Hall of Fame
HALL OF FAME
Alan began umpiring in 1976 and joined Georgia ISA in 1987. In 2005, he was appointed to the Georgia ISA Deputy UIC and has held that position to present. Throughout his career as an umpire, Alan has been recognized several times by ISA. In 2001 he was named Umpire of the Year, 2009 named the Southern Regional Umpire of the Year, and has even picked up a few awards for his efforts on the directing side of ISA. Alan has been a part of over 13 World and National Tournaments and has officiated in over 6 states over the years.
ISA President Bill Ruth of Kent, WA was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in December, 2005 in Lake Mary, Florida. A long time player and sponsor, Ruth along with two partners purchased ISA in 1995. In 1996 Ruth bought out his partners resulting in the February 1997 move of the National Headquarters to Winter Haven, FL. The Association has prospered under Ruth’s ownership and is recognized as one of the most progressive groups in softball. Bill also has an ownership stake in Senior Softball USA. He resides with his wife Susan on his ranch in the Seattle area.
Birthplace – Arrington, England..Height 6’1” 275 lbs. – Age – 60 (Birthdate ) (August 5, 1953).
Years In Softball – 42
1. Most Home Runs in 1 year – 584 in 1988 with the Silver Bullets
2. Batted .717 in 1989 with the Silver Bullets
3. 20 times All World
4. MVP of World Series two times in his Career USSSA in 1987, and NSPC in 1987.
5. Jerome Earnest All Decade 1980 team.
6. Names to all tournament teams in four championships in 1987 and 1988 – USSSA, NSA, ISA and NSPC.
7. Named MVP and home run champion in the 1987 USSSA World Series batting .769 with 18 home runs
8. Played with Smythe Sox in 1986 and 1987 when they won the USSSA World Series back to back…..
9. Gained fame as one of the longest hitters in softball by hitting home runs in the Astrodome and out of Oklahoma City 89ers Stadium in 1981.
10. Played fastpitch softball (pitcher and left field) for 7 years before going into slo-pitch in 1980 with the Pearl Beer team from his hometown of San Antonio.
11. Still going strong after all of these years and is involved in bat testing and playing SSUSA Senior Softball…
Played with such teams as: Morgan Boots, Pearl Beer, Howard’s Western Steer, Smythe Sox, Steele’s Silver Bullets, Williams Worth, Cable TV. Personal Information:
Wife: Diane, Daughter: Beverly (41) Son: Billy (40).
Hobbies: Fishing, playing basketball and watching baseball on TV.
Billy Messina is from Simi Valley, CA and stands 6’1″ tall, weighing 230 lbs. He has been playing Slow Pitch softball at the upper levels since 1991. He is recognized as one of the top pitchers in the nation, most known for his knuckle-ball. In his 22 year major level career, he has played with many teams, including Dan Smith Plastering, Team Easton, US Vinyl, Long Haul Trucking, Alesium/Chase/Reece/Roosters and many more. He is still playing at the major level at the age of 50 and is currently playing/coaching with Laservision Easton since 2012. He has been named to 4 All World teams. He has also been a part of many championship teams winning several World Series Championships over his career. One of Billy’s great accomplishments is being named to over 100 All Tournament teams throughout his career.
Billy Powell of Nashville, TN was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in the Specialty Category in 2000 in Panama City Beach, Florida.
A charter member of the association, Powell is fond of saying “Larry (Larry Nash, founder of ISA) started out in Florida and I joined on Monday.” Known as Nash’s right hand man, Powell traveled the country promoting ISA. In the early days of the association, he could be found at most national events serving as an umpire, director or in whatever capacity he was needed. The “Jack of All Trades” is now retired and resides with his wife Martha.
Brett Helmer of Cicero, NY is one of the most decorated players in the sport of softball today. Over the years, Brett has played with some of the most competitive teams in the sport. Pierce Construction, Sojern/Specialty Tank/TPS, Hague/Wessel/TPS, Team Easton, Bell Corp., and Dan Smith are just to name a few. While playing, Brett has managed to claim 14 World Series Championships, is a 4 time National Batting Champion, and was named to 28 different All World Teams. He has also been named the Easton Bomb Squad Home Run Champion in 2004, and named the Long Haul Bombers Tour Champion in 2003, 2004, and 2007. In 2001, Brett was also named the ISA World Series MVP in Jordon, MN. Today you can still find Brett hitting the long ball all over the U.S. He also continues to play in the ISA Winter Nationals as he does every year.
BRIAN “BA” ARNOLD
Brian, known in the softball world as “BA” lives in Winter Haven, Florida with his wife Angie and daughter Kaylie. BA once played on Bagley Bait that was once coached by the ISA CEO Don Stratton. BA has won 1 Major World Championship, 3 AA World Championships, 5 A World Championships, 3 B World Championships, 2 Winter National World Championships and 4 Masters 40+ World Tournaments. BA has won 5 All World MVP’s and has also been named to the All World Tournament Team 10 times.
