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Ali Higgs

Coach Summit keynote speaker - softball
Former Head Coach of the Jacksonville University softball team (Florida)
Played in the National Pro Fastpitch League (USA)
Inducted into the Division 1 Iona College (New York) Hall of Fame

Ali Higgs was a four-year starter and record holder at Division I Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, where she established pitching records for appearances, wins, ERA, strikeouts and shutouts. She also holds Iona records for at-bats and hits and ranks second all-time in home runs.  Ali was the first softball player in school history to be inducted into the Iona College Hall of Fame.

Following her college career, Ali played in the National Pro Fastpitch League for the New York Juggernaut and Philadelphia Force, and also played and ran clinics in Australia.

Her coaching career was centered around Jacksonville University, where she was an Assistant Coach for five years and obtained a Masters Degree in Business Administration before becoming an unusually young Head Coach at the Division 1 school while still in her 20s.

Ali now owns and runs a coaching business called Backwards K Jax, which offers college exposure camps, recruiting consultation, performance training, strength and conditioning workouts, coaching clinics, team camps and mental conditioning and sports psychology training.

Ed Blankmeyer

Coach Summit keynote speaker - baseball
Head Coach of the St John's University baseball team (New York)
Former USA Collegiate National Team Manager
Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 1976

The winningest coach in St. John’s baseball history, Ed Blankmeyer enters his 24th season at the helm of the Red Storm baseball program in 2019 with an all-time record of 798-477-4, good enough for a .625 winning percentage. Blankmeyer has guided the Red Storm to five Big East Tournament crowns, six Big East regular season titles and 11 NCAA Tournament berths, including one NCAA Super Regional appearance.

 Also the winningest coach in the history of Big East play with 338 conference victories, Blankmeyer has earned Big East Coach of the Year honours a conference-record eight times and has been named the ABCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year four times.

In addition to his coaching accolades at St. John’s, Blankmeyer has also been an active member of the USA Baseball community, including a stint as the Collegiate National Team’s manager in the summer of 2015.

 An excellent recruiter, Blankmeyer has coached more than 100 players that have gone on to play professional baseball, including Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, Mo Vaughn (1995 American League MVP) and 2014 World Series Champion Joe Panik. 

Blankmeyer played four seasons at Seton Hall University (New Jersey), hitting .320, with 152 hits and 66 stolen bases. He was the starting second baseman for both the 1974 and 1975 Seton Hall squads that played in the College World Series, and was named Atlantic Collegiate League Most Valuable Player in 1975. Following his graduation in 1976, he was a 21st-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles and spent one season in the Orioles farm system before beginning his coaching career. 

Blankmeyer and his wife, Susan, reside in Convent Station, N.J. They have two daughters, Brittany Leigh and Alison Joy, and one son, Taylor Edward.


Bill Holmberg

Bill Holmberg profile photoCoach Summit speaker - the MLB Throwing Programme
MLB International Pitching Coordinator for Europe and Africa
Former pitching coach for the Italian national team programme
Former scout for the Chicago Cubs

Bill Holmberg, MLB’s International Pitching Coordinator for Europe and Africa and a former pitching coach for national team programmes in Italy and Taiwan, will present a keynote session on the MLB Throwing Programme as it relates to pitching mechanics and injury prevention.

Bill has been active for almost 40 years, in the United States but mainly internationally, as a team manager and pitching instructor and has been MLB’s Pitching Coordinator for Europe and Africa since 2004.

He was an area scout for the Chicago Cubs in Europe and Africa for almost 10 years and has worked at all levels of the Italian national team programme as a pitching coach at European Championships, World Cups, Premier 12 tournaments and World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.

Bill is regarded as one of the outstanding pitching clinicians in Europe and is a regular instructor at MLB Academies and clinics where the MLB Throwing Programme is implemented.

Jim Jones

Jim Jones profile photoCoach Summit workshop (TBC) and High Performance Academy session on the Sunday.
Former Head Coach of the University of Wyoming and St. Mary's College (California) baseball teams.
Past-President of the International Sports Group, Inc.
Former MLBI Co-ordinator of Game Development in Europe and coach/instructor to European baseball federations.

