The ABCA Podcast runs the gamut of baseball coaching topics, from pitching, to hitting, to the mental game, practice planning, recruiting and more. It's hosted by Ryan Brownlee, longtime coach and current Assistant Executive Director of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). The ABCA is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level, with over 13,000 members representing all 50 U.S. states and 23 countries. Since 1945, Association membership has broadened to include: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, Junior College, Pacific Association Division, High School, Youth and Travel Ball. Each January, the ABCA hosts the largest baseball convention in the world. Over 7,000 coaches attend the convention, which is held at various locations around the country. The ABCA's official website is http://www.ABCA.org.
Episode 192 with Rick Hitt, ABCA 2nd Vice President and South Florida State College Head Coach
This week, we visit with ABCA Second Vice President Rick Hitt, who is the head baseball coach and Athletic Director at South Florida State College. Hitt organized the 24 main-stage clinic speakers for the Virtual ABCA Convention and serves on the ABCA Board of Directors and Standing Committee. Besides the ABCA, Hitt is the NJCAA Region 8 Assistant Men’s Director, NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association President and is on the NJCAA All-America Committee. He has also coached the NJCAA National Team six times. Hitt speaks on his journey to becoming the ABCA Second Vice President, this year’s challenges and what he is excited about for the Virtual Convention. We also dive into what he has seen as the common themes for the great coaches he has been around, his role as AD and coach, how being surrounded by educators in his immediate family has helped him as a coach, and what it means to him being inducted into three different Halls of Fame.
Episode 191 with Ray Birmingham, University of New Mexico
Next up on the ABCA Podcast is University of New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham, a great example of staying true to yourself and trusting what you teach. Birmingham has head coaching experience at the high school, NAIA, junior college and NCAA Division I levels. He is one of the best offensive minds in the gameand understands how to develop hitters with keeping things simple. He has won championships at every level and has almost 1300 wins at the collegiate level. He won a JUCO national title in 2005. Birmingham is going into his 13th season as the University of New Mexico head coach and has led the Lobos to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Episode 190 Tribute to Tony Robichaux
Finishing up our ABCA 2021 Hall of Fame Podcast Series is a tribute to Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux, who passed away in 2019. Robichaux was the epitome of character and leadership. He coached 33 seasons at the NCAA Div. I level at McNeese State and Louisiana and ended with 1177 wins, 12 NCAA Regional appearances, four Super Regional appearances and one College World Series appearance. In this episode, we hear from six coaches that Coach Robichaux impacted greatly: Radford's Karl Kuhn, Louisiana's Matt Deggs, Virginia Tech's John Scefc, West Monroe's Wade Simoneaux, South Alabama's Mark Calvi and Louisiana assistant Anthony Babineaux. We heard time and again from Robichaux that it wasn’t about the wins or baseball, it was about developing people and making a positive impact on the World around you.
Episode 189 with Wayne Graham, Rice University
In our fifth installment of the ABCA Hall of Fame Podcasts, we speak with Wayne Graham. He coached for 38 seasons between high school, San Jacinto College and Rice University. In 11 seasons at San Jac he won 675 games, had an .875 winning percentage and won five national championships in six seasons. He was named JUCO Coach of the Century by Baseball America. In 1992, he took over a Rice University program which had seven winning seasons and no postseason appearances in 78 years. From 1995-2017, Rice made 23-straight NCAA Regional appearances, seven College World Series appearances and won the national championship in 2003. Graham embodies winning and also balance. He had a keen recruiting eye for finding diamonds in the rough.
Episode 188 with Don Sneddon, Santa Ana College
Our next guest in our ABCA Podcast Hall of Fame Series is Don Sneddon, the all-time winningest coach in California Community College history with 1072 victories. Sneddon played for Wally Kincaid, Dave Snow and Augie Garrido and spent 32 years as head coach at Santa Ana College. He also has coaching experience on the pro side with the Colorado Rockies and in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He was an assistant for Jerry Weinstein with the Wareham Gateman in 2016 and 2017 before moving up to manager in 2018 and leading them to the Cape League title. Sneddon is a 42-year continuous ABCA member and is a 2015 California Community College Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee. Sneddon was one of the first coaches to work with Ken Ravizza and was a teacher the entire time he was coaching at Santa Ana. We dive into how he blended the classroom and the baseball field and how he used breathing techniques to help future firefighters and police officers.
Episode 187 with Roger Cador, Southern University
Next up on the ABCA Hall of Fame Series is long time Southern University Coach Roger Cador. Cador built the Southern program from no stadium or equipment to one of the best programs in the nation and made a lasting impact not only at Souther, but also with the MLB Diversity program. He retired from Southern with 913 wins, 14 conference championships, 11 NCAA appearances, two HBCU National Championships, and 62 players drafted, including 2003 Golden Spikes Award Winner Rickie Weeks.