On February 9th, an announcement was made to Top Gun Academy that club founder, Robb Behymer, was stepping down as organization head, and that Joseph Sciara would take over a similar role.
"I would like to thank the athletes, coaches and parents for their dedication and hard work. This decision allows me to dedicate more time to my family and Top Gun Events,” said Behymer. “We started this with a vision to make a positive impact and now, after two and a half years, it is time for me to step away. I knew I had to find someone with the same vision and passion to take over the program and I asked Joe to step into this leadership role because he has the heart and passion that will positively impact the athletes. He will do a great job. Thank you again for giving me such an incredible opportunity.”
The move is not one that was made in haste.
"Robb and I have been talking since November about a succession plan. We wanted to make sure all the details were taken care of," said Sciara of the move. "Our organization, the coaches, players and parents all appreciate what Robb has done. Not only for our organization, but for softball throughout the Midwest. Robb did an unbelievable thing two and a half years ago, when he brought a group of highly talented teams together and gave a vision of what the Top Gun Academy could look like. The coaches all bought in, and it has paid dividends in a short amount of time. I appreciate the opportunity to carry on the level of excellence that has come to be expected in our organization."
Many other coaches past and present throughout the organization shared the same sentiment.
"The Top Gun Angels would like to thank Robb for starting up Top Gun Academy. He always put the players first, and that is appreciated." - Scott Dial, 18-Gold Coach.
"When Robb came to me in 2016 with his vision for Top Gun Academy, it was exactly what I was looking for in an organization for my kids", explains 16-Gold coach Bob Turner. "He brought together a tremendous group of teams that have accomplished a great deal in 2.5 years. I'm appreciative of Robb's guidance, support and friendship, and know that he has positioned the organization well for the future with the foundation that's been laid, as well as the transition of leadership to Joe Sciara."
"Robb had a vision with Top Gun Events, and that vision eventually grew into one that provided premier tournaments throughout the country for athletes,” said Sam Ramirez Former 18-Gold Coach. “In launching Top Gun Academy, he gave young ladies hope and a process to reach their dreams to play collegiately."
While Behymer will no longer have an affiliation with Top Gun Academy, he will continue to be a fixture in softball through Top Gun Events, which are some of the premier tournaments in the country. He also created a formula that ranks teams across the country, rankings that are considered so reliable they are published by FloSoftball for their End of Season Rankings. Behymer will also continue to spend his time traveling the country to give recruiting seminars to clubs and teams at all levels.
"I really wish Robb the best in his endeavors,” said Sciara. “He's a great guy, and a personal friend of mine. I know that Robb will continue to use every free minute he has to better softball in our community."
The biggest change for Top Gun Academy moving forward is in the leadership structure.
"As the new President of an already established fastpitch organization, I want to continue the momentum we have built as well as put my own mark on Top Gun Academy", Sciara explains. "My goal is always to surround myself with the best possible people I can find. We've already announced the addition of Stephanie Kim as Vice President to our leadership team. Over the next several weeks we will be announcing additional members of the board of directors and their roles within the organization. We have some very interesting irons in the fire. Some will be announced over the next several weeks, and some will not take effect until August, after the season has ended. Any and every move that we make will be with the best interest of the players in terms of development and recruiting."