MIZUNO USA PRESIDENT BOB PUCCINI ELECTED CHAIRMAN OF SPORTS AND FITNESS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
by Corporate on November 6, 2012
Long-Time President of Top Sporting Goods Brand Looks to Promote Sports and Fitness Participation While Increasing Industry Vitality
Norcross, Ga. (October 31, 2012) – Mizuno USA, Inc. and The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), formerly known as The Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association (SGMA), today announced that Mizuno USA President, Bob Puccini has been elected SFIA Chairman. Originally elected as an SFIA board member in 2007 and appointed Executive Committee member in 2010, Puccini played a key role in championing the strategic planning initiative to redefine the association’s vision and how they would achieve its goals. Following the completion and approval of the strategic plan, Puccini was nominated and elected to oversee and support the SFIA’s execution of the plan he initiated and developed with the help of other key members of the board.
The SFIA is the trade association for industry-leading sports brands, manufacturers and marketers that employ 375,000 people and generate over $70 billion in annual revenue. Puccini joined Mizuno in 1995 and has served as Mizuno USA’s President since 1996 and Mizuno Corporation Board Member since 2006. He leads Mizuno’s Americas business in each of the running, golf, baseball and volleyball divisions that have all seen steady growth during his tenure.
“Upon finding out I was being nominated to Chairman of the SFIA, I was honored, humbled and proud that they chose me to help lead them into a new era that will reinvent the association, its mission, initiatives and values” said Bob Puccini, Mizuno USA President. “Over the course of my term as Chairman, I will tap into the intellectual capital and resources of the board to help carry out the processes that will ensure the strategic plan and mission are accomplished.” As part of their new initiatives, Puccini and the SFIA have committed to four strategic pillars that will promote sports and fitness participation and industry vitality, including thought leadership, public affairs, member services and research/insights. Puccini will work to ensure the implementation of their strategic plan in 2013 while staying relevant to its constituencies.
“Throughout the past five years, Bob has generously contributed his time and leadership qualities to the association, making it truly an honor to elect him Chairman,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “Our goals and visions arealigned perfectly with his, and we look forward to expanding our reach, affecting more lives through participation in sports and fitness, and enhancing the vitality of our industry.” In fact, Puccini said he sees this role as a “natural fit” with those he champions at Mizuno whose philosophy is “contributing to society through the advancement of sporting goods and promotion of sports”.
Puccini’s year-long term as SFIA Chairman begins October 31. Kicking off his term as Chairman, Puccini aims to encourage, empower and engage fellow board members to be active leaders. In addition, he will strive to communicate the core values and relevance of an SFIA membership to his colleagues.
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Georgia.
# # #
You Asked USA Volleyball's Brian Thornton and He Answers!
by Brynn Murphy on October 30, 2012
Joe Camacho asked: "What is the best advise you could give to a young athlete that dreams to be an Olympian?"
Roland Herrera asked "Who was your inspiration/mentor for volleyball during your earlier years?"
Sean Grubbs asks "How do you decide which hitter to set? Is it predetermined or do you decide at the last second?"
Cora Brown asks "Did other guys ever tease you about playing a 'girls' sport ? And what did you say back to them?"
Kayleigh Wood asks "What's the hardest part of being an Olympic athlete?"
You Asked USA Volleyball's Jordan Larson and She Answers!
by Brynn Murphy on November 6, 2012
Leah Buck asked: "How do you deal with the pressure and stress of being an elite athlete?"
John Marasigan asked "Do you have a ritual you follow before and during a match to help you stay focused and calm your nerves?"
Ashley Franco asked "What was the hardest thing training wise you had to do to get ready for the Olympics?"
Clara Chola Serrano asked "If you weren't a professional athlete where would you see yourself now?"
Lewis Birdie Blitz Wins Mizuno Classic
by Iver Maple on November 5, 2012
Stacy Lewis closed in on the 2012 LPGA player of the year award with a stunning win at Japan’s Mizuno Classic. Lewis was seven shots behind and seemingly out of contention after round three but 10 birdies in a stunning last round 64 were enough to overhaul a high quality field.
Stacy’s fourth win of the season leaves her the possibility to become the first US player to win the Player of the Year award since Beth Daniel in 1994. With two events left to play in 2012, Lewis also has the chance to win her first LPGA money list.
With just three holes left to play at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club a Lewis win still seemed unlikely, especially when her second shot on the 16th caught a fairway bunker. Lewis fought back, holing a 25ft putt to move within one of the lead, before a 15 footer for birdie on17 and another 25 foot birdie putt on 18 accelerated her past the field.
