFCA, Bristow has served as the national director of junior olympic softball for the Amateur Softball Association, as the director of national teams and coaching development for USA Softball and as the director of development for the International Softball Federation (ISF).
She has also authored eight softball instructional books, produced 14 instructional videos, been a featured speaker at hundreds of softball clinics, both home and abroad, and served as a softball analyst on ESPN broadcasts. She is also the founder of Softball Excellence, a popular web-based softball instructional site.
Jen Croneberger, Founder and President, JLynne Consulting Group
“The Five C's of a Mental Game Warrior”
December 1 • 2:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
The former head softball coach at Ursinus College, Jen Croneberger serves as a mental game coach who speaks at clinics, team workshops and corporate seminars.
She was previously the head coach of the Unionville High School softball team for four seasons, taking the team from a two-win season in 2006 to a second-place finish in the division in 2008.
Her softball pedigree includes serving an assistant coach/mental game coach for the Philadelphia Force of National Pro Fastpitch in 2009. She has worked with several Division I programs, including Fordham, Virginia, Connecticut, Rutgers and Drexel on helping them build a strong team chemistry and strong mental game skills.
Croneberger is a certified personal trainer, and certified mental game coach and earned her master's degree in sports psychology from the University of the Rockies in June 2011.
She is the founder and president of JLynne Consulting Group, LLC. where she works with businesses and athletic teams of all ages and levels on peak performance, team chemistry and effective mental toughness skills. Croneberger does a lot of work in the community both as a mentor and an ambassador for the Girls Take Charge Leadership program and through summer camps and youth programs. She was also recognized by the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry as the 2009 Female Business Leader of the Year for her success and work in her community.
Dr. Tim Elmore, Founder and President of Growing Leaders
“The New Wave: Understanding and Connecting With Generation iY Athletes”
November 30 • 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Dr. Tim Elmore is the founder and president of Growing Leaders, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization created to develop emerging leaders. Since founding Growing Leaders in 2003, Elmore has spoken to more than 300,000 students, faculty, and staff on hundreds of campuses across the country, including the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, Duke University, Rutgers University, the University of South Carolina and Louisiana State University.
He has also provided leadership training and resources for multiple athletic programs, including the University of Texas football team, the University of Miami football team, the University of Alabama athletic department and the Kansas City Royals Baseball Club. In addition, a number of government offices in Washington, D.C. have utilized Dr. Elmore's curriculum.
From the classroom to the boardroom, Elmore is a dynamic communicator who uses principles, images, and stories to strengthen leaders. Committed to developing young leaders on every continent of the world, Elmore also has shared his insights in more than 40 countries—including India, Russia, China, and Australia.
Elmore has written more than 25 books, including the best-selling Habitudes®: Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes, Life Giving Mentors and Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child. His newest book Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future was released in August 2010.
Sue Enquist, NFCA Hall of Famer & NFCA Mentoring Session Facilitator
“Roundtable: Recruiting Standards"
December 1 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 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.
Alyson Habetz, Associate Head Coach, University of Alabama
"Championship Outfield Play"
November 29 • 4 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.
If Patrick Murphy has been the face of the Alabama softball program throughout its entirety, Alyson Habetz has certainly played a huge role of her own in developing the Tide into one of the nation's elite. Entering her 15th season as Murphy's assistant, Habetz earned a promotion of her own when Murphy named her associate head coach in the summer of 2007.
Habetz brings a wealth of softball and baseball knowledge to the Tide staff. She joined the program on Sept. 21, 1998, in the program's second year. During her tenure, she has helped Murphy lead the Tide to its first ever national title, eight Women's College World Series appearances and four SEC titles.
Her primary duties include outfield play and team offense. She also contributes significantly to the evaluation of recruits. In the national championship season of 2012, Habetz along with the rest of the staff was named the NFCA National Coaching Staff of the year.
Habetz began her stint at Alabama following a four-year career in women's professional baseball. She joined the pitching rotation with the Colorado Silver Bullets women's professional baseball team in 1995 following her collegiate playing career. She played for the Silver Bullets for three years before joining the Long Beach Aces of the now defunct women's professional baseball league as a first baseman and pitcher in 1998.
