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NTIS Taskforce talk about USA Baseball ....
President Caliendo Sports International - Former USA Baseball National Team Coach
Pete brings unmatched experience and expertise to the development of baseball skills to players and coaches. His vast knowledge and worldwide presence has earned Pete immeasurable respect within the baseball community. His devotion to the game of baseball is greatly admired by those who have crossed his path.
Pete started his baseball career at the World Famous Mickey Owen Baseball School where he started as a student, then became a counselor and at the young age of 17 began his coaching career with the 12 u program. Later he because the Director of Baseball instruction for the 12 U Baseball program along with coaching the high school age teams. Along with his student/counselor/coach responsibilities Pete studied at the Mickey Owen Umpire School under minor league umpire, Carl Lewton and he umpired over 100 games each summer. After 10 years at Mickey Owen Pete started a satellite program in the Chicago land area called Baseball Schools USA, a division of Mickey Own Baseball School. He set up over 25 schools throughout the Chicago land area which averaged over 60 players a camp. In the next expansion program Pete headed up two other states for Baseball Schools USA. These schools were standardized with special technology, standardized wording, drills, fundamentals and lots of fun games to keep the consistency of the program.
Pete is currently the President of Caliendo Sports International, a worldwide baseball company that trains individuals, teams, coaches and deals in professional baseball operations worldwide. Pete's company takes teams, coaches, players and parents all over the world to experience international and cultural experience. Training volunteer coaches has been a specialty of Caliendo Sports International for over 35 years. Pete is a large proponent of a national certification program for volunteer coaches for the purpose of long term development of players. His 35 plus years of training coaches around the world continues by being a volunteer as Vice president of the International Sports Group a non profit organization which host coaches training programs around the world for over 25 years.
As a skills development coach, Pete has provided hundreds of youth coaches training programs throughout the world. To support this knowledge base, he has produced 5 baseball instructional tapes ("Coaching Made Easy") used as a benchmark resource by coaches across the country. Along with his partner in Canada he has developed an on line coaches certification program. Pete presented twice at the National High School Coaches Clinic as well as 14 additional high school Association Clinics in the USA and has presented in 20 separate countries.
For over 7 years Pete taught a one week coaches certification class in Mexico for the Mexican Baseball Federation in Mexico City. He currently ran a one week certification class in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Baseball Association.
As of 2009, Pete is heading up the Great Lakes Region for (NTIS) USA Baseballs National Team Identification Program for possible national team players. The Great Lakes Region consists of 5 states, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tryouts for potential national team players are held in each state at the ages of 17u, 16 u, 14 u, 13u and 11 under. Pete administers workouts throughout the states to identify possible national team players.
As Director of Baseball Operations and Coach for the Schaumburg Flyers, a professional independent team based in Illinois, Pete had over 26 players sign with major league organizations. The Flyers made it to the play offs in their opening season. As Player procurement Director for the North Shore Spirit, Pete put together the full roster of 22 players that went on to the Northeast World Series.
Internationally renowned, Pete served as the Director and Coach of The Pan Am Baseball Association, a pilot program started by the former CEO of USA Baseball Dick Case. This organization won 3 gold and 3 silver medals for the USA in the Pan Am Games, including the Gold over Cuba. From the six year program of 16 year old players it had produced over 20 players in the major leagues. After the six yearsUSA baseball made it an official USA Baseball 16 u national team program. His experience also includes coaching the Belgium Baseball Federation National Team and the 1999 Team USA, a team with professionals that competed in Australia's Intercontinental Cup. Pete also served as Director for USA Athletes International's Baseball Operations. While living in Europe, Pete became an associate scout with the Toronto Blue Jays for European baseball.
Pete currently services on two committees for the World Baseball Softball Confederation (Known before as IBAF, International Baseball Federation). Entering his 13th year as a Technical Commissioner for the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), now called the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), Pete served as the head of the technical committee for the 2009 historical World Baseball Cup in Europe which was held in 7 countries with 22 nations participating. Pete also was involved with the baseball Olympics in Beijing China and served on the IBAF Steering Committee along with the Pan Am Games in Mexico as the head of the technical committee and the Olympic Qualifier in Havana Cuba. Pete also currently serves on the IBAF Development Committee.
Pete completed his European tour as T-5 Sports Agency's worldwide Baseball Operations Director. He then returned to the U.S. as a Coach and Baseball Operations Director with the Schaumburg Flyers. Following that stint, Pete became Calgary's Professional Baseball President, a Northern League organization. Pete has also coached in the United States with the World Famous Mickey Owen Baseball School, Doyle Baseball and the Billy Williams Baseball School.