Despite the many Japanese players, the crowd had accepted Lewis as one of their own. As a Mizuno player, Lewis has been the ‘host’ of the Mizuno Classic, impressing with her openness and enthusiasm. The Mizuno Classic is one of Mizuno’s flagship tournaments alongside the Mizuno Open – Gateway to The Open Championship.
In Stacy's Bag:
Irons: JPX-800 Pro
Mizuno Ambassadors Take on the LPGA's Mizuno Classic
by Iver Maple on November 1, 2012
The LPGA's Mizuno Classic starts tomorrow, and Mizuno has four strong contenders in the field. Here's a photo of Mizuno Ambassadors Stacy Lewis, Jiyai Shin, Mayu Hattori and Akane Iijima, taken at today's Mizuno press conference. This is an especially huge tournament for Stacy as she continues her quest for Player of the Year honors. Good luck to all!
Jennie Finch Still Undecided on Daughter’s Name
by Jennie Finch on November 1, 2012
For the first time, Jennie Finch is caught playing the name game.
But despite some indecisiveness on her choice for her third child — a girl due in January – the former Olympic softball star hit home runs when it came to naming sons Ace Shane and Diesel Dean — an accomplishment which she happily credits to Casey Daigle.
“My husband and I had just started dating and he was like, ‘Hey, I have to run something by you. I always told myself that my first boy would be named Ace, so I just want to make sure if this all works out, you’d be okay with Ace,’” Finch, 32, tells PEOPLE during a recent visit to the office.
“I was like, ‘Where did that come from?!’ In some ways it was super cute because he was already thinking down the road.”
An instant fan of Daigle’s choice, the couple were delighted to discover their first child would indeed be a baby boy. “Us both being pitchers, from [his] standpoint, Ace is the best of everything,” Finch says.
And when she learned they would be welcoming a second son a few years later, the proud parents turned to another all-time favorite.
“We liked Diesel when I was pregnant with Ace. We knew we liked those two names, but obviously our first was going to be Ace,” she recalls. “So we were like, ‘All right, he’s going to be Diesel.’”
The final decision on what they will be calling their daughter, however, has not been so easy. With “a couple” possibilities in mind, Finch reveals she is leaning toward the more traditional route the third time around.
“Everyone is expecting something crazy and outrageous with having Ace and Diesel, but we’re not sure,” she explains. “[One option's] a really sweet Southern name that we might end up with. That’s kind of in the lead right now, but we haven’t decided completely yet.”
Read the full article and watch a video clip on People.com
Congratulations to Mizuno Ambassadors Matt Cain, Jeremy Affeldt, Barry Zito and Eli Whiteside
by Corporate on October 30, 2012
We congratulate Mizuno Ambassadors Matt Cain, Jeremy Affeldt, Barry Zito and Eli Whiteside of the San Francisco Giants on thier World Championship.
The Giants swept the Tigers in 4 games to capture the title in the 108th World Series. They have won seven World Series titles, and two in the past three years!
We are proud to have these Matt, Jeremy, Barry and Eli represent the Mizuno family.
Three Guys Golf Reviews Mizuno Outerwear
by Iver Maple on October 25, 2012
A blogger on the new popular golf website Three GuysGolf tested the ImpermaLite Flex Rain Top and ImpermaLite Performance Shell and Pant. Overall, the outwear was very positively received. To summarize the review, Three Guys Golf says “if you’re in the market at all, do yourself a favor, and at least give some consideration to Mizuno this year. They have a variety of rain jackets, pull-overs and pants, and they are simply amazing” and "this was the most impressed I'd ever been with a piece of rain gear."
Read the full review on their site: http://threeguysgolfblog.com/mizuno-impermalite-flex-rainwear/
Image courtesy of threeguysgolf.com
Golfwrx.com Members Praise Mizuno's 2-Day Custom Turnaround
by Iver Maple on October 17, 2012
A member of the Golfwrx.com community posted a comment in which he shared his story of how he ordered his set of new custom fit MP-59 irons and MP-T4 wedges on a Friday and they were in on the following Wednesday. Shortly after, he bought a new set of MP-69s to mix in with his MP-59s. He explains that he ordered this second set on a Monday and they were in on that Thursday.
His question to other Golfwrx members: "Is it normal for Mizuno to be that fast?"
Here are just a few of the responses:
"Got custom fit for my left handed MP-59's and ordered on a Friday...had them the following Thursday - best iron purchase ever for me..i was pleased with how quickly Mizuno got them to me."
"Yuuuuuup. Super fast. I'll never touch another iron."
"I was surprised, My MP 64's only took five days after I ordered them , That says alot about thecustomer service at Mizuno !! Fantastic !!"
