Chrissy Schoonmaker thought she was finished with softball when she completed her playing career at South Carolina in 2008.
After an all-defensive team honor in her final season of eligibility, Schoonmaker then focused on her master’s degree in communications.
She completed the course work. Got a job. Then realized she wanted back in.
“I got my masters degree in communications, and I really thought I wanted to go into advertising and PR,” Schoonmaker said. “And then I started coaching a high school team with some kids I gave lessons to and they really just asked me to come in and help out, and I did and I just got bit by the coaching bug.”
That first job led to her first head coaching position at Dreher, S.C., High School in 2010, before becoming a volunteer assistant at her alma mater.
On Wednesday, she made the next step in coaching as Texas Tech coach Shanon Hays announced Schoonmaker’s hire as a full-time assistant coach, rounding out the staff.
The former Gamecock played all four infield positions, and is expected to work primarily with the Red Raider infield while serving as first base coach.
Tech lost three of its four infielders to graduation in May — four-year starter Emily Bledsoe, and three-year starters Logan Hall and Raven Richardson — so Schoonmaker is ready for the challenge of rebuilding the core of the defense.
The Red Raiders also are led by a pair of groundball pitchers — Brittany Talley and Cara Custer — so the infield needs to be especially sharp.
“Coach Hays and I have talked extensively about that as far as developing a new infield, and I think the success of a team — you have to put up offensive numbers but you absolutely have to be strong defensively,” said Schoonmaker, who had a .988 fielding percentage her final year at South Carolina. “So I’m excited about the challenge of molding a new infield.”
The 27-year-old South Florida native brings her Southeastern ties to the South Plains, and both she and Hays believe it will help with recruiting.
Schoonmaker also played youth ball for the Plantation Gold Coast Hurricanes, who went to ASA Gold Nationals in 2002 and 2003, giving her more ties to the region.
“To get a tie into recruiting in the Southeast where we’ve never really spent a lot of time at, that gives us another facet to our recruiting,” Hays said. “So hopefully she’s going to help in that department. Of course it’s all about recruiting. If you can do a good job recruiting, it helps you be a good coach.”
Schoonmaker replaces former assistant Kristie Fox, who was named the head coach at Texas-Arlington in June, and joins a Tech team that has reached the postseason three consecutive times.
The Red Raiders finished 41-17 (13-10 in Big 12 Conference play), going 1-2 at the Washington Regional.
“I’m really excited to come in and work with the infielders and really dive into Red Raider softball,” Schoonmaker said.
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