As a volunteer Pete also served 10 years as President of the prestigious Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago. A professional baseball organization which honors professionals in the game and raises funds for scholarships. Pete severed a few years as a Board Member of the Pitch and Hit Club. As an active community supporter, Pete was also a board member for the Greater Woodfield Sports Council. And the Italian American Association awarded him the prestigious "David Award" which recognizes business excellence.
In January 2011 Pete received the American Baseball Coaches Association Meritorious award. The ABCA is the largest baseball organization of college and high school coaches in the U.S.
He attributes his success in life to his parents upbringing of him and his brother Paul. "My parents made the ultimate sacrifice coming to the USA at a very young age from Italy, not knowing anyone so that my brother and I would have a better life". His continual support comes from his parents Sam and Vivian, brother Paul and beautiful wife Beverley who is always there to encourage him and assist him in any way. Jordan his step daughther has been a big part of his life in watching her grow up to be a bright young beautiful women. He continues to receive encouragement from his aunt in Italy and says without family no man can accomplish anything.
Richard Speas brings a diverse background of baseball coaching, sports marketing, and intercollegiate athletic administration to the Great Lakes NTIS region.
Speas, a native of Union, Iowa, currently serves as the Executive Director of Oskie Prep, a non-profit organization focused on the establishment of a network of post secondary prep academies. Prior to his return to Iowa, Speas served as the Director of Athletics at several colleges, including Blinn College (TX), Western Texas College, Peru State College (NE), and Southern Virginia University. Noted for his success in fundraising and community relations as a collegiate athletic administrator, Speas' teams were successful on the field, capturing national championships at Blinn College, and Western Texas College.
The Speas slate also includes seven years as the head assistant baseball coach at William Penn University (IA) and one year as the head coach at Southern Virginia University. The William Penn program held a national ranking in each year during his time there, and established a national record for slugging percentage at the time.
As the Regional Director of Operations, Speas and Pete Caliendo operated a network of baseball days schools for Baseball Schools USA during the late 1980's. The baseball schools enrolled over 3,000 students during summer camps and included camps in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Omaha, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.
Prior to sports marketing, Speas served as a high school head baseball coach in Iowa and Illiniois. Speas was also an associate scout with the Texas Rangers.
Richardson has been coaching amateur baseball since 2001 when he assisted Bill Angelo at Elgin Community College. During his tenure at ECC the Spartans set team records for most wins (54), runs scored (547), hits (680) and stolen bases (188).
Since 2007 Coach Richardson has served as the Varsity Baseball Assistant Coach and Hitting Coordinator at St. Charles North HS (IL). Since joining the program Coach Richardson's NorthStars have set team records for most wins (33), batting average (.370), hits (394), slugging percentage (.531), on-base percentage (.464), rbi's (281), doubles (76) and homeruns (27). They have also won 3 regional championships in the last 5 years and 2 Upstate Eight Conference Championships.
in 2010 Richardson helped recruit and select the Great Lakes Regional Teams that participated in USA Baseball's NTIS Program. He also coached the 15U's on the field at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC.
Collegiately Richardson played at Elgin Community College where he was a first team All-Skyway Conference selection and a first team All-NJCAA Region IV selection. Richardson continued his playing career at the University of South Carolina-Upstate where he lead the team in on-base percentage and finished second in batting average before a shoulder injury ended his career.
Richardson has his BA in Organizational Leadership from Judson University and his MA in Psychology from National-Louis University. JR currently resides in Elburn, IL with his wife Kathy.
Marc Besteman is a young up and coming baseball professional in Illinois . He was one the youngest Head Varsity Coaches in IHSA history at age 24 when he was named Head Coach at Guerin Prep in 2009. After Guerin he spent two season as the hitting coach at Oakton Community College. In his first season at OCC the raider hitters finished 8th in the nation with a 364 team batting average and broke the school record for team home runs (72) and runs scored.
Marc's playing career includes spending time with the Canadian Junior National Team, a season with North Central Texas JC, and being a 3 year starter at Northern Illinois University.
Bobby Roan has been coaching, teaching and lecturing baseball over 30 years. From being an assistant coach on the 1986 University of Arizona College World Series champion team, head baseball coach of two colleges, an associate scout for two major league baseball organizations and owning a baseball/softball training business Bobby has done it all.
As a coach Roan's college teams were leaders in the national rankings in hitting and base stealing. 1995 earned him the baseball coach of the year in the Arrowhead Conference. Bobby spent 12 years in the college dugout 7 years as an assistant and 5 years as the head at 5 different institutions. The highlight being on Jerry Kindall's staff at the University of Arizona and winning the 1986 NCAA College World Series National Championship.
