Chris is entering his 26th year of coaching baseball at the High school, Collegiate and Pro level and is excited about the opportunity to share his expertise with his students.
Chris is currently an Associate Scout with the Philadelphia Phillies and Coach of USA Baseball Great Lakes NTIS. Prior to that he was the Field Manager/Director of Baseball Operations for the Texarkana Gunslingers Pro Baseball Club. During the 2009 season, McKnight led the Gunslingers to the Championship series and his team led the league in batting average and on base percentage. Chris was named coach of the All-Star team where 9 of his players where selected to participate in the event. In 2008, Chris took over the Gunslingers with a record at 2-10 and proceeded to win 36 games and lose only 14 earning the “slingers” a championship series bid. Prior to his position with the Gunslingers, McKnight was an 18 year NCAA Head Coach/Associate Director of Athletics at Frostburg State University and Dowling College. At FSU, McKnight led the Bobcats to 8 straight post season appearances, winning the first NCAA regional game in history of the university and posting regional rankings in 2003, 04, 05, 06 and 2007. He set a new record in 2007 by having his team advance to the NCAA championships for a second time. In June of that year McKnight and his Daughter’s team which he coached, were selected to participate in the Annual White House Baseball/Softball game hosted by President Bush. His FSU teams broke many offensive records during his tenure as Head Coach and still stand today. The Bobcats also posted a 98-28 AMCC conference record and won the conference four times. At Dowling College, Chris led the Golden Lions to their best back to back seasons and laid the foundation for one of the most successful programs in the northeast. Over a 100 of Chris’s players have received all-conference awards and at FSU, two were named player of the year. 15 of Coach McKnight’s players signed professional contracts
In addition to his coaching, Chris has an innovative vision training program for baseball which has been used by major league teams, top college programs and youth leagues. McKnight has written numerous articles for periodicals such as Collegiate Baseball, Scholastic Coach and Coaching Digest. In addition to his writing, Chris is a requested clinic speaker and is Co-Owner of Champions International Baseball Academy. Chris also served as the Chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee and serves as a consultant to Worldwide Baseball Prospects. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and USA Baseball.
Chris is certified in Adult, Child and infant CPR.
Luis A (Portillo) Abreu has been invloved in baseball ever since he was 5 years old, while playing in Maracaibo,Venezuela. At the age of 11, Luis was selected to represent his country in the 1985 Little League World Series in Williamsport PA. Due to his pitching and fielding talent, Luis was again selected to play on Team Venezuela for the teams participation in the 1986 Little League World Series. During the Latin American regional, Luis got the start and pitched a nine inning, 16 strike out game, while leading his team to a 1-0 win over Team Mexico. Abreu also had the opportunity to pitch in the World Series vs. Taiwan. In that game he held a great Taiwan team to four runs in 9 innings while striking out 15 batters. Luis left the game, tied 4-4 in the ninth inning. Taiwan wound up winning the World Series , beating Venezuela 11-4.
Luis was then signed as a non-drafted free-agent by the Minnesota Twins in 1991 and was considered on of their top arms in the organization. Abreu made his pitching debut in the summer of 1991 for the Twins rookie team in Fort Meyers Fl. Luis posted a 2.25 ERA and recorded 28 strike-outs in 32 innings. He wound up traded to the Florida Marlins organization and over the next five seasons battled a arm injury.
Abreu also had the opportunity to play two seasons of winter league baseball for the Aguilas Del Zulia where he posted a record of 11-9 and finished 9th in Rookie of the year voting.
Luis has also had the opportunity to represent his country again, this time as a coach for the 2006 Senior League World Series played in Taylor, Texas.
Abreu says that his best baseball memories come from the great international opportunities he experienced as a player and coach. "The knowledge and the passion for baseball that i have gained from these experiences influenced my playing and coaching career.
Since moving to Madison, Luis has been involved in teaching and coaching baseball for all levels. Currently Luis is the Co-owner and Pitching Coordinator for Champions International Baseball Academy and is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Luis is certified in Adult, Child and infant CPR.
Head Coach Scott Zagrodnik is entering his 3rd season as a high school coach and tenth as Youth Head Coach. Coach Zagrodnik coaches’ third base, runs the offence and is in charge of infielders and hitters. His responsibilities on the field include teaching the fundamentals of the game, with a focus on footwork, mental strategy, offensive plays, hitting mechanics. Under Coach Zagrodnik’s guidance the infield has ranked as high as the top in the conference defensively. Also Coach Zagrodnik has improved the team hitting percentage every year.
