2018 Speaker Bios – Softball

The Pennsylvania Baseball & Softball Coaches Clinic takes tremendous pride in the quality of speakers that present to our attendees each year. We conduct extensive research and recruit individuals that come highly recommended as clinicians. We strive to to make our roster of speakers a blend of successful veteran coaches along with some young “rising stars” of the coaching profession. As we celebrate our 32nd annual convention, we thank all of our loyal attendees and we look forward to providing the coaching community with an excellent clinic for many years to come.

PATTY GASSO - University of Oklahoma

There is no debate, Gasso is the greatest coach in the history of Oklahoma softball. Statistically, she can easily be considered the greatest coach in Big 12 history. And after capturing her fourth national championship in 2017, Gasso's career accomplishments have put her in the discussion as one of the best coaches in the history of the sport.

During her tenure at OU, the Sooners reached the Women's College World Series 11 times while qualifying for the postseason in each of her 23 seasons. Oklahoma is one of just three programs in NCAA history to win more than two national titles. Gasso spent her first five years at Long Beach City College before moving to OU in 1995. Her career collegiate coaching record stands at 1307-381-3. She has won more Big 12 games (307) than any coach in the league's history and has more than twice as many overall wins as any other coach in OU history. The Sooners have claimed 10 Big 12 regular season titles, including an unprecedented six straight since the 2012 season. Gasso's teams have finished second or higher 18 different times in the 22 years since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996. Her .780 career winning percentage is second on the all-time Division 1 list behind only fellow 2018 PA Coaches Clinic featured presenter Mike Candrea. 

For her efforts, Gasso has claimed an abundance of coaching awards. She and her staff earned three consecutive Speedline/NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year awards from 1999-2001 and received the national honor in 2000, 2013, 2016 and 2017. In addition, Gasso has been named the Big 12 Coach of the Year 10 times, including six consecutive seasons dating back to 2012. After claiming her third national championship in the last five years, Gasso helped Oklahoma become just the fourth program in NCAA history to win back-to-back national titles. Her squad finished the 2017 campaign with an incredible 61-9 record.

 

Patty Gasso's 2018 TOPICS:

  • Talk'n Softball with Patty Gasso (Feature Presentation)
  • Power of Empowerment - Coaching the Female Athlete 
  • Offensive Strategies

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MIKE CANDREA – University of Arizona

If you were to build a Mount Rushmore for softball coaches, there's no doubt Candrea's face would be on it. During his 32 years as head coach, Candrea has compiled a 1,520-388-2 record, good enough for third on the all-time wins list  His .796 winning percentage is the highest among Division I coaches while his eight national championships are the most in the history of the sport. Under his leadership, the Wildcats have appeared in 22 Women's College World Series. He has guided the program to 11 conference championships, including the 2017 Pac-12 title. For his efforts, Candrea earned his 12th conference coach of the year award. 

During the 2017 season, Candrea claimed his 1,500th career victory, becoming the fastest coach in NCAA history, in any sport, at any level, to win 1,500 games. Only five coaches in any sport have more Division I victories than Candrea. In addition to his time at Arizona, Candrea spent five years as a junior college coach at Central Arizona. During that time he compiled nearly 200 wins. In his 37 years, Candrea has coached nearly 2200 collegiate games and has won nearly 80% of them.

In addition to his dominance at the collegiate level, Candrea also spent time internationally with USA Softball. He served as the head coach of Team USA's medal-winning teams in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. His 2004-team earned a gold medal in athens while his 2008-squad claimed a silver in Beijing. The 2004-team may be considered one of the most dominate in Olympic history, in any sport. That team posted a perfect 9-0 record while outscoring its opponents 51-1. 

Candrea is sought out by softball and baseball coaches around the country. He is particularly known for hitting techniques, team fielding drills and squad motivational preparation. In recent years, he has consulted with Major League Baseball stars and other learned technicians to conduct national hitting clinics. He has written several books and produced a number of videotapes on various softball subjects and has designed specific practice aids and equipment that are widely used at various levels of play.

