2018 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPION
2018 NFCA NATIONAL COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR
Assistant Florida State softball coach Travis Wilson will begin his 11th season at Florida State in 2022 as he leads the Seminole offense and defense. FSU has earned seven ACC regular season/division titles, six ACC tournament championships, eight trips to the NCAA Super Regionals, four appearances in the Women’s College World Series and won the 2018 NCAA National Championship, while posting a 484-117-2 record (.803 winning percentage) in his nine years at Florida State. Wilson, along with head coach Lonni Alameda and former assistant coach Craig Snider, earned 2018 NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year honors.
The Noles have turned their offensive production around under Wilson, as they have had at least 335 runs scored, 460 hits, 50 home runs and 300 RBI in eight of the last nine full seasons. When Wilson arrived at Florida State after the 2011 season, the Seminoles had finished the year with 286 runs scored, 40 home runs and 238 RBI. Overall, the top seven home run totals in program history have come during his eight full years at FSU and of the top eight seasons in each offensive category, the following amounts have come since Wilson arrived in 2012 – RBI (7), runs scored (5), doubles (5), walks (5), batting average (5), stolen bases (3) and hits (2).
Florida State finished the 2021 season with a 49-13-1 record in 2021 and did it differently than years past. FSU was not the power-hitting team of old but won by playing cerebral softball with good pitching and great defense, led by second-team All-American Kathryn Sandercock and the two-time ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Sydney Sherrill. Florida State led the ACC and was ranked 22nd in the country in fielding percentage (.975) in 2021 and finished with the second-best team ERA in the ACC and 11th best in the NCAA (1.82). The Seminole defense also turned and ACC leading 33 double plays, which ranked second in the nation.
In the shortened 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seminoles played well and posted a 17-7 record, despite having half of the team as newcomers (11-of-22 with six freshmen, three transfers and two redshirt freshmen), as well as playing a competitive schedule with nearly half of FSU’s games coming against ranked teams (11-of-24). The Noles ranked 12th in the NCAA in scoring with 6.83 runs per game and were outstanding defensively, recording a .977 fielding percentage to rank 11th in the nation and were fifth in the NCAA with 14 double plays.
Another season of record-setting offense was on display for the Seminoles in 2019, as Florida State finished third in the country with 105 home runs, easily surpassing the previous mark of 76 HRs from 2018. The Noles had seven different players with at least 10 home runs (Sydney Sherrill, Cali Harrod, Carsyn Gordon, Dani Morgan, Elizabeth Mason, Cassidy Davis and Anna Shelnutt) and six with 40 or more RBI, as FSU also set a school record with 423 RBI. FSU also set a record with a .330 batting average and a .601 slugging percentage as the Noles finished in the top 20 in the NCAA in six different categories.
Sophomore Sydney Sherrill led the team in six different categories and finished with a .405 batting average, 18 doubles, 16 home runs, 60 RBI, .762 slugging percentage and 75 hits as the infielder earned NFCA First Team All-America honors. Cali Harrod became the only player in the country since at least 2011 (as far back as the NCAA records would go) to record 15+ home runs and 40+ stolen bases in the same season, as the senior shortstop finished with 15 home runs and 43 stolen bases.
Florida State set single-season team records in doubles (115) and home runs (76) in 2018 on its way to its first NCAA National Championship. The Seminoles became the third school in WCWS history to lose its first game of the tournament and come back through the loser’s bracket to win the title, joining Texas A&M (1983) and UCLA (2003). In all, the Noles won six elimination games in the NCAA Tournament, to tie an all-time record.
The 115 doubles led the country in 2018 and ranked in a tie for eighth-most in a single season in NCAA history, led by freshman Sydney Sherrill who tallied 29, which set FSU and ACC records and tied for the most in the NCAA. Senior Jessie Warren closed out her impressive career with her third NFCA All-American honor and second-straight ACC Player of the Year accolade. She led the team with a .404 batting average, 21 home runs, 70 RBI and a .836 slugging percentage and was the 2018 WCWS Most Outstanding Player. She finished with FSU and ACC records for home runs (83), RBI (273), runs scored (229) and slugging percentage (.820). The 273 RBI ranks eighth in NCAA history, while the 83 HR are tied for eighth all-time and her .820 slugging percentage is the 13th-best in college softball history.
