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NTIS Taskforce talk about USA Baseball ....
Director: Great Lakes Region
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.
Richard Speas brings a diverse background of baseball coaching, sports marketing, and intercollegiate athletic administration to the Great Lakes NTIS region.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Played at Iowa Western C.C. 1983-1985/ Grand View University 86-88.
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.
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
- Batting Practice Pitcher for the Minnesota Twins
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.