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Top pick Cole leads USAB Draftees
17 total alums taken on the first day of MLB Draft
For the 10th time in the last 11 years, a USA Baseball alum was chosen first overall in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft when UCLA's pitcher Gerrit Cole was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through Monday's first round and first-compensation round, 17 former members of USA Baseball National Teams were selected.
Cole has been with USA Baseball for the past two summers as part of the 2009 and the 2010 Collegiate National Teams. In 2009, he went 4-0 for Team USA with a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings to lead the red, white and blue to a gold medal at the World Baseball Challenge in British Columbia. In his 34 innings of work Cole dominated on the mound only giving up four earned runs while strike out 46 batters. In 2010, he continued his international dominance with a 0.72 ERA in his five appearances. In his gold medal start against Cuba, the dominant righty went seven strong innings giving up no runs and only walking one batter. Team USA ultimately fell to Cuba in extra innings 3-4.
The rest of the 2010 CNT was well represented Monday at the 2011 MLB Draft. Eight more of Cole's teammates heard their names called in the first round. Rounding out the 2010 CNT selections were Anthony Rendon (6th), George Springer (11th), Sonny Gray (18th), Matt Barnes (19th), Tyler Anderson (20th), Sean Gilmartin (28th), Mikie Mahtook (31st) and Jackie Bradley (40th).
By clicking on the link below, you can watch the 2011 NTIS Selection Show where the 2012 NTIS National Team Trials Invites were announced.
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.
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 and players all over the world to experience international and cultural experience. Training volunteer coaches has been a specialty of Caliendo Sports for over 25 years. Pete is an advocate of helping volunteer coaches and assisting them to be better trained.
During his 9 years as Technical commissioner for the International Baseball Federation, 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.
As a skills development coach, Pete has provided hundreds of youth coaches training programs throughout the world. He is a large proponent of having a national certification program for all volunteers in baseball. 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 Association Clinics and has presented in 20 separate countries.
As Director of Baseball Operations and Coach for the Schaumburg Flyers, a professional independent team based in Illinois, Pete had over 20 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 of The Pan Am Baseball Association, an organization that won 3 gold medals 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. 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 professional baseball.
Pete completed his European tour as T-5 Sports Agency's worldwide Baseball Operations Director. The he 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 Mickey Owen Baseball School, Doyle Baseball and the Billy Williams Baseball School.
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 6 states, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tryouts for potential national team players are held in each state at the ages of 17u, 15u and 13u under.
As a volunteer Pete also served 8 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 is currently a Board Member of the Pitch and Hit Club. As an active community supporter, Pete is 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 will receive the American Baseball Coaches Association Meritorious award. The ABCA is the largest baseball organization of college and high school coaches in the U.S.
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.
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
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.
Assistant Coach: 17U
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: 15U
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: 15U
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
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.
Assistant Coach: 13U
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
· 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
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.
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.
