Staffed and Coached by Qualified Non-Parent Professionals
The New England Ruffnecks strive to find qualified baseball people to work with nearly 90 players in our system. Our coaches are all non-parents, virtually all with professional baseball and/or advanced collegiate backgrounds. Most importantly, they are educators and advisors committed to the development of amateur baseball players. They provide mentorship and role models for aspiring student-athletes. Our Advisory associates, Strength and Conditioning colleagues, and Medical Staff are comprised of major league scouts, former MLB trainers, conditioning coaches, college coaches, and an experienced orthopedic referral system for our players. The Ruffnecks program is committed to expanding the network of resources for our constituents. In the past several years several of our coaches have moved on to jobs with Major League organizations: In December 2009, Devitt Moore (Ruffnecks – 2009) was appointed an area scout for the Seattle Mariners. Duncan Webb (2005-2006) has been a minor league instructor and coordinator of the Latin American immersion program for the Boston Red Sox since 2006. John Birtwell, a Harvard graduate, and a former pitcher in the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics organizations served in 2010 as the NY-Penn League Single A pitching coach for the Florida Marlins.
Steven W. August: Director
Steve August founded and directs the New England Ruffnecks. Steve was with the Boston Red Sox from 1990 to 1998. He served as Traveling Secretary from 1990 to 1995 and became the Assistant General Manager and Director of Baseball Operations in 1996 where he worked on player contracts and managed all of the major league operations of the Sox. Following his tenure with Boston, Steve served as an associate scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1999 to 2000. In 2000 and 2001 Steve co-directed the Baseball Division of Wolfe Associates, which was one of the top baseball and hockey agent businesses in the country. He also directed the former Hit Dog program in 2001 and 2002. In 2003 former Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn closed the Hit Dog program. Steve immediately ensured continuity by founding the New England Baseball Club and the Ruffnecks as a 501-c-3. In nearly a decade the Ruffnecks have become one of the most distinguished and nationally recognized College Development Programs of its kind. In 2010 Steve was awarded the John Mocny Award for Distinguished Service by the Continental Amateur Baseball Association. In 2011 the Ruffnecks were named CABA Program of the Year. He is also the founder of the Northeast Baseball Alliance (NEBA), a group dedicated to the cooperative efforts among Northeast developmental baseball programs.
Ted Novio: Head Coach 14U – Associate Director
Ted Novio joined the Ruffnecks in 2008 after coaching at several levels for the prior 16 years. Ted was a varsity pitcher at the University of Maine – Orono and coached at University of Maine for 5 years following his graduation. Ted has also coached in the Cape Cod League with the Cotuit Kettleers and is in the Cranberry League Hall of Fame for his years with the Braintree White Sox. For two summers, Ted worked for Major League Baseball International coaching various ages in Great Britain. Ted also served as the Director and coached in the former Frozen Ropes AAU program in Franklin, MA. In 2008 Ted coached at the 14U level in his first year with the Ruffnecks. He coached the 16U team in 2009, and returned to the 14s where he has coached since. Coach Novio is respected for his skills as a teacher of the game. He spends his winters providing personal instruction at the Ruffnecks Facility. Ted is the consummate player’s coach, with a great focus on development and team play. He also serves as Associate Director of the Ruffnecks program.
Nancy Whiting: Admin, Traveling Secretary
Nancy Whiting is in her fourth year with the Ruffnecks. Her association began as a parent volunteer in the administration of the program. Her role has expanded over the past several years to encompass most of the day-to-day activities of the Ruffnecks. Nancy’s duties include traveling with some of the teams to tournaments in the South and elsewhere. Her presence on the more expansive trips helps to ensure that players, coaches, and parents all know the important details of the travel and playing schedule. She also has a son, Matt, who graduated from the program. Her husband, Jack, contributes some of the photography as well.
Brad Roblin: Head Coach 13U
Brad Roblin joined the Ruffnecks after a stellar career at the University of Michigan and playing professional baseball in the Independent Minor Leagues. Brad was an outstanding local high school player, having grown up in Wayland while he attended the Rivers School where he was all-ISL as an outfielder. He continues to conduct his own instructional lessons in hitting with young players in the area. Coach Roblin is the Head Coach of the 13U Ruffnecks where he manages from the dugout in an all-important role as hitting instructor as well as being the “skipper.” Brad’s hitting knowledge and approach is most valuable for our youngest Ruffnecks. He contributes knowledge, youth, and exuberance to our first-year players in a manner that communicates and supports hitters as they make the adjustment to the big field.
