2018 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPION
2018 NFCA NATIONAL COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR
Assistant Florida State softball coach Craig Snider will start his eighth season with the Seminoles in 2019 and has already done wonders with the Seminole hitters in just seven years in Tallahassee. The Noles have seen immense success in his seven years at FSU, posting an .804 winning percentage (363-88-1) with five ACC Championships, six regular season ACC titles, six NCAA Super Regional trips and six appearances at the Women’s College World Series, including a WCWS semifinal appearance in 2016 and the program’s first NCAA National Championship in 2018. Snider, along with head coach Lonni Alameda and assistant coach Travis Wilson, were named the 2018 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year.
Snider has guided the Noles to be more productive at the plate as FSU is routinely among the best in the ACC and the country in several offensive statistical categories. Florida State broke school records in home runs (76) and doubles (115) in 2018, batting average (.329) and slugging percentage (.544) in 2017, which added to the records for runs scored (459) and runs batted in (407) set in 2016.
The record-setting offense in 2018 was led by NFCA All-American Jessie Warren, who topped the team with a .404 batting average, 21 home runs and 70 RBI. Freshman Sydney Sherrill tied the NCAA record with 29 doubles and earned NFCA All-American and ACC Freshman of the Year honors. The production came from all over the lineup as 13 different players hit at least one extra-base hit, 13 players scored at least 10+ runs, eight different players had 10+ stolen bases and all nine spots in the batting order had at least one extra-base hit at the 2018 Women’s College World Series.
Florida State matched its conference record with six All-ACC First Team members in 2017, as the Noles finished the season with a perfect 24-0 record. Only three schools in Power 5 conferences have ended the year undefeated, as the Noles are joined by Nebraska (16-0 in 1998) and Iowa (22-0 in 1997). Florida State has not lost an ACC series since 2012 and are 45-0-4 in their last 49 conference series and a combined 128-13 (.907) in regular series games against ACC opponents.
Junior third baseman Warren set the FSU career HR record in 2017, passing Maddie O’Brien’s mark of 55 in just her third season and earned the second NFCA All-American honor of her career. The Seminoles earned their first-ever No. 1 ranking in the NFCA poll in 2017 and ended the year with a 55-8-1 record, marking the third time in the last four years that FSU has reached the 50-win plateau.
Behind a pair of All-American hitters – Alex Powers and Jessie Warren – the Noles finished 2016 in the top 10 nationally in on-base percentage, scoring, stolen bases and winning percentage. FSU posted a 21-2 record in the ACC in 2016 and ended the year in Oklahoma City with a 55-10 record.
In 2015, the Seminoles were among the top three in the conference in eight categories and led the ACC with 18 triples. The Noles were carried offensively in 2015 by a pair of freshmen, Jessie Warren and Morgan Klaevemann. Warren finished with 19 home runs and 57 RBI as she earned ACC Freshman of the Year honors, while Klaevemann posted a 26-game hitting streak – second-longest in FSU history and No. 24 all-time in NCAA history – and led the team with a .393 batting average.
Snider and the offense were an enormous part of the 2014 resurgence of FSU softball onto the national scene. The Seminoles posted a 55-9 record and won the school’s 12th ACC Championship and advanced to the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2004.
The 2014 offense set several new records, many that were set just one year prior as Snider and the rest of the staff have been able to change the perception of Florida State being only a pitcher’s school into one where the Seminoles perform all phases of the game at a high level. FSU broke the previous marks for runs scored (400), home runs (65), extra base hits (168), RBI (363), walks (318) and slugging percentage (.493). The Noles also finished with a .304 batting average, which was the first time since 1995 that the team had finished with a mark above .300.
FSU placed four position players on the 2014 All-ACC Team (O’Brien, Senas, East and Hamilton) and also four on the ACC All-Tournament Team (O’Brien, Gomez, Hensley and Brown).
Despite his short time in Tallahassee, Snider had coached numerous players who are now listed on FSU’s single-season top 10 list in many categories. Maddie O’Brien set school records in home runs (24), walks (56), RBI (83) and slugging percentage (.942) in 2014 on her way to being an NFCA First Team All-American and the ACC Player of the Year. Courtney Senas added 15 home runs, 57 RBI and tied Tiffani Brown with 65 runs scored. In all, eight of the top nine home run, the top five walk, the top six RBI and four of the top six run totals in Florida State single-season history have come from players coached by Snider since 2012.
