CARY, N.C. – USA Baseball today named the coaching staff for the 2023 16U/17U National Team Development Program (NTDP), including the appointment of Team USA alum and gold-medal-winning coach Brad Penny as pitching coordinator. Penny, along with field coordinator Jim Koerner, USA Baseball’s Director of Player Development, will lead the on-field programming at the event from July 26-29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
The NTDP, which features a 72-man roster, will include four days of games and workouts, skill development sessions, off-field educational seminars, and exposure to professional scouts, college recruiters, USA Baseball staff, and national team coaches. Additionally, the coaching staff will assess and evaluate players for possible future participation in USA Baseball national team programming.
“The coaching staff for this year’s National Team Development Program is a collection of some of the nation’s best coaches across all levels of baseball,” said Koerner. “Year in and year out, the National Team Development Program serves as a valuable event for the country’s top amateur baseball players, and we look forward to watching them interact with the coaches on this year’s staff as they prepare for future national team opportunities. We are set for another great four days of baseball this summer in North Carolina.”
In addition to Koerner and Penny, the NTDP staff includes four managers for the event. Veteran major-league hitting coach Rick Eckstein will manage Team White, while longtime University of Illinois Head Coach Dan Hartleb will lead Team Light Blue. Grambling State skipper Davin Pierre will guide Team Navy, and Georgetown Head Coach Edwin Thompson will be at the helm of Team Red.
The full coaching staff for the 2023 16U/17U NTDP is as follows (coaches’ bios enclosed below):
- Field Coordinator: Jim Koerner – USA Baseball
- Pitching Coordinator: Brad Penny
TEAM LIGHT BLUE
- Manager: Dan Hartleb – University of Illinois
- Pitching Coach: Kirk Champion
- Assistant Coach: Dave Webb – Corona Del Sol High School (Tempe, Ariz.)
- Manager: Davin Pierre – Grambling State University
- Pitching Coach: Alex Sogard – Wright State University
- Assistant Coach: Xan Barksdale
- Manager: Edwin Thompson – Georgetown University
- Pitching Coach: Marty Reed
- Assistant Coach: Curtis Pride – Gallaudet University
- Manager: Rick Eckstein
- Pitching Coach: Tom Carty – Columbia University
- Assistant Coach: Steve Stone – Hebron High School (Carrollton, Texas)
The 2023 16U/17U NTDP will take place from July 26-29 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina. The roster will feature players identified from the National Team Championships in Arizona and North Carolina, as well as last year’s 2022 National Team Identification Series (NTIS) Champions Cup. Twenty-four players from the 2022 15U and 16U NTIS Champions Cup have already been selected for the 2023 16U/17U NTDP.
For more information on the USA Baseball National Team Development Program, visit USABaseball.com or follow @USABDevelops on Twitter.
Xan Barksdale returns to the NTDP as an assistant coach for Team Navy this summer after previously working in the program as a coach from 2016-2018. He also served on the staff of the Collegiate National Team in 2022 as an assistant coach and in 2019 as the bullpen coach, the latter for which he earned USA Baseball’s first-ever Service Provider of the Year Award. At the collegiate level, Barksdale spent four years as an assistant coach at East Tennessee State and five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. During that time, the Cardinals won three consecutive Big East Championships (2008-2010) and advanced to the 2007 College World Series. As a player, he spent two years in the Atlanta Braves minor league system from 2004-2006. Barksdale is also the author of Amazon Best Seller, “Catching-101: The Complete Guide for Baseball Catchers.”
Tom Carty will join the NTDP staff as a pitching coach for Team White, bringing many years of college coaching experience with him to the dugout. Carty is currently the pitching coach at Columbia University, a position he was hired for in August of 2022 after six years in the same role with Long Island University (LIU). During his tenure at LIU, he helped lead the Sharks to Northeast Conference championships and NCAA Regional appearances in both 2018 and 2022, the latter two being their first tournament berths since 1972. In that time span, six of his pitchers were named to All-NEC teams, and three of them went on to sign professional baseball contracts. Carty served as the head coach at Georgia College prior to working at LIU, where he recorded an overall record of 311-169.
Former USA Baseball coach Kirk Champion rejoins the organization this summer at the 2023 NTDP as Team Light Blue’s pitching coach. Champion has featured on the coaching staffs of many high-profile national teams in the past, including at the 2001, 2009, and 2011 International Baseball Federation Baseball World Cups, the 2006 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament, and the 2011 Pan American Games. When not coaching Team USA, he has been a longtime member of the Chicago White Sox organization. Champion started in Chicago in 1989 when he was named the pitching coach of the Class-A South Bend White Sox. From there, he made his way up the minor league ladder, working in the same role with the High-A Sarasota White Sox, Double-A Birmingham Barons, and the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Calgary Cannons, and Charlotte Knights. Champion became the minor league pitching coordinator for the organization in 2003, and he has since gone on to work as their minor league field coordinator, Director of Minor League Instruction, and most recently, Director of Minor League Pitching Instruction.