Jim Jones has over 50 years of baseball coaching experience at the youth, high school, college, semi-pro and international levels. He served as assistant coach at Stanford University before becoming head coach at the University of Wyoming and St. Mary’s College (CA). In 1991, Jim began his international experience by becoming coach-in-residence in Czechoslovakia as part of a Major League Baseball International (MLBI) program. Following that assignment, he served with Bill Arce as MLBI’s Co-coordinator of Game Development in Europe. His duties there allowed him to over-see the selection and evaluation of Envoy Coaches assigned to various European federations as well as overseeing many of MLBI’s winter coaches’ clinics.

Jim has subsequently worked with baseball federations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Spain, Holland, Croatia and Portugal as an instructor, manager and assistant coach at all levels of youth and adult baseball. At the 2006 European Baseball Coaches Association's winter convention, Jim received EBCA's Achievement Award in recognition of his work in European baseball since the early 1990's. He also has received MLB’s Julio Puente Award for his outstanding work as an MLB Envoy Coach.

In 1998 Jim joined the International Sports Group (ISG) to take over the administration of the winter baseball and softball clinics in Europe. Jim served as ISG’s president until he chose to step back on his administrative duties. He remains an active ISG board member.

As well as his European experience, Jim has had the opportunity to work with players of all ages and coaches in Canada, Curacao and New Zealand. Presently he is retired from teaching and is an assistant golf coach at Oregon Tech.

Jim and his wife, Sally, have two grown sons, Don and Mickey and grandsons Kalliah Creek and Jeremiah.


Previous speakers - Coach Summit 2018

Nino Giarratano

Head Coach of the University of San Francisco Dons baseball team





Mark Smith

Softball Canada High-Performance Director
Canadian Women National Team Coach
Member of both the Softball Canada and International Softball Congress Halls of Fame





Previous speakers - Coach Summit 2017

Cindy Bristow

Cindy Bristow Softball ESPN ISF USAFounder of Softball Excellence
International Softball Federation Director of Development
USA Softball Director of National Teams
Colour Analyst for ESPN



Pat Doyle

Pat Doyle Baseball Coach Sumiit 2017 MLB San Joaquin Delta College Mustangs

Former Major League Baseball Consultant & Co-ordinator of the MLB Envoy Coach Programme
Director & Development Consultant at Play-Global!
International coach including Great Britain and Team USA
Former Head Coach, San Joaquin Delta College



Steve Shortland

Steve Shortland Team USA Slowpitch Softball Head Coach BSUK Coach Summit 2017

Team USA Slowpitch Head Coach (2009 - present)
All-Air Force Men's Team Head Coach
10-time All-Armed Forces Men’s Team Head Coach




Dave Turgeon

Dave Turgeon

Instruction Coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Former Assistant Field Coordinator/Assistant Pitching Coach with the Pirates
Former Minor League Manager with the Pirates and Cleveland Indians
Eight years Division 1 College coaching experience
Drafted by the New York Yankees in 1987





Jessica Moore

Jessicsa Moore University of South Florida Softball

Assistant Coach – University of South Florida Bulls
Team USA Pitcher
2 x World Cup of Softball Winner
NCAA Women’s College World Series Finalist



Previous keynote speaker - Coach Summit 2016

Brian Cain

 brian=Brian Cain has dedicated his life to studying, modelling, and teaching the peak performance strategies of the most successful people in the world. Having served as the Mental Conditioning Coach for World, Olympic, National and State Champions, Cain has discovered what works and what doesn’t in the competitive arena so that you can speed up your learning curve and maximise your performance.

A former high school standout in baseball, football and basketball, Cain was an NCAA Division 1 baseball player at The University of Vermont before going on to earn a Masters Degree in Applied Sport Psychology and also coaching baseball at Cal State Fullerton, the 2004 NCAA College Baseball National Champions.

As a coach of champions, Cain’s client list is impressive. Over 400 of his clients have gone on to get drafted into Major League Baseball, including over 25 in the first round. He has helped train top picks in the NFL, NHL and NBA drafts. In addition, he has worked closely in the corner of five Ultimate Fighting Championship World Champions, including UFC Superstar Georges St. Pierre, numerous Major League Baseball All-Stars, The Washington Nationals Organisation and Team USA Baseball.

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