The offensive production in 2018 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.
2017 saw the Seminole offense become one of the best in the nation, as Florida State finished in the top 10 in the NCAA in eight different categories, including slugging percentage (fourth – 0.544), on-base percentage (fourth – 0.429), scoring (fifth – 6.63) and batting average (seventh – 0.329). FSU set school records with 94 doubles and 71 home runs, and along with its 24 triples became the first team since Notre Dame in 2010 to tally at least 90 doubles, 20 triples and 70 home runs in a season.
Seven different FSU players recorded over 35 RBI in 2017, led by junior Jessie Warren who topped the team with a .413 batting average, 14 doubles, 23 home runs, 68 RBI and a .922 slugging percentage as she earned NFCA First Team All-America honors, along with ACC Player and Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
FSU posted a perfect 24-0 record in ACC play in 2017 for its fifth consecutive regular-season conference title and is one of three Power 5 schools to have an undefeated conference slate – Nebraska (16-0 in 1998) and Iowa (22-0 in 1997).
FSU broke several school records and nearly toppled a few others in 2016 as the Noles established program records with 459 runs scored, 407 RBI and a .323 batting average. The team also finished second in FSU history with 155 stolen bases and 63 home runs, and fourth all-time with 87 doubles.
Redshirt junior Alex Powers and Jessie Warren carried the FSU offense to the 2016 WCWS semifinals, as each were named NFCA All-Americans. Powers, the 2016 ACC Player of the Year, led the team with a .396 batting average and 16 doubles while adding 16 home runs and 62 runs scored. Warren led the team and finished in the top 10 nationally with 20 home runs, 78 RBI and 72 runs scored, ranking second in FSU history in a single season in all three categories.
The 2016 offense was aggressive and effective as five players had at least 11 stolen bases, seven players had at least nine doubles and 10 different student-athletes hit a home run en route to an ACC regular season and tournament championship. The Noles set an ACC record with six members on the All-ACC First Team as Powers and Warren were joined by Jessica Burroughs, Ellie Cooper, Meghan King and Morgan Klaevemann.
A pair of freshmen led the Seminole offense in 2015 as Jessie Warren earned ACC Freshman of the Year honors and finished with 19 home runs, 57 RBI and 53 runs scored to lead the team. Morgan Klaevemann led the team with a .393 batting average and 20 stolen bases as the outfielder also recorded a 26-game hitting streak from March 25 to May 17. The Noles earned the ACC Championship for the second year in a row and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional round for the third consecutive season in 2015.
The 2014 Seminoles reached the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2004, posted a 55-9 record and earned the ACC regular-season title with a 24-3 mark. The 24 ACC wins set a new school and ACC record for conference wins in a season and gave the Seminoles the No. 1 seed on their way to winning their 12th ACC Tournament Championship.
Under Wilson’s guidance, the Florida State lineup was dangerous from top to bottom and saw many players recognized for their success. Maddie O’Brien set new single-season school records for home runs (24), RBI (83), walks (56) and slugging percentage (.942) on her way to being named an NFCA First Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year. Courtney Senas was named to the NFCA All-Southeast Region First Team would have set school records in home runs (15) and RBI (57) if not for her teammate, as both totals were more than any Seminole had hit prior to the 2014 season.
As a team, the Seminoles set program records in runs scored (400), home runs (65), extra-base hits (168), RBI (363), walks (318) and slugging percentage (.493). These marks eclipsed several records that were set during the impressive 2013 campaign that saw FSU reach its first NCAA Super Regional since 2006. Wilson helped Florida State achieve record-breaking numbers in just his second season as the Seminoles shattered the previous home run record of 49 in 2007 by producing 60 round-trippers in 2013. For the first time ever, four Seminoles finished with double-digit home runs including Courtney Senas (14), Kelly Hensley (13), Maddie O’Brien (10) and Celeste Gomez (10).