The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks were two MLB organizations that used Roan's expertise in evaluating players. Former major league area scout Mike Daughtry called Bobby "One of the best coaches of catchers" he ever knew.
Currently Roan is a coach and scout on the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series and owns ROAN Baseball/Softball Training, Inc.
Dan played professional baseball from 1993-2001 in the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets minor league system. He played in the Chinese Baseball League and with Team USA in Sydney, Australia (Intercontinental Cup). He then spent one year as the hitting coach for the Batavia Muckdogs (Single A) and four years with the St. Louis Cardinals as their Bullpen Assistant, including the Cardinals 2006 World Series Championship team. Dan is currently the Executive Director of the Indiana Bulls and resides in Noblesville, Indiana with his wife Lynn and their two children, Tea and Boston.
Head Coach: 16U Regional Team
Terry Ayers loves the game of baseball and has dedicated his life to coaching. After graduating from Western Michigan University in 1966, where he played for ABCA Hall of Fame Coach Charlie Maher, Terry received his Masters of Arts degree from Northwestern in 1970 and was a graduate assistant in football. His high school coaching career began in 1972 as head baseball coach at Fenton High School in Bensenville Illinois, where he had a lifetime career record of 334 and 231 until retiring in 1989. After Fenton, Terry coached AAU baseball taking them to the National tournament three times and had a lifetime record of 198 and 79.
In 1990 Terry became the regional Director for Doyle Baseball School. As regional director he was the lead instructor in hundreds of baseball schools for players and coaches. Giving coaching seminars in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois. He also is a member of the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago where he serves as Secretary and Board of Directors. He co-chairs the annual Showcase for the Club. In 2009 received the Pitch and Hit Club Charlie Hum Service Award for contributions to the community service in baseball.
Terry has spoken at several state coaches clinics Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma, as well as the National Baseball Coaches Clinic in 1999, as well as the American Baseball Coaches Association Clinic in 2001. Terry has attended every clinic since 1973. He serves on the ABCA Hall of Fame Committee for the past twenty-one years also, served on the expatiators committee for five years prior to being on the Hall of Fame Committee.
In 1999 Terry was elected into the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He received the Len Diforte Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. Other honors are coaching in the Pan American Games and International baseball in Europe.
In 2006, Terry came out of retirement after his son was finished playing college baseball at the University of Louisville. He is currently the volunteer assistant Pitching Coaching at St. Charles North High School, in St. Charles Illinois. Helping the team win a Conference Championship in 2007 as well as the Regional Championship in 2007 and 2008. The team has compiled a record of 78 and 29 with a team era of 2.15 this past season.
Terry lives in Elgin Illinois with his wife Carole, they have two children, daughter Sarah and son Stephen. Both children are married and he is now a grandfather too.
Assistant Coach: 14U Regional Team
Gord began his coaching career at Play Ball USA in Des Plaines, IL and purchased the facility from previous ownership in 2008. He has coached at every level of amateur baseball including two years in the college ranks (Harper/2005 & Oakton/2009). Nelson's coaching career followed a successful playing career which started at Buffalo Grove High School where he was an All-Area player and the Mid-Suburban League East Player of the Year in 1999. The numbers he put up as a senior at BGHS earned him a scholarship to play NCAA Division I baseball at the University of Illinois @ Chicago. While at UIC Nelson was twice named to the All-Horizon League Team and started for the Flames for four years at 5 different positions (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS). The versatility Gord showed as a college player allowed him to sign a professional contract with the Schuamburg Flyers in June, 2004. Nelson found himself playing all over the field in his 3 years as a Flyer and eanred a spot on the 2006 Northern League All-Star team after setting career highs in hits, stolen bases (27), and set a all-time Northern League record by being hit by 28 pitches. After the 2006 season Gord signed a contract with the Houston Astros and went to spring training with the club in 2007 as a catcher. He then finished the season with the Kansas City T-Bones where he set career highs in 2Bs, HRs and RBIs. On September 2, 2007 Gord was honored and played all 9 positions in a 9 inning game. He also went 2 for 3 in the game, capping off what was to many a mediocre career, but to him a "dream come true". Gord's passion is in helping kids both on and off the field. His work with groups such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Pitch & Hit Club of Chicago, the ABCA (American Baseball Coaches Association) and the APBPA speaks volume about his love for our national pastime. Nelson and his wife, Sarah, reside in Wheeling and they have a daughter, Lacey Marie, who was born in June 2009.