While displaying her talents as a basketball player at University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Habetz was also a member of the softball team, earning third team All-American, All-South Region, All-Louisiana and Academic All-American honors with the Ragin' Cajuns. While at USL, Habetz played under Murphy, who was an assistant coach in Lafayette.
She helped lead her team to an appearance in the 1993 Women's College World Series. As a member of the basketball team, Habetz etched her name in the record books, settling in at No. 7 all-time on the career scoring list en route to earning membership in the 1,000-point club. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication in 1995.
In 2006, she was inducted into the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She is also enshrined in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Sports Hall of Fame when she was inducted in 2003.
Scott Hall, Head Coach, Butler University
“Roundtable: Men Coaching Women”
December 1 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Scott Hall, previously one of the most successful high school coaches in Indiana, is about to enter his third season in charge of the Butler program after spending 10 seasons as head softball coach at Pendleton Heights High School.
In his initial season with the Bulldogs in 2011, the team went 32-24 and set a school record for league wins with 14. The team's 14-8 league record clinched a third place league finish while its 32 wins were recorded as the program's second-highest win total. In finishing second at the Horizon League tournament, the Bulldogs' four tournament wins set a school record and tied the 2002 team for the best league finish.
Hall, who also coached softball for two seasons at Shenandoah High School, boasts a 12-year high school coaching record of 285-87 (.793). He guided Pendleton Heights to four state finals' appearances and led the Lady Arabians to state runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2005. He was named Indiana High School Softball Coach of the Year in 2005, and he guided Pendleton Heights to a "Top 25" national ranking in 2006.
During his 12 high school seasons, Hall coached eight conference championship teams, eight sectional championship squads and four regional championship teams. He was named District Coach of the Year four times (2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007), conference Coach of the Year four times (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008), Madison County Coach of the Year twice (2003 and 2008) and Ball State Alumni Association Coach of the Year twice (2007 and 2008). He received a softball service award from the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association in 2009. In all 29 of his former players received college softball scholarships, including 16 to Division I schools.
Hall began his coaching career as head volleyball coach at Madison Heights High School in 1995 and maintained his position through the school's consolidation with Anderson High School in 1997. He coached softball for two seasons at Shenandoah, 1999-2000, before accepting the dual position of head volleyball coach/softball coach at Pendleton Heights in August of 2000.
Hall has been active in the ICGSA and the NFCA. He hosted and assisted with numerous college, high school and youth camps and clinics, and he's served as an instructor at several NCAA Division I softball camps. In 2009, he assisted Butler in hosting the Horizon League softball championship at Pendleton Heights H.S.
A three-sport athlete at Shenandoah High School, 1990-93, Hall attended Ball State University. He earned his B.S. degree in secondary education from Ball State in January of 1999.
Ashley Holcombe Bell, Assistant Coach, Samford University, U.S. National Team Player
“Advanced Catching: Sticking the Pitch”
November 30 • 2:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. • DUAL SESSION
Ashley Holcombe Bell recently completed her first season as an assistant coach with the Samford softball program after spending two years as a graduate assistant at her alma mater, the University of Alabama, first as the director of softball operations (2010) and as a student coach and manager (2011).
Holcombe Bell has participated with the United States Softball Women's National Team from 2009 through 2012. She was on the squad that won gold medals at the World Championship (2010), Japan Cup (2010), KFC World Cup of Softball (2009 and 2010), Pan American Qualifier (2009) and Canada Cup (2009). Holcombe Bell's team also won the silver medal at the Canadian Open in 2011, while she was named the Top Catcher and an All-Star of the event.
She played in National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) in 2009 and 2010 as part of the Rockford Thunder team that won the NPF (2009) and on the second-place Chicago Bandits (2010). Holcombe Bell played collegiately at Alabama from 2006 to 2009 where she helped lead Alabama to the SEC championship in 2006 and to Women's College World Series appearances in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Brian Kolze, Head Coach, University of Pacific
“Offensive Strategies vs. the Off-Speed Pitch”
November 30 • 1:15 p.m. to 2:05 p.m.
Brian Kolze, the winningest coach in Pacific softball program history, just completed his 20th season at the helm of the program. With a 614-505-1 (.549) overall record during his tenure, Kolze is just the third coach in Big West history to reach 500 wins at a conference school. He currently ranks third in all-time wins in conference history and has posted over 200 wins in Big West play.
