July 23, 2008
Florida State University Senior Associate Director of Athletics Monk Bonasorte announced Wednesday the hiring of Lonni Alameda as head softball coach for the Seminoles. Alameda, an All-Big Eight selection as a player at Oklahoma, comes to FSU from UNLV, where she spent the past five seasons reviving the Rebels’ program. She replaces Dr. JoAnne Graf, who retired after 30 seasons with the Seminoles.
“I am very honored and excited for this opportunity,” Alameda said. “There are few softball programs in the country that have established the tradition and pride that Florida State has. It is a great honor to follow in the footsteps of JoAnne Graf, an amazing coach and an amazing person, who has poured her heart and soul into this program the past 30 years. I would like to state that the pride, tradition and love that JoAnne Graf has for FSU softball will not be forgotten. She has been tremendous for the sport of softball and for the Florida State program and I intend to continue that passion.”
Alameda also has impressive coaching experience on the international level and since 2004, has helped in the development of Canada’s National Team. She aided Canada up until the 2004 Summer Olympics and resumed as an assistant following the Rebels’ 2005 season. In the summer of 2006, Canada qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, after its showing in the World Championships. Alameda is currently in Japan serving as an assistant softball coach with Team Canada as they train for the Olympic Games.
“I look forward to getting started with this new chapter in my life, but I have made a commitment to Team Canada as an assistant coach and we are headed to Beijing for the one goal of a podium finish,” Alameda said. “I know when the closing ceremonies conclude in China, I will be hitting the Tallahassee ground with both feet running.”
Prior to Alameda’s arrival at UNLV, the Rebels had seven straight seasons below .500 and hadn’t participated in NCAA Regional play since 1996. In 2005, just her second season at the helm of the program, Alameda guided UNLV to a 44-19 record, including a program-best 17 Mountain West Conference wins, and a trip to Los Angeles for NCAA Regionals. Alameda was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2005 and again in 2007 and the entire staff garnered NFCA West Regional Coaching Staff the Year in 2005.
“I want to thank UNLV for the last five seasons as they were amazing,” Alameda said. “UNLV is a spectacular place and being a Rebel was a true joy. There are many quality people and amazing alumni at UNLV and I can not say enough about the character of the Rebel softball team. I am grateful for all of the support from administration, coaches and the community. It is a very special place.”
After a second place finish in the Mountain West in 2007 and an overall 37-27 record, Alameda and UNLV had high hopes for 2008 and had the Rebels ranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll for the first time in program history. After starting the season 9-1-1, the Rebels moved up to No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll, but injuries to four starters proved costly as the season progressed.
Alameda went 25-35 in her first season, which was a four-game improvement over 2003’s final tally. She completely flipped the record to the right side with the staggering 44-19 mark in 2005 and the program’s first trip to NCAA Regionals since 1996. In 2006, the squad was set back by injuries and fell to 26-37, but, as previously mentioned, saw a 180-degree turnaround in 2007.
The 2005 season featured the Rebels’ assault on the program’s record book, appearances in the national rankings, a trip to Los Angeles for the NCAA Regionals and the introduction of several conference and national award winners. The 44 wins were the third-most in the program’s history, while the 17 Mountain West Conference wins were the most-ever since joining the league in 1999. After being predicted to finish last in the league, UNLV excelled, placing second in the league in both the regular season and Mountain West Conference tournament.
Under Alameda’s direction, the Rebels have enjoyed recognition at the conference and regional level. Five Rebels have garnered Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Regional honors while thirteen players have earned all-Mountain West Conference accolades, including two Pitchers of the Year and one Freshman of the Year awards.
To Alameda, academics are just as important as on-the-field production. Since taking over the program, the Rebels have had 58 Academic All-MWC honorees. Over the past five years, the team has had 10 or more honored four times, including 11 softball student-athletes in 2008. The softball program has had 21 MWC Scholar-Athletes selected, as well.
During her tenure at UNLV, Alameda also stressed the importance of community service and had players volunteer their time at the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation and Child Haven while participating in breast cancer walks and blood drives.
“Lonni possesses all of the qualities that we are looking for in a head coach at Florida State,” Florida State Director of Athletics Randy Spetman said. “Her priority is the overall development of the student-athlete and she has a passion for the sport of softball. We are excited to have her on board.”
Alameda came to Las Vegas after eight seasons as the assistant coach at Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.) where she helped guide the Cardinal to a 320-179-1 record and six straight NCAA Regional appearances. She oversaw the pitching staff there and produced three All-Americans: Becky Blevins, Marcy Crouch and Dana Sorenson.
Prior to her stint at Stanford, Alameda spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Barry University (Miami Shores, Fla.). She helped the Buccaneers to a fifth-place NCAA Division II finish in her first year. She also spent some time on the international stage, serving as instructor for both the Aruba (1995) and Spanish (2000) national teams.
An all-around great athlete, Alameda began her collegiate career as a pitcher at St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, Texas) where she led the Rattlers to the NAIA Tournament in her only season. She later transferred to Oklahoma in 1989 and played softball and volleyball for the Sooners. She was a two-time All-Big Eight selection as a first and third baseman, while hitting .359 as a senior in 1992.
Alameda earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Oklahoma in 1993 and played softball professionally in Europe for a season before beginning her coaching career.