Justin is the lead instructor at the Bulls/Sox Training Academy and is in charge of Academy Elite Programming. Justin is a former Division 1 collegiate player and coach and is currently one of the most sought after hitting instructors in baseball. There is nothing that Justin's trained eye can't see and that has resulted in hitter after hitter finding their stride under Justin's tutelage. In fact, 21 of them have signed professional contracts. Justin has spent hours and hours with White Sox Hitting Coach, Greg Walker, either at U.S. Cellular Field or in spring training working with the Major League club while refining the teaching techniques that he employs each day at the Academy. Justin also works very closely with the White Sox scouting department in evaluating talent. As good as Justin is as a hitting instructor, he's equally magical with middle infielders. His catching and pitching skills are also extraordinary. All this adds up to a teaching package that can handle your every need. It also means that Justin is in very high demand and will often be booked months in advance. Don't despair; every instructor at the Academy has passed Justin's personal evaluation so your athlete will be in good hands regardless of instructor choice.
Fifteen years in professional baseball as a player, scout, hitting coach or manager.
Six years of professional managing and hitting coaching experience with the Florida Marlins organization and for Washington of the Frontier League.
Seven years as a professional baseball player for the following MLB organizations: Montreal Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and in the Frontier and Northern Leagues.
Two years as an associate scout for the Baltimore Orioles.
Owner and director of the Elite Baseball Academy; home of the Premier Midwest Catchers Camp.
Two time NAIA All-American Honors as catcher, playing at Mayville State University.
2010 Minnesota American Legion Graduate of the Year.
Four years of Premier Collegiate Summer League Coaching Experience: Northwoods League Manager and Hitting Coach; Alaska Baseball League Hitting Coach.
Three years as head baseball coach for Oregon High School, WI.
Five years as assistant baseball coach for Madison Area Technical College, WI.
Played four years of college baseball, graduated from Mayville State University. Played baseball at Ada-Borup high school, MN.
Head Coach: 14U Regional Team
Paul Belo is a 1990 graduate and former player (1988, 1989) of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, Paul is entering his 25th year as an educator for Township High School District 211, holding master degrees in Educational Administration, Curriculum & Instruction and Exercise Science. The 2016 season will mark Paul's 19th season as a Head Coach and his 13th at the helm of the Palatine Pirate Program. In all, Coach Belo's efforts have produced over eighty collegiate athletes, multiple professional athletes, as well as division, conference, regional and sectional team titles. Paul is the President of the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association, an accredited clinician, and a former Associate Scout for the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Coach Belo and wife Debbie, currently reside in Algonquin, Illinois. They have three children, Taylor, Madison, and Bryan.
Assistant Coach: 15U Regional Team
Paul Twenge was named as the Minnetonka High School activities coordinator and head baseball coach starting with the 06-07 school year. Coach Twenge spent the prior 19 years as head baseball coach at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he also served in various athletic administrative positions. Before his years at Valparaiso, Paul spent six years as director of athletics at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, where he was also head baseball coach. In addition to coaching the Skippers, Paul has joined the staff of the Excelsior Legion baseball team. Coach Twenge has a Bachelor of Science in social science and physical education from Mayville State University in Mayville, ND, and a Master of Science in health, physical education and recreation from South Dakota State University. He and his wife Dawn have three children: Alyson, Alex and Axel.
Head Coach: 13U Regional Team
Scott has been involved in amateur baseball for several years and is currently the director of the youth travel programs for Elite. Christy is also the Head Coach for the 13U Great Lakes regional team for the National Team Identification Series. Scott is in charge of identifying the regions top 13U players and leading them in a weekend tournament at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Head Coach: 11U Regional Team
Matt Mahay joined the Play Ball USA team in January of 2008 as a hitting instructor. In the following years Matt rose to facility manager and program coordinator before taking over as General Manager. In the Summer of 2013 Matt, along with Ross Wolfson purchased the business from former owner Nelson Gord.
Matt spent four years as a varsity outfielder for the North Central College Cardinals, while also seeing time at first base and on the mound. In 2007, Matt led the Cardinals in hitting as a Jr. and finished his Jr. and Sr. seasons ranking first or second in nearly all major offensive categories. Matt's experience also extends to four summers of semi-pro ball in the Chicago Suburban Baseball League as an Oak Forest Shooter. In the summer of 2007 Matt was one of two Division III players to be named to the league's all-college team.
Coach Mahay has experience working with a variety of ages and experience levels. He is currently a member of the Illinois Indians coaching staff and oversees the youth level program for the Illinois Travel Baseball Club. In 2013 Matt was named Head Coach of the USA Baseball NTIS Great Lakes 12U team that competes annually in Cary, NC at the USA Baseball Complex.