Bruce Meade of Bradenton, FL was inducted into the Player Category in 2003 in Ft. Myers, FL. Standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 260 pounds with a handlebar mustache, Meade is probably the most recognized slow pitch player of his generation. In an illustrious career dating back to 1974 he has appeared in 9 ISA Super Major World Tournaments and 3 Senior World Tournaments. Over the years he has played with Elite Coatings of Gordon, GA; Steele’s Sports of Grafton, OH; Smythe Sox of Houston, TX; Ken Michaels of Maryland; Ritch’s/Kirk’s of North Carolina; Sparpath of Kentucky; Vernorn’s of Jacksonville, FL and Florida Crush in the Senior program. Meade’s teams won the Super World in 1986 (Smythe Sox) and finished second five times. His Florida Crush team has won 3 ISA Senior World titles. He has been named to the All-World Tournament Team 7 times. Bruce also participates in the Florida Half Century events which aligned with ISA in 2001 and won the state championship with Hardisty Electric in 2002.
Cecil Whitehead of Valdosta, GA has been nominated to the ISA Hall of Fame in the Players Category. A three sport star at Valdosta High, Whitehead was a NCAA Division II Baseball All-American in 1977 and 1978 at Valdosta State University. A second round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles, he played three years of professional baseball.
Whitehead played in 11 ISA Superior World Series. His Smythe Sox team from Houston, TX were Co-Champs with Howards in 86. He was named the Series MVP in 1988 while leading Howards Western Steer of Denver, NC to the crown. Cecil was also a member of the ISA dominating Ritch’s Superior team that won 5 straight series from 1991 – 1995. He was on the series runner up in 1984 and 1085 teams with Elite Coastings of Gordon, GA, 1987 with Smythe Sox and 1990 with Ritch’s-Krks of Harrisburg, NC. Whitehead was named to the 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, and 1993 All World Series teams. He also was named to Jerome Earnest Softball USA in 1980 and 1990 team of the decade plus second time on the team of the Century.
Charles Wright of Columbus, GA was inducted into the Player Category in 1999 in Dayton Beach, Florida. The 46 year old Wright, known as the “Georgia Peach,” has been a member of 6 ISA World Championship teams. During his illustrious career, Wright performed for national powerhouse teams such as Elite of Georgia, Steele’s of Ohio, Marlton Trucking from Oregon, Ritch-Kirks of North Carolina, Ritch’s Superior/TPS of Connecticut and Sunbelt/Dan Smith/Easton of Georgia. Wright was a member of the ISA World Series All Tournament Team 8 times and was named MVP at the 1991 and 1992 series. Recognized as a two way performer the slick fielding Georgian belted and amazing 503 homeruns while playing with the Steele’s Silver Bullets in 1986.
Chet Tyl of Winter Haven, FL was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in December, 2005 in Lake Mary, FL in the Director’s Category.
A former player Tyl began directing tournaments in his early 20’s. In 1995 he joined ISA as the Northern Region Vice President and Michigan State Director. One year later he was promoted to CEO/Executive Director and moved the ISA National Headquarters to Winter Haven, FL. Under Tyl’s guidance the Association prospered and reached magnitudes few envisioned possible. He resides with his wife Jane and has 2 children Patrick and Holly Wrathell. He is the proud grandfather of 3.
Craig Elliot is considered one of the greatest players in slow pitch softball history by a lot of people, and there are many reasons to why they feel this way. He compiled statistics that made many people shake their head in amazement. Craig was part of the great Steele’s team that won a number of ISA Major World Series titles. He once hit 9 home runs in a row; because of this the other teams decided to walk him the rest of the tournament. He was a member of the ISA National All-Tournament Team that same year. Craig is also one of two players that were selected MVP of the prestigious Smoly Mountain Classic. Mike Macenko said the first time he saw Craig Elliot play he said to himself that was who he wanted to be like. You could put a quarter in him, and he would hit home runs all day long. Back in the 1980’s when softball was at its finest hour any team that had Craig Elliott on their roster knew they had a tremendous chance of winning a National Championship. He was that good!
Curtis was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame on December 5th in Tupleo,MS. Curtis Nave of Sanibel Fl. Was named to 14 IS A all world teams. He has won numerous HR tltles and MVP awards always considered a great teammate he was a member of the great Fl Heat team that won the Class A and AA world titles. Curtis credits his father with teaching him the game. At his induction he stated that he had the greatest parents in the world. Curtis continues to play softball at the highest level of senior ball and continues to hit the ball with great power that demands the respect of all opposing teams.