Florida State’s 316 RBIs in 2013 set a school record, topping the previous mark of 313 in 2004. The 2013 squad also set a program record for slugging percentage at .476, were able to win 17 games by mercy rule and recorded 20 games with double-digit base hits. Wilson also oversees the team’s fielding and with early-season injuries in 2013 throwing players into makeshift positions, Wilson worked arduously with each infielder and outfielder on their mechanics and created a well-accomplished group that got the job done.
Joining assistant coach Craig Snider as the team’s offensive instructors, Wilson helped the Seminoles make strides at the plate in their debut 2012 year. Coaching a youthful unit that included just one everyday senior starter, Wilson also made a great impact on the team’s defensive game as it became a sound group in the field.
In 2012, the Seminoles finished the year with a .966 fielding percentage to rank in the upper echelon on a national scale. FSU became an entertaining group to watch defensively as student-athletes such as third baseman Briana Hamilton, shortstop Maddie O’Brien, second baseman Tiffani Brown and centerfielder Courtney Senas made a bevy of highlight-reel plays throughout the season. A fundamentally sound unit of infielders and outfielders collectively produced both the routine and difficult plays.
It was the solid play of FSU’s defensive stalwarts that helped the Seminoles begin the 2012 season with a 16-0 record, the second-best start in school history. The 16-game win streak ties for the 12th longest winning stretch for the program.
Wilson is seen as an excellent instructional mind by FSU’s student-athletes, which was evident from the first day of practice in fall 2011. He is a reliable arm for batting practice who is always offering excellent teaching points to better enlighten each player. Wilson has proven to be an absolute student of the game who utilizes various statistics in his meticulous game-day preparation.
Wilson is a native of New Zealand who has already taken on an important role in recruiting. The baseball, softball and cricket veteran serves as the Seminoles’ hitting and fielding coach, using his past success as a player to better serve his student-athletes.
“Travis is from both professional baseball and the New Zealand National Program,” head coach Lonni Alameda said when Wilson first arrived in summer 2011. “From the first time I met Travis I knew he would be a great fit for our program. It is not often you come across someone that has played the same game that the girls do and yet has 10 years of Major League Baseball experience. He is personable and he has won at the highest level of this game from the men’s side. He has played every position you can on the field and has been among some of the world’s best in men’s fastpitch. I believe Travis will be able to relate to the players on a unique level as he stills plays the game. He is excited about this opportunity and can help our program get to the next level.”
Alameda’s words have become prophetic so far, with Wilson doing an excellent job of working with each student-athlete and enhancing their overall game. In his eight seasons of work, countless players have improved their offense and expanded their defensive abilities through the work of Wilson.
From 1996-2004, Wilson played seven seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization covering all stops from Rookie Ball to Triple-A. He enjoyed much success in his professional stint, being named an All-Star for the Appalachian League (1998), South Atlantic League (1999) and the Carolina League (2000). He was named Carolina League Player of the Year for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and led the Grapefruit League in hitting for the Braves during spring training in 2001.
Wilson ended his professional career in 2004 with the Cincinnati Reds organization in Chattanooga, Tenn. As a softball player in New Zealand for the Black Sox, he made his debut as a 16-year old in 1994 and was named both the New Zealand Softballer of the Year and the Canterbury Softballer of the Year after posting a team-best .396 batting average in 1996. He would earn the Canterbury Player of the Year honor multiple times and become one of his country’s biggest softball ambassadors. Wilson also was named the New Zealand Softballer of the Year in 2006 and was voted into the New Zealand Softball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Wilson’s most recent baseball stint was as an instructor for the Idaho Falls, a Rookie League team of the Kansas City Royals. His tasks included scouting the Pioneer League, writing reports and utilizing video while communicating with the Royals organization on several prospects. His efforts have helped the Royals claim their status of having the best farm system in Major League Baseball, as asserted by several minor-league publications. On the field, he helped his players develop their infield/outfield skills, base running and hitting mechanics. Wilson also served as an expert commentator for the ISF Men’s World Softball Series and was a fielding coach and video analyst for the Black Caps of the New Zealand Cricket Association.
From 2015-2017, he served as the assistant coach for the USSSA Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch league, helping the Pride lead the league in the regular-season standings and finish second in the postseason in all three seasons.
Wilson is married to his wife, Jill. The two have a son named Tyler and a daughter named Josie.