The 2011 Big West Coach of the Year, Kolze guided the Tigers to their first-ever Big West championship in 2011 after going 16-5 in conference play while posting a 37-19 overall record. With the conference championship, the Tigers picked up their 12th bid to the NCAA tournament and eighth under Kolze.
Under his watchful eye, the Tigers put a record number of players on the all-conference first team in 2011 as Pacific claimed seven spots on the Big West's top postseason team, one better than the previous record. Additionally, the Tigers set program and conference records in hitting during the championship campaign as Kolze guided the Tigers to a .323 average in 56 games, shattering the program's (.299) and Big West's (.311) previous records.
Kolze came to Pacific in 1992 to build the top-25 program he envisioned. He accomplished the feat in just his second year as he led Pacific to a .500 finish in 1994, the first since 1990, with a 30-30 overall record and a 14-18 conference mark. The Tigers were among the top 25 for most of the 1994 season and again broke into the top 25 in 1996, ranking as high as No. 20 in the NFCA/USA Today Coaches Poll.
Pacific made its first NCAA regional appearance since the 1985 season in 1998, as Kolze guided the Tigers to their best-ever Big West Conference record at that time (19-10). For his efforts, he earned his first career Big West Conference Coach of the Year distinction. The Tigers fell just two victories shy of reaching the Women's College World Series.
Kolze is a nationally known clinician, having sat on the legislative committee for the NFCA from 1993-95. He served as chair of the NFCA All-America Committee from 1996-99 and was a member of the NCAA Softball Rules Committee from 1996-99. In 2004-05 Kolze sat as a member of the NCAA Division I Softball Committee.
A 1984 graduate of Cal State Northridge with a journalism degree and a minor in political science, Kolze is regarded as one of the finest recruiters in the country. He has recruited and coached All-Americans at UNLV, Sacramento State and Pacific.
Kolze prepped at Tokay High School in Lodi, Calif., where he played baseball and soccer prior to attending San Joaquin Delta College and Cal State Northridge, where he played baseball.
Lizzy Lemire, Assistant Coach, Notre Dame
"The Musts of Hitting"
November 30 • 9 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.
A former member of the U.S. National Softball Team and 2001 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Lizzy Lemire returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach for the Irish softball team in the fall of 2005.
Lemire works closely with the Irish outfield corps and is also a polished hitting instructor. She has helped Notre Dame advance to the NCAA tournament in each of her seven seasons as part of the coaching staff, including BIG EAST Conference tournament titles in 2006 and 2009.
Notre Dame crushed a number of blue and gold benchmarks under the watchful eye of Lemire in 2010 with single-season program records in the form of a nation-leading batting average (.343), runs (369), doubles (103), home runs (75), RBI (337), total bases (878), slugging pct. (.590), on-base pct. (.409) and fielding pct. (.978). The Irish were second among NCAA teams with 1.75 doubles/game and fourth in slugging pct. In regular season BIG EAST play, the Irish ranked first in slugging percentage (.635), runs scored (150), RBI (134), doubles (46), home runs (31) and total bases (330). The Irish offense continued its impressive play through the 2011 and 2012 campaigns, hitting .330 and .306 overall to rate among the nation's best.
As a player at Notre Dame, she captained the most successful team in the history of the Notre Dame program, powering the Irish to an overall record of 54-7 along with an all-time best No. 7 national ranking and the first No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. As a senior, Lemire hit .324 (including a .383 mark in BIG EAST play) with 38 RBI, 10 stolen bases and three home runs, sharing the single-season record for doubles by logging 17 two-baggers in 1999. Her career numbers included a .332 average, 28 stolen bases, 126 RBI, nine home runs and 43 doubles, while regarded as one of the most fearless and skilled defensive outfielders in Notre Dame history.
Thomas Macera, Head Coach, Valdosta State University
“Roundtable: Hitting Drills”
December 1 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Thomas Macera has quickly established a winning tradition at Valdosta State, leading the Blazers to the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship, the 2010 national title game and four consecutive Gulf South Conference Championships. At VSU, Macera has tallied a 343-85 record, making him VSU Softball's all-time winningest coach.
He and his staff were honored by the NFCA in 2012 as the Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year.
In his time at the helm, the Blazers have never won less than 41 games and have totaled 50-plus victories in a season on three separate occasions.