Rick Eckstein is set to take the reins as the manager of Team White at the 2023 NTDP, bringing a wealth of professional and collegiate coaching experience along with him. Eckstein started his coaching career in 1997 when he served as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Florida following the end of his playing career at the school. In 1999, he joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a bullpen coach and batting practice pitcher before taking the same role with the Minnesota Twins a year later. Eckstein got his first hitting coach position shortly after this, joining the University of Georgia’s coaching staff during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. In the subsequent years, he bounced around multiple different minor league teams in that role, including the Harrisburg Senators, Vermont Expos, New Orleans Zephyrs, Memphis Redbirds, and Columbus Clippers. He got his first major league coaching role at the end of 2008 with the Washington Nationals, where he served as the hitting coach until the end of the 2013 season. Eckstein joined the Los Angeles Angels as a player information coach in 2014 before returning to the college ranks as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky, a position he held for two years. After that, he was brought on by the Minnesota Twins as a minor league hitting coordinator and worked in that role from 2016-2018. His most recent coaching position was as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, which he held until the end of the 2021 season. Eckstein also has prior experience with USA Baseball, serving on the coaching staff for the Professional National Team from 2005-2008. He was an assistant at both the 2005 and 2007 International Baseball Federation’s Baseball World Cups as well as the 2006 Olympic Qualifier before serving his most recent tour with the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China. He was named USA Baseball’s Doc Counsilman Science Award winner in 2008 for his coaching efforts through scientific data and technology with the stars and stripes in Beijing.
University of Illinois Head Coach Dan Hartleb joins the NTDP as manager of Team Light Blue in 2023 after wrapping up his 18th season leading the Fighting Illini. Hartleb is the winningest head coach in Illinois program history, recording 530 victories and counting across his tenure with the school. He has led the Illini to a pair of Big Ten titles, four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, and the program’s first Super Regional appearance in 2015. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Decade for the 2010s. Hartleb has previously worked with USA Baseball on a number of different occasions, including as an assistant coach for the 2021 Collegiate National Team and as a member of the staff at the 14U and 17U NTDP in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Brad Penny rejoins the NTDP staff as a pitching coordinator after featuring in the program as a pitching coach and roving instructor last summer. He has also served as the pitching coach for the 18U National Team in each of the past two years, leading the staff to a 1.53 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 59 innings in a seven-game friendship series against Canada in 2021. In 2022, Penny was the pitching coach for the U.S. at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier. Penny’s pitching staff went 8-0 at the event, posting a 2.56 ERA and striking out 65 batters in 52 innings en route to a gold medal. In addition to his USA Baseball coaching experience, Penny also donned the stars and stripes as a player when he suited up for the organization’s first Professional National Team in 1999. The squad won a silver medal at the 1999 Pan American Games, qualifying Team USA for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, where the U.S. earned the gold medal with a 4-0 defeat of Cuba. The right-hander was selected in the fifth round of the 1996 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks and had a 14-year MLB playing career that included two All-Star selections and a World Series championship. The Blackwell, Oklahoma, native finished his career with 121 wins, 1,273 strikeouts, and a 4.29 ERA in 1,925.0 innings pitched in the big leagues. After making his major league debut with the Miami Marlins in 2000, he helped lead the team to the organization’s second World Series Championship in 2003 with a 4.13 ERA in 32 starts during the season. Penny made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2006 and finished that season with a 4.33 ERA, a career-high 148 strikeouts, and a league-leading 16 wins for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander made his second All-Star Game appearance amidst a 2007 season in which he had an MLB-best .800 (16-4) win percentage and finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting. He finished his playing career with stints playing for the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Detroit Tigers before returning to the Marlins in 2014 for his final season.
Davin Pierre makes his USA Baseball coaching debut as a manager at the NTDP this summer, where he will lead Team Navy. Pierre is the current head coach at Grambling State University, a position he was named to last October after leading the team as the interim head coach during the 2022 season. Prior to this, he served as an assistant under former head coach James Cooper for 12 seasons, working with the team’s hitters and infielders while also doubling as the program’s recruiting coordinator. During his lengthy tenure with the Tigers, Pierre helped the program win the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 2010, the school’s first conference title in 25 years, and has overseen the development of 27 all-conference selections and eight MLB Draft selections.
