TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The countdown is on for game two of the Women’s College World Series finals. Florida State needs just one more win to claim the program’s second-ever national championship. And if you were to ask any current and former Seminole softball players why this program has been so successful over the last few seasons, they would all say it’s the culture created by none other than head coach Lonni Alameda.
"I think the fact that Lonni (Alameda) has been able to come in as an outsider, not a local. You know coach (JoAnne) Graf was a local “Tallahassean” and she’s been able to build that community and build that trust," said former FSU softball player BillieAnne Gay. "It’s just really special and I think it’s rare in a lot of the big programs.”
Lonni Alameda had some pretty big shoes to fill when the keys to the Florida State softball program were passed to her by the legendary JoAnne Graf. But in her 13 seasons in Tallahassee, Alameda has implemented a culture that doesn’t set goals but rather expectations.
“For example, I was talking to D’Aun (Riggs) about it and she said that it’s like they’ve already played the game before they got out there because the coach is so prideful in making sure her girls are prepared," former FSU softball player Jessica Gilmore Wells added. "And putting them into situations they’re ready for.”
A two-person search committee including former Seminole All-American Brandi Stuart and former associate athletic director Monk Bonasorte made the decision to bring Alameda on as the next head coach of Florida State softball. A decision Stuart will say was one of the best she ever helped make.
“Her X-factor was her exuberance, she was just really excited about Florida State softball and that she was in it for the long haul. It wasn’t just an opportunity for her to get a really great head coaching job and then go on to the next thing," Stuart told ABC 27. "You could just tell she wanted to be in Tallahassee at Florida State and continue the momentum of the program.”
Alameda has fostered a family that stretches far beyond FSU’s campus. You can watch the impact she’s made on the softball community right here in our own backyards.
“Coach Alameda came in and I learned a lot. I can see a lot of things I learned from coach Alameda that I have taken into my coaching as well," adds former FSU softball player and Lincoln High School head softball coach Terese Waltman.