In addition to his collegiate success, Macera also helped guide the Chicago Bandits of National Pro Fastpitch to a 2008 championship. Macera served as the hitting and infield coach for the Bandits, a team that boasted five U.S. national team players, including Jennie Finch.
In his time at VSU, Macera, who holds both a bachelors (1996) and masters (2003) from VSU, has coached a number of players to individual accolades and team success. He began his coaching career at Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga. where he compiled a 206-67 (.755) record. His 2004 team registered a 53-4 season and ended the year with the NAIA national crown, earning him NAIA Coach of the Year honors.
Brandon Marcello, Director of Sports Performance, Stanford University
“Why Injuries Are on the Rise and What to Do About It”
December 1 • 4:30 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.
Dr. Brandon Marcello was named the Director of Sports Performance at Stanford University in December of 2007 with his role serving to oversee all aspects of athletic performance enhancement for 35 intercollegiate sports.
Marcello has over 16 years of experience in the area of athletic performance, previously serving as the director of performance for USA Softball. Hand-picked by Coach Mike Candrea, Marcello developed and implemented all athletic development programs for United States Olympic softball team.
Prior to his arrival at Stanford, Marcello served as the speed and conditioning coach for the Baylor University women's softball team from 2003-2007.
Formerly the associate director and co-founder of Athletes’ Performance in Tempe, AZ, a world class training facility for professional and elite athletes, Marcello improved the performance of a number of professional athletes from all sports enhancing their strength, speed, flexibility and agility with their unique training methods.
Prior to his work at the Arizona facility, Marcello was also a performance specialist at the International Performance Institute (IPI) of the IMG Academies in Bradenton, FL. There he prepared top college football players for the National Invitational Camp (NFL Combine) dramatically improving their draft status, in many cases to first and second round picks.
A recognized author, Marcello's work appears regularly in various journals, textbooks and periodicals. He has served as a consultant to many top Division I teams, international sports federations, as well as adidas International, Under Armour and Nike.
Marcello holds a PhD in sports nutrition from Baylor. During his time as a research associate within the exercise and sport nutrition laboratory, he completed extensive research in sports supplementation and its application to athletic performance enhancement.
Blake Miller, Assistant Coach, University of Oregon
"Turning the Double Play"
December 1 • 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Returning for his third year as a Duck assistant coach, Blake Miller continues to help the Duck softball program set its sights even higher after two of its greatest seasons ever.
In 2012, UO earned its second-ever Women's College World Series trip, racked up its second-most wins ever (45), and ended the season ranked a best-ever fifth nationally in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls. The Ducks ranked among the top 25 all season long after being tabbed No. 14 in both preseason editions (and part of a streak of 42 straight weeks since 2010).
Against the nation's top softball conference, UO placed third and posted back-to-back top-three Pac-12 finishes for the first time since the Pac-12 expanded to eight teams in 1994. Oregon also beat every league rival in the same season for the third time in that stretch.
The 12-year college coaching veteran joined the Oregon staff after serving as head coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville the previous three seasons. In prior stints, he served as the head coach at Darton College (2006-07) and an assistant coach at East Tennessee State (2005), Missouri Western State (2004) and Mesa State (2001-03).
Altogether during his coaching career, he has coached four All-Americans, nine Academic All-Americans and guided four teams to regional bids and one junior college championship trip.
In his prior coaching stops as an assistant, he helped Mesa State to a pair of NCAA Division II regional appearances (2001, 2002) and an NCAA Division II season home run record (98, 2002), while East Tennessee State set a school stolen base record (98).
Fastpitch softball fans are also familiar with Miller as a seven-time member of the USA Men's National Team. In his 15 years at the professional level, he helped the U.S. capture a gold medal in the 2002 Pan American Qualifier in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and a silver medal in the 2003 Pan-American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard, Author and Nationally-Known Speaker/Consultant
“Stop the Drama: The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams”
November 30 • 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka Doc Robyn) is a nationally known speaker, author, and consultant. A lifelong athlete, she is particularly interested in how female sports teams work together, or don’t, as she witnesses all too often. She holds a Doctorate in the psychology of organizations with a concentration in sport and performance. She understands how human communication, conflict resolution, and peak performance are all intertwined.