Sam graduated from Fenwick High School with honors and as captain of the baseball team. From there, he attended Indiana University as a recruited walk on for the varsity baseball team. Sam was part of the Big Ten Tournament Championship team that advanced to the College World Series Regional Tournament. He had a very successful career at Indiana, where he was named to the Big Ten All Academic Team for three straight years. Furthermore, Sam was named team captain and MVP his senior year. After Sam's baseball eligibility concluded, Coach Bob Morgan, one of only thirty coaches in Division I baseball to reach 1000 victories, hired him to be his assistant coach. At Indiana, Sam worked with both the infielders and outfielders, as well as serving as the assistant hitting coach. He left Indiana University to become the lead hitting instructor at C.F. Swingtown, which at the time, was one of the best baseball academies in the country. C.F. Swingtown was owned and operated by former Chicago Cub, Minnesota Twin, and New York Yankee, Ron Coomer along with former University of Notre Dame outfielder, John Flanagan. There, Sam was lucky enough to work with future Major League Hall of Famer Roger Clemens, former New York Yankee hitting coach, Rick Down, former Arizona State University head baseball coach, Pat Murphy, as well as many other players and coaches that helped develop his coaching philosophies and techniques. In 2003, Sam was asked to coach a college summer team comprised of Division I, Division II, and Junior College players from all over the country. John Cangelosi, member of the World Series Champion Florida Marlins, served as his assistant coach, on a team that won both leagues they competed in. In the summer of '07, Sam coached The DuPage Diamondbacks, a 16U team that included some of the best sophomore high school players throughout Illinois. They were ranked number one in the nation in their age group for a short stint. Players from this team went on to play at Stanford, Villanova, Western Michigan, Wright St., and Junior Colleges in Arizona and Texas. Just before opening Diamond Instincts, Sam coached the Glenview Blaze 10U travel team. He moved up with the boys and coached the 11U Glenview Blaze; a team that won seven Championships with a 53 - 8 record. The next year, Coach Sam moved up with the boys in 2010 and again had a great season, which was highlighted by a MSBL regular season Championship, and a fifth place finish in Cooperstown, New York. In Cooperstown (106 team tournament), The Glenview Blaze finished pool play as the number over all seed, the first time in organization history. In the nine games, the Blaze finished 8 - 1 and hit 29 home runs. In two years they were 100 - 16. Sam just started a College Exposure/Prep Baseball Organization (Diamond Dawgz Baseball) at the 15, 16, and 17/18U age levels that is dedicated to teaching young men how to be winners on the field, and off of it, in life. Sam has coached all levels but always concentrates on the process and not the result. Sam requires that all his players play hard, play smart, and have fun, teaching them that with dreams, dedication, and desire all things are possible.
Sam lives with his wife Lyndsey, in Northbrook. They were married in September '07 and had their first shortstop on October 24, 2012 (Vincent James).
Steve McGuiggan started The Minnesota Mash Baseball Club after spending 2012 as the Director Of Operations for Drive Performance Baseball in Wheeling, Illinois. While at Drive Performance, Steve was responsible to instruct pitching, hitting, catching and fielding lessons, while also managing 3 select teams, running position specific camps, gave recruiting seminars, and controlled the day-to-day operations at the facility.
Steve began his playing career at Apple Valley High school from 2004-2007 where he was an All State athlete in baseball, football, and basketball. In 2006 Steve and the Eagles made a historic run in the MSHL baseball playoffs, rattling off 9 wins in a row to capture Apple Valley High Schools first ever state championship. During that season Steve was named All Conference and All State Tournament Team. In 2007 Steve was a part of an Eagles team that was ranked #1 in state all regular season and earned All Conference, 1st Team All Metro, and 1st Team All State honors. He represented Apple Valley in the Lions All Star Game and played in the East vs. West All Star Game. Steve's 3-sport success made him a finalist for the Minnesota Athlete of the Year award.
From 2008-2011 Steve played for UIC, a Division 1 school in downtown Chicago. While a member of the Flames, both Ping Baseball and Louisville Slugger named Steve a Freshman All-American. Steve was a 2-time All Horizon League member, 2-time All Tournament Team selection, and 3-year captain, ranked as the 2nd best defensive player in the country by the Hardball Times and helped the Flames reach the NCAA tournament in 2008. Steve left UIC as their all time leader in hits, triples and hit by pitches. He also ranks top 10 all time in doubles, stolen bases and runs scored. After graduating in 2011, Steve was elected as the UIC Scholar athlete of the year.
In the summer Steve represented UIC in the prestigious Northwoods League for the Eau Claire Express. While in Eau Claire, Steve was named a Northwoods League All Star; he was selected to compete in the Northwoods League Home Run Derby, and was named the championship series MVP. After winning the Northwoods League championship, the Eau Claire Express finished the season as the #1 ranked collegiate summer team in the country by Perfect Game.
After graduating from UIC Steve signed a professional contract with the Southern Illinois Miners of the Frontier League.
He is now a full-time trainer at Minnesota Mash, an elite baseball training and strength and conditioning facility. He is also currently the head coach for the Lakeville South Legion Program.