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Snead State Athletic Program Continues to Excel

BOAZ – Thanks to the support and commitment from fans, donors and the community, Snead State Community College has been able to take big strides toward its goal of providing a first-class student-athlete experience.  

“We have enjoyed a number of successes last year that we hope continue this year,” said Athletic Director Mark Richard.

Those successes have not only been on the field and the court but inside the classroom as well. They demonstrate the College’s commitment to providing the complete college experience for its students and student-athletes.

“The athletic program is committed to assisting the College in its top priority of having students earn their associate degree at Snead State,” said Mr. Richard.

For almost four years, much of the attention in the Snead State athletic department shifted to mirror the College’s mission to enhance opportunities for students through the College Completion Agenda. The changes set Snead State Athletics apart from the other programs in the state.

“At a time when many community colleges eliminated athletic programs, we continued to offer them for one reason – our students,” said Mr. Richard. “Many of our students rely on the resources available through athletics to set them on a path toward a quality education. Our commitment was and will continue to be helping students succeed.”

Perhaps the most impressive statistic for the Snead State athletic program is its freshman-to-sophomore graduation rate. Of the freshmen enrolled in 2012, 62-percent of those student-athletes earned their degree by the summer of 2014, well above IPED’s national average of 22-percent.

Eight student-athletes were named NJCAA Academic All-Americans in 2014. To earn this honor, student-athletes must maintain a 3.6-4.0 grade point average. Six Snead State teams held grade point averages above 3.0. Those included tennis (3.67), dance (3.55), softball (3.49), volleyball (3.29), cheer (3.18) and baseball (3.15).

Success in the classroom followed the teams in competition. The program averaged a 50-percent conference winning percentage in 2014 and six teams qualified for the state tournament. The tennis team claimed its seventh state consecutive title. Twenty-one Snead State student-athletes signed to play at four-year colleges.

The Snead State baseball team finished second in the ACCC North in 2014, which sent them to the state tournament for the third year in a row. Sixteen baseball players have signed with a four-year university over the past two years, and two players received All-American honors. 

For the first time in program history, the softball team earned a spot in the state tournament. Twelve basketball players have signed with four-year universities over the past two years. And, the volleyball team made it to the final four in the state tournament for the past four years.

It is a top priority for Snead State coaches to recruit student-athletes from the local community and surrounding areas. Over 80-percent of Snead State athletic scholarship recipients are from an area within 60 miles of Boaz.

New coaches are making their mark at Snead State, and veteran coaches are enjoying continued success. Coaches are expected to raise money throughout the year to help offset the costs of operating a top-notch athletic program. The program is on track to reach its goal of raising $140,000 for the current fiscal year, which is a testament to the support the program receives from the community.

Because of the financial support, two brand new scoreboards have been purchased for the softball and baseball fields and a 32-passenger bus as well.

Student-athletes take the time and invest in the community by serving as examples of the College’s service learning philosophy. Student-athletes spend hours working at school reading programs, volunteering with the Special Olympics, assisting local animal shelters and spending time with residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

From athletic tournaments to camps and clinics, Snead State student-athletes worked with hundreds of young people from our surrounding communities while also raising money for their respective programs, keeping up in the classroom and trying to lead their team to victory.

“The standards we have set for our student-athletes are more stringent than those set by the NJCAA but we believe those standards serve to make our student-athletes better competitors and better members of society,” said Mr. Richard.

“We hold them to a high academic standard so they can achieve their goals and demonstrate sportsmanship and the accomplishments that come through hard work and sacrifice. We hold them to a high citizenship standard so they set the example of the difference a productive and dedicated individual can make in the community.”