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The British Baseball & Softball Coaching Awards

The Third Annual Coaching Awards will once again follow the Coach Summit in 2018, providing an opportunity to recognise the hard work and expertise of coaches and volunteers in the British baseball and softball communities.  The 2018 Coach Summit will take place on Saturday 27 January at the Kents Hill Park Conference Centre in Milton Keynes.

This year, the Awards have been expanded and developed in consultation with the British Softball Federation, to recognise the breadth of the workforce that makes a positive impact in our sports.  We all know that without coaches and volunteers, our sports would not be in such good health.  

BaseballSoftballUK Annual Coaching Award 2018 Nominees

BaseballSoftball UK  is delighted to announce the shortlisted nominations for the British Baseball & Softball Coach Awards 2018.  The shortlisted nominations, listed in alphabetical order in each category, are as follows:

Young Coach of the Year

This award is for the coach aged 22 or younger deemed to have made the biggest contribution to coaching, managing and supporting baseball and/or softball in Britain in 2017.

Dan Patterson
Since establishing the University of Reading Knights Softball Club in November 2016, Dan has dedicated himself as President to organising and delivering coaching that has seen the club go from strength to strength, placing fifth in the most recent National University Softball Championship.  He has also arranged the social programme for the club and created links to the Reading Blue Sox to provide additional playing opportunities for students.

Sian Wigington
Sian, who is a member of the GB Senior Women’s Team player pool, has been nominated for her role as an Assistant Coach with the Great Britain Under-16 Girls Fastpitch Softball Team where, in her first formal coaching assignment, she worked on team strategies, scouting and coaching. Sian also helped to create and coach a new team, The Mix, in the Great Britain Fastpitch League in 2017.  The team won the Women’s Division title and has entered this year’s European Women’s Cup tournament.

Will Zucker
Since arriving at Durham University, Will has worked tirelessly to establish the university’s baseball club, working with both international and UK students.  The club entered two teams in the National University Baseball Championship in its first season before winning the prestigious title in Autumn 2016.  Will, who has represented Great Britain Baseball as a junior player, has been instrumental in recruiting 30 new players this year for the Durham University Baseball Club by delivering dedicated and engaged coaching to all involved.

Baseball Youth Coach of the Year

This award is for an outstanding contribution to coaching young people in baseball in Britain.

Drew Spencer
Drew dedicated 2017 to developing junior baseball at the London Mets Baseball Club.  He coached the Minors Team, led the Seniors to the National Title and also oversaw the progress of the London Meteorites in the British Baseball Federation’s Triple-A South Division.

Chris Stevenson
Chris led the Brighton Baseball Club Minors to the National Championship title in 2017, developing his players’ skills and love for baseball through his Kids Positive Coaching Code.  His enthusiasm and knowledge as Head Coach enabled him to develop individual skills and team cohesion through the effective use of questioning and interactive sessions.

Jeff Whitworth
Jeff was the Coaching Coordinator for the London Youth Baseball League in 2017, overseeing the coaching programme for players aged 5 to 15.  As well as leading the league’s All-Star Team to the European Little League Championship in Kutno, Poland, he also organised two All-Star travel teams.

Softball Youth Coach of the Year

This award is for an outstanding contribution to coaching young people in softball in Britain.

David Morris
David has been instrumental in developing youth fastpitch softball at the Chichester Falcons Softball Club.  He has inspired and enthused many young players to develop their skills, running training sessions and organising tournaments for them to play in, as well as taking local players to play in the Great Britain Fastpitch League at Farnham Park.  David has also ensured the development of his own coaching knowledge by attending the first European Softball Coaches Association Camp in October 2017 in the Netherlands.

Mark Saunders & Lewis Chapman
Mark and Lewis worked tirelessly in 2017 to develop a team of secondary school students from Stroud to enter the Bristol Softball Association.  On the back of the “Softball Revolution” at Archway School, which has produced an intra-mural programme of 21 teams and the Gloucestershire School Games Softball Champions at both Under-16 and Under-18 age levels, Mark and Lewis have coached and then driven their players to Bristol each week, some 30 miles away, to play in an adult league. The newly-formed team went undefeated throughout the season and look well set for a successful 2018.

Julie Spittle
Julie has been a Great Britain Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch Team Coach and Team Manager for a number of years, using her experience and passion to develop young players.  She quietly encourages her athletes to attend training, try new drills and get involved in the game, and then, as Team Manager, supports their annual overseas tour to the ESF’s Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy competition in Italy.

Joss & Laura Thompson
Joss and Laura Thompson have been nominated for their work with their local team, the Towcester Tigers, and as Assistant Coaches with the Great Britain Under-16 Girls’ Fastpitch Team.  With a quiet and supportive approach to coaching, they have used their knowledge and passion to improve the skills and commitment of many players in these teams.

Softball Adult Coach of the Year

This award is for an outstanding contribution to adult softball coaching in Britain.

Eric Lukazewski
Eric has been leading training sessions and setting a great example to others since arriving at the Reading Blue Sox five years ago.  He increased playing numbers from 25 to 50 last year and is now looking at putting a third team from the club into the Windsor & Maidenhead Softball League in 2018.

Nigel Peters
Nigel has brought a dedicated, purposeful and positive approach to the Misfits Softball Club in Nottinghamshire.  As well as coaching the team and welcoming new players into the side, he pitches, recruits, manages the team, organises events, umpires and looks after the facilities! Nigel is clearly someone who puts his all into the club.

Rachael Watkeys
Through hard work and excellent leadership, Rachael successfully coached the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Team to the bronze medal at the European Women’s Championship in 2017, enabling the team to qualify for the 2018 WBSC Women’s World Championship in Japan.

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 and who has made a significant impact on the development of our sports.