Dominic Shaun Robinson
Iowa Director NTIS/Coach 11U Regional Team
Assuming the duties as the Iowa Director of the National Team Identification Series for USA BASEBALL. Dominic is a coach, mentor and teacher who has made it his life's work to use the knowledge and experience obtained in athletics to teach, train and advance children into respectful, ACCOUNTABLE, well-rounded young adults; Prepared daily for sports, school and life beyond.
A former 2 sport athlete at Florida State University, Coach D Rob has been blessed by the wisdom of many great teachers; from Bobby Bowden, Deion Sanders and Mike Martz to Mike Martin, Jake Epstein and Joe Mauer. Coach knew at a very young age that his passion was to share every bit of knowledge being imparted to him with others, which led him to create D. One Training Academy in 2006 while living in Tallahassee, Florida.
He was pulled back into coaching college football for a few years by Darryl Dickey who was his Offensive Coordinator at FSU. That path in a round about way led him to Des Moines where he's settled down with his wife (Mary Beth) and 3 Boys. Duce, Dyson and Dash. Thus 3D Sports Performance was birthed in December 2012 when he also became a certified hitting instructor to go along with his expertise in speed, strength and agility training. The 3D baseball program will roll out 5 teams for the 2015 baseball season with ages from 10-13. Coach Robinson also coached a 15U fall BASEBALL TEAM in 2013, preparing them for their first year of high school baseball. Many of those athletes went on to make their varsity teams this season. This year he will also coach the cornerbacks at Drake University in the Fall.
Head Baseball Coach at Benet Academy Lisle, Illinois
Division one College Coach for ten years
Associate Head Coach at University of Notre Dame and University of Arkansas Little Rock
Division one Pitching Coach at Notre Dame, Evansville, Arkansas Little Rock
Infield Coach at Notre Dame, Outfield coach at Northern Illinois
Hitting Coach at Notre Dame and Northern Illinois
Recruiting Coordinator for 9 years
2011 Team USA 18 and Under TOS Coach/Scout
Coached 3 nationally ranked college teams
Coached 52 players that have went on to play professional baseball
Recruited 35 players that have went on to play professional baseball
Clinic Speaker at the Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Arkansas HS Coaches State Clinic
Youth/HS baseball trainer for ten years in all aspects of baseball and HS coach for two years
Two-way college player
Speaker at the ABCA national baseball convention 2013
Recruited 5 nationally ranked recruiting classes, 2007 4th ranked at Notre Dame (highest ranked class collegiate baseball 2007), 4 Conference Rookie of the years, and 5 Freshman All-Americans.
· USA Baseball 18 U National Team Coach
· Gold Medal Coach
· Two time Gold Medal winner as the TEAM USA 18 under pitching coach the last two years.
· 2011 USA Baseball Pitching Coach 18 and U, Cary, North Carolina
· 2008-2011 Assistant Baseball Coach Midland College Midland, Texas
· 2005-2008 Head Baseball Coach University Of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas
· 1984-2005 Associate Head Baseball Coach Texas A&M University College Station, Texas
· 1980-1984 Head Baseball Coach University of Texas at El Paso El Paso Texas
· 1978-1980 Head Baseball Coach Gonzaga University Spokane, Washington
· Drafted by New York Yankees 1972, played 1 year in Minor League Baseball
· Speaker at NCAA National Baseball Convention multiple times
· Awarded National Assistant Baseball Coach of Year 2005
· Produced Video, "Pitching Mechanics By Jim Lawler" in 1992, sold nationwide
· Produced Iphone app, "Jim Lawler Baseball " (JLB) in 2010
Played at Iowa Western C.C. 1983-1985/ Grand View University 86-88.
Director of instruction at Speas Sports Baseball Academy 1989-1991.
Instructor at Baseball Schools USA and Billy Williams Baseball Academy
Director of youth camps and head of instruction at the River City Rascal
Chris is currently is a Scout with the Philadelphia Phillies and prior to that he was the Field Manager/Director of Baseball Operations for the Texarkana Gunslingers Pro Baseball Club. Prior to his position with the Gunslingers, McKnight was an 19 year NCAA Head Coach/Associate Director of Athletics at Frostburg State University and Dowling College. At FSU, McKnight led the Bobcats to 8 straight post season appearances, winning the first NCAA regional game in history of the university and posting regional rankings in 2003, 04, 05, 06 and 2007. He set a new record in 2007 by having his team advance to the NCAA championships for a second time. His FSU teams broke many offensive records during his tenure as Head Coach and still stand today. The Bobcats also posted a 98-28 AMCC conference record and won the conference four times. At Dowling College, Chris led the Golden Lions to their best back to back seasons and laid the foundation for one of the most successful programs in the northeast. Over a 100 of Chris's players have received all-conference awards and at FSU, two were named players of the year. 15 of Coach McKnight's players signed professional contracts.
