It would take a huge amount of space to detail all the things that Mike Jennings has done for British, European, and world softball as an umpire, umpire trainer, Umpire-in-Chief, Financial Officer, Administrator in various roles for various organisations, Tournament Controller, Competitions and Technical Director, and a particular advocate for slowpitch softball at a world level as a member of the WBSC’s Slowpitch Working Group and the 2018-21 Rules Revision team, including editing that first-ever separate WBSC Slowpitch Rulebook.

Mike took up slowpitch softball while working at Price Waterhouse Montreal in 1974 and, on transferring back to the UK, helped to develop the game in their London office.  The Price Waterhouse team played in the GLSML, now the London Softball League, to a high point of being finalists in the National Championships.  Mike then initiated their teams’ annual transatlantic tours to play against their American and Canadian colleagues.

Mike’s family has not followed in his footsteps: his wife has only watched one game of softball, the final of the Athens Olympics in 2004, and his sons (fencing and pentathlon) and grandsons (three in triathlon, two of them in the sport’s GB academy stream) clearly prefer other pursuits.  The younger ones have yet to show a preference, so there is hope.

Mike began his umpiring career with BASU in 1984 and umpired domestically and in Europe.  He was also an Umpire Tutor/Trainer and ran more than 55 BASU courses in GB and the Channel Islands, plus five courses for European slowpitch umpires as slowpitch began to grow on the Continent.  He also served as BASU Umpire-in-Chief from 2002-2006.

For the BSF, Mike joined the Executive in 1994 and served until 2022 as Technical Officer, then Treasurer, and latterly as a General Officer, and his wisdom and steadying hand were invaluable to the BSF over that time.  Mike was also one of the organisers and served as Tournament Control at a number of the BSF’s Softball World Series tournaments.

Mike served as Finance Director for BSUK from 2010-2017.

In Europe, Mike was President of the then-European Softball Federation from 2003-2008; has attended ESF, Softball Europe, and now WBSCE Europe Congresses in almost 30 different cities, and has served as Technical Commissioner or Umpire-in-Chief at almost 60 European fastpitch and slowpitch tournaments from 1998 to the present.  He is currently WBSC Europe’s Technical and Competitions Director. 

At a world level, Mike was an International Softball Federation (ISF) Vice-President from 2004-2008, and was Technical Commissioner for the 2007 women’s fastpitch Championship, and the 2008 Olympics warm-up event in Beijing, where the late Duncan Mclean was an umpire.  He has been a Chief Technical Commissioner or Technical Director at tournaments around the world for the ISF and now the WBSC.

Almost no one else in the history of British softball has had a career of such longevity and dedication to the sport, both domestically and internationally, as Mike Jennings, and for that reason the BSF is delighted to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award.