Rachel Hanson is leaving Stanford to join the mission of the Baseball And Softball Education Foundation in St. Louis (Stanford Photo)

The BASE Foundation has announced the hiring of Rachel Hanson as their first Executive Director. The organization is about to embark on building one of the largest sports character education venues in America as part of the POWERplex project. 

BASE, the Missouri  501(c)(3) organization founded in 2006 by Dan Buck, has always been a 100% volunteer lead organization and has educated more than 1,200 ballplayers across the region in areas of respect, leadership, teamwork and emotional control. Now, as their first major step in growing their mission to more teams, coaches and parents, the Board of Directors announced the hiring of Hanson, who will leave her current role as the head softball coach at Stanford University.

“I’m excited to take on the bold challenge of changing the culture around competitive youth sports,” said Hanson who brings over 12 years of college coaching experience to BASE including the past three years at Stanford University. “I’ve seen this game at the highest level and see so many athletes who’ve lost their joy for the game. BASE has a bold vision to use sports as a platform for character development in young athletes and to help make this great game fun again,” said Hanson.   

The Board of Directors conducted a national executive search and feel they found the perfect person to lead the organization in the years ahead. “Rachel brings our organization a unique blend of talents and experience,” said Board President Rick Sems. “She’s a proven coach, leader and visionary. She combines a deep understanding of the game with an inspiring desire to impact the game at the youth level and change thousands of lives.”   

Hanson, came to Stanford in 2014 after turning around the softball programs at Dartmouth and University of Dallas. In her 11 years as an NCAA Head Coach, Hanson admits that the game continues to change and not entirely for the better. “We’re missing unique, life-changing opportunities as coaches, especially at the younger age levels. We need to reprioritize our goals from earning college scholarships to building positive character traits and behaviors that can last a lifetime,” said Hanson who feels kids today have too much pressure put on them. “It shouldn’t be all about skills and drills. BASE wants to create tools and curriculum for coaches to help them develop good people, not just good ballplayers,” added Hanson.   

Hanson leaves Stanford University with mixed emotions but feels drawn to making a greater impact on the game. “Stanford has given me a great experience to coach in one of the best softball conferences in the country and I’ve worked with some amazing people here. But this decision is solely based on my desire to impact and help more young lives,” said Hanson who begins in her new role August 1st.

Hanson, who grew up in Texas, looks forward to returning to the heartland of America and being a part of a great baseball and softball city like St. Louis. “No matter where you live in the US, everyone knows what a rich history St. Louis has with Baseball. To come here and see it first hand, to experience Cardinals baseball, to see the tremendous youth involvement in baseball and softball, you can’t help but get excited.”

The Board of Directors also know it is vital to get a strong leadership team in place as the BASE Foundation embarks on building the largest character development and sports education center in America, as part of the POWERplex coming to the St. Louis region. “Rachel will be instrumental in helping us build dynamic curriculum and interactive coursework that we will share with thousands of coaches, parents and players each year at the POWERplex. Eventually we will share those educational tools nationwide,” said Dave Peacock Chairman of the BASE Board. “This new facility will be the first of its kind and the BASE Training will be fully integrated to this incredible competitive environment,” said Peacock. “It’s perfectly aligned with the St. Louis Sports Commissions goal of making St. Louis the Sportsmanship Capital of the World,” said Peacock who also serves as Chairman of the Board of the St. Louis Sports Commission.   

The POWERPlex, originally planned for Chesterfield Valley, is now being courted by 9 communities and 11 different potential sites across the bi-state region. An announcement on the top three finalists locations will be made August 1st with a final site decision anticipated by September 1st. “No matter which community is selected, we can assure you that BASE Foundation will be ready to bring quality education and character curriculum to every tournament and team that plays there,” added Peacock who will serve on the site selection committee along with sponsors, donors and investors in the project.   

“One of the most exciting elements of the job is having a world-class sports complex to attract and engage teams from across the country,” said Hanson who admits that in all her years of coaching and scouting she’s never seen a complex so complete. “This space is going to be incredible. Great playing environment, great retail, restaurants and hotel partners and an inspiring educational experience every weekend for all ages. It’s going to be an amazing place!”   

BASE Foundation will make a multi-million dollar investment in new educational facilities and a non-profit sports partnership center as part of the POWERPlex complex. This mission growth is due in large-part to a philanthropic commitment of Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield who made a $6 million pledge commitment to their mission earlier this year.