Steve Zerdelian: Coach 13U Ruffnecks
Steve Zerdelian is a long-time fixture around youth baseball in Massachusetts. He is a devoted teacher of the game, and in addition to his role with the Ruffnecks, serves many young players as the President of the Baystate Baseball – Tournament of Champions summer travel program in Eastern Massachusetts. In 2002 Steve co-founded the Eastern Mass All Stars, a program designed to develop talented 12 year olds through clinics and a team experience. His qualifications also led to his involvement with the United States Baseball Stars, a team of 12 year olds that traveled to the Dominican Republic in 2007 & 2008. Steve has long given unselfishly of his time to youth baseball. He coached in the Belmont Little League program beginning in 1996. Dedicated, tireless, and well respected, Coach Z is a regular fixture around all Ruffnecks activities, coaching in the high school Winter Workouts as well as serving as a regular coach for the 13U Ruffnecks.
Jason Kosow: Pitching Coach
Jason Kosow joined the Ruffnecks program in 2012 and immediately made an impact with pitchers at all levels. Coach Kosow hails from Exeter, New Hampshire and played college baseball at Babson College. He was signed by the Chicago Cubs after his senior season and spent four seasons pitching in the Cubs system. Coach Kosow brings a simplified approach to pitching that is clearly communicated to young players. His attention to detail, preparation, and routine engenders confidence among those he works with. He continues to spend time with the 13U Ruffnecks during Fall Baseball and into the April-May portion of the season. He is the pitching coach for the 15U Ruffnecks with Coach Graber during the summer months.
Kevin Graber: Head Coach 15U Ruffnecks
Kevin Graber skippered the 15U Ruffnecks for the first time during the 2012 season. “KG” brings a comprehensive and impressive baseball background to the Ruffnecks program. Coach Graber began his college career at Winthrop University in South Carolina before transferring to the College of Saint Rose in his home town of Albany, NY. He played professionally in several Independent Minor Leagues and became the youngest manager in all of professional baseball when he led the Southern Minnesota Stars. Graber served as an assistant at Amherst College while he earned a Masters degree at the University of Massachusetts. He currently serves as Associated Dean of Admission at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA with his wife and three children.
Andrew Collins: Catching Instructor – Coach
Andrew Collins is a graduate of Babson College where he was the starting catcher. Coach Collins served as an assistant to Ted Novio with the 14U Ruffnecks in 2008 and skippered the 14s in 2009. He serves as the lead catching instructor for the entire program and an assistant on the 14U squad and 16U squad. Former Red Sox star Rich Gedman calls Andrew Collins “one of the most organized and hard working young coaches I have ever met. The program is very lucky to have Coach Collins.” An enthusiastic instructor and a devotee of catching skills and development, Coach Collins brings great energy to his role with the Ruffnecks.
Kirk Fredericks: Heach Coach 16U Ruffnecks
Kirk Fredericks has been a part of the Ruffnecks since 2007, during which time he has served both College Prospect teams, the 16U and 18U Ruffnecks. Coach Fredericks is a noted teacher of the game and provides a cohesiveness in communication between the staffs of our two “College Prospect” teams. He is a graduate of Springfield College where he was the captain and led the team to the Division II College World Series. He has also distinguished himself as one of the premiere high school baseball coaches in Massachusetts as the Head Coach at Lincoln-Sudbury. During his tenure he has captured 11 consecutive league titles and won three state championships (2005, 2007, 2011). In 2011 He was named by the Boston Globe as the Division I HS Coach of the Year. He was honored by the National High School Baseball Coaches Association as the 2011 New England Region Coach of the Year. He is a member of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament Committee, and is the ex-president of the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association.
John Toffey: Head Coach Seniors
The Ruffnecks program was lucky to add John Toffey to the coaching staff in 2015. Toffey manages the Ruffnecks “Senior” team. His knowledge of the recruiting process and his steady hand contribute to the experience for the oldest Ruffnecks roster. Toffey served for six years as the head baseball coach at Salisbury School in Connecticut, where he led the program to national prominence. He has coached at the collegiate level, guiding the 2014 Martha’s Vineyard team in the FCBL to the championship series. He currently serves as associate director of admission at Cheshire Academy, where he is also the head baseball and head hockey coach. Coach Toffey understands the Ruffnecks culture, as his younger brother, Will Toffey, played in the program in 2013. Toffey and his wife, Jessica, live on campus at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut.
Matt Blake: Pitching Coach
Matt Blake is in his fourth season with the Ruffnecks as pitching coach. He is a Holy Cross graduate who has extensive knowledge in pitching instruction an training. He has also served as an assistant to Coach Kirk Fredericks in the Lincoln-Sudbury High School program. Matt has worked hard to enhance his knowledge of pitching mechanics, conditioning, and the mental approach to pitching. He is a true student of the game who has earned the confidence of countless pitchers in the New England area through his work at Cressey Performance and through his own commitment to his craft. Coach Blake works with all the pitchers in our high school program and travels with both of our oldest college development teams to a variety of tournaments.