Dal Beggs is one of the most decorated players in the game of softball to date. He has been elected to countless All Tournament Teams in many different tournaments ranging from Qualifiers to World Series Tournaments. Dal has been a part of 19 World Series Championship Teams throughout his career. He has played with some of the best teams in the last 20 years. Team Resmondo, Dan Smith, and Team Synergy are a couple of the teams that he has played on. He was also honored with the ISA Major World Series MVP in 2004. The teams that he played on managed to claim 5 ISA World Series Titles at the Major and Class A levels. Dal was selected to the All Tournament Team in every one of these tournaments. There is no doubt that Dal Beggs is one of the best softball players to have ever played the game.
Dan Schuck of Des Moines, Iowa was inducted into the Player Category in 2003 in Auburn, Alabama. During an illustrious career in the Super division of softball dating bact to 1986 he has garnered 4 ISA World Championships and 2 second place finishes. Nicknamed “Sarge” he has appeared in over 2600 games and has never missed a game due to injury. In 1993 while playing for Bell Corp. of Tampa, FL he led the country in homeruns and in 1994 he was named “Player of the Year” by Supreme Softball News. Schuck had been named to 5 ISA All-World Teams. Dan and his wife Julie have 4 children Erik, Jamie, Jeremy, and Jenna. Schuck has played for Steele’s, Marlton Trucking of Portland, OR, Starpath of Monticello, KY, Bell Corp., Sunbelt and Sunbelt/Dan Smith/Easton, Team Easton, R & D/Bell Corp./Easton and Dan Smith/Menosse/Easton.
Dave Cowan began his softball career in 1987 as a player/sponsor in Central Illinois. He sponsored 1 team comprised of himself, some friends, and a few employees of his small pizza restaurant. From 1988 to 1999, Dave’s passion for the game grew, as did his business and sponsorships. Realizing that young players are the foundation of softball, he began to sponsor mens teams made up of young players, 35 and over, and a competitive tournament team. From 2000 to present, Dave sponsors the above mentioned teams along with a mens 40 and over team. In addition to softball, he is also involved in his local community with sponsorship of youth football, baseball, and girls fast pitch teams. These teams over the years have had numerous top 5 finishes and above in the State, National, and World tournaments. These include 9 State championships, 2 NIT championships, and 4 top 4 and above World tournament finishes, which include 2004 and 2007 ISA Illinois 40 and over State championships, 2010 ISA D Illinois State champions, and 2010 ISA Illinois Open Fall State Champions. Dave’s teams are well known and respected in Illinois and throughout the mid-west and Dave has always insisted that his players and teams play hard but fair, with class and respect for all opponents, umpires, and above all the game itself. In 2000 Dave was instrumental in ISA coming to Illinois. He fully got behind the program by committing all of his teams to exclusively play ISA that season, including sending a 35 and over team to the World tournament.
DAVE NEALE, SR
Dave Neale, Sr. of Cleveland, OH was elected into the ISA Hall of Fame in the Manager’s Category in 2008. The legendary sponsor-manager of the famous Steele’s Sports from Ohio was an early and strong supporter of the ISA Program. His team played in the first ISA Super World Series and helped ISA founder Larry Nash by playing exhibition games in the birthplace of ISA, Shelbyville, TN. Steele’s was also a major benefactor to Nash providing many tournament sponsorships. Neale guided his teams in 14 World Series. He won in 1987 and 1990 and finished second in 1988, 1992, and 1993. To date every person inducted to the ISA Hall of Fame in the Player Category played for Dave Neale, Sr.
Dave Steffen of Flat Rock, Michigan was inducted into the Player Category in 2004 in Ft. Myers, Florida. Nicknamed “The Daffy One” for his colorful antics on and off the field, the 6’4 300 lbs plus Steffen was an all around athlete earning all state honors in baseball, football, and wrestling at Flat Rock High School. He spurned a football scholarship at the University of Michigan to sign with the Detroit Tigers as a high draft pick. The fire balling right hander made the Major League roster only to suffer an arm injury in Spring Training. His last ditch effort with the Chicago White Sox also failed and he turned to softball. During a 16 year career at the major level of softball with South Western Industries of Taylor, MI; Coors of Detriot, MI; Steele’s Sports of Brook Park, OH; Marlton Trucking of Portland, OR; Lilly Air of Chicago, IL; Bell Corp. of Tampa, FL; Ritch’s/Kirks of Harrisburg, NC; Converter’s of Kinston, NC and Ritch’s Superior/TPS of Windsor Locks, CT. Steffen appeared in 13 ISA World Series and won 6 title, including 5 straight with Ritch’s-Superior. In 1993 in Gainesville, GA he was named the series MVP posting an .818 batting average and was the Home Run Champion with 13. He was also named to 6 other ISA All-World Teams. In 2002, Dave played an instramental role in bringing the ISA to his hometown complex in Flat Rock, MI. All leagues and tournaments are now sanctioned with ISA. Dave and his wife Tammy have 2 sons Casey and Kyle.
DeWayne Nevitt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 in the Player category in Las Vegas, NV.