McKnight has written numerous articles for periodicals such as Collegiate Baseball, Scholastic Coach and Coaching Digest. In addition to his writing, Chris is a requested clinic speaker and is Co-Owner of Champions International Baseball Academy. Chris also served as the Chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and USA Baseball.
Baseball Adviser to the Director
The first high school coach ever elected President of the American Baseball Coaches Association, Tom Oconnell has spent 41 years coaching baseball. From 1969 - 2000 he coached at Pulaski High School in Milwaukee, where his teams won more games than any sport in the school's history. Ten years ago, he took over as coach at Catholic Central High School in Burlington, Wisconsin and continued his success there. His Hilltopper teams have made the State quarterfinals the last seven straight years and have won four Wisconsin State Championships in that time - 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Oconnell was recently named the Diamond Sports National High School Coach of the Year by the ABCA for 2010, the second time he has been so honored. He has also been named Midwest Coach of the Year four times. In 1995, he skippered the USA Baseball North Team in the United States Olympic Festival in Colorado that featured four future major leaguers.
Long involved in the ABCA, O'Connell chaired its High School Division from 1984-1996 and now serves on the Board of Directors and heads the Ethics in Coaching Award Committee. He presided over the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association and organized their successful Clinic and Convention for twenty years and, in 1991, was named their Man of the Year He has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the Old Time Baseball Players Hall of Fame in Milwaukee, the WBCA Hall of Fame, and in 2007 became only the 16th high school coach to ever be inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in its 64-year history.
An accomplished author, Oconnell has published three books with Human Kinetics Press, Coaching Baseball: Techniques and Tactics, the textbook for coach licensing in the USA, Coaching Youth Baseball, a manual for youth coaches, and most recently the best selling, Play Ball: 100 Baseball Practice Games. For the past eleven years he has been an ISG officer and has organized winter coaching clinics in Germany, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Ireland and Austria. O'Connell has served as an Envoy Coach for Major League Baseball since 1993 - spending twelve of his summers developing players and coaches in Europe - and is a scout for the Baltimore Orioles
Mark "Lunch" McKenzie
Mark "Lunch" McKenzie enters his 14th year as the head baseball coach at Concordia University, St. Paul and is the longest tenured head coach at CU and is the only coach on staff to serve as head coach for all of Concordia's NCAA Division II & Northern Sun (NSIC) affiliations.
COACHING TEAM SUCCESS FIRST
The 2005 NSIC Coach of the Year became the program's all-time wins leader in 2008 and carries a 287-224-1 overall career record, while leading the team to a 164-140 record in Northern Sun play. His 2009 team also holds the school wins record, finishing 35-18 overall.
He guided the Golden Bears to NSIC Championships in the 2003 and 2008 seasons, winning the conference tournament each season while reaching the NCAA Central Region Tournament for the first time in school history. The program's 2003 NSIC Championship and 2008 NCAA Tournament appearance were the first men's teams in Concordia's Division II & NSIC history (1999-00 to present) to accomplish the feats for the athletic department.
DEVELOPING FUTURE STARS
McKenzie has had two Golden Bears drafted in the last four years, starting in 2009 with Jake Schmidt (41st round, Chicago Cubs) and again in 2012 with Bryan Lippincott (19th round, Washington Nationals). Both players were NCAA statistical champions as well, with Schmidt leading all Division II pitchers in strikeouts per game while Lippincott was the NCAA batting champion (all levels).
Schmidt and Lippincott are two of Concordia baseball's five All-Americans, as Brenden Furrow, Matt Borman and Chris Herbert also received All-America recognition. Lippincott was also the two-time Capital One Academic All-American of the Year for the sport of baseball.
Major awards have been a part of the program under McKenzie, as the team has featured an NSIC Player of the Year (Lippincott), two NSIC Pitchers of the Year (Schmidt, Borman), four NSIC Newcomers of the Year and an NSIC Freshman of the Year along with three NSIC Tournament MVP awards.
McKenzie has also coached two Central Region Gold Glove winners, 56 All-Conference players and 66 NSIC All-Academic student-athletes.