Coach Zagrodnik will also work with the vision and conditioning program. His teaching duties include demonstrating proper techniques in vision and conditioning for baseball, and developing speed and agility through a controlled program. He has a tremendous knowledge for the game of baseball and serves as an integral role in the development of each player for the high school program.
Scott is certified in Adult, Child and infant CPR.
Evansville, IN native. After a record breaking prep season in doubles and RBIs that ended in the American Legion National Regionals, Robert signed to play college at Southern Illinois. Starting at 3rd base as a true freshman, he attracted major scouting attention after he turned to pitching in his sophmore year when he became the team's closer. Robert was named tourney MVP after throwing a 1-hitter in the championship game to lead his college summer team to the NBC World Series that included Team USA.
Robert began coaching in Evansville, IN at William Henry Harrison High School and with the same Newburgh Kaps Legion team that he played for earlier. He saw four of his players sign professional contracts, including 10 year MLB veteran and current Minnesota Twin Jamey Carroll, and helped several others receive college scholarships. Robert was also a baseball instructor at the Joe Lis Baseball School, which was owned and operated by former Major League baseball player Joe Lis Sr.
Robert is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). Since 2006, he has been involved with youth baseball teams in West Madison and West Middleton.
Kevin is a former Illinois State University catcher, where he was a First team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. He led his ISU Redbird team in most offensive categories during his sophomore and junior campaigns, and was nationally ranked in doubles and walks. After his Junior year. Kevin was the 8th round pick of the Chicago White Sox in the 2008 draft.
Coach Dubler just completed his professional career in 2012 where he was the catcher for the Birmingham Barons (Chi. White Sox AA). He will provide individual catching and hitting instruction. In 2011, Kevin was named the Hardest Working Minor League position player in the White Sox organization. While in college was a finalist for the prestigous Johnny Bench Award.
Kevin will be available for individual lessons.
While earning her bachelor’s degree at CSUF (04’), Benzing competed for the Titans for four years in cross country and track & field. Her accomplishments there include: Three-time Athlete of the Year, Two-Time All-Conference, NCAA Regional Qualifier, Big West Scholar Athlete as well as the school record holder in the 800M and 4X400M Relay Team. Also while at CSUF, Benzing served as a strength & conditioning intern, assisting with the notorious Titan baseball program. Currently, Benzing is still a competing athlete. She is nationally ranked Olympic Style weightlifter, highly competitive track/road runner as well as CrossFit Games competitor. She is an avid writer, having her Thesis published in the National Strength and Conditioning Research Journal (Vertical Jump & Plyometrics) as well as for The CrossFit Journal and The Rx Review (Speed Development). Keysha is married and a proud parent of a 3 year old, future beast!
Prior to starting her MadTown Athletic Department, Benzing was an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of Iowa. There she worked with the nationally ranked cross country team, indoor and outdoor track, golf, nationally ranked softball team, nationally ranked field hockey team as well as assisting with the Hawkeye baseball program.
Benzing was also the Assistant Director of Athletic Performance at the University of San Diego where she worked with the nationally ranked baseball team, volleyball team, cross country, track, softball, crew as well as assisting with the Torero football program.
Benzing was also an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (06-07’) where she was part of the 2007 National Championship Indoor Track & Field team. While at UW-Madison, Benzing was in charge of men and women’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s novice, light weight and open weight crew, the cheer, dance and pep squad as well as assisting with the Badger football program.
Benzing also served as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of California- Irvine (04-06’) while earning her Master’s degree at California State University, Fullerton (06’). While at UCI, she worked with water polo, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s novice and open weight crew, women’s tennis, and golf while assisting with the nationally ranked men’s volleyball, women’s volleyball and baseball program.
Skipp Benzing comes to CIBA Sport Center as Co-Director of Athletic Performance with an extensive background as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and professional athlete. Prior to joining CIBA, Skipp was Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at the University of Iowa, University of San Diego, University of California-Irvine, and California State University, Fullerton. At these universities, he worked with elite level athletes and nationally ranked teams in baseball, football, soccer, gymnastics, tennis, swimming and diving, and track and field. Most notably, during his tenure with Cal State Fullerton, Skipp worked primarily with the Titan Baseball team in 2004 as they went on the become NCAA National Champions.
Skipp is the author of The Development of a Weightlifter, an instructional book on Olympic style weightlifting. Skipp is also an active member of USA-Weightlifting, coaching multiple athletes to the national championship level, including a Top 5 finish at the American Open in the 105 Kilo weight class.
