I knew little about umpiring, despite playing and watching baseball my whole life. When I met IBUA lead-instructors Frank Leparik and Ron Covais at a high school mechanics class, a whole new vision and avocation was born. Once I was invited in and attended additional IBUA training, it all began to come together. The foundation on which I have developed my craft has enabled me to confidently work NCAA games at the Div. I, II and III levels since 1999. I have had the good fortune to work three D II Regionals. In 2006 I was selected to work the D II College World Series in Montgomery, AL. To this day I continue to contact Ron and Frank; we review different scenarios and discuss ways to improve my game. Thanks to the IBUA, I truly have become a "Student of the Game" .
— Phil Capozzola
Why IBUA Mentoring?
The IBUA is a rare group among umpiring groups. Our concern is for the quality of our roster, not the quantity of our membership. Through attentive mentoring, many of our diligent young umpires have earned excellent reputations on the field. The role of mentoring in an official's success cannot be overstated. At IBUA, our veteran umpires take a keen interest in the progression of our newer members. It is this rapport, coupled with savvy advice, that benefits the entire organization, and forms the basis for strong, respectful friendships, both on the field and off.
As an umpire with ten years experience, I attended a plate mechanics workout back in the late ‘80’s. It was there that I was introduced to Ron Covais, and he and I instructed together in the cages. That summer we partnered together for more than a hundred games, and we learned much from each other. It proved to be an excellent opportunity for us: Ron was able to observe how a veteran ran a ballgame, and I was in a position to sharpen up my mechanics through Ron, who recently had completed his mechanics training. Because we were both open to improvement, we found ourselves in a unique position to mentor each other – both of us becoming stronger umpires for it. I am proud to be a co-founder of IBUA, and I will always strive to be a Student-of-the-Game.
Since my arrival into the IBUA, I have had an opportunity to improve my umpiring skills by being mentored in a collaborative environment. It is great to work and learn from such an experienced and knowledgeable group of men. If you want to be part of a skillful, knowledgeable and collaborative umpire group, then this is the family for you.
As I began in 1995 to umpire for an organized group, I was fortunate to meet Ron Covais and Frank Leparik. I was taught the proper way from the very beginning: how to apply the rules, how to practice proper mechanics, and most important, how to manage a ballgame. I know now that I have been mentored by the best. This will be my eighth year in college umpiring, the past seven at the Division 1 level. I make it a point to pass on the IBUA ideals to the crews to which I am assigned. I remember well what it was like when I was just starting out, and how unsure I felt on occasion while learning the ropes. I was always able to speak to my IBUA mentors. They were often in attendance at my games, taking a real interest in my development; failing that, they often rang me up to inquire about my game. The opportunity to discuss a play or rule while it was fresh in my mind was invaluable to my progress. The intense clinics offered by the IBUA were second to none, and I recognize now how these set a solid foundation for working the college level. Now that IBUA is back in business, I am reminded of how a number of former IBUA members have gone on to work professional baseball and the College World Series. I am proud to be back with the IBUA, and to be involved with the best training group in the New York area.