(Story & Photos by Marco Stoovelaar)
Longtime softball-administrator Anton Kops passed away
(1946 - 2020)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
OOSTERHOUT (Neth.) -
Anton Kops, who has been active in softball for many decades in numerous positions, passed away on Thursday, January 2, three days before his 74th birthday.
A private memorial service was held on Wednesday, January 8.
Anton Kops, who by many also was called Ton, was born on January 5, 1946.
After completing his study at the Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, the Netherlands, Anton Kops ended up in Frankfurt-am-Main (then West-Germany).
There, he experienced his first tastes of baseball and softball at the American Military Air Force Base in Frankfurt.
After awhile, Kops returned to the Netherlands, but remained active in his newly found sports.
In 1973, he is the founder of baseball- and softball-club Bernisse in Heenvliet, which is located southwest of Rotterdam.
While not playing the sports himself, Anton Kops also became an umpire in both baseball and softball in the eighties.
He initially led games in the then Rayon Zuidwest Nederland (Soutwest Netherlands Region).
In 1986-1989, Kops was a baseball umpire on the national level.
Thereafter, he remained available as an umpire for games in the then Rayon Het Zuiden (The South Region) for some additional years.
After moving in 1985 from Heenvliet to Oosterhout in the south of the country, Anton became an active member of local baseball- and softball-club Twins.
There, his daughter Nynke Kops started to play softball and reached the main squad of the club, with whom she played in the Dutch big league between 1993 and 2003.
Thanks to the enthousiasm of his daughter, Anton Kops starts to coach several softballteams.
At Twins, he also is a member of the board, as well as of several (technical) commissions and umpired in both baseball- and softball-games.
While being involved with other clubs in following years, Kops remained active for Twins.
In 1997, Anton Kops is the Head Coach of the main softball-squad of Boxtel-based Ducks, another club from the southern province of Noord-Brabant which in that season also played in the highest division.
At Ducks, Kops is assisted by Hans Snel, who has a long career in coaching softball as either a head or assistant coach.
Later, Kops also coaches at Sparta-Feyenoord (Rotterdam) and Gryphons (Rosmalen).
It was at Gryphons that Anton Kops has another long career as an administrator.
He is a member of its technical commission, leads the club for several years as its chairman and is a well-respected member of the club.
At Gryphons, Kops also serves as vice-chairman and secretary.
In 2007, Gryphons organizes the European Junior Championship Baseball at its site in Rosmalen.
Kops is the President of the Organizing Committee and creates a warm, sportive and hospital atmosphere.
Italy wins the title after winning 4-2 against Russia in the Final.
On April 2, 2008, Anton Kops becomes a member of the Board of the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) when he takes over the position for Player Development.
As such, he promotes Beeball throughout the country.
A year later, on March 28, 2009, Kops changes position and moves to the post for Top Softball, succeeding André van Overbeek, who became President of the European Softball Federation (ESF).
However, due to illness, Kops cannot assume his new position when elected in March 2009.
Therefore, Van Overbeek stays on as interim-Member of the Board.
Luckily, towards the end of August 2009, it is announced that Anton Kops has recovered completely and takes over the duties.
But a few months later, on November 4, the entire then four-member Board of the Dutch Association steps down during a council-meeting due to a conflict with its Jury of Appeal.
Besides Kops, the other members at that moment were Ruud van Zetten (Chairman), Gerben Hardeveld (Secretary) and Reinoud Wieling (Treasurer).
During the meeting, Leo Smallegange, Hans Zonneveld and Frits Mulder are named as a 3-person interim-board to handle the current affairs until the next meeting in the Spring of 2010.
...Anton Kops with ESF-President André van Overbeek in 2009...|
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
In his Topsport Softball position within the KNBSB-Board, Anton Kops was responsible for the entire Topsport Softball Section and was not only overseeing the competitions at the highest levels, but also all activities concerning the National Softball Teams for both women and men.
In this role, Kops made arrangements with the coaches and staff-members of the National Women (seniors/youth) and Men Teams, as well as having several meetings and talks with representatives of several (international) organisations and members of the board of the Dutch softball-clubs.
In the lone year Kops led Top Softball-section of the KNBSB (2009), Craig Montvidas was in his first year as Head Coach of the Netherlands Women Softball Team.
In Valencia (Spain), the Orange-squad captured the title at the European Softball Championship, winning 4-0 in the Final against Great Britain with Dagmar Bloeming throwing a complete game shutout.
Saskia Kosterink, Virginie Anneveld and Nathalie Timmermans batted in three of the four runs.
For the Netherlands, this was its first European title since 1990 and the start of a successful period under the leadership of Montvidas, who led the team to three consecutive unbeaten European Championship-titles.
During his coaching-tenure, the team also climbed in the ranking at the World Championship and on the World Ranking List of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
Montvidas also was a successful coach of the women-softball teams of Twins, while Anton Kops was active there in the nineties.
Some years later, Anton Kops returns to his role of organisor and will do so several times.
In 2012 and 2014, Gryphons hosts the European Junior Championship Softball at its home-site in Rosmalen, Sportpark 'De Groote Wielen'.
This time, Kops is a member of the Organizing Commitee and while not being its President, he is closely involved in everything that is going on before and during the event.
Three years later, in 2015, Kops again is a member of the Organizing Committee when Gryphons organizes the European Women's Softball Championship.
In 2012, the Netherlands captures the European title, shutting out Germany 7-0 in the Final, while Ilona Andringa threw a No-Hitter.
In 2014, the Czech Republic wins the European Junior-title, winning the Final against Italy with a 5-3 score.
In 2015, the team of Italy wins the Championship-title, nipping the Netherlands 2-1 in the Final.
...Anton Kops shows the appreciation-gift of the ESF...|
...presented to the Organizing Committee during the...
...Closing Ceremony of the 2014 European Junior...
...Championship Softball in Rosmalen (Netherlands)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Anton Kops also is very active in business positions and the public life.
After a career of 25 years at the executive level for an European Direct Marketing organisation, he starts his own company in 1992 and heads an advertising and marketing company as its director.
Through the years, Anton Kops also has been active for the European Softball Federation (ESF).
He was a longtime promoter of Beeball and also helped with softball promotion through his marketing company.
Anton Kops always has seen ambition, teambuilding, organizational talent and communication as his most important qualities.
He showed these characteristics many times through the years.
His organizational talent, humor and warm presence will surely be missed.
The webmaster of Grand Slam * Stats & News offers his condolences to the family of Anton and wishes them a lot of strength with this big loss.