Mike Gaski was elected to his first term as President of USA Baseball on Jan. 7, 2001, was re-elected to the position on Jan. 10, 2005, again in January 2009, December 2013 and, most recently, in December 2014.
He was the head baseball coach at UNC-Greensboro since its inception in 1991, and in 22 seasons accumulated over 650 wins. A beautiful $4.3 million baseball stadium was completed in 1999, and a new $2.4 million locker room and training center opened in 2010.
During his tenure, Gaski coached more than 40 players who were either drafted or signed to professional baseball, including: Rob Gilliam (2007-09), Ricky Orton (2007-08), Matt Gaski (2007-08), Ryan Falcon (2003-07), Guy Welsh (2006-07), Jermaine Mitchell (2006), Chris Mason (2003-05), Taft Cable (1999-01), Brian Moehler (1991-93), and Jay Metzger (2001-04).
He has had on his squads four All-Americans, five Freshman All-Americans, three Freshman All-America honorable mentions, two Academic All-Americans and a remarkable 54 All-Conference selections.
Gaski guided the program to NCAA tournament appearances and league championships in two different Division I conferences -- the Big South and the Southern. Gaski has also led the Spartans into the top 30 of several national polls over his 22 seasons. In 2006, he guided the Spartans to the program's first-ever win over a No. 1-ranked team when UNCG knocked off North Carolina, the eventual national runner-up. He has been honored as the Conference Coach of the Year on four occasions; his most recent award was in 2011.
In 2010, Gaski was presented with his 600th win as a head coach, and that year he was also inducted into UNCG's Hall of Fame with his 1994 team. That Spartan team, composed mostly of the players who had started the UNCG program only three years earlier, posted 39 wins and captured its first Big South Conference title. The '94 squad made UNCG's first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament in any Division I sport. In 1997, the Spartans recorded a school-record 45 wins on the way to the Big South Conference regular-season and tournament titles and a No. 28 final national ranking.
In 1998, UNCG's first season in the Southern Conference, the Spartans posted a then-record 22 league wins en route to the conference title. After posting a 40-18 overall record, the team narrowly missed its third NCAA trip in five years. In 21 seasons of Division I play, Gaski's teams had an impressive 648-507-1 record.
Gaski began coaching at the collegiate level in 1979 as an assistant at Cleveland State and spent one season with the Vikings. After his tenure with Cleveland State, Gaski headed to Ohio State in 1980. There, he coached the pitchers and catchers. Gaski helped the Buckeyes to back-to-back record-setting seasons and their first NCAA appearance in more than 15 years. From Ohio State, Gaski went to Florida Southern to assume the position of assistant head coach with the Moccasins. During his four-year stint (1983-87), the team made four consecutive NCAA appearances, finished second in the nation in 1984 and claimed the Division II National Championship in 1985.
Gaski left collegiate coaching in 1988 to assume the position of executive director of the Spanish Olympic Program in preparation for the Games of the 25th Olympiad in Barcelona, Spain. As the principal administrator for Olympic baseball preparation, Gaski's responsibilities included the development of a national baseball program and the preparation of the Olympic venues. Upon his return to the United States and UNCG, Gaski was immediately enlisted by USA Baseball to serve as a consultant on international affairs and Olympic preparation.
In 1991, he became the team leader of the U.S. squad in the Pan American Games in Cuba and joined the 1992 USA Olympic Baseball coaching staff in a similar role.
In 1993, Gaski was elected treasurer of the Pan American Baseball Confederation that governs international baseball throughout the Americas.
Gaski returned to the Olympics in 1996, serving this time on the USOC International Games Prep Committee for the Atlanta Games. In 1998, Gaski joined Team USA as an assistant coach on the National Team that played in the IBA World Championships.
In March of 2001, Gaski was elected by the International Baseball Federation to serve on the technical committee that oversees all international competition, including the World Championships and the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. In February 2006, Gaski was elected technical commissioner by the International Baseball Federation's executive committee in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Though Gaski's administrative skills place him in high demand throughout the United States and abroad, he continues to serve on the board of directors and advisory board of numerous statewide and local organizations including the North Carolina Amateur Sports Association. Gaski recently completed his term as a member of the NCAA Baseball Division I Selection Committee and served on several advisory groups including the NCAA Baseball Academic Enhancement Working Group, a committee charged with addressing the concerns surrounding academic performance by baseball student-athletes and their correlation to the NCAA's new APR standards. He remains on Major League Baseball's Official Playing Rules Committee as an advisory member.
Gaski earned a bachelor's degree in English from Detroit in 1973, a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from UNCG in 1977 and a Master of Arts in English from Ohio State in 1982.
Coach Gaski and his wife, Bobbie, have two sons, Matt and Nick.
