BaseballSoftballUK- Nominations announced for 2018 BSUK Coach Awards

Wednesday 17th January 2018

BaseballSoftballUK is delighted to announce the shortlisted nominations for the British Baseball & Softball Coach Awards 2018.  The awards will be presented to the winners in each category at the upcoming BaseballSoftballUK Coach Summit taking place in Milton Keynes on Saturday 27 January.

These annual awards provide an opportunity to recognise the hard work and expertise of coaches and volunteers in the British baseball and softball communities.  This year, the Awards have been expanded and developed, in consultation with the British Softball Federation, to recognise the breadth of the workforce that makes a positive impact in our sports.

The shortlisted nominations, listed in alphabetical order in each category, are as follows:



This award is for the coach aged 22 or younger deemed to have made the biggest contribution to coaching, managing and supporting baseball and/or softball in Britain in 2018.
Dan Patterson
Since establishing the University of Reading Knights Softball Club in November 2016, Dan has dedicated himself as President to organising and delivering coaching that has seen the club go from strength to strength, placing fifth in the most recent National University Softball Championship.  He has also arranged the social programme for the club and created links to the Reading Blue Sox to provide additional playing opportunities for students.
Sian Wigington
Sian, who is a member of the GB Senior Women’s Team player pool, has been nominated for her role as an Assistant Coach with the Great Britain Under-16 Girls Fastpitch Softball Team where, in her first formal coaching assignment, she worked on team strategies, scouting and coaching.  Sian also helped to create and coach a new team, The Mix, in the Great Britain Fastpitch League in 2017.  The team won the Women’s Division title and has entered this year’s European Women’s Cup tournament.
Will Zucker
Since arriving at Durham University, Will has worked tirelessly to establish the university’s baseball club, working with both international and UK students.  The club entered two teams in the National University Baseball Championship in its first season before winning the prestigious title in Autumn 2016.  Will, who has represented Great Britain Baseball as a junior player, has been instrumental in recruiting 30 new players this year for the Durham University Baseball Club by delivering dedicated and engaged coaching to all involved.



This award is for an outstanding contribution to coaching young people in baseball in Britain.
Drew Spencer
Drew dedicated 2017 to developing junior baseball at the London Mets Baseball Club.  He coached the Minors Team, led the Seniors to the National Title and also oversaw the progress of the London Meteorites in the British Baseball Federation’s Triple-A South Division.
Chris Stevenson
Chris led the Brighton Baseball Club Minors to the National Championship title in 2017, developing his players’ skills and love for baseball through his Kids Positive Coaching Code.  His enthusiasm and knowledge as Head Coach enabled him to develop individual skills and team cohesion through the effective use of questioning and interactive sessions.
Jeff Whitworth
Jeff was the Coaching Coordinator for the London Youth Baseball League in 2017, overseeing the coaching programme for players aged 5 to 15.  As well as leading the league’s All-Star Team to the European Little League Championship in Kutno, Poland, he also organised two All-Star travel teams.



This award is for an outstanding contribution to coaching young people in softball in Britain.
David Morris
David has been instrumental in developing youth fastpitch softball at the Chichester Falcons Softball Club.  He has inspired and enthused many young players to develop their skills, running training sessions and organising tournaments for them to play in, as well as taking local players to play in the Great Britain Fastpitch League at Farnham Park.  David has also ensured the development of his own coaching knowledge by attending the first European Softball Coaches Association Camp in October 2017 in the Netherlands.
Mark Saunders & Lewis Chapman
Mark and Lewis worked tirelessly in 2017 to develop a team of secondary school students from Stroud to enter the Bristol Softball Association.  On the back of the “Softball Revolution” at Archway School, which has produced an intra-mural programme of 21 teams and the Gloucestershire School Games Softball Champions at both Under-16 and Under-18 age levels, Mark and Lewis have coached and then driven their players to Bristol each week, some 30 miles away, to play in an adult league.  The newly-formed team went undefeated throughout the season and look well set for a successful 2018.
Julie Spittle
Julie has been a Great Britain Under-13 Girls’ Fastpitch Team Coach and Team Manager for a number of years, using her experience and passion to develop young players.  She quietly encourages her athletes to attend training, try new drills and get involved in the game, and then, as Team Manager, supports their annual overseas tour to the ESF’s Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy competition in Italy.
Joss & Laura Thompson
Joss and Laura Thompson have been nominated for their work with their local team, the Towcester Tigers, and as Assistant Coaches with the Great Britain Under-16 Girls’ Fastpitch Team.  With a quiet and supportive approach to coaching, they have used their knowledge and passion to improve the skills and commitment of many players in these teams.