Synthesizing her corporate, academic, and athletic experiences with strategies akin to organizational development and executive coaching, Doc Robyn has created a life changing message and success strategy for athletes and their coaches. Her company - Champion Performance Development (www.ChampPerformance.com) - was born out of the frustration that the team development and leadership coaching needs of athletes and coaches were not being met.
Doc Robyn is passionate about the demographic she knows best – female athletes. She founded the "Stop The Drama!" Campaign and wrote the book Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams (www.StopTheDramaNow.com) to share why women engage in backstabbing, gossip, and catty behavior (i.e. drama), what we can do to make it stop and focus our energy on winning. An avid supporter of people who strive to attain the highest level of performance in their lives, Doc Robyn lives by the motto, “Worst case, I want to be neutral to everyone I meet. My goal is to make a positive difference.”
At www.StopTheDramaNow.com you can find a free download of the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama! and the Nine Secrets to Great Teamwork as well as Doc Robyn’s book, audio recordings of select speaking engagements and how to invite her to speak to your team or at your next event.
Barb Sherwood, Assistant Coach, Virginia Tech University
“Roundtable: Pitching Mechanics - Corrections and Modifications”
December 1 • 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
Barb Sherwood is entering her fifth year on the Virginia Tech coaching staff as the pitching coach. She also doubles as the lead recruiter for the Hokies and in the summer of 2009, she served as the head coach of the NPF's Akron Racers. As the field manager of the Racers, she led the team to a second-place finish in the regular season, leading to the entire staff earning NPF Coaching Staff of the Year honors. She was also an integral part in helping the Tech staff earn NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2012.
In her first season at Tech, despite having only two healthy arms to work with a majority of the season, she helped lead the Hokies to 28 wins with eight shutouts. She also guided Kenzie Roark to 22 wins and helped lower her ERA almost a full point from the previous season. In 2010, Roark came on strong late and earned ACC All-Tournament honors.
In 2011, her two main pitchers combined to win 31 games and tied the school record for saves in a season. Last year, junior Jasmin Harrell won 31 games with a career-low ERA and earned second-team all-region as well as state pitcher of the year honors.
Prior to moving to Blacksburg, Sherwood spent a season as the pitching and catching coach at Florida State University. Before her season at FSU, the Pensacola, Fla., native spent two seasons with the University of Wisconsin as an assistant and serving as the pitching and catching coach.
Sherwood earned a degree in physical education from Troy in 1999 and a master's in education in 2000. She was a three-time team captain and helped lead the Trojans to the 1996 Mid-Continent Conference championship and a berth in the 1996 NCAA tournament.
Annie Smith, Head Coach, Georgia Southern University
"Making the Transition from Assistant to Head Coach"
December 1 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Annie Smith is entering her second season as the head coach at Georgia Southern. Under her leadership in 2012, the Eagles posted a school record 42-20 mark with a 22-2 mark in Southern Conference play and also won the SoCon regular season championship. Her squad marched through the SoCon tournament, winning the league's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
She also owns 15 years of experience as a collegiate assistant coach, serving at Missouri for six seasons before heading to Mississippi State for nine years, working with head coach Jay Miller at both schools. She handled hitting instruction and served as recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs, where she was promoted to associate head coach in 2006.
Under the tutelage of Miller, Smith worked with some of the nation's best softball players including seven NFCA All-Americans, a two-time SEC Player of the Year, two SEC Freshmen of the Year, 14 All-SEC selections, 31 NFCA All-Region honorees and three USA Softball national team members. Her student-athletes have succeeded off the field as well, earning 71 NFCA All-America Scholar Athlete selections and a pair of CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic Athletes of the Year. As an assistant coach, Smith reached the postseason nine times with Mississippi State and Missouri.
In addition to her abilities as a softball coach, Smith is a certified strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She also served as a NFCA board member from 2008-2011.
A player at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, Smith received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and psychology in 1995. While at Missouri, she completed her coursework for a Master's of Education degree in Health and Exercise Sciences with an emphasis in sports psychology in 2002.