MLB veteran Curtis Pride joins the NTDP staff in 2023 as an assistant coach for Team Red. Pride played parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues with seven different teams after being taken in the 10th round of the 1986 MLB Draft. Upon his debut with the Montreal Expos in 1993, he became the first deaf player to make the majors in 48 years, and he later became the first deaf player to play a full season in MLB three years later. For his career, Pride hit .250 with 20 home runs and 82 RBIs. Pride became the head coach at Gallaudet University after his retirement from professional baseball and has held the position for the last 14 years. During his tenure with the school, he has led the program to 161 wins and has been named the Northeastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year on two separate occasions. Additionally, Pride was a part of the coaching staff at the 2013 NTDP and coached Team USA to a gold medal in the World Physically Challenged Tournament in 2014.
Former major league coach Marty Reed brings over 30 years of coaching experience to the NTDP this summer, where he will be working as a pitching coach for Team Red. Reed was most recently in the Atlanta Braves organization, where he last served as the team’s bullpen coach from 2016-2020. Prior to that, he worked as the pitching coach for the Mississippi Braves and the Gwinnett Braves, the club’s AA and AAA affiliates. He also previously worked in the minor leagues with the Dodgers, serving as the pitching coach for the Vero Beach Dodgers and the Jacksonville Suns before being promoted to Los Angeles’s general minor league pitching coordinator from 2006-2008. At the collegiate level, Reed helmed the Pfeiffer University baseball team from 1996-1999.
Returning to the USA Baseball coaching ranks as Team Navy’s pitching coach is Alex Sogard, who previously managed Team Stars on the 2021 Collegiate National Team staff. Sogard has been the head coach at Wright State University since 2019, and since he took over, he has helped bring the program to new heights. In Sogard’s first year at the helm, he led the Raiders to a 42-17 record, which stands as the best performance under a first-year head coach in school history. This performance carried over following the COVID-shortened 2020 season, with the team winning the Horizon League Baseball Championship and qualifying for an NCAA Tournament berth in each of the past three seasons. Sogard has won two Horizon League Coach of the Year awards at the helm of the program. Prior to his coaching career, Sogard won two national championships as a player at Oregon State and played five years in the minor leagues.
Steve Stone will serve as an assistant coach at the 2023 NTDP this summer, returning to the USA Baseball ranks after previously coaching in the Tournament of Stars from 2016-2018. Stone recently wrapped up his 24th year as the head baseball coach at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas. He founded the program upon the school’s inception in 1999 and has won over 500 games at the helm in the years since. In total, Stone has 28 years of coaching experience, previously spending time at Rider and Euless Trinity High Schools. He is a former standout catcher at Texas Christian University, where he was named team MVP in 1988.
Georgetown Head Coach Edwin Thompson will serve as the manager of Team Red at the 2023 NTDP following the conclusion of his season with the Hoyas. He was named to his current position in September 2020, and in his second season at the helm in 2022, Thompson won Big East Coach of the Year while helping the team achieve a historic season. Thompson led the Hoyas to a program-record 32 wins–a 26-win jump from the year prior–and a Big East Conference Tournament appearance for the first time since 2018. Additionally, he guided freshman Owen Carapelloti to a Second-Team All-American nomination and the team’s first-ever Big East Freshman of the Year award. Prior to taking over at Georgetown, he worked as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky and Bates College and as an assistant coach at Duke, Georgia State, and UMaine Farmington. Thompson has also worked with USA Baseball in the past, serving as the manager of Team Stripes during the 2016 Tournament of Stars and a pitching coach during the 17U NTDP in 2015. Most recently, he was a field manager at the 2021 NTDP.
Four-time gold medal-winning coach and 2013 USA Baseball Developmental Coach of the Year David Webb returns to the staff at the 2023 NTDP as an assistant for Team Light Blue after working in the same role last year. Webb has served as a coach on four USA Baseball national teams over the years, including three stints as manager, with his teams accumulating a 38-1 overall record in international play. As an assistant for the 2007 14U National Team, he helped lead the squad to a perfect 14-0 record in both the qualifier and COPABE Pan Am Championships in Guatemala and Puerto Rico, respectively. Webb then took the helm of the 14U team for the next two years, winning another qualifier in Guatemala in 2008 before leading the 2009 team to a gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am Championships in Ecuador. Most recently, he guided the inaugural 12U National Team to gold at the 2013 WBSC U-12 Baseball World Cup in Taiwan. Webb is also one of the most successful high school coaches in the nation, with over 300 wins in 18 seasons as the head coach at Corona del Sol High School (Tempe, Ariz.). His 2009 team claimed the Arizona 5A state championship, and his Aztec squads finished among the top three teams in the state for three consecutive years from 2018-2020.