Announcing the BSUK Awards Nominees

Thu 26 Jan 2017

This weekend, the annual BSUK Awards will be presented from 6:00-8:00 pm at Birmingham City University, immediately following the BSUK Coach Summit.

The Awards have been expanded this year to include a Volunteer of the Year and Umpire of the Year in an effort to recognise the wider workforce who impact our sports.

Most members of that workforce are volunteers, and those who are paid certainly don't do it for the money but rather for the love of the game.  But love can only you take you so far, and that is why recognising the work of the men and women who make British baseball and softball possible is so important.

We would like to congratulate and recognise the following people for being shortlisted for the 2017 BSUK Coach and Workforce Awards.

YOUNG COACH OF THE YEAR

This award is for an up-and-coming coach, aged 20 or under, who has demonstrated a particular interest and ability in coaching. Often, coaching is picked up at the end of a playing career, but by starting at a young age, coaching skills are developed and this leads to a much higher quality of coaching.

Callum Vinall
Callum has excelled in coaching at the BSUK Academy, Northants Baseball Club and newly-formed Northampton University Baseball.  Callum, who has also umpired this past year at the National University Baseball Championships, has been both energetic and personable in his contributions.

Christian Carter
Christian has shown real leadership in his role as a coach for the new Kent Knights team that was started last year from scratch.  He is determined, disciplined and works well with young people.

Dan Patterson
Dan has shown a genuine ability to coach those new to baseball, and his infectious passion has led to an equally passionate group of players.  He has been praised for his ability to help new people understand rules and techniques in a fun and interactive way.

YOUTH COACH OF THE YEAR

This award is given for outstanding contributions to coaching young people in baseball and/or softball in the UK.  Good coaching at youth level is vital for not only the sport to grow in popularity, but to ensure safe practice and a positive attitude and mind-set on the part of our future players.

Jared Hendrickson & Robin Banerjee
It’s hard to fully describe the energy, dedication and determination they have put into building a new youth team from the ground up at Brighton Baseball Club.  Many of the boys and girls they worked with had never played baseball before, but under their coaching and leadership the Brighton U11s were national runners-up and the U13s did exceptionally well in challenging established teams.  Jared and Robin devoted themselves to building up each individual player as well as the team.

Jon Carter
Jon immersed himself in coaching baseball in the last year.  While many people like to devote their time to playing or coaching a single team, Jon has given back to the community by not only coaching at Farnham Park, but also by starting the Kent Knights.  Those that have come into contact with his coaching have gained an enormous amount.

Beth Perkins
Beth Perkins has overseen the GB Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch programme for several years, and has been tireless in trying to build the programme in both quantity and quality.  Beth has been working to develop the programme in conjunction with LondonSports, building a very useful partnership through travelling on most weekends in the spring and early summer from her home in the Midlands to London to coach and work with players, as well as coaching at Academy Softball and taking a GB Under-13 Team each year to the ESF’s Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy competition in Italy.

PARTICIPATION COACH OF THE YEAR

This award is for the coach who has engaged new participants, not in a traditional club setting but within BSUK national programmes and/or participation projects.  Through their work with partners such as workplaces, colleges or community groups, such coaches ensure that participants from a variety of backgrounds and with a range of motivations get the chance to engage with our sports.

Linni Mitchell
Linni has worked in the North West and beyond since April 2013 to increase participation in baseball and softball, and has not only helped to deliver a wide range of projects, but has also been involved with their planning and funding.  Linni has been at the centre of ensuring that new athletes continue to engage in our sports over the long term.

Jennifer Edis
Jen has been coaching her slowpitch softball team, the Angels, since around 2006, during which time the team has only twice failed to win the Oxford League.  As well as coaching her own team, she runs open coaching sessions for anyone associated with Oxford Softball.  These sessions have allowed rookie players and others who need a bit of extra introduction to the sport to improve their game considerably. 

Will Zucker
Will enrolled at Durham University, where he quickly established the Durham University Baseball Club.  Will has been outstanding in liaising with international students and recruiting new players, and his efforts allowed Durham to arrive at their first National University Baseball Championship with two teams, an accomplishment beyond that of most universities, including those specialising in sport.  Thanks to Will’s development and coaching skills, Durham began the 2016-17 university year by winning the Autumn National University Baseball Championship at the beginning of the club’s second year, becoming only the second university to win it.

COMMUNITY COACH OF THE YEAR

This award will be presented to the coach who has done the most during the past year to develop softball within a club environment.

