Snyder joins Oceania Athletics Coaches’ Association

Posted on Oct 21 2021

Northern Marianas Athletics distance running coach and cross country director Ron Snyder, fourth from left, poses with other NMA officials, led by president Ramon Tebuteb, right, at the end of the 2021 PSS/NMA Cross Country Championships last Oct. 9 at the old Saipan Country Club golf course behind Saipan Vegas. (Mark Rabago)

Northern Marianas Athletics distance running coach and cross country director Ron Snyder has been appointed to the Oceania Athletics Coaches’ Association.

The OACA, which is under the Oceania Athletics Association Council, was established in line with the OAA Constitution and Development Commission Terms of Reference and will ensure that all aspects of the sport in each of the Oceania federations is well serviced with highly trained coaches. OAA said it called for expressions of interest and the members of OACA were appointed by the OAA Council.

The role of OACA is to provide expertise, advice and recommendations for the information and approval of the Oceania Development Commission on matters that support the growth, development and administration of coaching at the area and national level through education and other related activities.

Snyder, who is also the headmaster of Saipan International School and secretary and treasurer of Run Saipan, thanked the OAA Council for his appointment to the OACA.

“It is a great honor to be working with the Oceania Athletics Development Commission, representing the coaches of Oceania. It is an amazing opportunity for me and I would like to thank NMA for all of its support in my appointment as well as their support in sending me to the IAAF (WA) Lecturers course and the IAAF Level II Middle Long Distance Coaches course. I have learned so much during these training courses and I look forward to being able to work with OAA to extend these types of opportunities to prospective coaches across the region,” he said.

According to the OAA, Snyder is a middle-distance Level 2 coach and Level 1 assistant lecturer with over 25 years’ experience at school level coach and travelled internationally as coach of NMI athletes. He has coached at international schools and is involved in developing sports within schools.

Aside from Snyder, the slew of appointments include Jerry Brunt of Samoa as OACA chairperson, Nik Hagicostas and Leanne Hines-Smith of Australia, Kirsten Hellier of New Zealand, Desmond Mandell III of Guam, and Lolomanaia Tuifua of Tonga.

Brunt is a member of the OAA Development Commission and president of Athletics Samoa. His background as a lawyer and respected sports administrator in Samoa will ensure he provides strong governance to OACA.

When advised about his appointment, Brunt said “I am thrilled to be appointed to the Oceania Athletics Coaches’ Association. The development of Athletics in our 20 Oceania member dederations and three associate federations is extremely important to me and I am honored to be asked to be the chairperson of OACA. I look forward to working alongside the appointed members of the committee and together with our coaches providing a coaches’ voice to the area association through OACA and the OAA Development Commission.”

Hagicostas is a coach lecturer who has been coaching international level athletes for over 30 years. He is passionate about guaranteeing coaches throughout the area have specific teaching/coaching requirements and wants to develop a support network for coaches targeted to Oceania.

Hines-Smith is a teaching professional, actively involved with development of sporting policies, mentor of teacher coaches, appointed member of Australian Athletics Coaches Advisory Group, a Level 4 coach and Australian team manager and coach of Lataisi Mwea (Kiribati), a Tokyo Olympian.

Hellier is the current coach development lead at Athletics NZ, with over 30 years’ experience in high performance coaching and a member of High-Performance Sport NZ Coach Advisory Group, who is currently mentoring and leading development programs for women in sport/coaching.

Mandell has been the national team head coach for Guam and has years of experience coaching athletes. The public relations officer for his national federation, and a former athlete, Mandell understands the importance of the entire sport having a voice.

Tuifua brings the perspective of an island coach who is passionate about developing the sport throughout the entire area. He is a world athletics coach lecturer, jumps, sprints/hurdles and middle-distance coach, and Team Tonga national coach.

The first meeting of OACA is expected to be held later this month.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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