By Maren Angus
The National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s annual convention officially begins on Wednesday, Dec. 6 and runs through Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.
Record-breaking attendance is expected this year with 1,608 attendees and the lineup of guest speakers is impressive.
Jessica Mendoza (Stanford) of ESPN will be the keynote speaker and kick things off on Dec. 6 at 6:15 p.m. NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman and Karen Weekly (Tennessee) will also join Mendoza that night.
Oklahoma’s pitching coach Melyssa Lombardi and Florida’s pitching coach Jennifer Rocha highlight Day 2 of the event with “Creating a Championship Caliber Pitcher.” Day 3 features a panel of Directors of Operation that includes Amy Lefurgy (Washington), Peter Suarez (Iowa State), Shanna Diller (Texas) and Whitney Davis Showalter (Virginia Tech). Later that day, Patty Gasso (Oklahoma) headlines a panel of coaches whose teams all won a national championship in 2017. Mike Stitch, owner and head coach of the OC Batbusters will discuss how to develop young hitters on Dec. 9.
Another highlight of the week will be the NFCA Hall of Fame Induction. Vickie Kazee-Hollifield (Carson-Newman), Karen Mullins (UCONN), Sheilah Gulas (Ashland) and Gary Haning (OC Butbusters) will be honored on Friday night.
The convention also features its largest exhibit show to date with 135 vendors. The exhibitor show is held on Dec. 7 and 8 and features the newest technology, apparel and softball training equipment. Scrap Yard Sports will be hosting a happy hour ever on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m., the Sports Attack Raffle will also take place in the exhibit hall on Dec. 8 at 12 p.m.
BTP Softball will be bringing you the NFCA Convention in real-time online and on social media. Be sure to follow along for what is sure to be a great week in fabulous Las Vegas.