New England Baseball Club Medical Staff
BJ Baker: Trainer and Strength and Conditioning
B.J. Baker was a staff Athletic Trainer and the Conditioning Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox from 1994 – 2002. He developed, presented, and integrated the in-season and off-season programs for all Minor and Major League players in the Red Sox system. During Spring Training and the regular season, B.J. traveled with the Sox and was instrumental in the day-to-day preparation and execution of the various maintenance programs. He also served as a trainer at Harvard University and Cornell University.
Mr. Baker serves the Ruffnecks program as a “go-to” certified athletic trainer and physical therapist. He maintains an office and treatment rooms in our own private Facility. He is one of the founders or Pure Performance Training, a personal training service for adults and athletes of all ages.
BJ has been a featured speaker for high schools and colleges as well as state and national professional conferences. Topics have included:
* Strength and Conditioning and Baseball;
* Training the Throwing Shoulder;
* Sports Nutrition;
* Myths Associated with Resistance Training and Baseball.
BJ earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Physical Education/Athletic Training (Magna Cum Laude) at Cortland State University, and a Master’s of Science (MS) in Physical Education and Exercise Science (with a concentration in Sports Medicine) at Ithaca College. He also holds certifications as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) from the National Athletic Trainer’s Association.
Dr. Andrew W. Chapman: Orthopedic Surgeon
We welcome Andrew W. Chapman, MD as the newest member of the New England Ruffnecks team. Dr. Chapman is originally from the Boston area and received his undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and a Masters Degree from Harvard University. He then went on to receive his Medical Degree from the Boston University School of Medicine and completed both his surgical internship in General Surgery and an Orthopedic Surgery residency at the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. He also served at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics in Salt Lake City where he was one of the team physicians for the University of Utah. He was then lured back east to work with Dr. William Morgan and the Boston Red Sox as one of the team physicians.
Dr. Chapman is currently team physician for the Worcester Tornadoes professional baseball team of the Can Am League. Additionally, he serves as team physician for Newton North, Brookline, Arlington, and Arlington Catholic high schools. Dr. Chapman is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, the Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association, and the New England Orthopaedic Society. Dr. Chapman’s special interests include sports injuries and arthroscopic surgery of both the shoulder and knee.
Sam Sturgis – Athletic Trainer
Julie Nicoletti – Nutritionist
New England Baseball Club Advisory Staff
Matt Noone: Head Coach, Babson College
Matt Noone is the Head Baseball Coach at Babson College in Wellesley, MA. He is a graduate of Princeton University where he was captain of the baseball team. He is also a graduate of St. Sebastian’s School. Coach Noone has also served as the manager of the Bourne Braves in the Cape Cod League. For the past two seasons he has assisted the Boston Red Sox during the summer as a batting practice pitcher. Matt advises the New England Ruffnecks program in matters of college counseling and recruiting, as well as in matters of overall program development.
Ray Fagnant: Scout, Boston Red Sox
Ray Fagnant is the Boston Red Sox Northeast Regional Scouting Supervisor, responsible for New England, New York, New Jersey and eastern Canada. He has served in the scouting department for the Sox since 1993. He holds a B.A. from Assumption College and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Ray played professionally in the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox organizations as a catcher from 1987 to 1992. In 1999 he served as the American League bullpen catcher at the All-Star Game in Fenway Park. An active scout who spends as much time counseling college bound players as he does signing them to professional contracts, Ray is currently the Head Coach of the Boston Red Sox East Coast Professional Showcase Prospect Team, which competes in Wilmington, NC during the summer. Among the numerous professional players Mr. Fagnant has scouted and signed are Lou Merloni, Brian Rose, Carl Pavano, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, and Pittsburgh RHP Marty McLeary. Ray was also the recipient of the “George Digby Award” as Boston Red Scout of the Year in 2002 and 2006, the only two-time winner of the award in the Sox organization.
Matt Hyde: Scout, New York Yankees (Former College Coach)
Matt Hyde is the Area Scout for the New York Yankees. His territory is New England, New York and Pennsylvania. Matt is a graduate of Phillips Academy and the University of Michigan, where he earned 4 varsity letters. He went on to coach at Michigan from 1997 – 2000 and joined the Harvard University coaching staff from 2001 – 2005. Coach Hyde has also worked in the Cape Cod League and conducts outstanding clinics in the Boston area. Matt assists the Ruffnecks program particularly with our older players by helping to maintain the best contacts in showcases and elite tournaments where college recruitment and professional scouts focus their attention.
New England Baseball Club Advisory Board
The program also has a Parent Advisory Board of volunteer parents and an Executive Board comprised of the Director, alumni parents, and several current supporters. Their mission is to help with the overall direction, communications, and fundraising efforts of the program, and to provide counsel and feedback as necessary. Their roles are invaluable to the growth of the program.