• Billy Kovatch

    Billy Kovatch is the Owner & Certified Head Trainer of Iron Diamond Sports, LLC.  He is considered one of the best hitting coaches in North East Florida.  Kovatch has worked and trained an array of different athletes from kids as young as four years old to professional athletes in the MLB and NFL (including some of the Jacksonville Jaguars).  Baseball instruction, speed/agility building and muscular strength conditioning are his forte.

    Kovatch is a local product and class of 2000 graduate of Fletcher High School.  During his Fletcher career, Kovatch played for Team Florida and led the city his senior year in average (.507) and stolen bases (40).  He was named First Team All-Conference, Times-Union All-City Team, Class 5-A All-State Team and inducted into the Fletcher High Hall of Fame.

    Upon his graduation, Kovatch was highly recruited by the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins, as well as, many other colleges and universities.  Kovatch elected to stay local and attend Florida State College at Jacksonville (formally known as Florida Community College at Jacksonville) where he received a full-ride scholarship and played under head coaches Howard Roey and Chris Blaquiere.  During his two years at FSCJ he received the honors of Most Valuable Player and Co-Captain awards.  After his two years at FSCJ, Kovatch earned another full-ride scholarship to the University of North Florida where he was coached under the legendary Hall of Fame coach, Dusty Rhodes.  During his college career, Kovatch was part of Coach Roey’s 1,000th win as a head coach (at FSCJ) and Rhodes’ 800th win as a head coach (at UNF).  In 2003, during his junior year, Kovatch was part of one of the fastest college outfield trios in the nation, only giving up one triple to their opponents during that whole year.

    In the summer of 2002, Kovatch was selected to play in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association League where his team, the Arlington Senators of Washington, won the World Series.  In the summer of 2003, Kovatch was selected to play in the Valley League for the Harrisonburg Turks.  Kovatch batted over .300 with over 120 stolen bases during his college career.

    After graduating from UNF with a Health Science & Exercise Physiology degree, Kovatch signed as a free agent in 2005 and went on to play six years of professional baseball.  In 2006, Kovatch was runner-up to the Rookie of the Year award in the Golden Baseball League.  Following that season, Kovatch was invited to play in the Arizona Winter League, where his team, the Yuma Scorpions, won the Arizona Winter League championship.

    During his six years of professional baseball, Kovatch played all over the United States, Canada and Mexico – playing at the level of AAA.  He has been managed by a number of well-known and respected managers, most of which are former Major League World Series Champions including:  Benny Castillo, Alex Arias (1997 Marlins WS Champ), Mike Marshall (1988 Dodgers WS Champ), Jackie Hernández (1971 Pirates WS Champ), Cecil Fielder (1996 Yankees WS Champ), Joe Calfapietra, Ed Ott (1979 Pirates WS Champ), Dave LaPoint (1982 Cardinals WS Champ) and Bud Harrelson (1969 & 1986 Mets WS Champ).  Cecil Fielder managed Kovatch in 2007 & 2008, during that time, Fielder gave him the nickname “The Hit Doctor” because of his willingness to learn, his desire to become a better hitter everyday, his blue-collar work ethic toward hitting, and the way he performed on the field.

    More recently, Kovatch has completed his 12th year of coaching, training and mentoring baseball and softball players from all levels.  In addition, he has trained numerous athletes in other sports to become physically fit to compete in their respective sport.  Kovatch has coached many athletes who have gone on to earn college scholarships and/or sign to a professional contract to compete at the pro-level, including one who made it to the Big Leagues in 2016 with the New York Yankees (please visit our “Athletes in Action” page for more information).

    Kovatch believes in a strong work ethic and has a passion for working with athletes and clients of all ages and skill levels. He takes great pride in helping his clients reach their goals and turn their dreams into reality.

  • Sal Giardina

    Sal is a Florida native from Tampa, Florida. He went to Palm Beach State College for 2 years then transferred to Lynn University. He was drafted in 2014 in the 31st round by the Atlanta Braves.  In 2017, he was a player/coach in Double A with the  Mississippi Braves. He is now playing in Triple A with the Gwinnett Stripers. Additionally, Sal has experience as a hitting instructor, as his father owns a large facility in Central Florida. Sal plans to give private lessons until he reports back in April of 2021. He is offering afternoon and Saturday appointments. You can book lessons with him through our online scheduler, under the private lesson tab.

  • Greg Shannahan

    Greg is a Jacksonville native that played for Episcopal High School for four years. During high school, he committed to Jacksonville University and went on to pitch five years there.  Greg went undrafted for the 2019 year and played independently for the 2020 covid season in the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Utica, Michigan. His team, The Utica Unicorns won the league championship. He has helped instruct and coach summer teams for Episcopal, as well as, helped run numerous youth through high school camps assisting friends and colleagues around the city of Jacksonville.  He has trained in some of the most esteemed environments in the game of baseball including 3 years with Cressey Sports Performance and a month understudy with throwing guru, Tom House.  He is currently training in a local gym called Tork and loves to apply his experiences and instructions given to him with those he plays with or coaches.  Greg’s approach to baseball is all encompassing and utilizes preparation, both mentally and physically, to identify and strengthen what a player can do to achieve success.