"I ordered JPX 800 Pros with PX steel and some basic loft/lie adjustments and custom grips. Ordered Monday and picked them up at the store on Friday - and the sales guy said they came in the evening before! I was pretty astonished. Same thing happened when my dad ordered his."
Through our unmatched Custom Department, we can build and ship your custom set of irons in just two-business days. In other words, if you get fit on a weekend, you will have your new irons by the following weekend. That's the fastest in the industry! Visit any one of our 1,500 Performance Fitting System locations to receive the best custom fitting experience available.
Washington Husky Softball Take on National Pro Fastpitch
by Corporate on October 11, 2012
Come see Washington Husky Softball take on NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH (NPF) this Saturday on the Husky Softball Field! Mizuno Ambassador Jenn Salling will be playing and will participate in a autograph session. We will be there with the Mizuno tech van!
2013 Mizuno Pro-Am at Pebble Beach
by Iver Maple on October 11, 2012
Come join us at the 2013 Mizuno Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Four incredible days of golf at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay. Check out the details, we'd love to see you there!
Contact information at the end of the video.
USA Volleyball Opens New Headquarters
by Brynn Murphy on October 11, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 5, 2012) – USA Volleyball, the National Governing Body for volleyball and beach volleyball in the United States, held an open house celebration of its new headquarters building located at 4065 Sinton Road in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Oct. 5.
USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal led a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony that included five of the past six USAV chief executive officers. Al Monaco (1973-1988), Cliff McPeak (1989-1990), Kerry Klostermann (1997-2002), Becky Howard (2002-2004) and Beal (2005 to present) held the ceremonial scissors for the ribbon cutting with current USAV Board of Directors Chairman Adam Rymer, while Kerry Klostermann, USAV CEO from 1997 to 2002 and current USAV secretary general, was present at the ceremony.
The Open House attracted USA Volleyball staff and board members, regional volleyball leaders from across the country, United States Olympic Committee leaders, other Colorado Springs-based National Governing Body executives, City of Colorado Springs representatives and community business leaders.
USA Volleyball, which has been located in Colorado Springs since 1978 and has expanded to a local staff of approximately 50 individuals with an approximate operating budget of $20 million, completed the building purchase on Dec. 9, 2011, and moved into the two-story facility on March 20, 2012. Since then, USA Volleyball has partnered with three other National Governing Bodies – USA Archery, USA Fencing and USA Table Tennis – in offering office space on the first floor of the building.
“USA Volleyball has been an active member within the Colorado Springs community for the last 35 years, and the purchase of this building continues our long-term commitment to the City of Colorado Springs and the Olympic presence in this town,” Beal said. “This building also represents a wonderful statement about the overall growth of our sport, our organization and our abilities to service our members and wide-ranging constituent populations.”
“The sport of volleyball is thriving in the United States, and under Doug Beal’s leadership, USA Volleyball has done something every business hopes to do; they outgrew their space,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said when USA Volleyball announced the property purchase last December. “This move is good for USA Volleyball and will no doubt ensure Doug and his team will continue to succeed.”
At the recent 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, USA Volleyball came away with the gold medal in women’s beach volleyball and silver medals in women’s beach volleyball, women’s indoor volleyball and women’s sitting volleyball. USA Volleyball has earned at least one Olympic medal since the 1984 Olympic Games and is the only country to earn at least one gold medal in beach volleyball since the inaugural event at the 1996 Olympic Games.
Mizuno Ambassadors Wichita State Volleyball Upsets #14 Oklahoma in 4 Sets
by Brynn Murphy on October 4, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. - Sam Sanders tied her career-high with 17 kills to lead the Shockers to a 3-1 win at Oklahoma. Wichita State won by scores of 25-21, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-14.
Emily Adney added 11 kills and 10 digs, while Chelsey Feekin had eight kills, 42 assists and nine digs and Jackie Church had 25 digs.
OU took an early 8-5 lead in the first set, but the Shockers finally tied it at 13 on a kill by Elizabeth Field. The first Shocker lead came at 15-14 on a kill by Ashley Andrade and the two teams traded points until the Shocks took a 20-17 lead on a service ace by Ashlyn Driskill. A kill by Driskill gave the Shocks the 25-21 win.
The second set went back-and-forth until back-to-back kills by Driskill put WSU in front 13-10. WSU increased the lead to 17-10 on a kill by Sam Sanders and the Shockers held on to win the set 25-21 on a kill by Andrade.
A kill by Adney gave WSU an 8-3 lead in the third set, but the Sooners responded with a 5-0 run to tie it at eight. The teams traded points until OU grabbed a 17-14 lead after back-to-back kills. The Shockers used a 3-0 run to tie it at 19, but the Sooners won the set 25-22.