The success in 2014 only built upon the foundation laid in 2013 that set school marks for home runs (60), RBIs (316) and slugging percentage (.476). In no way was the offense one-dimensional, as the Seminoles also posted a .292 batting average and recorded 156 extra base hits, just two shy of the program record at the time.
Snider helped accomplish so much success at the plate despite being without three key everyday players who were out with season-ending injuries early in the year. Known as a tradition-rich program with enormous pitching feats, Snider helped give a vital boost to the Seminole bats that helped carry the team along with good pitching in 2013 and watched three position players in Senas, freshman Victoria East and Bullock earn All-ACC selections.
Arriving in the summer of 2011, Snider helped foster a winning attitude and developed tremendous camaraderie with student-athletes and recruits immediately. He worked actively to improve the individual performances of several student-athletes in the 2012 season, helping players such as Briana Hamilton, Tiffani Brown, Kirstin Austin and others record banner years. Hamilton and Brown earned selections to the All-ACC First Team for the first time in their careers, while Austin’s noticeable improvement at the plate gave the Seminoles an enormous spark throughout the year.
In 2012, Snider’s daily teachings helped the team establish a strong sense of plate discipline. FSU’s 230 walks were vital toward manufacturing runs, with it being the team’s highest total since 2004. Throughout the season, the Seminole offense proved to be a clutch-hitting bunch that could come through in late-game situations. It was also a fundamentally-sound group that improved greatly in situational hitting, contributing to its 47-16 overall record.
The Franklin, Ky. native has built a reputation for being a difference maker everywhere he has been, which includes Stephen F. Austin, Oklahoma, Centenary and Lindsey Wilson College. Over the last decade, Snider has propelled each of his teams toward tremendous improvement at the plate, and looks to continue his history of success as FSU’s hitting coach.
In his most recent stint at Stephen F. Austin as an assistant coach, Snider helped turn the Southland Conference program around right away. He took over as hitting coach in 2007 following a season in which the Ladyjacks finished with a .229 batting average. Over the next three seasons, SFA batted .274 (2008), .275 (2009) and .278 (2010). He also led the team to sharp spikes in home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as SFA recorded 43 round-trippers in Snider’s first season after hitting just 16 the season before.
At Stephen F. Austin, Snider took on several roles in guiding the program toward its recent success. He devised hitting and defensive workouts during the fall, directed all aspects of camps, developed team-building exercises, served as a fundraising arm, handled much of the recruiting and recruiting databases and oversaw his student-athlete’s academic progress.
“I’m extremely impressed with Craig’s character,” FSU head coach Lonni Alameda said. “He is a genuine person who works hard and loves the game. He has been a part of bigger programs as well as mid majors and I believe that makes him a tremendous coach as you have to be very creative in your coaching as you relate to different styles of athletes. Craig also brings a wealth of recruiting connections. He is very good with people and respected by many and he will now embrace those relationships as a Seminole.”
Snider, who has been involved as a coach in softball since 2001, previously assisted in producing three All-Americans at Oklahoma from 2005-06, and played a large role in creating scouting reports as a graduate assistant coach for the Sooners. At his alma mater of Centenary, he helped lead the school to two Mid-Con Tournament championships while providing analysis for recruiting, hitting, fielding and putting together chart systems. His versatility also included field maintenance and even putting together the team’s highlight videos in 2004 and 2005.
At Lindsey Wilson College from 2001-03, Snider guided the team to batting averages above .300 every season. He was heavily involved in the recruiting process as an assistant coach and oversaw all summer camps.
“I’m thrilled to help coach at such an established program that is coming off another conference championship and has great things going for it,” Snider added when he first came to Tallahassee. “FSU’s history of softball success was such a motivating factor for me to come here, and I have no doubt that through the hard work of this current coaching staff and our student-athletes, we can take this program to the next level.”
In 2017, Snider worked on the coaching staff of the USSSA Pride in the National Pro Fastpitch league as the team finished first in the league in the regular season.
Snider is married to his wife, Lauren, who is a native of Bellville, Texas. The two have a daughter, Riley, and a son, Henry.