Mike Lott
Mike is a founding member of the Crosby Vikings Softball Club and is an enthusiastic and patient coach.  The Vikings were formed in 2014 as the fifth team in the Sefton Softball League, with predominantly new players, and Mike's hard work paid off in 2015 when the team won the league title.  They went on to compete in National Championships in 2016 and were bronze medal winners in their grade of play.

David Morris
Dave has been a key in the expansion of both slowpitch and fastpitch softball over the past two years for both adults and juniors at the Chichester Falcons Softball Club.  Dave has been coaching three days a week throughout the summer, and during the winter runs an Indoor League and training sessions for the University of Chichester.  Dave has helped push players into GB teams, and while he has been recognised locally, he deserves some national recognition for his dedication to the sport over the past five years.

Steve Lyons
Over the past four years, Steve has grown from a star player to a Head Coach, President and strong leader at the Brighton Beachcombers Softball Club -- in a location where softball has declined over that time from a competitive league to just a single team, due to the transitory nature of Brighton culture and the wide range of alternative sports and activities available.

COACH OF THE YEAR

This award will be made to the individual who best personifies what it means to be a baseball or softball coach: someone who understands their sport and can use the lessons learned on the field to motivate and engage others.

Liam Carroll
Liam has transformed the Great Britain National Team programme and taken it to a place it has never been before.  In 2016 he steered the team to the final of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Brooklyn, where one more win would have earned the team its first-ever berth in the Classic itself.

Amanda Murphy
Amanda supported softball at both a local and national level in 2016 to great effect, and guided the GB Junior (Under-19) Women’s Team to the first gold medal ever won by fastpitch softball in a European Championship.  Amanda has been also described as one of the friendliest people in in British softball.

Rachael Watkeys
Rachael took over as Head Coach of the GB Senior Women’s Fastpitch Team last year after a few years where international results had dipped.  With new leadership, the team produced some great performances and was very competitive at the 2016 World Championship in Canada.  Hopefully, under Rachael’s leadership, the team will go from strength to strength – and on to the Olympics.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

This award is for a volunteer in a non-coaching role who has given up a substantial amount of time to support their local club, team or league.  The winner will have made a significant impact and shown outstanding commitment to supporting the development of our sports.

Hedley Bevan
Since joining the committee at the MK Diamonds Softball Club in 2013, Hedley has helped transform the club in to the six team Softball League it is today.  The first role he undertook was that of Secretary, but since then has trained as a coach and has now taken on the role of Chairman for the second year.  Despite having a new-born in the family, he has spent a large part of his free time on club matters during a very busy year in which the club doubled its membership and began a new softball league in Milton Keynes that covers the city and the wider Eastern Region.

John Ferlazzo
John serves in many different roles at the London Mets Baseball Club.  A committed youth baseball coach, John oversees the Little League programme which has a membership of over 100 young boys and girls who descend on Finsbury Park during the summer months to play baseball and softball.  In 2016, John coordinated the youth coaches, managed volunteers who ran the concession stand and even oversaw the field maintenance across the baseball fields at Finsbury Park.  In recent months John has been working closely with stakeholders such as the London Mets Board, BSUK and the local council to progress proposals for facility development as well as plans for the club to become Clubmark-certified.

David Jones
David Jones is a true Renaissance Man of volunteering.  On the Guildford Mavericks Board, he serves as the Child Protection Officer, Umpire Coordinator and Kit Manager.  But his service doesn't stop there: a passionate baseball player for years in the US before coming to the UK, David has transferred that passion into umpiring and coaching for the club, and in 2016 took on the responsibility of steering the club through Clubmark accreditation.  By the end of the year, thanks to David's efforts to collate the necessary information, the Guildford Mavericks achieved Clubmark status, the gold standard in club governance.

UMPIRE OF THE YEAR

This award is made for contributions to baseball and/or softball umpiring during the past year.  Good or bad umpiring can heavily impact the experience of playing our sports, but the nominees have not only upheld the laws correctly, but contributed to the positive atmosphere we have in our baseball and softball leagues.

Bridget Cameron
Bridget has shown outstanding commitment to the development of fastpitch softball umpiring, both locally and internationally.  During the Great Britain Fastpitch League season, she flew from Edinburgh to London for four of the five GBFL competition weekends and umpired or examined every game.

Darrin Muller
Darrin has been at the forefront of the British baseball umpiring fraternity for many years.  His efforts to create a safe and fair playing environment are unmatched, as is his commitment to educating fellow umpires.  In 2016 Darrin umpired well over 100 games, including in the NBL and other British Baseball leagues, the UK Little League Qualifier, a European Little League Qualifier and -- for the first time ever -- the Junior Little League World Series.

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