The Shockers took control of the fourth set with an 8-0 run to go up 13-4. OU used a 4-0 run to pull within 19-12, but the Shockers scored the final four points to win 25-14.
The Shockers are next in action on Fri., Oct. 5 when they host Illinois State at 7 p.m. inside Charles Koch Arena.
Read the full article on goshockers.com
Chipper Jones' Surprise Retirement Gift from Mizuno
by Corporate on October 2, 2012
After his career-long affiliation to Mizuno and its products, Chipper Jones was honored by Mizuno with a gift unlike any other he has received during the variety of festivities associated with his retirement, after 19 seasons as a member of the Atlanta Braves. The one-of-a-kind, all electric, Stealth 4x4 UTV adorned with Jones' custom retirement logo was presented to Jones by Bob Puccini, President, Mizuno USA following batting practice at Turner Field. The unique gift was associated with arguably the only pastime that rivals Jones’ love for baseball, and one that he will be heavily engaged in after his retirement - hunting.
In an era when many athletes are swayed from one manufacturer to another based largely on compensation. Jones has focused on quality and performance, remaining loyal to Mizuno and unwilling to sacrifice the superior design and performance of its products. Thank you for being a long time ambassador Chipper!
Nebraska Huskers Softball Renew with Mizuno
by Corporate on October 2, 2012
We are thrilled to announce the Nebraska Huskers Softball team has renewed their contract with Mizuno for multiple years. They utilize our bats, bags, protective, helmets and custom fielders gloves. Glad to have you part of the Mizuno Family!
“Nebraska Softball is thrilled to continue our partnership with MIZUNO!! Our players love their Mizuno bats, catcher’s gear and equipment; and the coaches are grateful for the first class people who work for Mizuno. The service we are provided is top notch, and the people are the best in the business…the Huskers are proud members of the Mizuno Team.” ---Rhonda Revelle, NFCA Hall of Fame member
University of Washington Huskies Softball Renew with Mizuno
by Corporate on September 20, 2012
Mizuno is pleased to announce our partnership with University of Washington Huskies Softball program will continue. The Mizuno Ambassadors won the 2009 National Championship lead by there incredible head coach, Heather Tarr.
"I am pleased to announce that we our continuing our partnership with Mizuno. The University Of Washington Huskies softball program will continue to use Mizuno bats, protective gear, fielders gloves and bags. They helped bring us to the 2009 National Championship and we believe they will help bring us there again. The service and products provided by Mizuno are the standard of the industry. We are proud to be associated with Mizuno again for this multiple year contract". - Heather Tarr, Head Coach University of Washington - Softball
Meet Mizuno Master Craftsman Ko Kishimoto
by Corporate on September 24, 2012
Mizuno celebrates 100 years of glove craftsmanship. Meet one of Mizuno's Master Craftmans Ko Kishimoto on his visits to 2012 MLB spring training camps while works on Chicago Cub Adrian Cardenas' and San Francisco Giants Matt Cain's game gloves.
Stacy Lewis Does It Again!
by Iver Maple on September 24, 2012
Stacy Lewis carded carded a final-round 69 to edge defending champion Lexi Thompson by two shots and complete the “Alabama Slam” with victories this season at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and now this victory at the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama. The win is significant for Lewis, who plays Mizuno JPX-800 Pro Irons and a JPX-800 driver, because it is her third victory of the year and she now has a 56 point lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race. If she does take home Player of the Year she will become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to claim the honor.
“Winning never gets easier,” Lewis said. “I think it might have looked easy out there but it was hard. Every shot was stressful, and I know on this golf course with one swing you can make a double pretty easy.
Lewis, who birdied four of her first five holes on Saturday, played the same stretch in even par on Sunday including a bogey at the par-3 second hole. She recovered with four birdies on the day to shoot 3-under-par 69, enough to hold off a final-round charge from Thompson, who began the day five shots back after leading the first 36 holes.
Lewis added, “I was definitely a lot more comfortable coming down the stretch knowing that I could hit the shots and knowing how to handle my nerves and knowing that I'm going to hit a drive probably 300 yards on the last hole, and just knowing how your body reacts to the pressure I think helps you a lot.”
With the win, Lewis regains the No. 2 spot on the Rolex Rankings from Na Yeon Choi and adds $195,000 to her already career-best season money total. She is currently second on the LPGA Official Money List to Inbee Park with $1,598,596.
Keep It Up Stacy!
Mizuno Ambassador Jiyai Shin Wins her Second British Open Title
by Iver Maple on September 19, 2012
Mizuno’s smooth swinging Jiyai Shin cruised to her second Women's British Open title in five years at Hoylake. Shin completed a great return to form using her JPX-800 Forged irons, MP driver and fairway woods and the MP-T11 wedges.
