LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Throughout the upcoming weeks, the NFCA is announcing its programming for the Virtual Convention (Dec. 9-11, 2020) on NFCA.org and social media platforms.
This week’s Virtual Convention programming returns to X’s and O’s with four coaches who excel teaching the defensive elements of the game. Northern Illinois University head coach Christina Sutcliffe and University of Arkansas assistant coach Matt Meuchel focus on maximizing your strategy by defining and utilizing defensive shifts. University of Nevada, Las Vegas head coach Kristie Fox and University of Pittsburgh assistant coach Jillian Van Wagnen will lend their expertise on working with infielders and outfielders, respectively.
Registration, presented by Traveling Teams, for the NFCA Virtual Convention is currently open. Early-bird registration is $199 for members and $299 for non-members. Attendees will have access to the on-demand content for 30 days following the Convention. Additionally, members can select a $20 upgrade ($219 total) for lifetime access to on-demand content. Sign up by Nov. 16 to secure the early-bird rate (rates will increase afterward).
Be sure to register by Oct. 30 to be in the running for a set of golf clubs. Registered attendees will be eligible for other fantastic prizes through Nov. 16. including $100 Amazon gift card and an on-field equipment package ($350 value). Congratulations to our most recent winner, Janae Shirley from East Texas Baptist University, who is now the new owner of a pair of Apple AirPods.
NFCA Members: Have you experienced a furlough or been laid off during the pandemic? If so, we want to help. The NFCA is committed to supporting its members through this pandemic. We understand the impact of COVID-19 is widespread and far-reaching. Please contact our membership team at email@example.com or (502) 409-4600 for special discounted Virtual Convention pricing.
More about the speakers:
Christina Sutcliffe continues to take the Northern Illinois University softball program to new levels. A year after guiding NIU softball to its first winning season in more than a decade, Sutcliffe led the Huskies to their first division title since 2000, as NIU took home the 2016 Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division crown. The Huskies recorded back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 1999-2000, and have had four winning seasons in the last five years, raising Sutcliffe's record at NIU to 200-185.
During Sutcliffe's eight years at NIU, she has mentored 38 Academic All-MAC honorees, including 11 in 2016, 24 All-MAC selections, four NFCA All-Region standouts, two MAC Freshman of the Year, one All-American, and two Academic All-Americans.
Sutcliffe joined the collegiate ranks in 2002 as an assistant coach at Chattanooga. She has also spent time as Rhode Island’s head coach and as an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio).
Matt Meuchel joined the Razorbacks’ coaching staff prior to the 2017 season and is entering his fifth season in 2021. Prior to his arrival, he was the head coach at Nevada for eight seasons, while also serving as an assistant at Arizona State, McNeese State and Oklahoma State.
During his time with Arkansas, Meuchel tutored a defense that was behind a Razorback pitching staff that recorded 12 shutouts in 2019, sixth most in a single season. He aided the development of infielder Haydi Bugarin, who finished the 2019 campaign fifth in the Southeastern Conference with 122 assists. In 2017, his tutelage resulted in a .968 fielding percentage, a single-season program record, and contributed to the Razorbacks’ 17-win increase.
In eight seasons as Nevada’s head coach, Meuchel guided the Wolf Pack to 196 victories. In 2016, he steered Nevada to 32 wins and the most league victories in Mountain West Conference play since joining in 2015.
Kristie Fox took the reins of the UNLV softball program in June of 2017. In three seasons under Fox, the Rebels have experienced success they haven’t seen in a decade. She kicked off her tenure in 2018, guiding UNLV to a 33-win season and a National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC) regional final appearance. The Rebels continued to improve in 2019 as Fox steered the program to 36 victories, the most since 2007 and the first back-to-back 30-win seasons since 2009 and 2010. The 2020 season got off to a flying start as well with a 21-5 mark, winning 19 of their last 21 games.
Under her watch, nine Rebels have garnered Mountain West All-Conference selection and five NFCA All-Region honors. On the field, UNLV posted back-to-sub-3.00 ERAs for the first time since 1996 and 1997, while also setting program marks for fewest errors and best fielding percentage in program history in 2018 and then again in 2019.
Jillian Van Wagnen enters her third season in the University of Pittsburgh dugout. The eight-year collegiate coaching veteran has made an immediate impact with the Panther defense. Under her guidance, the Panthers turned an ACC-best 25 double plays in 2019 and started 2020 with 12 more, while two players earned All-ACC honors.
Prior to Pitt, Van Wagnen spent five seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater Ohio University. She was part of a staff that helped lead the Bobcats to a program-record 42 wins and its highest RPI, and steered them to a 2018 MAC title and NCAA Tournament berth. Van Wagnen also played a part in back-to-back 40-win seasons and guided multiple Bobcats to all-conference and all-freshman accolades.