BATON ROUGE – Marucci Sports announced Friday the addition of the Illinois Indians to its Founders’ Club, a partnership with amateur baseball and softball teams that now ranges across 22 states.
Founder Nelson Gord, a former professional and UIC standout, kickstarted the Indians with three teams for the 2008 summer season and has grown the organization to 25 teams ranging from 8U-22U. The high school age group is where Gord spends most of his time and energy, as he is considered by many to be an expert in the recruiting process and maintains relationships with college coaches and professional scouts throughout the country.
“We did not have a Founders’ Club organization in Illinois and were looking for the right group to partner with,” said Kyle Achord, Marucci VP of Team Sales. “After meeting with Nelson, we knew the Indians were the group we had been looking for. We are excited to add them to the Founders’ Club and look forward to working with them.”
The Indians have built a solid pipeline across all levels of baseball, producing 320 college athletes, 15 draft picks and 25 coaches that have moved on to college or professional baseball jobs.
“Central to our mission has always been the idea of ‘person over player,’” Gord said. “We’re a collection of individuals that make up an extended family and happened to coach, play and love the game of baseball. Our passion is helping players accomplish their goals and achieve their dreams, whatever those may be. The existing Founders’ Club organizations represent those core values, and everyone we’ve encountered at Marucci embodies those characteristics.”
The group is located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, with training facilities scattered across the state in Mount Prospect (main), Chicago, St. Charles, South Elgin and Wheeling.
Other key staff members include Illinois Indians general manager Mike Pugliese, director of operations Bryce Skelton and Illinois Dodgers general manager Matt Mahay. Pugliese played for legend Augie Schmidt at Carthage College. Skelton played professionally in the Pecos League for one season following his four-year campaign at Lakeland College (Plymouth, Wisconsin). Mahay spent four summers in semi-pro ball following a successful stint with North Central College and owns the Indians training facility.
About the Marucci Founders’
The founders of Marucci built the company on a dedication to superior quality and a relentless pursuit of excellence that extended beyond the game of baseball. That pursuit of excellence has allowed Marucci to forge partnerships with some of the nation’s premier amateur baseball and softball organizations. With core values that align with those of the Marucci Founders, these programs were selected for their dedication to excellence on and off the field, reputation as a positive influence in their community, and commitment to growing their organization and, in turn, the Marucci mission. We call this elite alliance the Founders’ Club.