Playing 36 holes on the last day, Shin made light of the testing conditions as the only player to break par – by a full nine shots. The win was Mizuno’s 2nd women’s major of recent seasons, following Stacy Lewis’s victory at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011.
Shin began five clear after a stunning second-round 64 – the lowest score of the week by four – and won first prize with battling rounds of 71 and 73 in rounds 3 and 4. That gave the 24-year-old a nine-under total of 279.
After the biggest win since the event became a major in 2001, Shin said: "It was a long, long, very tough day and I just focused on each single shot. I thought my skill was not good for links, but finally I have great tempo in my swing and I think this course was made for me."
Jennie Finch’s People.com Blog: Adding Pink to the Mix
by Jennie Finch on September 13, 2012
I think I’m officially showing – Courtesy Jennie Finch
This pregnancy is flying by! I’ve been keeping busy with my boys, and still traveling quite a bit for work, so that will pretty much make time fly. It’s all a blessing.
Ace is now a first grader. It’s official that summer has come and gone. We are back into bedtimes, packing lunches,and homework — along with counting down the days until the weekend constantly!
Having two boys this go around, I’ve noticed that this pregnancy has been a little harder on me physically. I have to remind myself why I am so tired at times — being a working mom just like so many out there, you have to just keep pressing onward. My doctor described it as “survival mode for the first trimester” and I often still feel this way even though I’m into the second trimester.
I can’t tell you how much I respect all the single parents out there doing it all solo. I am so blessed to have Casey and the teamwork it takes to make it all go. When I do get a minute to think about our precious little girl inside of me I am reminded of what a true miracle it is. Incredible.
Yes, I said girl! We are so excited about our little darling inside of me. We are so beyond grateful for our boys, but it will be fun to add some pink in the mix. People always said, “Don’t you want a girl?” My reply has always been my boys are more than I could’ve imagined, and I am thankful for whatever we get!
I’ve been getting a lot of, “Now you have your softball player!” Yes, I get to share my pink Mizuno equipment with her — it is a fierce pink. Having two older brothers myself, I know just how special it is to have them. It’s so fun to think that she will have two older brothers to teach her, look out for her, toughen her up, to hang with and to love her.
I am so grateful she will get that same experience I had being the baby girl. I blame and credit my brothers for my competitive fire within me. Growing up, I lost at everything! My brothers are quite a bit older — 10 years and 5 years — so it was a challenge but I have some of the most amazing memories with my big brothers.
Karch Kiraly Named U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach
by US Women's National Team on September 11, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 11, 2012) – Karch Kiraly, a legendary volleyball player in the indoor and beach disciplines who turned to coaching as an assistant for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team that earned the silver medal at the recent 2012 Olympic Games, has been named the program’s head coach for the next Olympic Games quadrennial culminating at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, as announced by USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal on Tuesday.
“I have revered representing the USA and wearing the Red, White and Blue ever since my first experience with the Junior National Team at 16 years old,” Kiraly said. “It is a tremendous honor to be asked to lead such a powerful volleyball program, and I am thrilled to be able to carry forward the effort expended by this hard-working and talented group of athletes – an effort led by my mentor and friend, previous (U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team) Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon, and his staff.”
“It is hard for me to define how excited I am that Karch has agreed to become our next U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team coach,” Beal said. “I have often heard him compared to Michael Jordan as a dominant performer and personality. It is extremely rare that someone who was so talented and successful on the court can successfully make the transition to that same level in the coaching world. Karch is unique and USA Volleyball is fortunate and lucky to have him to continue the leadership of our National Team program.”
Kiraly, 51, joined the coaching staff in 2009 under the direction of McCutcheon, who has assumed the head women’s volleyball coach position at the University of Minnesota.
“I could not be happier with USA Volleyball's decision to select Karch as the head coach of the USA Women's National Volleyball Team,” McCutcheon said of his successor. “He's a great man and a wonderful volleyball coach - this is a fantastic hire.”
National Pro Fastpitch 2012 Back-to-School Tour
NASHVILLE, TN --- National Pro Fastpitch announced today the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule that is set to launch in September. The Tour is sponsored in part by USSSA, with the support of Major League Baseball. The 2012 Tour marks the third consecutive year the NPF has placed a team made up of all-stars from all 4 NPF teams, on the road to compete in exhibition games against colleges across the U.S.
