2011 ABCA conference to feature many Pioneer baseball alumni

Marietta College baseball is preparing to make its mark at the 66th annual American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) convention, which will be conducted Jan. 6-9 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. 



A handful of the two dozen speakers that will address the 3,500 baseball coaches in attendance throughout the weekend credit the late Don Schaly, legendary leader of the Etta Express, for helping them develop their baseball roots.



“There is definitely a Marietta flavor to the weekend, which tells you what kind of people have come out of the Marietta baseball program,” said John Schaly ’82, the Head Coach at Ashland University and Second Vice President of the ABCA. “It is a direct reflection on dad. He taught us all the right way to do things.”


John Schaly was instrumental in formulating this year’s speaking lineup.



“My role as second VP was to get 24 speakers for the lineup of the convention,” Schaly said. “It was a lot of fun talking with some of the best coaches in the country. I think each coach in attendance will be able to take back home a lot of new ideas to use for his team. We have a wide range of topics that cover almost all aspects of the game.”



On Saturday morning, Colorado Rockies Manager Jim Tracy ’78 will give a talk titled “Character Counts.” The 2009 MLB National League Manager of the Year will then be recognized for his contribution to the sport when he is awarded the ABCA/Rawlings Honor Award at a luncheon. Past recipients of this prestigious award have included President George W. Bush, Nolan Ryan and Tony Gwynn.



Following the luncheon, 16-year MLB veteran reliever Kent Tekulve ’69, a key member of the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, will address the convention on the “Bullpen’s Role in Developing a Pitching Staff.”



Sunday morning, eighth-year Head Coach Brian Brewer ’93, who led Marietta to its record fourth NCAA Division III National Championship in 2006, will speak on “First Base Play.”



“I will talk about everything from positioning to footwork around the bag to technique as a cutoff man,” Brewer said. “Speaking at the convention is a pretty big deal, and I am honored to be invited.”



Barry Chasen ’69, who is the Chairman of the ABCA High School Rules Committee, will also be involved in the convention.



“I feel the history and tradition of Marietta Baseball has a lot to do with this group being allowed these opportunities,” Brewer said. “We have all achieved some level of success in our lives, both personally and professionally, and chances are these successes have been a result of a lot of different things, but the constants would be Don and Sue Schaly and Marietta College Baseball.”



Brewer, who will be joined by his assistants Mike Deegan ’01 and Cody Castle, is excited about the potential of this convention.



“We, as a staff, have learned a lot from the speakers at these conventions over the years,” Brewer said. “Hanging out with other coaches from all over the place is something I look forward to as well. In fact, the last time I went to the convention in Nashville I was “talking shop” with the coaching staff from Georgia Tech. What a thrill that was!”



In addition to the all-star lineup of speakers, which also includes Baltimore Oriole second baseman Brian Roberts, Tampa Ray pitcher David Price and former New York Met Howard Johnson, Brewer is looking forward to seeing what is new among the 300 companies that will have displays in the exhibit hall.



“I always enjoy walking the exhibit hall,” Brewer said. “You get to check out the latest technologies, gadgets and products. Even though our budgets do not always allow for purchasing these items, it is fun to window shop.”



However, the thing Brewer is most looking forward to this year is getting together with the Marietta contingent, which will also include Sue Schaly, the matriarch of Marietta Baseball, Joe Schaly ’86, Mark Talarico ’83, Jeff Schaly ’90 and Paul “Doc” Spear ’64.“We plan on gathering over a good meal and telling stories about Don Schaly, Paul Erb, John Wharff and the good old days of Pioneer baseball,” Brewer said.



About the ABCA: The ABCA is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 6,200 members represent all 50 states and 22 countries. Since 1945, Association membership has broadened to include seven divisions - NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, High School and Youth.



Speaker Schedule: http://www.abca.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=18900&KEY=&ATCLID=1599990