OKLAHOMA CITY –– The 2021 Biennial Umpire-In-Chief (UIC) Clinic concluded Monday, February 15 with the Regional Awards of Excellence presentation. Held virtually through scheduled Zoom sessions Feb. 2-15, over 700 umpires from around the country attended the biennial clinic as the USA Softball Umpire program covered a wide variety of topics through breakout sessions. All breakout sessions for the UIC Clinic were recorded and can be viewed by clicking here.
“The first-ever virtual UIC Clinic was a great success,” said Director of Umpires, Kevin Ryan. “Participation was excellent throughout the entire clinic and those who attended provided positive feedback as we work on continuing to improve the umpire program. The entire National Umpire Staff did a great job with all facets of the clinic. We are extremely grateful for Bollinger Insurance allowing us to host this clinic at no cost for all attendees. I would also like to thank Hal Van Ryswyk for acting as the main administrator in carrying out this clinic virtually. I am proud of the success of this year’s UIC Clinic and look forward to the upcoming 2021 season!”
Participation was virtual and topics included understanding rules, mechanics and evaluations as well as what it takes to be an Elite umpire and National Championship UIC. Despite not meeting together in person, USA Softball umpires still heard from both President Rodney Cobb and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Craig Cress.
President Cobb provided insight on how the umpire program can prepare for the upcoming 2021 season as the effects of COVID-19 continue.
“USA Softball has remained fluid and flexible in the times of COVID-19 and I think it is important for our umpires to continue that route as we enter into the 2021 season,” said Cobb. “As long as you’re willing and capable to make the changes that need to be made and work through the process, I am cautiously optimistic that 2021 will be a successful season!”
CEO Cress praised the response and great strides that USA Softball members have made despite the unprecedented times of COVID-19. Acknowledging the impact of the cancellation of various events and National Championships, Cress expressed his appreciation for the umpire program and their continued dedication to the sport.
“I want to personally say thank you to each and every one of our umpires,” said Cress. “If it weren’t for umpires, we wouldn’t have a game; it would be just a scrimmage. Your role on the field does not go unnoticed, in a positive way, and we greatly appreciate you and all the work you put into our sport.”
The UIC Clinic was highlighted by the Regional Awards of Excellence, which honors excellence in rule knowledge and application as well as continued support and dedication to USA Softball.
The following individuals received Awards of Excellence for their respective regions:
Region 1 –– Lynne Nemeth, USA Softball of New York
Region 2 –– Art Dietrich, USA Softball of North Carolina
Region 3 –– Dave Swanson, USA Softball of Tennessee
Region 4 –– Chris McGee, USA Softball of Mississippi
Region 5 –– John Baca, USA Softball of New Mexico
Region 6 –– Paul Tomazzoli, USA Softball of Illinois
Region 7 –– Christine Hoit, USA Softball of Nebraska
Region 8 –– Chad Mitchell, USA Softball of Wisconsin
Region 9 –– Randy Homer, USA Softball of Idaho
Region 10 –– Ranier “Wink” Winckelmann, USA Softball of Central California
USA Softball would like to thank sponsors RPS Bollinger Insurance and Markel for their continued support of the game of softball and the UIC Clinic.
For more information on the USA Softball umpire program, please visit USASoftball.com.