Shonda Stanton, Head Coach, Marshall University
"Be a Five-Tool Player: Balancing the Game of Life"
November 30 • 2:15 p.m. to 3:05 p.m. • DUAL SESSION
Shonda Stanton enters her 15th season at the helm of Marshall Softball and her 14th season overall as a college head coach. Stanton is the winningest coach in Marshall softball history at 416 wins, recording her 400th career win when the Herd capped off a 8-0 victory over UTEP. She has captured three regular season conference titles while participating in a pair of Conference USA championship games and posting eight 30-plus win seasons.
Since taking over the reins, Stanton has produced 45 all-conference, 20 all-region, one All-American and 45 player/pitcher of the week selections. During six seasons, Herd players garnered a specialty award (2003 Freshman and Pitcher of the Year, 2004 MAC Player of the Year, 2005 MAC Freshman of the Year, 2006 and 2008 CUSA Player of the Year, and 2008 and 2009 Co-Newcomer of the Year).
Since stepping foot in Huntington, W. Va.,, she has wasted no time making an impact on the program. Stanton inherited a team that had won just 11 of 43 conference games in the last two years of conference play prior to arrival and was picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference preseason poll. She promptly led the Herd to an East Division championship and the school's first ever MAC tournament appearance. In 2001, Stanton guided the team to its best mark since the 1996 season, posting a 35-23 overall record.
She spent the 2007 and 2008 summers coaching the professional softball club, Akron Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch league, guiding the Racers to a regular season second-place finish in 2007 with a 26-17 overall record. Her reputation as one of the elite offensive coaches was supported at the professional level when Stanton managed the Racers' leading hitter Norrelle Dickson to a .387 batting average, a league best. Under the tutelage of Stanton, Akron's second baseman Veronica Wootsen snagged the 2007 Nokona Gold Glove Offensive Player of the Year Award.
Stanton received her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While at UNC Greensboro, Stanton was a four-year starter, three-year captain, and was instrumental in the Spartans consecutive Big South Conference crowns.
Beth Torina, Head Coach, Louisiana State University
"Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Pitching Drills"
December 1 • 1:10 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Beth Torina, hired by LSU prior to the 2012 campaign, wasted no time in making her influence felt on the Bayou. She led the Tigers to a 40-win season and helped LSU to its third WCWS in program history and the first appearance since 2004 on the way to a top-10 national finish in both major polls.
A two-time Sun Belt Coach of the Year recipient, Torina previously guided Florida International's program to new heights with a 129-111 record in four seasons. She directed the Golden Panthers to their first NCAA tournament victory in 2010. That campaign also saw FIU sweep the SBC postseason awards as Kasey Barrett was the league's Pitcher of the Year, Ashley McClain was tabbed Player of the Year and Brie Rojas garnered Freshman of the Year status.
On the professional level, Torina spent the 2012 NPF season as the head coach of the USSSA Pride after toiling the two previous campaigns as an assistant.
Torina earned her B.S. in health sciences and occupational therapy from Florida in 2000. During her playing career with the Gators, she was a member of the 1998 SEC regular season championship team as the squad's top pitcher. She posted 60 career wins, which currently ranks tied for fourth in the UF record book.
Erin Van Nostrand, Head Coach, Pacific Lutheran University
“Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Baserunning X's and O's”
December 1 • 12:30 to 1:05 p.m.
Erin Van Nostrand begins her fifth season as Pacific Lutheran University's head coach. She has compiled a 218-126 record over her eight years of coaching experience, and more importantly has a national championship to her credit after leading Pacific Lutheran to the 2012 NCAA Division III title.
Van Nostrand took over a PLU program that had played in the national tournament as recently as 2003, but which had finished higher than fourth place in the conference standings only once since 2005. In each of Van Nostrand's four seasons at PLU, the Lutes have improved their season winning percentage by at least 99 percentage points. The 2012 team won 45 games, shattering the previous PLU softball record of 40 wins in a season.
Van Nostrand came to Pacific Lutheran from Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., where her teams averaged more than 25 wins per season in her four years as head coach.
Van Nostrand led Pine Manor College, like PLU an NCAA Division III institution, to a 31-11 overall record and to the 2008 Great Northeast Athletic Conference championship. The 31 wins tied a school record for most victories in a season. In four seasons as Pine Manor head coach, Van Nostrand compiled a 101-62 overall record, leading the Gators to one GNAC tournament title game and to a pair of semifinal appearances.
