Kerrick Jackson, the Chair of the ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee, has been added to the Board of Directors of the American Baseball Coaches Association, effective immediately. The Board of Directors voted to amend the ABCA Constitution & By-Laws to include the Chair of the ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee as a voting member of the Board.
"I think this is one of the most significant changes to our Association in many years," said ABCA Executive Director Craig Keilitz. "Having Kerrick Jackson represent the Diversity Committee during the Executive Committee meetings and receptions during our Convention in Chicago provided such a valuable perspective and sparked new conversations in those meetings. Our Board of Directors didn't want another meeting to pass without having that perspective in the room."
Following the 2022 ABCA Convention in Chicago, the ABCA Standing Committee called for a special meeting to discuss adding the Chair of the ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee to the Board of Directors. ABCA President Rick Hitt put the motion forward, seconded by Tim Corbin, and the Board subsequently voted in favor of the amendment.
The Board of Directors, which establishes policies and governs the Association, meets twice during the College World Series in Omaha and twice during each ABCA Convention.
"This is a huge step for this organization," said Jackson. "From forming the Diversity in Baseball Committee as an official ABCA committee three years ago, to now having this appointment to the Board, this gives us a greater ability to generate interest and discussions about issues around diversity in our sport. It also gives minority coaches a new view of the organization, seeing someone who looks like them on the Board of Directors who is helping make decisions about the direction of our organization. It shows a pathway to active participation in the ABCA and being more involved in the direction of the sport."
The ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee started as a grassroots meeting during the 2019 ABCA Convention in Dallas and subsequently was formed as an official ABCA committee with two primary goals: (1) Professional Development and (2) Youth Baseball Education & Advancement. Jackson organized the initial meeting and has since served as Chair of the committee, which has held a meeting at each subsequent ABCA Convention.
The ABCA has made a concentrated effort in recent years to promote diversity among its membership. Some of those efforts include:
- The Chair of the ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee was previously added as a position on the ABCA Executive Committee in 2021.
- When committee positions are open, the ABCA staff ensures that minority candidates are considered, which has improved diversity among leadership positions within the ABCA.
- The Board of Directors voted in 2020 to create a Minority Intern position at the ABCA National Office, with the goal to create an opportunity each year for a young person to gain experience within the baseball industry.
- Now, the Board voted to amend the ABCA Constitution to add the Chair of the ABCA Diversity in Baseball Committee as a position on the Board of Directors.
Jackson has served as President of the MLB Draft League since 2020, following a three-year stint as head coach at Southern University, where he led the Jaguars from nine wins in 2018 to 32 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019. Jackson served as an assistant coach at multiple levels, including a five-year stretch at the University of Missouri where he was the first African American full-time baseball coach in both the Big XII and Southeastern Conferences (Missouri transitioned conferences during that time). He has also worked as a professional scout and player agent.
Founded in 1945, the American Baseball Coaches Association is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 13,000 members represent all 50 states and 32 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School, Youth and Travel Baseball.
ABCA Board of Directors