 

Mike Candrea's 2018 Topics:

  • Talk'n Softball with Mike Candrea (Feature Presentation)
  • Simplifying the Hitting Process
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Practices

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MICHAEL BOSCH – Syracuse University

Bosch enters his third season as head coach of the Orange after putting together two consecutive winning campaigns. His 2017 squad collected 31 wins, the most since 2012, and set single-season records in team batting average (.307), hits (433) and on-base percentage (.388). Prior to taking over as head coach, Bosch was an assistant with Syracuse. During that time, the orange claimed a BIG EAST title and broke university single-season records for wins, strikeouts, shutouts, opponent batting average and earned run average. He helped All-American Jenna Caira earn the 2011 BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year and ECAC Pitcher of the Year honors. That same season, Syracuse advanced to the NCAA Regionals and Bosch was part of the Orange coaching staff that was named the NFCA Great Lakes region Coaching Staff of the Year. As the head coach at Iowa Lakes Community College from 1997 to 2010, Bosch racked up well over 500 wins while claiming the NFCA Midwest Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2006 and 2010. During his tenure, he developed 28 All-Americans and 81 All-Region selections.

Michael Bosch's 2018 Topics:

  • Pitching - Using Video as an Extra Set of Eyes
  • Pitching Workouts
  • Developing Character On and Off the Field
  • DRILLS SESSION: Pitching Drills - Orange Style
  • DRILLS SESSION: Daily Infield Drills

SHEILAH GULAS – Ashland University (Retired)

After 31 seasons on the sidelines, Gulas officially called it quits after the 2017 campaign, but not before claiming yet another Greater Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Award. The veteran coach claimed her fourth GLIAC Coach of the Year honor as she led the Eagles to yet another 30-win season. Gulas finished her AU tenure as the university's all-time leader in wins with 723. In her 21 years at Ashland, she never experienced a losing season. For her career, Gulas has compiled well over 900 victories which include stops at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA as well as Wittenburg University in Springfield, OH. Under Gulas' leadership, Allegheny was the national runner-up in 1988 and fifth in the country in 1987, 1989 and 1990. She was named the NCAA Division III national coach of the year in 1988 and 1989, and was the regional coach of the year from 1987-89. A graduate of Clarion University, Gulas will be inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in December. 

Sheilah Gulas' 2018 Topics:

  • Working With the Outfielder
  • Working Competition Into the Practice Setting
  • DRILLS SESSION: Drills & Skills to Perfect Your Short Game
  • DRILLS SESSION:  Conditioning the Softball Player - Agility & Foot Speed
  • DRILLS SESSION:  Team Building Activities

JULIE PRATT - University of Akron

Pratt recently completed her 11th season on the coaching staff of her alma mater as she helped guide the Zips to another spirited season. Akron finished the 2017 campaign as the Mid-American Conference team-leader in sacrifice bunts, stolen bases and stealing attempts. Pratt aided redshirt junior Ashley Smith to a university-record and conference-leading 46 stolen bases. During her tenure at Akron, she has helped mentor 19 All-MAC honorees, five NCAA All-Mideast Region selections, 28 Academic All-MAC student-athletes, eight Academic All-District selections, and two Academic All-Americans. In addition, Pratt watched over the 2014 MAC Pitcher of the Year, the 2016 MAC Nan Harvey Award winner and the 2017 MAC Freshman of the Year. Pratt brings a wide-range of knowledge to the PA Coaches Clinic after spending nearly 20 years as an assistant coach, associate head coach and/or head coach at previous stops the include Cleveland State, IUPUI and Wright State. As a player for the Zips, Pratt was a four-year letterwinner at catcher and designated player and was inducted into the university's Varsity "A" Hall of Fame in 2013. 

