roster & staff 2009
Craig Montvidas to lead Dutch squad coming four years|
Craig Montvidas is the new head coach of the Dutch National Women Softball Team. Montvidas, who led the Orange squad already at the end of the nineties, and the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) signed an agreement for four years. The coachingstaff will be completed shortly.
The American-born and raised Craig Montvidas succeeds American coach Liz Kelly, who was the head coach since 2005. The new head coach is a familiar name in both the Dutch and international softball-world and has earned a name for himself. He not only has been active several years as a clubcoach, but after having served already as an assistant coach for the Netherlands Softball Team in 1987, he was the team's head coach from the end of 1996 until October 1999. Hereafter, he helped create and set-up a softball-program in Greece, where he led its national softball-team during its first preparations en route to the Olympic Games of 2004 in Athens. Since 2003, he was the manager of the national softball-team of Great Britain, which he led until last year.
Montvidas came to the Netherlands in 1975 to play baseball for one season for then First Divisionist Giants Diemen, then returned the next year playing for big league-team Kinheim. Montvidas again returned and went on to play three more seasons for Giants Diemen, which in the meantime had promoted to the Dutch Major League. Next, he played five seasons for HCAW and went on building a future for himself in the Netherlands, where he not only stayed to work and live, but also married former national team-player Lucične Geels and became a well-respected softball-coach.
In the eighties, Montvidas started to combine playing himself with coaching and that became a busy period. He not only played the infield for HCAW, but at the same time was the head coach for both the baseball- and softball-team, which at that time both played on the highest level. Craig Montvidas led the baseball-team for three seasons and was head coach of the softball-team for eight years, leading them to the Dutch title three times. Hereafter, he was the head coach for five seasons with Twins. He guided this team to the Dutch championship once. In between the two Dutch clubs, he was the head coach of Bussolengo in Italy.
Besides his coachingactivities in the eighties, Montvidas also organized the successful baseball- and softball-camps of Pro-Motion and conducted several instructional meetings during clinics in both the Netherlands and abroad.
Under the guidance of Liz Kelly, the Dutch team participated twice in an European Championship and reached the final in 2007. Shortly thereafter, the Dutch softball-team won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Italy and qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games. In September of 2007, Liz Kelly and fellow-American Linda Wells were named fulltime coach by the KNBSB for one year. After completion of the Olympic softball-tournament in August, the KNBSB announced in Beijing that the contract with the two American coaches would not be extended. Dutch coaches Mary-Ann Hatt (since 2005) and Rob Walgien (since 2006) also were part of the coachingstaff of the Dutch national team. Recently, Mary-Ann Hatt has been named head coach of Dutch big league-team Gryphons.
This year, the Dutch National Softball Team completed and intensive and professional schedule to prepare for the Olympic Games. From October 2007 through July 2008, there were three practice-sessions a week in Amsterdam. There also were two trainingcamps in Zeist. Thanks to the support of the Netherlands Olympic Committee (NOC*NSF) and several sponsors, the team was able to travel to the USA twice for a period of one month to play and practice, played some games on home soil and also prepared itself in Japan one-and-a-half week prior to the Olympic Games, participating there in a three-nation tournament. Therefore, the disappointment was big for everyone involved that the results in Beijing were minimal and only one game was won. Just like other Olympic athletes, the players of the softball-team had put aside almost everything to prepare themselves completely for the Olympic Games and to realize their dream.
With the naming of Craig Montvidas, the KNBSB has attracted an experienced coach and wants to turn into a new way. One of the most important goals on the agenda is recapturing the European title next year. In 2009, the European Championships will be held in the Spanish city of Valencia. The Dutch National Softball Team also participates next year in the international Haarlem Softball Week.
Coach Montvidas' page on this site