In his 13 seasons at Concordia, he's had 13 players with professional baseball experience on their resume's.
McKENZIE BRINGS MAJOR OUTSIDE EXPERIENCE TO THE PLATE
In 2010, McKenzie was recognized by Baseball Canada as the 2010 Cito Gaston Humanitarian Award winner which exemplifies commitment to furthering the development of baseball in Canada by a non-resident. Past winners of the award include MLB All-Stars Joe Carter, Jon Olerud and Moises Alou.
Lunch has coached baseball for 45 years at many different levels including Little League, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, American Legion, High School and College. He has also completed 15 tours of duty with USA Baseball and the Olympic Development Program, working in various capacities ranging from scouting and cross checking to being an assistant coach as well as the head coach.
As the head coach, his 1998 USA Baseball National Team won the World Championship and Gold Medal. The team was named Baseball Team of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee. That same year Lunch was awarded the USOC Developmental Coach of the Year honor.
Coach McKenzie has been the hitting coach for three USA Baseball National Teams, the 16U team in 1997 and 1998 as well as the 18U team in 2008. The 1998 team set the 16U record for the highest team batting average at .428 (aluminum bats) while winning the Gold and the 2008 team holds the 18U record for team batting average at .330 (wood bats) while taking home the Silver.
In addition, Coach McKenzie has been a part of four other Gold Medal teams as well as two Silvers and a Bronze in international competition.
An accomplished clinician, Lunch has spoken at numerous clinics and banquets around the country and in Canada including the ABCA National Convention in San Diego and Reggie Jackson's Hall of Fame Dinner in Cooperstown, N.Y.
He has also become a mainstay speaker at the USA Baseball NTIS Symposium in Raleigh, N.C.
In 1997, McKenzie was named to the USA Baseball National Board of Coaching Education, a position he still holds. This six-member panel is in charge of creating the curriculum that is used to instruct new coaches interested in becoming Junior Olympic and National Team Coaches.
McKenzie's teams have won 35 championships over the years including four state and five regional championships.
THE LUNCH LINE to the PRO's
Lunch has won dozens of coaching awards over the years. More than 300 of his players and students have moved on to college baseball and 87 have moved on to professional baseball including 24 first round draft picks - including 10 first rounders in the 2009 draft. He's had 11 former players move on to play in the Major Leagues.
Coach McKenzie lives in Chanhassen with his wife Linda. They have three children, twin brothers Paul and Marcus, and a daughter, Kelly. Paul was a catcher for the Golden Bears, playing for his father, while Marcus pitched at the University of Minnesota before a professional career with the St. Paul Saints among other professional teams. Marcus currently assists Lunch on the baseball staff.
Kelly is a 2012 graduate of Minnetonka High School and has signed to play Golden Bear softball in the 2012-13 academic year. She is named after former Minnesota Twins manager and two-time World Series Champion Tom Kelly.
Head Coach: 17U
Jim served as head coach of the Lockport Porters Baseball Program from 1991-2005. Coach Hall's teams won Conference titles in '92, '93 and 1995, 1997-'01, 2003-'05. The Porters also won 9 regional titles during that time, as well as State Final appearances in '92 (4th), '97 (2nd) and '98. The Porters were IHSA State Champions in 2005 after a 40-3 season. The Porters also finished 3rd in Summer State Tournament in '96 and '03. Coach Hall served as President of the Illinois High school Coaches Association. Inducted into the Illinois High School Coaches Hall of Fame, Marist Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Most recently coaches Team Illinois.
Brad Unger is the head baseball coach at Waubonsee Community College. In
2001 Unger was the Chiefs' starting catcher, earning All-Skyway Conference
honors that spring before representing Waubonsee in the NJCAA Region IV
All-Star Game. Coach Unger is also part of Caliendo International Sports,
where he coaches 16U and 15U teams on International cultural trips. In
addition, Unger also has worked for the prestigious Perfect Game scouting
agency as the head coach of their Davenport (IA) team in the Area Code
Unger has coached the last 15 years in the Aurora American Legion League,
directing his teams to over 200 wins and a league title in 2011.
He has served on the league's Board of Directors, oversees the league's
annual fundraiser, and built and maintains the league's website. He began
coaching in 1998, leading Trinity Lutheran Jr. High School in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa to its first winning season (16-11) in school history. Unger also was
the head varsity baseball coach at Hinckley-Big Rock High School, guiding
the Royals to the Little Ten Conference Championship and Regional
Championship game in 2013. Unger also helped co-found the Joliet Area Colt
Conference in 2001, and guided Elmhurst College's Winter Instructional Camps
for 8 to 14 year olds from 2002 through 2006.