Don Stratton of Bartow, FL was inducted into the Director’s Category in 2001 in Ft. Myers, FL/ Stratton first became associated with the ISA program as a player. He has also been a coach and a sponsor. In 1987 he became a director and has served as an Area Director, Assistant State Director and State Director, In October 2007, Don was named the new CEO of ISA by owner Bill Ruth. His ISA career has seen Stratton cover all the bases as he has directed the Men’s Super World Series, Men’s Class A-E World Tournaments, 4 Youth World’s and 14 Winter Nationals. He was named ISA Director of the year in 1995, 1996, and in 1997 received the Executive Director’s Award. Don and his wife Mary are the proud parents of 2 children and 9 grandchildren.
DONALD “BREEZY” VAUGHN
Donald “Breezy” Vaughn, the Tennessee State UIC, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Umpire category in 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.
Doug Roberson of Royal Palm Beach, FL was inducted into the Player Category in 2001 in Ft. Myers, Florida. Doug and his wife Susan have 3 children, Troy, Ryan and Brady. Roberson has played with Steele’s, Superior-Apollo, Ritch’s Superior/TPS, Team TPS and Hague/Resmondo/TPS. He has played in 8 ISA Super World Series and been named to the All World Team 6 times while winning6 ISA World Titles. In 1996 he was the Series MVP for Ritch’s Superior Club that collected 5 straight ISA World Series Championships. Considered by many as on eof the games all time outfielders, Roberson combined a strong and accurate arm with speed and astute judgment. Proving his all around ability Doug also garnered 3 Base Burglar Awards in ISA Championship play.
In 2008, Eddie Holcomb was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in Ft. Myers, Florida. Eddie has been with ISA since 1995 as the Georgia State Director. He has been an advocate for ISA for the past 12 years as well as being Chairmen of numerous committees at the National Convention. He has also directed over twenty National and World Tournament. Eddie is responsible for setting up the ISA National Sanctioning System and played a key role in the reconstruction of the old and the new ISA. Eddie has been involved in softball for over twenty years and has been an innovator of many of the rules ISA now plays such as the 3-3 count. Eddie and his wife Beverly have 2 sons, Eddie Jr and Brian. They live in Hiram, Georgia and still host the three largest tournaments in the state, The Polar Bear, Shriners, and Stars and Stripes. The 3 tournaments are a “don’t miss” for all Georgia Teams.
FLOYD “POP” DAVIS
Pop Davis, a resident of Dundee, Florida has been involved with ISA for over 2 decades. During that time, Pop remained loyal to ISA. Along side, Don Stratton, current CEO of ISA, Pop has worn many different hats, doing anything and everything from running concessions to umpiring. If you have ever been to an ISA tournament in Florida, chances are that Pop was there doing whatever he could to help the tournament run smoothly. Pop has managed to become an icon in Florida ISA. Everyone knows Pop. He has been at all of the major events, without fail, sitting at the game collecting gate fees and helping out wherever he can. Pop is and has truly been a major asset to ISA and Florida ISA over the years. Pop has since retired from years of umpiring with ISA but remains a helper at all of the events in Florida. To this day, Pop remains loyal to ISA, Don Stratton, and to the sport of Softball. Pop is currently residing in central Florida with his family and friends.
Greg Walker of North Carolina has been an umpire of rover 25 years and has spent the last 12 years with ISA. Throughout his umpiring career with ISA, Greg has umpired in over 20 ISA State tournaments, in four different states, over 12 ISA Regional/National tournaments, and over 20 World tournaments including the ISA’s Men’s World, Co-ed World, Wooden Bat World, and Church World. Currently, Greg is the Area UIC for North Carolina and has beld that position for the last 8 years. Greg has also been an influential part in training new umpires in both North Carolina and South Carolina for the last 10 years. In 2009, Greg was recognized for all of his accomplishments and named the North Carolina Umpire of the Year and the ISA National Umpire of the Year.
Hank Heffner of Cornelia, Georgia was inducted in the Director Category in 2004 in Ft Myers, FL. The adult athletic director for the City of Gainesville, Heffner has been the guiding force of the Associations phenomenal growth in the Peach State. Georgia has ranked either first or second in team registrations since1995. Heffner began his ISA career in 1991 as an Area Director and was promoted to State Director in 1995. In 1997 he was appointed to serve as the Southern Region Vice President on the ISA Executive Board. Hank has been the tournament director for 33 World Tournaments and 5 ISA Super World Series. He also assisted in running the ISA Fall World Series in Las Vegas and 2 Senior World Tournaments. He was presented the ISA Outstanding Achievement Award in 1995, the Director of the Year Award in 1995 and the Executive Director’s Award in 1998. Hank and his wife Debbie have 2 sons, Chris and Drew along with 3 grandchildren.
JAMES “MONTY” TUCKER
James “Monty” Tucker was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 in the Player category in Las Vegas, NV.
