NFCA announces 2018 Diversity Grant and Mary Nutter Recipients
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The National Fastpitch Coaches Association is pleased to announce Feather River College assistant coach Marco Aragon as the recipient of the 2018 Diversity Grant, while Bethany College graduate assistant coach Amanda Boyle, Wittenberg University head coach Shannon Schaub and Blue Springs South High School head coach Kristi Williams earned the Mary Nutter Scholarship.
The Diversity Grant is awarded to a minority member coach who shows a commitment to working with minorities and growing the game of fastpitch in their communities and has a need for financial assistance to attend the convention.
The Mary Nutter Scholarship is an educational grant, named for the former Pittsburg State (Kan.) head coach and 1997 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee who founded National Sports Clinics, seeks to continue Nutter's effort to provide softball coaches at all levels access to the best minds in the sport to help them become better coaches themselves.
Recipients receive funding to attend the 2018 NFCA National Convention, Dec. 5-8 at the Sheraton Grand Chicago where they can improve their skills at educational seminars and through interaction with their fellow convention attendees.
Marco Aragon, Feather River College
Aragon, entering his fifth season as an assistant coach at Feather River (Quincy, Calif.), has instilled comprehensive programs with the local schools, community recreation platforms and travel ball performance extension programs. They promote responsible social behavior, techniques for academic success, expansion of confidence in individual responsibilities, foster an appreciation of personal health and fitness, and enhancement of strong social bonds with individuals, organizations and institutions.
Additionally, Aragon travels to New Mexico to help underdeveloped and diverse populations and promote the sport of softball to all different backgrounds and cultures.
"Marco is the type of coach that is always willing to promote the game of softball and the inclusive family that comes with our wonderful sport," said Feather River head coach Meredith Aragon. "If our sport is to continue to grow, there must be an opportunity introduced to youth and young adults regardless of culture and economic barriers."
The camps and clinics in New Mexico and at Feather River are specifically designed and implemented to make sure that all youth ethnicities and economic backgrounds are included. Using a well-established network in their community to help increase the minority involvement, Aragon often gives free lessons, camps and clinics to any children, young adults and parents.
Amanda Boyle, Bethany College (W.Va.)
Boyle will enter her second years as a graduate assistant coach with the Bethany (W.Va.) softball program. She is currently working toward her Master's in education and has career aspirations to teach and coach. According to Bethany assistant coach Erin Chapman, Boyle is a wonderful and hardworking assistant coach, who has a great bond with the student-athletes and helps them grow, not only as players but as people too.
"Boyle has impressed me with her selflessness to the program and her willingness to go above and beyond," said Bethany head coach Cassie Moore. "Her enthusiasm is infectious as well as her ability to offer her viewpoints in a respectful and professional manner. Amanda does all of this while being an unpaid GA. This opportunity would be her first professional development experience as a coach."
Shannon Schaub, Wittenberg University
Schaub was hired as Wittenberg's head coach this summer. It is Schaub's first head coaching position after serving eight years as an assistant coach at her alma mater Ashland University and one year at Heidelberg University.
"Attending the NFCA Convention with Shannon the last nine years, she always comes out with so much passion for softball and the NFCA," said retired Ashland head coach and NFCA Hall of Famer Sheilah Gulas. "As she transitions into her new job, along with a growing family, this would be a tremendous help to Shannon."
Kristi Williams, Blue Springs (Mo.) South High School
Williams, an English Teacher at Blue Springs South for 12 years, has served as the school's head softball coach for four seasons after serving eight as an assistant coach.
"I grew up going to Mary's (Nutter) NSC clinics and understand that Mary's message was to never stop learning or seeking opportunities to grow in our sport," said Williams. "Having the opportunity to go to the NFCA Convention has been a dream of mine for years, but being a mother of three has limited me financially. I would love to learn from the best and work more closely with the NFCA committees I have been involved with."
Nutter, who passed away in July 2012, compiled a 204-125 record over eight years at Pittsburg State University. She got her start in coaching with three years as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, after seven years as a teacher in nearby Elsie, Mich.
In 1981, Nutter won the first of three NAIA District 10 titles and the first of her three District 10 Coach of the Year honors (1981, 1982, 1985). That 1981 squad finished fourth at the NAIA national championship and she served as an assistant coach for the 1983 Pan American Tri-Nationals team and was a member of the 1984 U.S. Pan American selection committee. Nutter was a 1988 inductee into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
As a player, Nutter was a two-time first-team All-American (1974-75) for the Lansing Laurels, an ASA Women's Major fastpitch team and spent 1976 as player-coach for the Michigan Travelers of the Women's Professional Softball League.