 

Julie Pratt's 2018 Topics:

  • 1st & 3rd: Stop the Run & Score the Run - Both Offensively and Defensively
  • Base Running, Stealing and Sliding: Making the Average Runner a Threat on the Bases
  • DRILLS SESSION: Outfield Drills for Indoor Practice
  • DRILLS SESSION:  Catching: Getting the Strike and Drills to Develop a Backstop

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JENNIFER PATRICK-SWIFT – St. Francis University (PA)

In just seven seasons at the second-smallest Division 1 school in the country, Patrick-Swift has complied an incredible list of accomplishments. In 2015, she became the university's all-time leader in wins. In 2016, she helped the Red Flash set program records for wins (34), NEC wins(13) and qualified for the No. 2 seed in the NEC Tournament, tying the program's highest seed. In 2017, after leading the Red Flash to yet another school-record for wins (49), she was named ECAC Coach of the Year. In addition, her staff was named NEC Coaching Staff of the Year as Saint Francis improved its win total for a sixth straight year. The club won its first NEC Title and earned its first NCAA Tournament bid. Under Patrick-Swift, SFU went 16-0 in the NEC during the regular season before going unbeaten in the NEC Tournament to clinch the title and become the first NEC team to go undefeated in conference play. The Red Flash finished 22-4 in true road games, leading Division I in road victories. Patrick-Swift also led her squad to it's first-ever NCAA tournament win with an 8-4 victory over New Mexico.

Jennifer Patrick-Swift’s 2018 Topics:

  • The Elite Swing - How the Best REALLY Hit and Why
  • The Home Run Mindset - It’s Intentional Not Accidental
  • The Old School Coach…Today
  • Why You Can When Everyone Else Says You Can’t: How to Prove the Naysayers Wrong
  • DRILLS SESSION: The Elite Swing Hitting Drills
  • DRILLS SESSION: Indoor Practices: A Grab Bag of Indoor Practice Drills.

LORI COOK-BAIRD – Lori Cook-Baird Pitching

An elite pitching instructor with over 30 years of experience, Cook-Baird stresses three P's: passion, positivity and perseverance. She specializes in teaching pitchers how to maximize spin rotation, how to control the amount of break on the pitch, how to vary speeds on all pitches and the importance of mastering pinpoint location. Prior to her time as a private-instructor, Cook-Baird played and coached at several different colleges. She is in the Napa High School Athletic Hall of Fame as well as the Napa Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame. The success at Napa Valley helped pave the way to a solid two-year career at Nebraska. After college, she played professionally in Italy, becoming one of the first Americans to play in the country's top divisional league. During her post-playing career, Cook-Baird became the first American to coach the Peanuts Professional Softball Club in Italy. The veteran field general also had assistant jobs at Cal State Hayward, Napa Valley College, Cosumnes River College-Sacramento and Baylor University. She was the associate head coach at University of Texas at San Antonio and head coach at the University of Texas-San Antonio..

Lori Cook-Baird's 2018 Topics:

  • Building the Pitcher From the Ground Up
  • The FastBall, Drop Ball and Change Up
  • The Screwball, Rise Ball and Curve
  • DRILLS SESSION: Spin Drills for Mastering breaking Pitches
  • DRILLS SESSION: Proper Warm Up Drills

RACHEL BALKOVIC– Houston Astros

Balkovic made national headlines in 2013 when the St. Louis Cardinals hired her to become the first female strength & conditioning coach in MLB history.  Now serving as the Latin American Strength & Conditioning Coordinator for the Houston Astros, she works with the team's Gulf Coast League affiliate and supervises the strength coaches at the team's academy in the Dominican Republic.  By sharing her unique experiences with groups all over the world as an international speaker, Balkovic's mission is to empower others to live courageously.  Prior to entering the MLB ranks, Balkovic was a catcher at the University of New Mexico and received her master's degree in sports administration from LSU.  Learn more about Rachel by visiting her website at www.rachelbalkovec.com.  

Rachel Balkovic’s 2018 Topics:

  • Young Women's Empowerment Through Athletics
  • The Myth of Sport Specific Training: Athleticism First, Skill Second
  • DRILLS SESSION: Base Running Efficiency Drills