Jerome Earnest of Panama City, FL was posthumously inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in the Specialty Category in 2000 in Panama City Beach, Florida. Known as Softball’s Greatest Sportswriter, Earnest was the publisher of The Supreme Softball News at the time of his death in April of 2000. His remarkable knowledge of softball all stored in his head was a cornucopia of the game. To say he was one of a kind would be an understatement. Earnest’s assistance in the growth of the ISA is unchronicled yet he played an important part. He coined the term “The Grand Slam of Softball” that promoted the ISA World Series on par with the other three major associations. His extensive coverage of the ISA Winter Nationals helped spur their growth and make the term “Winter National” a well known phrase in softball. So much so that other associations soon copied the original series started by ISA. Earnest served as the official scorer at the 1997 thru 1999 Men’s Super World Series and helped make the all tournament selections. The MVP award of that tournament is now named after him. In addition to Supreme Softball, Earnest previously served as the sports editor of the Panama City News Herald, and editor of Super Slowpitch, National Slo-Pitch Softball Insight Magazine and Softball USA.
Jerry Guidice has been involved with ISA for over 22 years. He was introduced as a player in 1986 playing in many National and World tournaments throughout his playing career. In 2003, Jerry was awarded the Golden Glove Award after his team “MaxBats” claimed the Championship in the World Tournament. Jerry started umpiring for ISA in 1991. He was appointed to be Florida’s UIC in 1996, the Southern Region UIC in 1997, and the National UIC in 1998 and has served that position through 2008. Combined, Jerry has been the acting UIC in 55 National and World Tournaments. Jerry resides in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife Kris and three kids, Michael, Cheyanne, and Caitlyn. In his local community, he is heavily involved in youth leagues and is an acting coach, umpire, and board member.
Jerry Jackson, of Pekin, Illinois, has been involved in softball for over 35 years. He started his softball career in 1975, umpiring local softball leagues. In 1981 he ran his first softball tournament. In 1993, Jerry was appointed the National Masters Director for another association. This is when Jerry was introduced to the Senior Softball world. He started the Seniors Program for the other association in 1995. Jerry joined the Independent Softball Association, ISA, in 2001. In 2002, he was appointed to the ISA Board of Directors. He presently serves ISA as the Northern Region V.P., Illinois State Director, and the ISA Seniors Program Director. Jerry also sits on the President’s Council for ISA, helping make decisions for the association. Jerry also serves ISA’s sister association, SSUSA, as a National Director. In 2011, Jerry received the Senior Softball Executive Directors Award. Jerry has directed over 100 Senior World tournaments and helped direct several ISA World tournaments. Over the years, he has served on many ISA committees and has been chairman for several of these committees. When Jerry is not directing a softball tournament, he enjoys playing pool and watching his youngest grandson, Hayden, play baseball and basketball. Jerry and his wife Amy are the proud parents of 2 children, Joel and Brooke. They also have 2 grandsons, Tristan and Hayden.
Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, Jesus moved to the United States at the age of 10 and became an American in 1976. Jesus has been playing/coaching competitive softball since 1986 when he started playing for a local team called Courtly Manor. The softball bug hit him and soon he found himself playing league ball 5 nights a week until weekend tournaments replaced a few of those nights. Jesus always tried to play at the highest level he could but it was coaching the game that made it more fun. Jesus surrounded himself with good ball players and sponsors including Loca Air, Triple J’s, Artistic Softball, Top Level, and Miami Blitz Softball. His teams have won their fair share of ISA Winter Nationals, Regional’s, NIT’s and State tournaments but always finished as the bridesmaid at the World Series. Jesus hope to change that soon. Jesus’s hobby’s include cruising with his family, and traveling the United States. Jesus has been happily married for 35 years to Elena Morales. The couple has 2 daughters, Samantha and Wendy Angela, and they have blessed them with 3 grandchildren, ZJ, Brooklyn, and Paris.
Jim Simoens of Winter Haven, Florida joined ISA in 1993 as the Director of the Twilight Girls Fastpitch Tournaments. Shortly thereafter, Jim became a full time Director for Florida ISA Fastpitch. After 9 years of directing for Florida ISA, Jim was named the Florida ISA Fastpitch State Director in 2005 and has held the position ever since. He has been involved in over 25 Youth World Series Tournaments and Winter Nationals with roles ranging from a Site Director, Tournament Director, and Bracktologist. Jim was inducted into the Florida ISA Hall of Fame in 2007. He has also received awards for the ISA Youth Fastpitch Director of the Year in 2009, Southern Regional Fastpitch Director of the Year in 2008, and Director of the Year in 2004. Today is still heading up Florida ISA Fastpitch Tournaments year round and can be found every weekend at the ball park accompanied by one of bosses, Jim’s Grandchildren, Dominic or Ameerah.
Joe Caldwell was inducted in the Hall of Fame in the Director category in Auburn, AL in 2017.
