More than 4,500 coaches attended the 73rd annual ABCA Convention in Anaheim Jan. 5-8, 2017, making it the largest baseball convention ever on the West Coast. The Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center was packed with more than 4,000 coaches over three days, the ABCA Trade Show had more than 300 exhibiting companies and hundreds of other meetings and events took place.
The clinic presenters were extremely well received as usual. ABCA Second Vice President Rich Maloney and Third Vice President John Kolasinski were responsible for the clinics, which were led off by NCAA Div. I national champ head coach of Coastal Carolina and ran the gamut of topics. One of the other most popular sessions was the Championship Coaching Panel with Tim Corbin (Vanderbilt), Paul Mainieri (LSU) and John Savage (UCLA).
One of the new innovations at the 2017 Convention was the Expo Theater, which was a resounding success. This was a new area inside the exhibit hall for ABCA partners, exhibitors and member coaches to give presentations on a variety of topics. Nineteen presentations were held, with several hundred coaches crowding around the area for most of them.
The more than 300 exhibiting companies in the ABCA Trade Show had a fantastic amount of activity. The companies displayed state-of-the-art equipment, products and innovations. Several new products were unveiled for the first time during the Trade Show and in the Exhibit Theater.
The ABCA/Diamond Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet honored the ABCA/Diamond National Coaches of the Year in every division as well as the Regional Coaches of the Year. Ten great coaches were inducted to the ABCA Hall of Fame: Tom Austin, Methodist University (N.C.), Scott Berry, Mayville State University (N.D.), Jerry Boatner, West Lauderdale High School (Miss.), Barry Chasen, Windsor High School (Conn.), Leroy Dreyer, Blinn College (Texas), Rick Jones, Tulane University (La.), Wally Kincaid, Cerritos College (Calif.), Bill Percy, St. Mary's High School (Colo.), Steve Peterson, Middle Tennessee State University and Norm Schoenig, Montclair State University (N.J.).
At the ABCA Honors Luncheon Presented by Diamond Kinetics, former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott received the ABCA Honor Award and delivered a great message from his experiences. Diamond Kinetics presented the first annual ABCA/Diamond Kinetics Technology Awards and Scholarships and Turface Athletics presented the ABCA/Turface Field Maintenance Awards and Scholarships. Rob Walton from Oklahoma State received the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year Award and Mary Ellen Leicht of the NJCAA received the Meritorious Service Award.
The 74th annual ABCA Convention will be held Jan. 4-7, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the J.W. Marriott Hotel and the Indiana Convention Center.