“If this were just baseball, I don’t think it would work, but there’s more to it than that…much more. This plan would serve as a clear catalyst for growth within amateur sports tourism and put Fort Wayne on the map as a youth sports center in the Midwest since there are very few community baseball fields with artificial turf. It will be great for our economy, for our kids and for community redevelopment.

“If you want to do business with good people, you’ll do business with the WBA.”

 

Denny Sutton,

Partner, Burt, Blee, Dixon,

Sutton & Bloom, LLP

 

WBA History

World Baseball Academy has a unique history that has helped position this organization for some great things to come!  

The founder, Caleb Kimmel, is a homegrown native of Fort Wayne, Indiana.   In 2000, while still in college, Kimmel worked alongside his father in forming Between The Lines, LLC that served as the event planner for the annual Hoosier Classic Summer Baseball Tournaments.   After graduating college in 2003,  Kimmel expanded Between The Lines by beginning to add baseball instructional programs to complement the established tournaments.

In December of 2003, Between The Lines became a tenant at the Tahcumwah Facility in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  It was in that same year some dynamic leadership crossed paths.

Steve Sotir, the former Director of Player Development for the International Baseball Federation (IBAF), had become a key administrative leader within Southwest Allen County School systems.  However, Sotir had never really had the opportunity to utilize his unique baseball background while residing in Fort Wayne.

Kimmel and Sotir began to envision what could happen if established quality event planners partnered up with the international experts within the game.   It was in those brainstorming sessions that the World Baseball Academy emerged.

Sotir brought in the leadership of Dr. Darin Van Tassell and Larry Bryant—key international baseball leaders who all have had a great impact on the growth of the game globally.  Van Tassell, a professor of International Studies, was the Baseball Competition Director of the 2008 Olympics Baseball Games in Beijing.  Bryant is a professor of health.  These three men met at Georgia Southern University during their playing days and early college coaching days.

In 2007, these four leaders began to develop plans that combined the well-established local baseball programming in Fort Wayne with international opportunities around the world.

Van Tassell, Bryant and Sotir created the name “World Baseball Academy” to capture the essence of “teaching” the game of baseball. “Academy” represents the concept of being a student of the game. “Baseball” is the platform by which we can get the attention of young people, build a relationship with them, and educate them on the fundamentals of the sport and of life. “World” captures the essence of our global vision.

In 2008, The World Baseball Academy, Inc became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit with the focus of developing leadership through the game of baseball.   As the vision progressed, The World Baseball Academy replaced Between The Lines as a primary baseball tenant at the Academy of Sports & Health (ASH) Centre (formerly called "Tahcumwah").

In 2012, World Baseball Academy consolidated with another nonprofit to become the owners and operators of the ASH Centre, a 26-acre campus located in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  As of today, World Baseball Academy, Inc is an established organization that is serving nearly 5,000 young people and making a substantial economic and social impact on the community of Fort Wayne!

World Baseball Academy vision is to develop leaders who positively impact our world.   The four T's of impact are the means to accomplish our vision.  World Baseball Academy provides tournaments, team support, training and trip.  These programs allow our leadership to use the platform of baseball to connect and mentor young people in hopes of developing them to be difference makers on and off the field!