The 2012 Tour will make 21 stops across 16 states, and compete against 22 different schools in a 40 day span. The 22 university programs include 8 who were ranked in the Top 20, and 2 ranked in the Top 10, on the final USA Today/NFCA college softball poll. Those programs in the 2012 NPF Back to School Tour schedule are: Oklahoma (2), LSU (7), Louisiana Lafayette (12), Arizona (13), Washington (14), Michigan (15), Florida (18), and UCLA (20). In addition to the rankings, 14 of the 22 scheduled Tour teams qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Over the two year history of the NPF Back to School Tour, the team of professional All-Stars has a 41-1 record, with the only loss coming at the hands of the University of Oklahoma on the Fall 2011 Tour. Oklahoma would go onto finish runner-up in the 2012 WCWS. This year Oklahoma will be the finale of the Tour, taking place on November 1.
Of the 22 Tour dates in 2012, 10 are former opponents, including a return to Tucson, Ariz., to square off against the perennial college softball power, Arizona. The Wildcats were one of many sold-out stops on the Inaugural 2010 Tour, filling their home Hillenbrand Stadium to its capacity of 3,000. Other return stops include Missouri State, Memphis, Central Arkansas, South Carolina, Washington, LSU, Florida, San Diego State, and Oklahoma.
The remaining dozen schools will be first timers on the NPF Back to School Tour. Among those, UCLA, the school with more NCAA Championships than any other college program in history, and Michigan, the 2005 WCWS Champion. The impressive list of newcomers also includes Baylor, Louisiana Lafayette, Mississippi State, Texas State, Maryland, Illinois State, Wisconsin, Marshall, Central Michigan, and South Carolina-Upstate.
“The Tour is one of my favorite events of the year for the NPF and this year’s schedule is super,” commented NPF Commissioner, Cheri Kempf. “The goal of this Tour is to continue to broaden the fan base for professional softball in a competitive environment and to let many of the college programs we play against, celebrate their former players that have gone onto become professionals. We are grateful for, and appreciative of the programs that are so willing to share in that mission with us, and take a crack at the professionals along the way.”
There are several stops that will also include player clinics as well as special location visits and VIP luncheons and dinners. At least five clinics will be offered for young players that are interested in learning from the pros.
The Tour will kick off in Springfield Missouri on September 23 against Missouri State. Over the next 40 days the players of the NPF will criss cross the nation on the 22 game schedule before finishing in Norman, Oklahoma on Nov. 1. For information regarding ticket purchases, clinic registrations, or appearance possibilities, contact the NPF League Office email at email@example.com or call 615-232-2900.
Date Game Time School City
9/23 1:00pm Missouri State Springfield, Mo
9/26 7:00pm Marshall Charleston, WV
9/27 6:30pm Maryland College Park, MD
9/29 7:00pm Memphis Memphis,TN
9/30 4:00pm Mississippi State Batesville, MS
10/1 7:30pm Central Arkansas Conway, AR
10/4 6:00pm Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
10/5 3:00pm Central Michigan Mt. Pleasant, MI
10/7 4:30pm Wisconsin Peoria, IL
10/7 6:00pm Illinois State Peoria, IL
10/11 7:00pm South Carolina Columbia, SC
10/12 6:00pm South Carolina-Upstate Spartanburg, SC
10/14 1:00pm Washington Seattle, WA
10/16 7:00pm Baylor Waco, TX
10/18 6:00pm Texas State San Marcos, TX
10/19 7:00pm LSU Baton Rouge, LA
10/20 TBD Louisiana-Lafayette Lafayette, LA
10/22 7:00pm Florida Gainsville, FL
10/24 7:00pm Arizona Tucson, AZ
10/26 7:00pm San Diego State San Diego, CA
1027 1:00pm UCLA Los Angeles, CA
11/1 6:00pm Oklahoma Norman, OK
US Women Take Silver After Tough Loss To Brazil
by Brynn Murphy on August 23, 2012
By: Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Communications
The top-ranked U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team fell one victory shy of winning its first-ever Olympic Games gold-medal for the second quadrennial in a row in an 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 loss to No. 2 Brazil Saturday in the title match at Earls Court in London.
The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and 30-2 record in 2012. Brazil, which was on the verge of not qualifying for the quarterfinals heading into the final pool day, finished with a 6-2 record in defending its 2008 Olympic Games title in a gold-medal rematch with the Americans. In the process, Brazil snapped a six-match losing streak to the United States dating back to 2011.
The U.S. was playing in its third Olympic Games title match, only to have golden dreams dashed for silver in losses to Brazil at the 2008 Beijing Games and to China at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Team USA now has four overall Olympic women’s volleyball medals that include a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
At the 2008 Olympic Games, Brazil won its first-ever women’s volleyball gold-medal over the Americans as the top seed and favorite to win, while the U.S. entered the Olympics as a dark horse to win a medal. In 2012, Team USA was the favorite to win its first-ever gold.
