Travis Wilson gets top US college softball job

TONY SMITH
Last updated 09:47 12/08/2011
Travis Wilson
STACY SQUIRES
Travis Wilson.

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Black Sox softball star Travis Wilson has been appointed to a coaching job at a prestigious American university.

The former Atlanta Braves baseballer was today confirmed as an assistant-coach for the Florida State University's women's softball programme.

Wilson, 34, was a former fielding coach and video analyst for the New Zealand Black Caps cricket team before returning to the United States where he is based with his wife and son in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

He had recently worked as an instructor for the Idaho Falls minor league baseball team _  part of the Kansas City Royals farm system _ where his duties included scouting, writing reports and compiling video of potential Major League Baseball prospects.

Now he is heading to Tallahassee to join the Florida State Seminoles along with eight-year college coaching veteran Craig Snider.

Florida State head coach Lonni Alameda said both recruits had been "part of championship programmes'' and Wilson brought unique experience to his new role.

"Travis is from both professional baseball and the New Zealand national programme," she said. "From the first time I met Travis I knew he would be a great fit for our programme. 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 programme get to the next level."

Wilson spent seven years with the Atlanta Braves organization after winning a world men's softball championship gold medal as a 19-year-old in 1996. He played at triple-A level _ professional baseball's second tier _ and narrowly missed being named to the Braves' Major League squad.

He ended his professional baseball career in 2004 with the Cincinnati Reds and later returned to play softball for the Black Sox at the 2009 world championships in Saskatoon, Canada. He is still playing top-level professional softball in the United States.

Wilson becomes the third former New Zealand softball international on the women's softball college coaching circuit in the United States.

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Legendary pitcher Michael White _ who pitched a perfect game to win the 1996 world championship grand final _ is the head coach at Oregon State University and is also an assistant-coach to the United States national women's team which has won the last seven world championship title and three out of four Olympic Games gold medals.

Leslie King, a double New Zealand softball and football representative, is the head coach at the University of Pennsylvania. The former shortstop won a silver medal with the New Zealand women's softball team at the 1990 world championships.

- Fairfax Media

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