Jolly Holcombe was inducted in the Hall of Fame in the Coach/Sponsor category in Auburn, AL in 2017. He has sponsored and coached Solway Hardware Men, Women and Co-ed teams out of Tennessee.
Kenny began directing in 1990 and joined Georgia ISA in 2002. In 2008 and 2009 he was awarded ISA’s Southern Region Director of the Year. In 2010 and 2011 he was awarded ISA’s Executive Director Award and in 2012 was awarded ISA Base Burglar Award. Kenny has Directed ISA National tournaments throughout his tenure with ISA and has been site director for numerous World Series. Kenny and was inducted into the ISA National Hall of Fame in 2014.
Larry Nash of Shelbyville, TN received the distinction of being the first person elected and inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame in 1998 in Clearwater, FL. He started the ISA in 1982 with an idea, no money and a lot of determination. After two years of research, organizing, and assuring that all details were covered, the ISA became a reality in 1984 with 30 tournaments and over 400 teams sanctioned. Nash single handedly guided the association through its formative years before selling control to a group headed by the current president of the Independent Softball Association, Inc, W.E. Ruth.
Mr. Jackson is the Director of Central Florida’s Tourism and Sports Marketing (CFTSM), an initiative of the Central Florida Development Council (CFDC) and Polk County Board of County Commissioners, an award winning program that promotes tourism, sports and economic development in Central Florida’s Polk County. Mr. Jackson brings more that 29 years of marketing, sales management and tourism experience to his position. During his time with CFTSM, Mr. Jackson’s most notable accomplishments include: developing the Lake Myrtle Sports Business Cluster; merging the CVB and Sports Marketing offices; creating Florida’s most honored sports commission; and developing the organization’s first visitor’s center – Polk Outpost 27. He also recruited several sports governing bodies to Polk County including: the Florida Youth Soccer Association, Florida Sports Hall of Fame, Cleveland Indians, Independent Softball Association and the Futures Gold Tour headquarters. Prior to his tenure with the CFDC he served as Director of Marketing for a United States Olympic Committee national governing body, USA Water Ski. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Sports Hall of Fame; Southeast Tourism Society; Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus; and is the President of the Florida Grapefruit Association (Major League Baseball Spring Training). Mr. Jackson graduated with a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin and received his MBA from Florida Southern College. He has also served as an adjunct professor of economics at Polk State College in Winter Haven, Florida. In addition to his academic and professional activities, Mr. Jackson was a professional athlete in two sports, snow skiing and water skiing, and was also part of the world famous Cypress Gardens water ski show for a number of years. He has also worked as a color commentator since 1988 and has been featured on broadcasts airing on ESPN, ESPN2, Outdoor Life Network, Sun Sports Network, Water Channel, Versus, Bright House Sports Network and various nationally syndicated shows.
MIKE “MOOKIE” WINGFIELD
Mike “Mookie” Wingfield served as the unofficial Assistant State Director for Florida ISA for over 10 years. In those 10 years, Mike established the South Florida Challenge Cup which brought in 12 tournaments each year to Florida ISA. He directed at many of the Winter National Tournaments, hosted several State and Regional tournaments, and traveled throughout the southeast promoting and playing in ISA Regional and National tournaments. Mike was also the first director to start hosting ISA events in Stuart, Florida. He also organized the umpires in South Florida while registering and outfitting each umpire out of his pocket. Mike also patrolled the team classifications and is credited with cleaning up the South Florida area. He was one of the first directors to work and communicate with other state directors such as Hank Heffner of Georgia and Claude Mullinix of Maryland. In a recent poll taken by all of the associations in Florida, Mike was voted by the players as the best overall director in any association. Don Stratton, ISA CEO, has credited Mike with being one of the main driving forces in establishing ISA in Florida and throughout the Southeastern USA. Today Mike’s main focus is coaching his son’s travel basketball team but don’t be surprised to see him return to ISA and softball.
Mike was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame on December 5th, 2014 in Tupleo, MS. Mike was appointed as North Carolina State Director in 2002. Since then NC has continued to grow. Mike has also been the innovator of several new programs in ISA.
Mike has been the recipient of many ISA awards, such as:
1- 2005 Southern Region Director of the Year
2- 2009 & 2011 Executive Director Award
3- 2013 Pop Davis Award
4- And In 2012 was the first director ever inducted into the NC ISA State Hall of Fame
In 2010 he was promoted to ISA Southern Region Director, in 2014 was given a spot on ISA’s Presidents Council. In April 2016, Mike became the CEO of ISA.
Mike Macenko was inducted into the Player Category in 1998 in Clearwater, Florida. The Cleveland area native had a long and illustrious career at the top level of softball. He played with national softball powerhouses, Steele’s of Brook Park, OH, and Rithc’s-Superior/TPS from Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The “Big Cat” also played one season with Sunbelt of Centerville, Georgia in 1991 when Steele’s did not field a team. Macenko played on 3 ISA World Championship Teams, was named the MVP of the 1987 series and has been named to 6 All-World Teams. He also holds the record for highest batting average in the ISA World Series with a .920 percentage.
