Regence supports 2019 NAIA World Series: Q&A with Dave Pankey
Top: Regence employees visit with the Indiana Tech Warriors; Dave Pankey (Regence’s Honorary Coach) pictured second from the right.
Last Friday, baseball fans from across the country gathered in Lewiston, Idaho to kick off the 63rd annual Avista NAIA World Series. Hosted at Harris Field at Lewis-Clark State College, this annual event brings together community members and fans alike to enjoy one of America’s greatest pastimes – baseball.
Regence BlueShield of Idaho has been a proud sponsor of the NAIA World Series for the last 20 years, serving as an Honorary Coach and, this year, supporting the Indiana Tech Warriors. To learn more about the event, we spoke with Dave Pankey, director of regional underwriting, an NAIA World Series Honorary Coach and baseball fan.
Tell us more about this event and Regence’s role as an Honorary Coach sponsor.
Dave Pankey: 2019 marks Regence’s 20th year sponsoring the AVISTA-NAIA World Series, which takes place May 24-31 this year. As an Honorary Coach, we sponsor one of the 10 teams participating in the tournament. We help the team find their way around the Lewiston-Clarkston community, navigate to practice fields, and visit elementary schools where they meet-and-greet with students.
We also sit with the team at the Banquet, hand out tournament medallions to each player and sponsor a meal for them on their day off. Essentially, it is our job to make the team feel welcome and comfortable during their stay in Lewiston. Of course, we also cheer them on during their games!
Finally, I’d mention that the Series celebrates more than 60 years of World Series baseball and 25 years of championship baseball, right here in Lewiston. We are thrilled to partner with this organization and support this great community event happening right in our own backyard.
It sounds like you are a baseball fan, through and through. How have you been involved over the years?
2019 will mark my 14th year of involvement in the Honorary Coach program and it is most certainly one of the highlights of my year. I enjoy helping the team and coaches in any way I can and listening to the stories from family members who traveled long distances to get here. I enjoy shaking hands with the player and coaches in the dugout, wishing them good luck before each game, rooting for them and, of course, showing them around the Valley. If I get the chance, I really enjoy taking the team up to the mountains to get a team picture overlooking what appears to be a hundred-mile view!
What can viewers expect from the Series this year?
Simply put, the 10 best college baseball teams in the nation compete in a highly competitive and exciting double elimination style tournament. Relatives and fans from across the nation come to Lewiston, filling all the hotels in the area and up to 5,000 fans fill the stadium for each game. In fact, the Series will reach a major milestone, bringing in their one-millionth fan this year.
For the 63rd annual World Series, Regence is proud to support the Indiana Tech Warriors. They played their hearts out on Friday against the Bellevue University Bruins and although they will not continue in the Series this year, we are so proud of their accomplishments.
Volunteers are an integral part of the NAIA World Series. How are Regence employees getting involved this year?
Last Saturday, a dozen Regence volunteers managed the concession stand, serving event attendees and baseball fans. Regence is committed to being an active part of the community and our employees look forward to this event, each year. We’re honored to have had the opportunity to participate in an event like this for the last 20 years – an event that truly brings the community together for a fantastic and exciting few days of baseball.
The 2019 Avista-NAIA College World Series continues through Friday, 5/31. For more information about the World Series, please visit: https://naiaworldseries.com/ or follow along on Twitter.