Jason Dobis has been a member of USA Baseball’s Executive Committee (and now in its current form, the Board of Directors) since 2001, first as a “Recent Athlete” and now in his current position as treasurer. Dobis was a pitcher for the silver medal-winning 1994 USA Baseball 18U National Team and later spent three years in Minor League Baseball. Dobis is the immediate past representative (before Ernie Young) for the sport of baseball to the United States Olympic Committee's Athlete Advisory Committee (AAC).
Jenny Dalton-Hill played in nine games, starting eight, for the 2010 Women's National Team which brought home the bronze medal from the IBAF Women's Baseball World Cup in Venezuela. The infielder logged a .333 average (8-for-24) with a double and two runs scored, and finished fifth on the team with nine RBIs.
Currently a top performer on the baseball diamond, Dalton-Hill originally starred as a softball player at the University of Arizona where she won three national softball championships with the Wildcats in 1993, '94 and '96, and was a three-time All-American. In her senior year in 1996, Dalton-Hill was the Pac-10 conference Triple Crown winner, she was named the Honda National Player of the Year and she was voted the World Series MVP that postseason as well.
At the conclusion of her softball career, Dalton-Hill was the NCAA record holder in career RBIs, runs scored, walks, slugging percentage and RBIs per game. She also held the NCAA single season record for RBIs, walks and single game home runs.
Off the field, Dalton-Hill serves as a youth baseball and softball coach and instructor. She also volunteers as a teaching assistant and works for a landscaping company in Kentucky.
A native of Lexington, Ky., Dalton-Hill is married to husband Marc, and they have three children: Dalton, Brooke and Cogan.
John McHale Jr. was named Major League Baseball executive vice president of administration on March 7, 2002.
McHale joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2001 as the team's COO.
Prior to that, he was the president and CEO of the Detroit Tigers for six years and the executive vice president of baseball operations of the Colorado Rockies for more than three years.
A 1971 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, McHale received law degrees from Boston College Law School in 1975 and the Georgetown University Law Center in 1982. While at Notre Dame, he played defensive end and linebacker on the football team.
McHale and his wife, Sally, have three children, Duncan, William and Frances.
Damani Leech has worked at the NCAA national office for more than 10 years. In his current role as Director for Baseball and Football, his primary areas of responsibilities include management of the Division I Football Championship, postseason bowl licensing, external operations for the Men's College World Series, sportsmanship and fan behavior and other issues related to college football and baseball.
Leech began his career at the NCAA in 1998 in the Membership Services group, prior to joining the baseball and football staffs in 2003.
Leech is a former football student-athlete at Princeton University, earning third-team All-America honors and earning first-team All-Ivy League as a defensive back for three consecutive years. A native of Tacoma, Wash., he currently ranks second in the Princeton football record books for most interceptions in a career with 20. He received his bachelor's degree in Public Policy and international affairs from Princeton University in 1998 and earned a Master's in higher education administration from Indiana University in 2004.
Leech is married to Dr. Tamara Leech and has two daughters, Brianna (5) and Simone (2).
Charles Blackburn has been a member of the Board of the National Amateur Baseball Federation since 1960. In 1967, he became the youngest person ever elected to serve as President of the NABF. He still holds this distinction today. In 1987, he was elected to serve as executive director/CEO, and is still in this position today.
Blackburn continues to serve on the board of several amateur baseball organizations/leagues in the greater Washington, D.C., area, and in the state of Maryland. He is currently president of the Maryland State Baseball Association, and commissioner of the Eddie Brooks Collegiate League. He has also served as commissioner of the Southern Maryland American Legion League, and of the Industrial Baseball League of Greater Washington, D.C.
Over the many years that Blackburn has been involved in numerous amateur baseball organizations/leagues, he has been the recipient of several recognition awards, including the 1963 Edward W. Brooks Award for the Maryland State Baseball Association; the 1967 NABF President's Award (Blackburn was and still is the youngest president to receive this award); the 1982 NABF Man of the Year Award; the 1983 Washington, D.C. Home Plate Club Sandlot Hall of Fame Award; the 1985 Appreciation Award for the Industrial League of Washington, D.C.; the 1990 Topps Service Award from USA Baseball; in 2001, he was named a Legend of Maryland Baseball by the Base-Hit Foundation; in 2002 he was named to the Washington, D.C. Home Plate Club Sandlot Hall of Fame Quarter Century All-Star Team; in 2009 he received the AAABA Olin Taylor Home Plate Award; and in 2011, he received the Parade Ground League (Brooklyn, NY) Robert Trentham Memorial Award and the Baltimore Boys of Summer Hall of Fame Award.
Wes Skelton has served as the commissioner of Dixie Youth Baseball since August 1995 and has served as a member of the Dixie Youth National Board of Directors since 1983. As commissioner, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Dixie program.
