Keith Veale, the head coach of the Mount Vernon Nazarene College baseball team, will be an assistant coach for the NAIA All-Star Team this summer when the team travels to Prague in the Czech Republic.
For the second consecutive year, the NAIA will send an all-star team to compete in Prague Baseball Week from June 26-30. In 2000, the NAIA All-Stars won the championship with a 5-1 record against another U.S. collegiate select team and international competition from the Czech Republic, Great Britain, and Germany. The NAIA squad defeated U.S. Athletes 15-6 in the championship game with 12 unanswered runs in the final three innings.
The 2001 tournament will mark the 20th anniversary of the event, which typically draws crowds in excess of 5,000 for the 10-team format that includes a single round robin and a medal round. Teams from the host country, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Slovakia, and the Ukraine will compete this year.
Making the experience even more important for the NAIA participants is the opportunity to interact with aspiring players in Prague through baseball clinics.
"Many Prague young people took part in the clinic session and were very appreciative of the efforts of our team," said Spring Arbor College (Mich.) head coach Hank Burbridge, who headed up the delegation last year. "Many of the spectators stayed to observe the clinic and showed their approval by applauding at the conclusion of the session. Many observers commented on the quality of play, skill, and conduct of our players."
Sam Riggleman, the 2000 NAIA National Coach of the Year from Dallas Baptist University (Texas), will serve as the head coach of this year's squad. Riggleman was the head coach at MVNC from 1980-1988. He will be joined on the coaching staff by Veale and Tim Mead, the head coach at Walsh University.