One of the most respected and loved figures in slow pitch softball, N.C. and his W.W. Gay team were fixtures at ISA state of Florida and National events. His teams have appeared in 15 ISA World Tournaments, numerous ISA Winter National and N.I.T.’s. His squad won the Men’s Class “B” World Tournament in 1997 and finished second at the 1998 Men’s Class “A” World Tournament. In one of his last ISA appearances Ryal’s W.W. Gay/Aubrey’s/TPS team participated in the 2002 Super World Series in Easley, SC. On October 11th the 77 year old Ryals suddenly passed away while working a 24 hour shift at the expansion of Ben Hill Griffen Stadium at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The lone time Gator supporter and softball icon sat down for a rest after working 16 hours and left for the “promise land.” There is now a Florida Gator Statue with a N.C. Ryals hardhat at the stadium site.
Nancy was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame on December 5th in Tupleo, MS. Nancy started as an umpire in the senior program and worked as an umpire in seniors and adult and a director in all programs.
Richard Sanders Hall of Fame Bio will be added to this page shortly.
Rick has been with ISA for over 16 years. During this time he has served as a local site director and UIC. He presently serves as the Florida Senior and Florida Fastpitch UIC. In the Senior division, Rick assigned umpires and oversees the 24 Florida Half Century Tournaments as well as the SSUSA Tournament of Champions, SSUSA Eastern Nationals and the SSUSA Winter Nationals. In Fastpitch, Rick works closely with his deputy UIC in assigning and overseeing the Fastpitch Tournaments held in Florida each year. He has also headed up the ISA Fastpitch World Series numerous times. Rick was also inducted into the Florida ISA Hall of Fame in 2007 and truly does bleed Green.
Rick “The Crusher” Scherr was a powerful hitter who hit tape measure home runs. Nicknamed “The Crusher,” that’s what Scherr did to softballs during an almost 20 year career, hitting more that 4,000 homers and driving in more than 7,000 runs. He was named to 25 All American teams during his illustrious career. He was named MVP in 5 Major World Series. Rick was named the Player of the Decade for the 1980’s by Jerome Earnest. Scherr appeared in the U.S. Olympic Festival slow pitch competition in Oklahoma City and batted .720, hitting 13 homers and driving in 30 runs to help the North team win a bronze medal. That year he also was MVP of the prestigious Smokey Mountain Classic in Maryville, TN. Twice Scherr set national home run records, 356 in 1082 and 451 in 1985. Scheer was born and raised in Slinger, WI and weighed in excess of 280 lbs, standing 6’5 tall. In 1989 playing for Superior Apollo he hit two home runs in a row that landed in the top of the bleachers in left field at the infamous Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska where the College World Series is played. When it comes to slo pitch softball, there was no better player than Rick Scherr.
Ricky Huggins of Pooler, GA was inducted in 2005 in Lake Mary, FL in the Player Category. In a career that dates back to 1977 Huggins has played in ISA events with Howard’s Western Steer of Denver, NC; Steele’s Sports of Grafton, OH; Lighthouse/Worth of Stone Mountain, GA; Vernon’s from Jacksonville, FL; M.W. Tribble/Union Savings Bank of Cincinnati, OH; and Sunbelt Plastics of Centerville, GA. In 1987 while hitting 565 home runs for the season, Huggins won his first ISA National Championship with Steele’s Sports. He added his second Super Title in 1998 with Lighthouse. He also won 2 Call “A” Championships with M.W. Tribble/Union Savings Bank. The Georgian has been named to 7 ISA National All Tournament Teams, was the MVP of the 1990 ISA Class “A” (4A) National Tournament and the 1996 ISA Master’s 40 & Over World Tournament. In 1993 he won the batting title at the Super Major World Series and in 1998 he was the Home Run Champion at the Class “A” Winter Nationals. Ricky and his wife Gale have 3 children, Ryne, Rusty, and Robin and are proud grandparents of 3 grandchildren.
A player in ISA… Was a member of the 1985 Tennessee Church State Champions, West Jackson Baptist.
A umpire in ISA… Was part of a group from West Tennessee that was asked to travel across the Southeastern United States in the first few years of ISA’s existence to introduce ISA to many new areas. Yates worked several national tournaments that were held in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. This group was led by Bill Powell, ISA Hall-of-Famer.
A local area director… From his hometown in Jackson, Tennessee (midway between Memphis and Nashville), Yates changed all local leagues to ISA and began to build the ISA program into the West Tennessee area. Yates started the “Hub-City Classic” invitational tournament and it became one of Tennessee’s largest and most talked about tournaments in the late 80’s and 90’s. Jackson, Tennessee has hosted many state tournaments throughout Yates’ tenure and hosted the 1994 Class “E” National tournament with over 60 teams participating and a Florida team walking away with the championship. Yates was the first person to bring an outside association to Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis had always been a huge “ASA-ONLY” area. There were many hoops to jump through but was successful in having several tournaments there.
