South Florida State College head baseball coach Rick Hitt was nominated and selected to serve on the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Board of Directors at the annual ABCA convention held in Dallas.
Hitt has served on the ABCA executive committee for the last two years and is currently the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) president. Following the executive committee meeting and board of director's selection, Hitt was recognized for his 25 years of baseball coaching and service at the ABCA awards luncheon.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have coached for 25 years," said Hitt. "I am a fortunate person and will always be thankful for the opportunity that was afforded to me years ago by Jim Howard, current assistant principal at Sebring High school, who gave me my first assistant coach position as a young inexperienced guy coming right out of college," he said. "I also have Dwayne Lemler, former Sebring High School principal, Gary Rapp, former Sebring High School athletic director, and coach Brent Ommert to thank for providing me with coaching opportunities."
"Dr. Catherine Cornelius and the SFSC District Board of Trustees trusted me with the rebuilding of the SFSC baseball program, my first collegiate coaching opportunity 16 years ago," Hitt said. "I am continuously grateful for the opportunity to come to work each day."
"As for getting selected to be a member of the most prestigious board of directors in college coaching, I am completely humbled," Hitt said. "The members of this board who have come before me are tremendous contributors to the advancement of baseball at all levels. It is an honor to become a representative of this group."
Hitt, a 2011 inductee in to the Santa Fe College Hall of Fame, credits former Santa Fe College and current NJCAA/ABCA Hall of Fame coach Harry Tholen for getting him started in the leadership aspect of collegiate coaching.
"Coach Tholen is one of the greatest people you will ever meet, in or out of the game of baseball," he said. "The respect that I have for him cannot be measured. He got me started on this road years ago as an assistant coach on the USA/NJCAA National Team, and soon after as the secretary on the NJCAA Executive Committee. Since then the doors have continued to open and my career has been amazing."
"I am grateful and will to continue to represent South Florida State College, the state of Florida, and coaches nationally in the same manner that so many of my mentors have," Hitt said. "I have a great love and respect for this game, but I am not sure I will ever be able to give as much to this game as it has given to or provided for me so far in my career."
The ABCA is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. Its over 7,000 members represent all 50 states and 22 countries. Since 1945, Association membership has broadened to include seven divisions - NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, junior college, high school, and youth. The association is involved in numerous programs that promote the integrity of the profession and the development of baseball.