Bruce Alan
Bruce is the Chair of the Urmston Softball Club, which started with the Rippers in 2015 and added the Vipers in 2017.  Both teams now play in the Manchester Softball League.  As well as organising club events, including training and socials, Bruce is also the Recruitment & Marketing Officer for the Manchester Softball League, overseeing their website and communications work.

Simon Mortimer
Simon has been Team Manager of the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Team since 2016.  His planning and communication skills have been described as exceptional, with no detail overlooked.  He has also introduced a statistics analysis programme for both trials and matches, improving the decision-making of both coaches and players.  Simon also acts as Treasurer for the Great Britain Management Committee, and has overseen the development of a programme to supply high-quality uniforms and team clothing to all GB Softball National Teams.

David Wareham
David has been part of the softball scene in Manchester for the past 20 years, currently overseeing the Tigers Softball Club.  Through his dedication and excellent communication skills, David has successfully interacted with and inspired a very large number of people to play softball.

Services to Coaching

This award is 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 pitch to motivate and engage others. He or she has probably played a great number of roles, and without their services to coaching, your club, your league or perhaps even your national teams wouldn’t be the same.

David Lee
David has been involved in slowpitch softball for many years and has impacted many people as a player, coach and leader at all levels of the sport, from the Bristol Softball Association to the Great Britain Slowpitch National Team.  His coaching, based on a long and very successful playing career, has helped many players from Bristol into the National Team programme.  David is a natural champion of the game, and has regularly given his time to help others develop as players and coaches.

Ryan Turtill
Ryan has been nominated for his outstanding and unique approach to supporting and coaching a number of teams at the London Mets Baseball & Softball Club.  Ryan volunteers his time mainly for the club’s Marauders team, but also helps coach the Musketeers and runs the weekly “Baseball for Beginners” classes which have been incredibly successful at developing new players and increasing participation.  His approach has created a culture at the London Mets that welcomes new players and fosters a real sense of team in a short space of time. Universally popular and respected, Ryan is an invaluable contributor to British baseball. Ryan has also been instrumental in founding the GLMSL Softball 101 coaching programme, which has introduced a new team into the GLMSL every year of the six years he's run the programme.

Paul Vernon 
Paul has been shortlisted for this award for 20+ years of coaching baseball and softball at all levels in the UK.  Although originally focused on baseball with Bracknell and Great Britain, Paul has in recent years dedicated himself to the Bracknell Scorchers Softball Club.  His approach to coaching has always been grounded in fairness, honesty, self-improvement and fun.  Paul has a love for both sports and a genuine ability to communicate this to anyone he works with. Paul has also contributed to baseball and softball more broadly. He has worked with both MLB and BSUK and has served on the BBF Board.  He has been seen as a voice of reason in the sport for the decades during which he has touched the lives of many players and coaches and has worked tirelessly to develop our sports.


Previous winners - 2017

Young Coach of the Year

Callum Vinall profile pictureThis award was for the coach under the age of 22 deemed to have made the biggest contribution to coaching, managing and supporting baseball and/or softball in the UK in 2016. 

WINNER:  Callum Vinall
Callum has excelled in coaching at the BSUK Academy, Northants Baseball Club and newly-formed Northampton University Baseball, and has also umpired this past year at the National University Baseball Championships.


Youth Coach of the Year

Robin Banerjee profile picThis award was given for outstanding contributions to coaching young people in baseball and/or softball in the UK. 

JOINT WINNERS:  Jared Hendrickson & Robin Banerjee
Jared and Robin have put a huge amount of energy, dedication and determination 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. 


Participation Coach of the Year

Linni Mitchell profile picThis award was for the coach who has engaged new participants, not in a traditional club setting but within BSUK national programmes and/or participation projects. 

WINNER:  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, ensuring that new athletes continue to engage in our sports over the long term, but has also been involved with their planning and funding. 


Community Coach of the Year

Mike Lott profile picThis award was for the coach who has done the most during the past year to develop softball within a club environment.

WINNER:  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, then went on to compete in National Championships in 2016 and were bronze medal winners in their grade of play.


Coach of the Year

Liam Carroll profile pictureThis award was 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.

WINNER:  Liam Carroll
Liam has transformed the Great Britain Baseball 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.


Volunteer of the Year

This award was 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 and who has made a significant impact on the development of our sports.

WINNER:  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: David has extended his passion into umpiring and coaching for the club, and in 2016 took on the responsibility of successfully steering the Guildford through Clubmark accreditation. 

Umpire of the Year

This award was made for contributions to baseball and/or softball umpiring during the past year by an umpire who has not only upheld the laws correctly, but contributed to the positive atmosphere we have in our baseball and softball leagues.

WINNER:  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 where she umpired or examined every game, and she also serves as BASU’s Fastpitch Officer.

Previous winners - 2016

Community Coach of the Year

WINNER: Kal Dimitrov 
This award is for the coach who best embodies the spirit of grassroots sport and who has engaged new participants and welcomed them into their club, team or league. Through their work in their community, such coaches ensure the development and growth of baseball and softball – not just today but in years to come.     


Young Coach of the Year

WINNER: Matt Tomlin 
This award is for an up-and-coming coach, aged 22 or under, who has demonstrated a particular interest and ability in coaching.


Youth Coach of the Year

WINNER: Matt Crawshaw
This award is for a coach who has demonstrated outstanding ability to engage and work with children and young people. The winner will be a coach who has made children of all ages welcome and excited about the sports of baseball and/or softball, as well as teaching them the skills needed to develop and reach their full potential both on and off the field.


Coach of the Year

WINNER: Erick Henson
This award is for the individual who best personifies what it means to be a baseball or softball coach: someone who understands the sport(s) but, critically, can use the lessons learned on the field to motivate and engage others.

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