A State Director… Helped lead Tennessee in increasing tournaments from Memphis to Johnson City, Tennessee. Yates was instrumental in moving all state tournaments to the middle Tennessee area to increase play in those tournaments. Through his tenure, many cities in Tennessee changed their leagues to ISA. ISA numbers in Tennessee kept them in 3rd place in total play only behind the two southern states of Florida and Georgia. Yates was named the National Director of the Year in 1998 and was elected into the Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2004. Yates is married to wife, Melinda, for 28 years and they have three children, Caleb, Brittany, and Dylan and also have 3 grandchildren.
Russell Burney of Bartow, FL has been elected into the ISA Hall of Fame in the Umpire Category. The 47 year old Burney started with ISA in 1998. He established the Polk County Umpires Association and scheduled league umpires for the Auburndale Softball Complex, Winter Haven DiamondPlex, Loyce Harpe Park (Carter Road), and the City of Bartow. Russell was one of the elite umpires that ISA founder Larry Nash called upon to travel the country helping establish ISA. Burney has worked numerous area, state, NIT’s and World Tournaments on the field and as the tournament UIC (umpire-in-chief). He was inducted into the Florida ISA Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also presented the ISA Director of the Year award that year at the National Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida. He now works with his new UIC Nancy Dillon and serves as the Polk County Director. Burney lives with his wife Denise and children Steven and Natalie.
Home Town: Gastonia
-2001 & 2003 grand slam winner (all 4 major World Series).
-24 Major World Series Championships
-3 time Team USA Member
-7 time Major World Series MVP
-35 All World Selections at Major Level
-18 time member of the season ending all year team
-1990’s All Decade Team
Steve was inducted into the ISA Hall of Fame on December 5th in Tupleo,MS. Born 8-25-55.Saved by the Grace of God. Husband of Maria, father to three softball girls Caron(Greg Burr), Rachael (Jeremy Trott) and Lori (Tyler Shoemaker). Grandfather to three McCartney, Jaxson and Harrison. Started playing softball at age of 14 with the adults. Began association with ISA in 1987 and became State Director for TN in 2009.I am thankful and proud to be ISA for life. My blood is green except when it is orange for football (UT). Thanks SL
Todd Joerling of Defiance, MO was nominated to the ISA Hall of Fame in the Players Category. One of the most decorated players in the annals of ISA history, Joerling has played on 4 Super World Series Championship teams and 4 Runners Up teams. In 1997 he led Sunbelt/Dan Smith/Easton of Centerville, GA to the crown with a .690 batting average and led the tournament in home runs with 8 as the series MVP. He added his second series MCO in 2002 leading Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton of San Jose, GA to the Championship in Easley, SC. Joerling also won titles in 1990 with the Steele’s Silver Bullets of Grafton, OH and 1999 with Team Waston of Burlingame, GA in Winter Haven, FL where he was the Outstanding Offensive Player Award recipient. The man from Missouri was named to Super World Series teams in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2003. He was also selected to the ISA Hall of Famer Jerome Earnest’s Supreme Softball Team of the 90’s at shortstop. Besides the above mentioned teams Joerling has also played with Lighthouse/Sunbelt/Worth and Bell Copr. of Tampa, FL and Bell Corp/Sunbelt/Easton. Todd and his wife Brandee have 2 children Draby and Trevor.
Wayne Sevier was inducted in the Hall of Fame in the Umpire category in Auburn, AL in 2017.
When you think of Woody Bell, you immediately think of the great Bell Corp. teams of the past two and a half decades who won the Men’s Major World Series and the ISA Super World Series in 1989. Woody has said that softball is the great sport in America today. He most enjoys seeing two evenly matched teams playing, where defense, not offense becomes the deciding factor in the game. He has always insisted that his team members were gentlemen on the field – No bad language, no arguing with umpires, and never ignore the old fans or the young ones. His dedication to the sport has led him to sponsor as many as four teams in a season and to travel to 142 consecutive tournaments.
HALL OF SHAME
Jimmy Hewitt – SC
UNTIL: January 9, 2022
Aaron Chavis – SC
UNTIL: January 9, 2022
Jamal Dozier – SC
UNTIL: February 15, 2026
Josh “Tiny” Roberts – GA
Tony Gravely – SC
David Crowson – TN
Ty Hall – AL
Nick Stanley – SC
Jeff Lingerfelt – NC
Andy Dickerson – FL
Brad Wilkerson – FL
Chris Ingram – AL
George Gonzalez – FL
Henry Thomas – FL
Jay Harris – FL
Rod Smith – WA
Phil Blair – FL
Andre Bell – FL
Chris Fry – GA
Joshua Biershenk – SC