The U.S. bolted to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set and never let up in a 25-11 victory. U.S. captain Lindsey Berg (Honolulu), who has announced her intentions to retire after the Olympics, had service runs of 6-0 and 5-0 in the set.Team USA came back from an 11-6 deficit in the second set to tie the score at 12-all, but Brazil responded with a 6-0 run en route to a 25-17 victory and controlled the rest of the match. Brazil reached a 14-9 lead in the third set and never allowed the U.S. closer than two points the rest of the way for a 25-20 victory.
Read more on teamusa.com
Lytham looms and hopefully it’s going to be third-time-lucky for me this year in the majors.
by Luke Donald on July 18, 2012
Luke Donald Diary 7/17/2012
Lytham looms and hopefully it’s going to be third-time-lucky for me this year in the majors.
Going into the Open as number one will again add to the pressure. It’s struck me that my indifferent showings this year, and probably some times in the past, too, come from needing to tackle the majors better mentally. As world number one the expectation is pretty high, not the least by me, to win a major. I’ve put a lot of thought into it. It’s about controlling the anxiety of it all – just going out there and being relaxed, try and avoid pressing too hard and forcing the issue. Not that it should mean anything less, but playing with a little bit more freedom, less hesitation, having a bit more fun. I don’t work with a mental coach – Dave Allred only works with me on practicing efficiently. It’s got to come from me. I’ve not been able to spot myself slipping into the agitated mode. People around me have noticed it though.
I’m sure now, that’s the key. Then If I can get off to a good start it will give me a lot of encouragement. I’ve proved that when I get into contention I’m tough to beat.
The majors so far this year haven’t gone that well, but I’m approaching The Open differently this time. I feel I still have 30 or 40 majors in me and if I keep learning and getting better physically and mentally one will come along. I’m excited about the opportunities that are coming up.
Mentally comes first now but physically I’ve had to have a rethink as well. Certainly for the US Open I over-prepared. I tried to play a lot of left-to-right shots because I felt that was what was needed, and it got my swing into some old habits. So I’ve worked hard the last two weeks on really trying to get the swing shallowed out, getting a little bit more of a solid strike. It entails trying to turn the ball over slightly to be a little more penetrating. That’s when I feel like I’m swinging well. It’s getting very close to that right now.
The only time I’ve played Lytham was as an amateur in the Lytham Trophy, quite a few years back now. I still remember it very well. Avoiding the bunkers, as it is at all Open venues, is vital. But that good start on Thursday is what I’m looking for.
It was nice to celebrate a collective 52 weeks as world number one at the Scottish Open. I won’t in any way be worried about the curse of winning again at Castle Stuart before playing the Open. Just as I said last year, being in winning form before a major can only be good not bad. I don’t think the fact that I just didn’t perform (at Sandwich) last year had any relevance to winning the Scottish Open. Sandwich I just didn’t adapt well with my short game, I didn’t chip or putt particularly well.
Away from the course, my fourth Taste of the Tee, charity wine-tasting event, went wonderfully well. I was able to raise some great money for the First Tee of Chicago Chapter. It’s a lovely feeling helping out the kids.
That puts into perspective that there is more to life than golf.
If I needed to be brought down to earth from the world number one spot, though, I got that at Wimbledon. I relished my first time in the Royal Box watching two great matches and then sitting next to Kylie Minogue at lunch. She was a really sweet girl, really genuine – but she wasn’t actually aware I was a golfer! I had to mention it to her. Her boyfriend is a keen golfer, though, and she turned round to him and said: ‘Luke’s a professional golfer’. He said: ‘Yes I know that’.
Talking about pressure playing your home major, you could see how much it all meant to Andy Murray. We’re all trying as hard as we can to be a success, especially in the big ones. It means a lot to him and it means a lot to me.
