The head coach at Northwestern University, Spencer Allen, and current University of Texas head coach, David Pierce, will join Leggett on staff and serve as the managers for the Stripes and Stars teams, respectively.
Coaches and evaluators will assess 40 athletes during the NTDP week and are made up of former professional players, respected collegiate and high school coaches, and professional scouts.
Leggett, who will also serve as the 18U National Team manager in 2018, was the head baseball coach at Clemson University from 1994-2015, where he led the Tigers to 955 victories, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series berths. He was a three-time ACC Coach of the Year recipient and was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2014. He is returning to the 17U NTDP staff for the second consecutive year after serving as the Stripes manager in 2017.
Ricky Meinhold and Gregg Ritchie will join Leggett on the staff and serve as additional evaluators for the event. Meinhold is currently a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals and returns to the 17U NTDP staff for the first time since 2016. Ritchie has been named an assistant coach for the 2018 18U National Team and is in his sixth season as the head coach at George Washington University. In addition, six other coaches will assist in leading the NTDP's Stars and Stripes teams.
The Stripes team will be led by Allen and he will be joined by North Carolina Baseball Academy owner and 2018 18U National Team Pitching Coach, Scott Bankhead, Woodmont High School (Piedmont, S.C.) Athletic Director, Chris Carter, and Western Carolina University Head Coach, Bobby Moranda. Bankhead will serve as the team's pitching coach and Carter and Moranda have been named position coaches.
Pierce will be joined on the Stars staff by University of Auburn Head Coach, Butch Thompson, George Tech Assistant Coach Mike Nickeas and former MLB veteran Ernie Young. Young represented the United States at the Sydney 2008 Olympic Games and on the 2003 Olympic qualifying team, and was a long-time member of the USA Baseball Board of Directors. Young and Nickeas will serve as position coaches for the Stars, while Thompson will guide the team's pitching staff.
USA Baseball will utilize a rolling invitation process for the 17U NTDP participants in 2018. The players will be selected from the 2017 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS), the 2018 17U National Team Championships in Arizona and Florida, and through recommendations from scouts, coaches and the amateur baseball community. The USA Baseball National Team Development Program offers athletes an opportunity to connect with USA Baseball staff to better prepare for future national team experience. The program includes skill development sessions, off-field education seminars, intrasquad Stars vs. Stripes games and exposure to professional scouts, college recruiters and the 18U National Team staff and task force.
The 2018 17U NTDP will take place July 22-26 in Chicago and will feature intrasquad scrimmages at Northwestern University, Wrigley Field and Miller Park.
The coaching staff and their bios are as follows:
Name, NTDP Position
Spencer Allen, Stripes Manager
Scott Bankhead, Stripes Pitching Coach
Chris Carter, Stripes Position Coach
Jack Leggett, Field Coordinator
Ricky Meinhold, Pitching Rover
Bobby Moranda, Stripes Position Coach
Mike Nickeas, Stars Position Coach
David Pierce, Stars Manager
Gregg Ritchie, Hitting Rover
Butch Thompson, Stars Pitching Coach
Ernie Young, Stars Position Coach
Spencer Allen is currently in his third season as the head coach at Northwestern University. Prior to his time with the Wildcats, he helped lead the University of Illinois baseball team to a program-record 50 wins and the first NCAA Regional title in program history as an assistant coach. Allen, who played at Iowa State University from 1999-2001, also spent time on the coaching staffs at Creighton University, Washington State University, Purdue University and Edmonds Community College. 2018 marks his second coaching stint with USA Baseball, as he also served as a coach at the 2016 Tournament of Stars and the 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP).
Scott Bankhead was tabbed as the pitching coach for the 2018 18U National Team in March and will serve in the same role for the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) Stripes team. No stranger to suiting up for Team USA, the owner of the North Carolina Baseball Academy also served as an 18U National Team Trials coach in 2016 and 2017, and was a member of the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Team. He was the 16th overall pick in the 1984 MLB Draft out of the University of North Carolina and he spent ten seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He finished his professional career with a 4.18 ERA over 901 innings.
2018 marks Chris Carter's third consecutive year working with the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) as he started coaching at the event in 2016. He made his coaching debut in 2016 at the 17U NTDP and the Tournament of Stars (TOS), before serving as an assistant coach for the 2017 18U National Team that won a World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal. He was also a member of the TOS coaching staff in 2017 and will once again reprise his role at the event in 2018. Currently the athletic director at Woodmont High School (Piedmont, S.C.), Carter held the same position at nearby Easley High School (Easley, S.C.) from 2009-2013. He was a catcher at Clemson University in the 1990s and formerly served as the head baseball coach at Easley and Byrnes high schools from 1998-2008, before transitioning into an administrative role.
