Winter has barely begun, but the college softball season isn’t that far away.
That means first-year University of Maine head coach Lynn Coutts has been busy getting ready for the 2012 campaign.
Coutts on Monday announced the hiring of Kevin Welch, who will serve as an assistant coach for the Black Bears.
Welch, a Massachusetts native, has been coaching and teaching softball for 17 years. His stops have included assistant coaching positions at Loyola of Chicago, Northern Illnois and Butler.
“I am thrilled to be able to welcome Kevin to the University of Maine and the Black Bear softball program,” Coutts said in a press release. “He brings tremendous energy, enthusiasm, experience and a positive coaching style that will generate some excitement.”
Coutts said she had sought an assistant who was well-versed in the teaching aspect of the game.
Welch, a graduate of Springfield College, was the hitting coach for seven seasons at Northern Illinois. There, he served as the Huskies’ head recruiter from 1999-2005.
Welch worked at Loyola from 1998-99 as a hitting coach and also spent a year at Butler. He has worked numerous camps and clinics and recently had been a personal hitting instructor at The Cage, a local softball practice facility in Eldridge, Iowa.
There, he worked individually with players in middle and high school. Welch also was a volunteer coaching consultant at Durant High School.
Welch graduated from Springfield in 1992 with a degree in physical education before earning his masters of science in athletic administration in 1996 from Indiana State University.
“I am honored and humbled that coach Coutts is giving me a chance to work for such a prestigious university and to become a Black Bear,” Welch said in the release.
Former interim head coach Maureen Barron will serve as a volunteer coach for UMaine and will work specifically with the pitchers. She is the wife of UMaine women’s basketball head coach Richard Barron.
“Coach Barron and I have very similar coaching philosophies and the players really liked working with her when she was the interim coach,” Coutts said.
Barron, a 1997 Princeton graduate, coached the Tigers to four Ivy League titles during her seven years with the program. She was a pitcher on the Tigers’ College World Series teams in 1995 and ’96.
Coutts to speak at convention
Coutts has been selected as one of many special presenters at this year’s World Softball Coaches Convention. The event will be held Jan. 21 at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino in Uncasville, Conn.
Coutts will speak on “Getting Creative with Your Indoor Practices” before giving a session on how to “Inspire Your Athletes From the Inside Out.” Other speakers will include Olympic Gold Medalist Jessica Mendoza, NFCA Hall of Famer and Legendary UCLA coach Sue Enquist and USA Softball National Team member Ashley Charters.
UMaine plans winter clinics
The UMaine softball program is conducting winter clinics for players in grades 5-12 on multiple Sundays in January and February. The sessions, to be held in the Mahaney Dome and inside Memorial Gym, begin Jan. 8 and will run through Feb. 5.
Each day there will be five separate, hour-long clinics beginning with hitting I (grades 5-7), pitching II (grades 8-12), hitting II (grades 8-12), pitching I (grades 5-7) and ending with an infield/outfield clinic open to all grades.
To sign up for any of the winter clinics and for information, visit the UMaine athletics website at GoBlackBears.com.