Prior to working at Pine Manor, Van Nostrand was varsity softball coach at Freeport (N.Y.) High School, inheriting a 0-22 program and turning it into conference champion within two years.
Van Nostrand graduated from Keene State College in Keene, N.H., in 1999. She was Keene State's starting shortstop for three seasons, helping the school to a NCAA Division III softball regional championship appearance, and she also was a two-year member of the school's basketball team.
Steve Wammer, Head Coach, Northland College
“Roundtable: Who's on First: Innovative Defensive Positioning”
December 1 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
Steve Wammer currently serves as the head coach of the Northland College softball program. During his stint in Ashland, Wis., he has led the LumberJills to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Tournament championship game five times, winning their first tournament championship in 2008 and is the conference's second winningest coach over that time frame. In 2008 he was appointed to the NCAA Division III softball committee where he represented the Great Lakes region for two years.
Wammer, an Audubon, Minnesota native, earned his bachelor's degree from Concordia College (Moorhead, Minn.) and his master's degree from TWU. He has over 20 seasons of collegiate head coaching experience in four different sports. Prior to coming to Northland he coached at McHenry County College (Crystal Lake, Ill.) where he also served as assistant director of athletics & student activities and at UW-Barron County (Rice Lake, Wis.)
George Wares, Head Coach, Central College
"Drills, Drills, Drills, specializing in Defensive Drills"
December 1 • 1:50 p.m. to 2:25 p.m.
A long-time head coach at Central College, George Wares stands as the winningest softball coach in NCAA Division III history.
In 2012, Wares guided the Dutch to their 24th NCAA Division III tournament berth in the past 27 years. In 28 seasons as Central College head coach, Wares has compiled a 945-313-3 record (.750), establishing the mark for all-time Division III wins.
For his efforts, he was inducted into the NFCAHall of Fame in 2007.
Wares piloted the Dutch to national championships in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 2003 with national runner-up finishes in 1986 and 2001. His 24 NCAA playoff teams have finished in the national top five 12 times.
He is currently serving in his second three-year term on the NFCA Division III All-America selection committee, spending two years as chair. He is also the NCAA Division III rep on the board of directors.
A 1976 Central graduate, Wares spent seven years as girls' softball coach at NESCO High School in Zearing, Iowa, posting a 214-94 record and piloting three squads to state tournament berths. He was named all-area coach of the year three times.
Wares served as a high school boys' basketball coach for 18 years, including seven at NESCO and 11 at Pella High School. He compiled a 259-106 career record, earning four state tournament berths, with two state runner-up finishes.
A highly regarded motivational speaker, Wares received a master's degree in counseling from Iowa State University. He worked as an at-risk counselor at Pella High School and as an academic counselor at Central.
Rich Wieligman, Head Coach, Oklahoma State University
“Roundtable: Men Coaching Women”
December 1 • 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.
In a span of just six seasons, head coach Rich Wieligman has returned Oklahoma State Cowgirl softball back to elite status, leading OSU to its seventh Women's College World Series appearance in 2011.
During that magical run to the WCWS, Wieligman led the Cowgirls to the NCAA tournament for the third-consecutive season, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1998 when OSU appeared in its 11th-straight NCAA tournament. Oklahoma State went 40-22 and swept through the Knoxville Regional of the NCAA tournament. After winning the Stillwater Super Regional two games to one over Houston, it was on to Oklahoma City for the WCWS.
He came to Oklahoma State after serving the previous four seasons as the hitting coordinator under Jo Evans at Texas A&M.
In Wieligman's first season at A&M in 2003, the Aggies slugged a school-record 55 home runs. He helped guide the Aggies to a .336 team batting average - tops in the country - in 2005. The Aggies went 47-10 during that season and were eliminated in the Super Regionals, a round shy of qualifying for the Women's College World Series.
Wieligman had a successful playing career, first in professional baseball and then fastpitch softball. He signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as an undrafted free agent in 1985. The Kansas City, Mo., native reached as high as the Triple-A level in the Detroit Tigers organization.
Prior to his stint in the professional ranks, Wieligman was a successful collegiate player, garnering All-America status at Lubbock Christian in 1984, a year after he helped lead the Chaparrals to the NAIA National Championship in 1983. He received his bachelor's degree in education business/physical education from Lubbock Christian in 1985.