WU SOFTBALL STAFF/COACHES
Sean Rose, M.Ed. is the General Manager and Founder of Worcester Union Athletics. Sean has been coaching youth teams for over twenty years. He is a resident of Worcester, and has coached competitive basketball and softball through such organizations as Girls Inc., Schwartz Little League, Rising Stars Basketball, Crushers Softball, Huskies Basketball, and Rockets Softball. Previous to his coaching in Worcester, Sean Rose was a Program Administrator for the Town of Barnstable Recreation Department. He was also instrumental in co-creating the largest therapeutic sports league in Massachusetts for at-risk youth and has been influential in helping sports become a clinical modality.
Meg has been a fixture of the Worcester County Softball community for nearly 30 years as a player, coach and league director. As a player at Tahanto Regional, Meg played third base and would continue on at Plymouth State playing both third base and shortstop. After college, Meg became the assistant Varsity coach at Tahanto until her own children became of age to play themselves, and she would begin coaching them and the area youth from 1998 to 2007.
As a coach and league Director of the Joe Schwartz Little League, Meg's teams would go on to win District and Regional Championships before embarking on ASA tournament softball.
Meg went on to become director of the Mass Galaxy ASA Program from 2007-2012 where she was charged overseeing the program in addition to applying her knowledge of the recruitment process. Her rapport built over the years with the college coaching ranks has allowed her to assist players at St. Peter Marian, where her children attended, and make it easy for players and their families to navigate the recruitment process. A talent and skill set she brings to Worcester Union in the form of meetings/clinics/classroom information.
Meg also sat on the City of Worcester Parks and Recreation Commission for 6 years, in addition to the 365Z Kindness Foundation Board. In 2017, Meg was the recipient of the Key to the City of Worcester for her community service work. She is an avid reader, and most recently became a grandmother of a future Worcester Union player!
Mel Melkonian, graduate of Saint Peter Marian and Clark University, has strong roots in Worcester. Growing up in Worcester, Mel played for Schwartz Little League and played ASA with Mass Intensity Softball for 4 years. She went on to play 3 sports in high school and both softball and field hockey at Clark University. She was a standout athlete at Clark. At the beginning of her college career, she was named NEWMAC Rookie of the Year for both Field Hockey and Softball. She went on to lead the NCAA (all divisions) in points per game (4.17) and goals per game (1.78). With 115 career goals, Mel holds the record at Clark for goals in a season (32) and points in a season (75). She was also a three-time All-American for field hockey and a one time All-American for softball throughout her college career. She played infield and outfield for Clark and led her team in stolen bases, triples, and second in homeruns. She also held the second highest batting average. These accolades got her a spot as a “Face in the Crowd” in Sports Illustrated in 2010.
Mel graduated from Clark with her MBA. She found a passion for health and fitness and went on to become a teacher. She will be starting her 7th year teaching Health and Physical Education at Worcester Technical High School in August. She had coached 7 seasons as Field Hockey coach at Tech. Five years ago, she lead the young 7 year program to their first district appearance. Mel is also a past Director and Head Coach of Worcester County United Field Hockey Academy. She had also coached Varsity Softball at Notre Dame Academy for 3 seasons.
Mel is looking forward to her 5th season with Worcester Union Athletics as the 14U Head Coach and hitting instructor. She is passionate about contributing to the student-athlete experience both on and off the field and creating well-rounded student-athletes. Her players thrive off of her energy and enthusiasm for the game. Mel is confident in her ability to develop young players and provide them with the fundamentals and so much more.
Steve Brunelle: 18U Coach
Steve Brunelle has been an athlete and a coach in Worcester for over 40 years, playing basketball and football for Doherty High School and continued with both while getting his degree at American International College. He has been involved in youth sports the past 13 years in Worcester. Steve has coached both young men and women, 4 years on the basketball courts at St. Joe's, 4 years on the football field at Doherty High School and 13 years as a baseball/softball coach at Joe Schwartz Little League. He has been responsible for 3 All-Star Teams in his tenure, and also was instrumental and successful in starting the AAU Baseball program for the Central Mass Wolfpack, who played in the Regional their inaugural year.
Coach Brunelle also spends many hours working in the community with different endeavors such as board member and Vice President of Joe Schwartz Little League, the Boys and Girls Club Kids Cafe, working to support toy drives and backpack drives through Herlihy, , Working for Worcester, PanMass Challenge/Dana Farber, and supports the Joslin Diabetes Foundation.
Steve has been working in the insurance business for over 25 years, and currently is the Vice President of Sales at Herlihy Insurance Group. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
Dan Demand 18U Assistant Coach
Dan was born and raised in Canada for much of his young life. When he moved to the US, he attended Auburn High School where he was captain of the football team. Dan has been part of the Worcester Union Softball family since the beginning! He has coached at the travel level for several years, and was with Central Mass Chaos and Strike Zone prior to joining the coaching staff at Worcester Union. When Dan is not at the field with his team, he enjoys fishing and playing golf.
Kerin Smith: 12U Coach
Kerin is a Worcester native, having graduated South High School in 2000. She went on to play a couple of years of college softball at UMASS Dartmouth while earning her Business Marketing degree in 2004. She is the Regional General Manager for Hertz Corporation for the past 17 years.
Kerin enjoyed playing softball as a kid so much that she went on to become a coach for Burkett since 2016. She also has served as VP in AA division for 2 years and served 2 years as VP in AAA division. For the past two seasons, she has managed the 8-10 year old All-Star Team, MA State Champions!!