Skelton also served as a league president and district director prior to being elected to the national board. Skelton serves as an unpaid, volunteer official in Dixie Youth, as do all DYB officials. He is a CPA and has been employed by Martin Resource Management Corporation for 33 years as a director of the company. He is also the executive vice president/controller of Martin Midstream Partners LP (MMLP), a Texas-based energy company which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Wes and his wife Rhonda have five grown children: Jeff, Melissa, Ginny, Rebecca and Matt.
Stephen D. Keener joined the executive staff of Little League Baseball Inc. in 1980. In 1994 he was elected president of the organization by Little League's international board of directors, and in 1996 he was elected its chief executive officer. Under his leadership, Little League has expanded its reach around the world, improved its service to volunteers, responded to changes in technology and society, and expanded its leadership role in youth sports safety.
When Keener took office in 1994, Little League was already widely recognized as the world's largest youth sports organization, with more than 2 million players in approximately 80 countries. In the middle and late 1990s, international baseball experienced a growth phase that ultimately brought the Little League program to more than 3 million participants in more than 100 countries. Responding to this rapid expansion worldwide, Keener led the launch of Little League's capital campaign, "A World of Opportunity." The campaign sought to grow the Little League Baseball World Series from eight teams to 16 teams; to establish a leadership and training center to serve Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and to expand Little League's use of technology in service to local volunteers in communities worldwide. Successfully completed in 2001, the campaign has helped ensure the future of Little League.
As the program has grown, Keener has also recognized the importance of providing volunteers with more of the tools they need to serve the children who play and the communities who choose to join the Little League movement. He has presided over the launch of the ASAP safety program, which has reduced injuries to players and volunteers; the Coach and Manager Training Program, which provides education in baseball and softball training techniques; and the Little League Child Protection Program, which seeks to identify those who would take advantage of children and exclude them from Little League's volunteer ranks.
The safety and well-being of children has been one of Little League's guiding principles since its founding in 1939. In service to that goal, Keener also has taken a leadership role in the broader youth sports arena, speaking out on topics as diverse as background checks for volunteers, equipment safety and pitch counts to protect young arms. In 2004, Little League became the first international youth sports organization to require that volunteers submit to an annual background check. In 2007, Little League Baseball instituted a rule that limited the number of pitches that could be thrown in a day, as well as the amount of rest required, based on the age of the pitcher. Keener's leadership has led to other mandatory safety enhancements, including bases that disengage from their anchors to lessen foot and leg injuries, dangling throat protectors for catchers and the elimination of the on-deck circle for ages 12 and under.
Keener's achievements in service to Little League also include the successful negotiation of television contracts, first with ABC Sports and now with ESPN. These contracts not only have brought direct benefits to local leagues, but expanded the number of Little League World Series games seen around the world on television, including games from every other division of Little League Baseball and Softball. Keener has also given volunteer recognition a high priority in the organization, establishing and expanding the Little League Awards Program. Finally, Keener is also the guiding force behind relationships with Little League's family of corporate sponsors.
Keener is a native of the Williamsport, Pa., area, where he still resides with his wife, Cheryl. They are the parents of two sons and a daughter. All three of their children have been or continue to be Little League participants. Keener is a graduate of Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pa.
George Grande, a 41-year veteran of the broadcasting business, has been the television play-by-play voice of the Cincinnati Reds since 1993. He and partner Chris Welsh are working together for the 17th consecutive season. They are the longest-running TV duo in Reds history. A native of New Haven, Conn., Grande has covered Major League Baseball since 1965. Since 1980 he has hosted the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. Grande also anchored the first-ever ESPN "SportsCenter" telecast on Sept. 7, 1979, and spent 10 seasons with the all-sports network anchoring that award-winning show and covering the World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, Super Bowl, NCAA men's basketball tournament, College World Series and major college football games. From 1989-90, he broadcasted Yankees games on WPIX, and, from 1991-92, he broadcasted Cardinals baseball games before he joined the Reds TV team in 1993.
In 1967, Grande began his broadcasting career as the sports director and news director of the University of Southern California radio station, KUSC-FM, followed by radio stints at KNX in Los Angeles; WERI in Westerly, R.I.; and WNHC in New Haven. He completed his radio broadcast career by handling the Boston Red Sox' pre and postgame shows on WMEX. Grande also anchored local TV sports telecasts at WTNH in New Haven and at WCBS in New York. He started broadcasting baseball games in 1971 for the West Haven (Conn.) Yankees in the Eastern League.
Grande graduated in 1969 from USC, where he played baseball for four seasons and was a member of the 1968 College World Series championship team. While at USC, he played with 14 future Major Leaguers, including Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and slugger Dave Kingman.