Along with his experience and credentials as a Athletic Performance Trainer, Skipp uses his experience as an elite athlete to motivate and train his athletes for success. Skipp was a standout baseball player at Indian Hills Community College, a powerhouse in Junior College baseball. Skipp was drafted in the 1996 professional baseball amateur draft in the 13th round by the Boston Red Sox organization. Skipp played for 2 ½ years in the organization and finished his professional career with the former Madison Blackwolf of the Northern league before returning back to school to finish his education.
Skipp's credentials include a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and a master's degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton. At Cal State Fullerton, he worked alongside Dr. Lee Brown, current president of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He continued his education outside of the classroom learning the art and training concepts of Eishen's Yoga. Skipp is CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), USAW Level 2 (US Weightlifting Club), and Crossfit Level 3 Certified.
Coach Bridge joins CIBA as a softball instructor for pitching, hitting and fielding.
Mike is the assistant softball coach at Madison College, and has over 29 years of coaching experience.
He most recently served as the head coach for a Kodiak team that went to the Northern Nationals. The Northern Nationals are a U16 traveling team that he coached from 2008-2010.
Bridge also has coached at three local high schools from 2008-2010. He served as the assistant coach at Edgewood High School in 2008 and as an assistant volunteer coach at Madison East High School and Sun Prairie High School the last two years.
Bridge is a Madison native and a graduate of Madison East High School where he played football, basketball and baseball. He enjoys playing all sports, fishing, and ballroom dancing. He is the father of two children, Chelsea and Casey.
Dave is Midwest Scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and former NCAA Division One Head Coach at the University of Evansville
Seifert came to UE last July after five successful years as both a head coach and an assistant coach at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. As both an assistant coach and a head coach, Seifert helped the Cobras reach four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II World Series, including the 2002 national championship as head coach. Seifert was named the 2002 NJCAA National Coach of the Year, and compiled a 145-43 overall record in three seasons as head coach.
Seifert began his professional career in 1994 as a baseball operations assistant for the Oakland Athletics Baseball Company. He quickly worked his way through the Athletics’ organization, as he was elevated to Assistant Director of Scouting in December, 1996, and the Assistant to the General Manager in October, 1998. While serving as the Assistant Director of Scouting from 1996 through 1998, Seifert helped coordinate Oakland’s draft plans, including selecting such current Major League Players as Eric Chavez, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, and Eric Byrnes.
Relaford spent 11 seasons as a shortstop with seven Major League Baseball teams.
He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1991, playing two minor-league seasons with the Jacksonville Suns. Relaford was the Southern League's youngest player in 1993 at age 19. After being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1996, he made his major-league debut the next day and spent five seasons in that organization before being traded to the San Diego Padres.
Relaford had his best season with the New York Mets in 2001, hitting .302 with eight home runs and 36 RBI. Overall, he played in 939 big-league games.
Versatility was his trademark. Over the course of an 11 year major league career, he played every position in the field except 1st base and catcher; he pitched in one game for the New York Mets in which he recorded a perfect inning with a strikeout, throwing over 90 mph.
Mike Fetters is currently the Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President & GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Mike is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher who played for eight teams during his sixteen year career from 1989 to 2004. He started his playing career with the California Angels and also played with the Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Minnesota Twins. Fetters had his best season in 1996 when he finished fifth in the American League in saves with thirty-two with the Brewers. Fetters finished his career with one hundred career saves.
Mike will help CIBA with player development and will be one of our featured speakers during the CIBA travel team work-outs. CIBA is proud to have Mike share his expertise with our program.
Troy Steffy started his career in athletics after a knee injury ended his playing days. During his baseball career he has worked for the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays as an Associate Scout and Assistant Coach with the Astros scouts team in Orlando, Florida. Troy worked for the RBI Baseball Academy in Broomall, Pennsylvania as a full time Baseball Instructor as well as an Assistant Baseball Coach at Franklin and Marshall College.
He is currently working as the Sports Performance Director at the Parisi Speed School at Universal Athletic Club and a scout with the Toronto Blue Jays. Troy holds several certifications, USA Weightlifting Sports Performance coach, Parisi Speed School Sports Performance, USA Track and Field level 1 coach, Functional Movement Screening, Athletic Mental Training and Visualization, Throwing Arm Care.
This National and International speaker and instructor has been working with professional baseball players at the major league, minor and independent level for the past 10 years. His former company Pro Baseball Workouts was successful at placing players at the Independent and International professional baseball levels. He also worked with a team to develop a baseball specific strength and conditioning program for 3P Sports lead by former MLB players Al Leiter, Tom Glavine and the highly recognized Dr. James Andrew.