The largest gathering of baseball coaches in history wrapped up on Sunday, Jan. 7, when the clinics at the 74th annual ABCA Convention in Indianapolis concluded. More than 6,000 coaches were on hand for clinics, the ABCA Trade Show, the new Youth Breakout Session, the Expo Theater, meetings, award celebrations and other events.
The 25 main-stage clinics presented by ATEC were a highlight as organized by ABCA Second Vice President John Kolasinski and ABCA Third Vice President Stu Fritz. NCAA Div. I national champion coach Kevin O’Sullivan from the University of Florida led off the clinics and was followed by and incredible lineup of presentations. The clinics featured a 20-foot-by-60-foot LED Wall as well as two other LED screens to provide a great viewing experience for the members.
The ABCA Trade Show was the largest ever, with more than 190,000 square feet of exhibit space in the Indiana Convention Center. The latest products and innovations were displayed and ABCA member coaches gave fantastic feedback about the 300+ exhibiting companies.
The new Youth Coaches Breakout Session presented by TeamSnap was a success with hundreds of coaches on hand to hear from the nine speakers. Those clinicians delivered presentations geared toward coaches of players up to age 14 and will be a part of the ABCA Convention moving forward.
In its second year, the Expo Theater inside the ABCA Trade Show was once again a huge success. This area inside the exhibit hall is for ABCA partners, exhibitors and member coaches to give presentations on a variety of topics. Hundreds of coaches gathered around for presentations throughout the three days of the Trade Show.
The ABCA/Diamond Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet in the JW Marriott honored the ABCA/Diamond National Coaches of the Year in every division as well as the Regional Coaches of the Year. Eleven great coaches were inducted to the ABCA Hall of Fame: Ed Blankmeyer, Hill Denson, Don Freeman, Jim Gilligan, Tim Hill, Bobby Howard, Andy Lopez, Stan Luketich, Pat McMahon, Frank Permuy and John Schaly.
On Saturday morning, the ABCA and USA Baseball announced a new educational partnership for baseball coaches. A.J. Hinch, manager of the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros, was on hand to inspire ABCA coaches in their profession and to continue improving for their players.
Hinch was also given the ABCA Honor Award during the ABCA/Diamond Kinetics Honors Luncheon on Saturday afternoon. The ABCA/Diamond Kinetics and ABCA/Turface awards and scholarships were also presented. J-Bob Thomas from Texas Tech was presented the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year Award and Turn Two For Youth was presented the ABCA Meritorious Service Award.
The 75th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 3-6, 2019 at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, Texas. Another great convention is already being planned!