Assistant Florida State softball coach Craig Snider begins his fourth season with the Seminoles and has already done wonders with the Seminole hitters in just three years in Tallahassee.
Using his technological approach to help each batter, Snider was 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, five of the top six home run, three of the top five walk, three of the top five RBI and three of the top seven run totals in Florida State 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.
Moreover, Snider's first season at FSU was an enjoyable one for everyone associated with the program. He has proven in just a short period of time how easily he relates with student-athletes while working with them day-to-day, and is someone who is sure to develop positive and meaningful relationships with future Seminoles on the recruiting trail. As someone who possesses an innovative mindset, Snider will continue to help FSU student-athletes at the plate through his analytical work in the video room, batting cages and on the field.
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."
Snider is married to his wife, Lauren, who is a native of Bellville, Texas. The two have one daughter, Riley.