Former New Zealand national team coach joins softball staff

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Jordyn Bailer | Assistant Photo Editor

Richards is the latest coaching staff addition under Head Coach Chrissy Schoonmaker, who was named A-10 Coach of the Year last spring, guiding softball to a championship bid.

A former coach for New Zealand’s national baseball team joined softball as an assistant coach for the upcoming season last month.

Kris Richards – who coached for the Baseball New Zealand national team for more than five years – will bring extensive experience from the baseball diamond to the softball squad as part of Head Coach Chrissy Schoonmaker’s staff. Richards served as a hitting coach for New Zealand’s U-15 and U-23 programs and managed the U-18 team before overseeing coach and player development from Baseball New Zealand’s administration.

“It’s an honor to take on this role and represent such a respected institution,” Richards said in a release. “I want to thank Coach Schoonmaker for giving me the opportunity to be a part of her experienced coaching staff. I am eager to get out on the diamond, meet the players and compete for an A-10 Championship.”

Richards joins recent graduate Sierra Lange as the latest coaching staff addition under Schoonmaker, who was named A-10 Coach of the Year last spring, guiding softball to an A-10 leading 36 wins and a championship bid.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kris Richards to GW, to the softball program and to our coaching staff,” Schoonmaker said in the release. “Kris has a passion for player development, a love of coaching and a deep knowledge of the game which will make an immediate impact.”

Richards joined New Zealand’s national baseball organization in 2017, when he started as the U-15 hitting coach – a position that earned him International Coach of the Year honors from international baseball agency Baseball Jobs Overseas.

He served as a regional development officer of the Wellington region of New Zealand the same year, where he oversaw administrative functions, like scheduling in-season games, coordinating coach and player development clinics, developing budgets and coaching elite players.

Richards got his first national coaching gig in the Czech Republic from 2015 to 2016 before heading to the Down Under, serving as hitting coach for the U-23 national team while also managing the Kotlářka Praha baseball club in Prague, which he guided to its first-ever league title.

Richards played in the Baltimore Orioles’ minor league system for three seasons as an infielder and pitcher before Tommy John surgery gave way to his coaching career.

“Kris has a wealth of experience at both the professional and international levels from his time in MLB and with Baseball New Zealand, and his offensive expertise will be a game changer for us,” Schoonmaker said in the release. “Kris’s energy is infectious, and he will be an asset to our team culture and out on the recruiting trail. We look forward to seeing the lasting impact he has on our student-athletes.”


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