Russ Snow steps down, Norman Ames takes the reins of GB
Russ Snow, the most successful Head Coach in the history of the GB Men’s Fastpitch Team, has stepped down from the position and will be replaced by one of his former Assistant Coaches, Norman Ames, who lives and coaches in the Netherlands.
Russ took over the GB Men’s Team in 2005 and led them to three third-place finishes in European Championships and qualification for two World Championships, where the team finished eighth and ninth.
A former world class pitcher and the only person to coach both the GB Men’s and Women’s Teams, Russ has also been a consistent performer over the years with the Meteors Men’s Fastpitch Team, leading them to a European Championship in 1996 with his pitching and batting, and to numerous successes at the annual Zeisterslot Tournament in Holland.
Russ, who lives for most of the year in California, will be inducted into the BSF Hall of Fame at the AGM on 22 February in Manchester and has also received a Zeister Slot Hall of Fame award.
Russ’s legacy in British softball is likely to be carried on by his daughter Alana, who was a star performer for the GB Under-16s at European Championships in 2013.
Norman Ames, who was an Assistant Coach for Russ Snow and the GB Men in 2008, brings a considerable softball background to the post.
After moving from baseball to fastpitch softball in the 1990s, Norman played in the top Dutch League for EHS Haarlem until 2004.
He then took over as Head Coach at the club from 2004-2010, winning two national championships, and moved on to become the Head Coach at DVH Amstelveen for the past two seasons, winning the national championship in 2013.
Norman, who works in the global events business, was an Assistant Coach for the Dutch Men’s Fastpitch Team in 2005 and was a member of Russ Snow’s coaching staff in 2008, when the team qualified for the 2009 World Championships.
“It feels great to be back,” Norman said, “and to be part of the GB quest for gold. I feel it will be a privilege to work with this great group of guys. We have a lot of talent in this team and I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Russ Snow and Steve Fullan managed to create over the last few years.
“In my coaching career, I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to work with players from all over the world,” Norman added. “Creating a successful team from several nationalities has been a challenge from which I personally get a huge energy boost.”
Letter to the team
After stepping down from his position as GB Men’s Team Head Coach, Russ Snow sent the following letter to the team members that he coached at the World Championships in New Zealand last March:
Happy New Year! Hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since we played in New Zealand.
The ISF has changed its Championship schedule. The next World competition will be held in Saskatoon in 2015. After the next Worlds, the competition will be open to any national team that wants to compete, and will be played every two years. I’m unsure how that will affect GB, but for this next competition, the usual qualification will take place, with the top three teams from Europe getting the berths.
That means we must play our way in once again. The European teams are getting tougher every year and we have a small pool of players, so we need everyone to play at their best.
With this in mind, after talking with Steve [Fullan] and Stan [Doney], I am stepping down as the GB Head Coach. It’s time for some new blood and some new ideas for this team. I read once that a Head Coach has about seven years’ shelf life before the players no longer hear the message that he is trying to get across. We didn’t achieve the round of playoffs this past year at the Worlds, the goal that we set for ourselves. That responsibility falls on me. It was my job to get the best out of all our players, to manage and make decisions. No one was more disappointed when we failed to advance. Our team has a good nucleus, and with further development and a bit of luck we will challenge for those top four spots. While no one has been selected yet, the new coach will inherit a great bunch of athletes who leave it all out on the field for each other.
I thank you for all the hard work that you have put in, and the opportunity to lead you. I’m most proud of our ability to gel quickly, despite not having the same players, and limited time to train. We always got a lot done in a short time. I know that will be a continuing hallmark of GB going forward. I’m confident that you’ll continue the run of GB teams making their mark on the Europeans and the Worlds.
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to watch somewhere down the road…. GO GB!
All the best in softball,
Nice salute to Russ Snow on Facebook from David Bell (Las Vegas Hitmen)
Congratulations to my friend, rival, and teammate Russ Snow on his induction to the Great Britain Softball Hall of Fame after being their most successful coach in the country’s history. Russ taught me the change-up, however I never threw it like he did. A tough lefty to face, always seemed to find the exact spot that I couldn’t pull the trigger on. CHEERS SNOWY!!!