From USA Softball
Denny Bruckert resigns as Men’s National Team Head Coach; Gregg Leather named as replacement
OKLAHOMA CITY – The USA Softball Men’s National Team Selection Committee (MNTSC) has named Gregg Leather (Staten Island, N.Y.) as the Head Coach of the Men’s National Team (MNT), USA Softball announced today. Following the resignation of Denny Bruckert (Gillespie, Ill.) due to health concerns, Leather will step in to lead the Men’s National Team as they look towards closing out the season at the Pan American Championship September 15-24 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The event serves as a qualifier for both the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Men’s World Championship, to be held in the Czech Republic, and the 2019 Pan American Games, to be held in Lima, Peru.
“Because of health concerns, it was best for me, my family and the USA Men’s National Team program that I turn the reins over to my coaching staff for the upcoming Pam Am/World Championship Qualifier,” said Bruckert. “Coach Leather, Coach Hicks and Coach McCurry are great coaches, and it certainly made this hard decision much easier for me. These three share my thoughts and ideas to carry this program to the next level, and that is to stand on the medal stand soon! I want to thank Bruce Tanski, Bob Nydick, and Ron Guzman – with you three, we were able to achieve several of our goals. Thanks to Craig Cress, Warren Jones, Ronnie Isham, Chris Sebren, all National Office staff, past and incoming USA Softball Presidents, and the entire selection committee for working with me. It’s been a pleasure!”
Bruckert was appointed head coach of the Men’s National Team program in August 2013 and has played a key role in developing the Men’s Fast Pitch program through his work coaching on the National Team in addition to hosting a series of exposure camps and National Invitational Tournaments (NITs) throughout the United States. During Bruckert’s time at the helm, the MNT finished with a combined record of 16-10 at the 2013, 2015 and 2017 WBSC Men’s World Championships.
Prior to becoming Head Coach, Bruckert served as an assistant coach at the 1996 International Softball Federation (ISF), now WBSC, Men’s World Championship where the team finished fourth, as well as the 1999 Pan American Games, where the team earned a silver medal. Before joining the National Team program, Bruckert coached seven USA Softball Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship squads. He coached the Decatur Pride to back-to-back National Championships in 1994 and 1995 and added another in 1999 prior to the team’s disbanding. Bruckert added another three Men’s Major Fast Pitch titles to his resume: in 2002 with the St. Joseph Frontier Casino Players, in 2005 with the Tampa Bay Smokers, in 2006 with the Green Bay Circle Tap, and in 2012 with the New York Gremlins. Bruckert was first inducted into the USA Softball of Illinois Hall of Fame before becoming a member of the National Softball Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Following in a legend like Denny’s footsteps is never easy,” said Leather. “Fortunately Denny worked very closely with his coaching staff and included us in his decision making, which makes the transition to Head Coach a bit easier. Denny has been a mentor to me for a long time and we will work hard to continue the progress he has made with the program. I believe our hitting has come a long way in the past few years. As a staff, we challenged our players to make an effort to play in the top club team tournaments and face elite international pitching. Our players answered that call and our program is starting to reap the rewards of their hard work. We know the competition will be fierce at the Pan Am/World Championship Qualifier, but our players will be finishing up their club season and will be in good form. We are looking forward to the challenge.”