This award is for an outstanding contribution to adult baseball coaching in Britain.
James Moran
James has a long track record of coaching in Birmingham, and in the past 12 months has taken the Birmingham Bandits Club from one to two adult baseball teams, set up youth training and is hoping to add a softball programme this coming season.  Much of this success can be attributed to James’s passion for baseball, which he combines with his knowledge and talent to help people into the game.
Jonathon Cramman
Jonathon led the London Mets to the NBL title in his first season as Team Manager last year, as well as taking a Mets team to a CEB Federations Cup Qualifier in Stockholm, finishing third.  He has been active with the club’s junior sides as well in the past 12 months.  Jonathon works tirelessly to drive his club forward and is an example of the commitment needed to keep British baseball alive and healthy.
Paul Rance
Northants Baseball club has gone from strength to strength over recent years, driven by club president Paul Rance.  Last year, with the growth of the club’s committee and the success of its facility development project, Paul was able to step back from some of the club administration and dedicate more time on coaching.  This led to the Centurions winning the Single-A Central Division title and qualifying for the National Baseball Championships for the first time.  Paul has also been extremely committed to his own personal development as a coach, completing his Level 2 qualification and attending a number of CPD clinics.


This award is for an outstanding contribution to adult softball coaching in Britain.
Eric Lukazewski
Eric has been leading training sessions and setting a great example to others since arriving at the Reading Blue Sox five years ago.  He increased playing numbers from 25 to 50 last year and is now looking at putting a third team from the club into the Windsor & Maidenhead Softball League in 2018.
Nigel Peters
Nigel has brought a dedicated, purposeful and positive approach to the Misfits Softball Club in Nottinghamshire.  As well as coaching the team and welcoming new players into the side, he pitches, recruits, manages the team, organises events, umpires and looks after the facilities!  Nigel is clearly someone who puts his all into the club.
Rachael Watkeys
Through hard work and excellent leadership, Rachael successfully coached the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Team to the bronze medal at the European Women’s Championship in 2017, enabling the team to qualify for the 2018 WBSC Women’s World Championship in Japan.



This award is for a volunteer in a non-coaching role who has given up a substantial amount of time to support their local club, team or league and who has made a significant impact on the development of our sports.
Bruce Alan
Bruce is the Chair of the Urmston Softball Club, which started with the Rippers in 2015 and added the Vipers in 2017.  Both teams now play in the Manchester Softball League.  As well as organising club events, including training and socials, Bruce is also the Recruitment & Marketing Officer for the Manchester Softball League, overseeing their website and communications work.
Simon Mortimer
Simon has been Team Manager of the Great Britain Women’s Fastpitch Team since 2016.  His planning and communication skills have been described as exceptional, with no detail overlooked.  He has also introduced a statistics analysis programme for both trials and matches, improving the decision-making of both coaches and players.  Simon also acts as Treasurer for the Great Britain Management Committee, and has overseen the development of a programme to supply high-quality uniforms and team clothing to all GB Softball National Teams.
David Wareham
David has been part of the softball scene in Manchester for the past 20 years, currently overseeing the Tigers Softball Club.  Through his dedication and excellent communication skills, David has successfully interacted with and inspired a very large number of people to play softball.



This award is made to the individual who best personifies what it means to be a baseball or softball coach: someone who understands their sport and can use the lessons learned on the pitch to motivate and engage others.  He or she has probably played a great number of roles, and without their services to coaching, your club, your league or perhaps even your national teams wouldn’t be the same.~
David Lee
David has been involved in slowpitch softball for many years and has impacted many people as a player, coach and leader at all levels of the sport, from the Bristol Softball Association to the Great Britain Slowpitch National Team.  His coaching, based on a long and very successful playing career, has helped many players from Bristol into the National Team programme.  David is a natural champion of the game, and has regularly given his time to help others develop as players and coaches.
Ryan Turtill
Ryan has been nominated for his outstanding and unique approach to supporting and coaching a number of teams at the London Mets Baseball & Softball Club.  Ryan volunteers his time mainly for the club’s Marauders team, but also helps coach the Musketeers and runs the weekly “Baseball for Beginners” classes which have been incredibly successful at developing new players and increasing participation.  His approach has created a culture at the London Mets that welcomes new players and fosters a real sense of team in a short space of time. Universally popular and respected, Ryan is an invaluable contributor to British baseball.
Paul Vernon
Paul has been shortlisted for this award for 20+ years of coaching baseball and softball at all levels in the UK.  Although originally focused on baseball with Bracknell and Great Britain, Paul has in recent years dedicated himself to the Bracknell Scorchers Softball Club.  His approach to coaching has always been grounded in fairness, honesty, self-improvement and fun.  Paul has a love for both sports and a genuine ability to communicate this to anyone he works with.  Paul has also contributed to baseball and softball more broadly. He has worked with both MLB and BSUK and has served on the BBF Board.  He has been seen as a voice of reason in the sport for the decades during which he has touched the lives of many players and coaches and has worked tirelessly to develop our sports.