My Moment by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on July 16, 2012
When I think about the last couple days many emotions come rushing in. Something I have worked so hard for is finally becoming a reality. Words cannot express the joy that overcame me when I heard the news that I will be attending the Olympic Games in London. I will try and recap my morning for you all. It was July 3 at about 8:30 in the morning. We didn't have practice that day since we had meetings all morning to determine the 12 girls that will be making the roster. I was nervous and excited for my meeting at 10:20. I got up and did the normal routine, got dressed, ate and brushed my teeth. I had spoke with my strength coach the day before about getting in a cardio session since we wouldn't be having practice. He agreed that it would be a great idea. I arrived to the gym around 9:30 prepared to do an intense workout and man did he give me just that. I was on the spin bike doing a circuit that lasted about 20 mins.( I know it doesn't seem that long but I was tired!!) Needless to say I was dripping sweat and completely out of breath. Little did I know it was already time for me to go up for my meeting. Walking up the stairs to the coaches offices the past 12 years of my life came flashing back. I was thinking about the 1st time I stepped foot on a volleyball court. The 1st time I attempted to jump serve. The 1st ever club volleyball tryout that I almost missed out on because I was such a chicken. The 1st time I made a team. My first coaches. So many memories of hard work, sacrifice and determination came rushing in. This was my moment. As I walked into their office it was a very intimidating environment. All four coaches sat in a half circle staring at me. Now remember I was still dripping sweat, was beat red and couldn't breath. All the coaches asked me are you okay? With wide eyes of confusion... Like what just happened to you. I explained and we moved on to the meeting. Hugh proceeded to tell me that I will be apart of the 12 going to London. ( after that I kinda blacked out... Well I just kinda sat there with a smile in my face.) He then said well we don't want to stop you from getting your workout in so Congratulations and proceeded to give me a hug. I felt sorry for all the coaches for having to give me a hug as I was dripping sweat. I walked out of that meeting trying to grasp what had just happened. I was in shock that I am actually living the dream! My dream!!!! I proceeded to call all my family and friends. It wasn't until I was speaking with a family friend when it all hit me. And man did it hit me like a ton a bricks. She kept trying to talk to me but I had no response as I was a weeping mess. All that was going threw my mind was my mom. What I would give to call her and tell her I did it!! I know she would be proud but at that moment I just wanted to hear her voice!! I can just see her now doing some crazy dance of hers and jumping for joy. Oh how I miss her! This has been one incredible week and it has only just begun. I have so much to be thankful for and so many people to thank for helping me be who I am today! :). As much as I would love to celebrate this huge accomplishment there is still work to do. We have 2 more weeks of training before we head to London and 3 weeks until the big show. This is what we have all been training for and I am confident that we will be in full force when we get to London. I am so happy to be apart of this team.
Dream Big & Never Settle,
Chipper Jones Makes Final All-Star Game a Memorable One
by Mizuno USA on July 11, 2012
Mizuno Brand Ambassador and Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones announced before the 2012 season that this would be his last year playing professional baseball. The 40-year old Chipper is hitting .318 on the season, which was more than enough to earn him a spot on the National League All-Star Team for the eighth time in his career. The future Hall-of-Famer's last All-Star Game was certainly one of the more compelling stories from last night. Prior to the game, National League Manager Tony LaRussa asked Chipper to speak to the team about the game. Here is a clip of Chipper's speech:
The National League won the All-Star Game for the third year in a row, defeating the American League 8-0. Chipper had one at-bat in the game, and certainly made the most of it after a warm embrace from the Kansas City crowd. Here is a clip of Chipper's final All-Star Game at-bat:
A few other Mizuno-related stories from the All-Star Game were the great start of San Francisco Giants pitcher and Cy Young hopeful Matt Cain, who threw two scoreless innings and picked up the win for the NL. Cain was using the new Mizuno Pro Limited Glove, which launches on August 1st. At several spots during the first two innings, FOX showed Cain's new leather and his custom All-Star Game cleats, offering excellent visibility for the Mizuno Brand. Here is a clip of Cain's solid start for the National League:
Also using the new Mizuno Pro Limited was Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who worked a scoreless-inning of relief. Sale, a Cy Young hopeful for the American League, recorded a strikeout in his first All-Star Game. Here is a clip of Sale's scoreless inning:
Finally, the Kansas City Royals' Billy Butler received an outstanding ovation as the lone All-Star from the hometown team. Butler worked the count full before striking out in his one plate appearance, but had the crowd cheering late in a lopsided contest. Here is a clip of the rousing ovation that Butler received from the Kansas City fans:
The regular season picks back up on Friday, and it should be another great second half as the Pennant races heat up.
Spring break fun
by Jennie Finch on April 19, 2012
Last week we went on vacation! We got out of town and hit the road, just me and my boys. A great way to begin because there’s nothing like that feeling of a change in routine, a break in schedule. No school, no work! We’re off to lay on the beach, swim in the pool, fish, jet-ski and much more! Casey and I were talking and this is really our first family vacation with no work. We couldn’t wait to put our toes in the sand!
Spring has sprung!
by Jennie Finch on April 12, 2012
Spring is here! It’s been an amazing few months, and a great start to the year. I’ve been blessed to be part of the ESPN team this spring, working in the booth at a few softball games. It’s a little nerve-wracking but I’m working at it. Practicing, getting my reps in, learning all the production terms, timing, and putting hay in the barn all the time. I love it, though. I get to talk to coaches, players, and be around the game in the College atmosphere. There is nothing like it and it only keeps growing and getting better! It keeps the great memories I have fresh for me, and of course working alongside softball greats like Michelle Smith, Beth Mowins, and more is always an honor!