A Plainfield Central High School graduate, Unger played his freshman season
at Mt. Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he earned the team's Top
Newcomer Award. An injury forced him to red-shirt the following season
before he transferred to Waubonsee for his sophomore year to play for
The following summer Unger competed for International
Athlete's Team USA squad that traveled to Italy to play against professional
teams in the Italian Games. Unger then moved on to Elmhurst College and was
the Bluejays' team captain the next two years. His senior year he was
selected to the All-CCIW First Team, was tabbed an NCAA Division III Second
Team All-American, and was named Elmhurst College's Male Athlete of The
Unger earned his associate degree from Waubonsee in 2001 and his bachelor's
degree from Elmhurst College in 2003, majoring in marketing and business
administration. Unger will complete his MA in Coaching and Athletic
Administration from Concordia University in Irvine, California in May, 2015.
He and his wife Shannon reside in Plainfield with their daughter and newborn
son. Unger is self-employed and owns NewLife Energy Solutions LLC.
- Batting Practice Pitcher for the Minnesota Twins
- Director of the MYAS Gopher State Pitching Camps
- Director of the Minnesota Twins Youth Training Camps
- Former professional pitcher
- Has 14+ years of coaching experience; coaching all ages, from T-Ball to college
- Posted a league-leading ERA in Class A during his first year as a pro
- Popularly demanded guest speaker
- Considered one of the most productive pitching coaches in the region
Matt Bair is a 1996 graduate of Anderson High School, completed his undergraduate degree at Anderson University in 2001, and earned his Master's degree in Athletic Administration from Ball State University in 2005. Matt played short-stop for the Anderson University Ravens from 1997-2001. During that time the Ravens won 3 NCAA HCAC Conference championships, 1 NCAA Mid-East Regional championship and played in the NCAA Division III College World Series. He started his coaching career in 2001 under Hall of Fame coach Dr. Don Brandon at Anderson University specializing in hitting instruction, infield play, as well as strength and conditioning. In 2003 Matt helped coach the Ravens to a 3rd place finish at the NCAA Div. III College World Series. In 2006 Matt became the head coach at Cowan High School before moving back home to coach the Anderson Highland Scots through their consolidation in 2010. Since 2010, Matt has become heavily involved in the nationally recognized Lids Indiana Bulls travel baseball organization. He has remained the head coach of several elite teams throughout the organization, and has organized and instructed a variety of baseball clinics and camps for players of all ages.
Assistant Coach: 11U Regional Team
Rich Janor is the Head Varsity Baseball Coach at Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, IL. He was recognized by the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association (IHSBCA) with Area Coach of the Year honors in 2011 and 2013, and has a career record of 214-158. Janor has coached numerous collegiate prospects and MLB draft picks.
Prior to taking the helm at Montini Catholic, Janor served as Head Varsity Baseball Coach at (Wheaton) St. Francis High School for 12 seasons. Under his direction, the Spartans recorded their best two seasons in school history, advancing to the IHSA 3A Elite Eight in 2011 and the 3A State Finals in 2013. The 2013 IHSA State Finals appearance was the first ever by any Wheaton, IL high school in Baseball.
Janor's coaching mantra is WE NOT ME®, and he is a proponent of teaching life lessons through athletics. He strives to create a culture where individual accomplishments and statistics are secondary to team goals and successes, and being a good teammate is more important than being a star athlete. Janor is the author of a sports and business book entitled WE NOT ME®, which is scheduled to be released in 2015.
Assistant Coach 17 U Regional Team
This is Coach Evans second year on the NTIS 17U Great Lakes Coaching Staff. He will be coaching the Caliendo Sports USA team that will be going to the Dominican Republic in 2015.
Coach Evans has spent the last ten years coaching high school and collegiate baseball in Iowa. He is currently the Head Varsity Baseball Coach at Woodward-Granger High School in Granger, iA. Prior to Woodward-Granger Coach Evans was on the Dowling Catholic High School coaching staff in West Des Moines, IA for 4 years. Coach Evans played college baseball at William Penn University in Oskaloosa, IA. After graduation he was an assistant coach for 2 years.
Coach Evans is also heavily involved in showcases across the country. He is a part of the Iowa Jr Showcase, and is also a 2015 Iowa High School Coaches All Star Coach for the Iowa Senior All Star Series. He has been involved in the Arizona Pro League identifying midwest talent and helping place athletes at various levels to continue their collegiate baseball careers.
Coach Evans is married to his wife Jamie, of 8 years, and they have two beautiful daughters Jovie and Jaxie.