A 2014 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Hall of Fame inductee, Leggett led the Clemson University baseball team from 1994-2015. In his time at the helm the Tigers recorded 955 victories, 21 NCAA Tournament appearances and six College World Series berths. Every single one of his teams compiled winning overall records in his 22 seasons at Clemson and 34 of his players were All-Americans, 31 were First-Team All-ACC players and 11 were selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Clemson was the seventh-winningest program in the nation during his time as head coach and he was named ACC Coach of the Year three times throughout his career. Leggett also served as a head coach for 14 years at Vermont and Western Carolina before moving to Clemson. He made his USA Baseball coaching debut in 2017 with the 17U National Team Development Program and he has been named the 2018 18U National Team manager.
Ricky Meinhold is currently a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals. Meinhold was a pitching coach at Lindenwood University and Coker College from 2011-2013, prior to joining the Cardinals organization. He pitched collegiately at Drury University and went on to play for an affiliate of the San Diego Padres, becoming the first pitcher in Drury program history to play professional baseball. Meinhold will make his third coaching appearance for USA Baseball in 2018. Previously, he was the pitching coach at the 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) and the lead pitching evaluator at the 2017 Tournament of Stars. He also served as the pitching coach for the 2017 18U National Team that won the program's fourth consecutive World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal.
Bobby Moranda will make his USA Baseball coaching debut in 2018. The Western Carolina head coach is in his 11th season with the Catamounts and has 32 total years of coaching experience. He has also held assistant coaching positions at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest University, the University of Virginia and Eastern Kentucky University. Western Carolina's all-time winningest head coach in conference play, he led the Catamounts to back-to-back Southern Conference regular season championships in 2013 and 2014 and was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2013.
Mike Nickeas, a three-time USA Baseball alum, will make his second consecutive coaching appearance at the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Currently an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, Nickeas played for Team USA on the 1999 16U National Team, the 2001 18U National Team and the 2003 Collegiate National Team. Before starting his coaching career, he played professional baseball for 11 years, including four years in the Major Leagues. He spent three years as a catcher for the New York Mets and one year with the Toronto Blue Jays before retiring following the 2014 season.
David Pierce is in his second year as the head coach at the University of Texas. In his first season at Texas, the Longhorns went 39-24, advanced to the Big 12 Conference tournament championship game and an NCAA Regional. Prior to his time at Texas, he was the head coach at Tulane University and Sam Houston State University. He also served as an assistant coach at the University of Houston and Rice University. In that time, Pierce has been a part of programs that have advanced to the postseason in 16 consecutive years, played in seven Super Regionals and reached four College World Series. In addition, he helped Rice win a National Championship in 2003. This will be his second coaching stint with USA Baseball after serving as an assistant coach for the 2016 Collegiate National Team.
Gregg Ritchie returns to the 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP) coaching staff for the third year in a row in 2018. As the 2017 18U National Team pitching coach, he helped lead Team USA to an undefeated record and a fourth consecutive WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup title. Under his direction, the team hit .273 and had a .418 slugging percentage, with 16 doubles, five triples and six home runs over nine games. He also served as a coach at the 2016 17U NTDP and 18U Trials. Ritchie is in his sixth season at the helm for George Washington University, where he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2013. That year, he led the Colonials to their first postseason berth since 2006 and then followed that with back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016. He began his coaching career in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he worked at various levels for 10 years, before serving as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012. Ritchie has also been named to the 2018 18U National Team staff and will serve on the coaching staff for the 2018 16U NTDP as well.
Currently in his third year at the helm for Auburn University, Butch Thompson will make his second USA Baseball coaching appearance at the 2018 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Previously, he served as a coach at the 2016 17U National Team Development Program (NTDP). Thompson led the Tigers to a No. 4 national ranking, an NCAA Regional bid and its best record in Southeastern Conference play since 2010 in 2017. Before taking over at Auburn, he spent seven seasons coaching at Mississippi State where he was named the 2014 Baseball America and American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) National Assistant Coach of the Year. In those seven season, he helped lead the Bulldogs to four NCAA Regionals, two Super Regionals, an SEC Tournament championship and a College World Series runner-up finish in 2013.
Ernie Young is a former MLB veteran who played for the Oakland Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians for parts of eight seasons after being drafted in the 10th round of the 1990 MLB Draft. Young, who attended Lewis University, belted 27 home runs and drove in 90 runs during his 288-game career. He led Team USA to a gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, hitting .385 and leading the team in RBIs (8), and played once more for the red, white and blue, in the 2003 COPABE Olympic Qualifying Tournament. After his retirement in 2007, he became a hitting coach in the Chicago White Sox organization and managed the West Michigan Whitecaps, the single-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, in 2012. In addition to his USA Baseball playing career he is a four-time coaching alumnus, highlighted by managing the 2011 Pan American Games Team and serving as the batting coach for the 2015 Pan American Games Team, both of which won silver medals. Young is making a return to the 17U National Team Development Program coaching ranks after previously serving in the role in 2016. He is also a former member of the USA Baseball Board of Directors.