Deb Ryzewski: 16U Coach
Sean Lee: 10U Coach coming soon
Debra Ryzewski has been a Physical Education Teacher for 35 years in the Quaboag Regional School District.
Her softball experiences began at an early age in the Webster Lassie League. Then she continued playing for four years at Bartlett High School. During that time span, she credits her coaches for developing her into a strong utility player. Shortly thereafter, collegiate softball followed playing two years for Berkshire Community College and 2 years at Lyndon State College as a starting second baseman/back-up catcher.
A strong passion for the sport has kept her in the game. Her recent coaching experiences have been as the Head Coach for the Bay State Games Central Softball Team and within the Charlton Wildfire 14 and 16U Softball Travel Programs. Yet, she has a wealth of experience coaching recreation, high school, and showcase teams and has been a softball clinician at various summer camps. Her teams become family and she enjoys combining her PE career and coaching background to give her players the best experiences on and off the field.
When Coach Deb isn’t on a softball field, she can be found on a field hockey pitch giving lessons as a USFHA Level 2 Coach, conditioning, gardening, reading, and volunteering with the Sturbridge CERT Team.
Liz Panagiotou: 14U Assistant Coach
Coach Liz is native of Worcester, MA. She attended and played softball and basketball at Doherty Memorial High School. She studied Sociology at Worcester State University. She has been coaching at Jesse Burkett Little League both in regular season and All-Stars since 2018.
Coach Liz’s AAA team won the championship in her inaugural season of coaching. She joined Worcester Union as an assistant coach in 2020. Her goal for coaching softball is to help develop strong independent young women who can learn life lessons for the future while teaching the fundamentals of playing ball.
Liz is the President and owner of Employee Benefit Advisors based in Worcester, MA.
Brandon McLaughlin: 12U Coach
Brandon is a native of Worcester, MA. He played baseball since the age of 4, playing for the Jack Barry Little League, where he later helped coach and umpire while playing for East Side Babe Ruth. He is a graduate of Saint Peter Marian High School where he played both baseball and football in jr. high and high school. He continued to volunteer with Jack Barry Little League through college and with the Big Brother, Big Sister program during his time at St. Peter Marian and Anna Maria College. He has been coaching and assisting for various leagues for the past 25 years, with the most recent being the Jesse Burkett Little League.
Coach Brandon led his AAA Jesse Burkett Little League team to a championship in the 2020 season. After being a huge Worcester Union fan, he is proud to join the Worcester Union coaching staff. His goal for coaching softball is teaching fundamentals of the sport while having fun and encouraging the girls to gain confidence in themselves and their abilities both on and off the field
For the past 15 years Brandon has worked for the MA Trial Courts Probation Department.
Jim Moore: 12U Coach
Jim Moore grew up in Southern Maine playing hockey and baseball. He started coaching at age 15 as an assistant coach/scorekeeper for Bonny Eagle Babe Ruth, including a 13 year old All-Star team that finished 6th in the Babe Ruth World Series.
After High School, Jim joined the Army and was away from sports until he joined The Greater Worcester Jaycees and started playing softball, while attending WPI. Jim transitioned the league from the Jaycees to a City League and was the commissioner from 1992 to 2005 when the league finally ended.
In 2002 Jim started coaching at St. Mary’s High School in Worcester. He started as a Junior Varsity Head Coach and Varsity Assistant for the baseball program. The following year he started coaching girl’s basketball as a Varsity Assistant Coach, and the Head Coach at the Junior Varsity and Junior High levels. As the Junior High Head coach, his St. Mary’s Girls won the Venerini League Championship in 2005. He coached the varsity softball program from 2004 until 2010 leading them to a Division 3 district appearance in 2007.
Jim coached ASA Softball in 2006 for the Central Mass Rage, as well as continuing to coach basketball as part of Girl’s Inc, the St. Peter’s youth league and various AAU organizations until 2018. He also coached the Grafton High School Junior Varsity team from 2016 to 2019.
As a side note, Jim’s father was elected to the Maine Babe Ruth Hall of Fame in July of 2021.
Elizabeth Ward: Community Service Coordinator
Liz has been a teacher in the Worcester Public Schools for the past eleven years at Worcester Technical High School. She is the AVID Instructor/Coordinator for the program at Worcester Tech where she has worked closely with many community partners within the city and has strong understanding of developing strong relationships with our youth and our community. Liz holds a B.A. from Salve Regina University and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from American International College.
Aside from teaching, Liz was the Senior class advisor in 2014- The year Barack Obama was the commencement speaker, is the Mentor/Ally for the 100 Males to College program which collaborates with Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College, and is the National Honor Society Advisor. As the NHS Advisor, Liz has worked hard to place her students with volunteer opportunities all over the city within multiple community programs such as Christopher House, Belmont St School tutoring, CMHA (Walk for the homeless and Youth Summits geared to end youth homelessness), American Heart Association, Walk for ALS, Dresses that Cure (ACS), as well as various fundraisers such as Dimes for Diapers, Hat & Mitten Drives, Jeans for Teens, Canned Food (Worcester County Food Bank) and book Drives for donations to the Worcester County House of Correction Educational Programs and other schools within the District.
Liz is a true believer in giving back to the community as a way of personal development and world issue awareness. She will continue to work hard with these young women to ensure that they become well- rounded global citizens with a true understanding of “Community”.