Snyder named Mini Games athletics coach


Dr. Ron Snyder, center, has been named head coach of the CNMI National Athletics Team to the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022. He is seen here with the rest of the officers of the Northern Marianas Athletics after last year’s PSS/NMA Cross Country Championships. (MARK RABAGO)

The CNMI National Athletics Team to the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 now has a head coach.

This, after Northern Marianas Athletics named Dr. Ron Snyder as national head coach for the quadrennial meet the CNMI will host for the very first time from June 17 to 25 this year. He will also serve the same position for next year’s Micronesian Games in the Marshall Islands.

Snyder will take over from longtime national head Coach Elias Rangamar, who has been appointed NMA development officer. Snyder will begin his new role starting Feb. 22, 2022.

“As the national head coach he will be tasked to lead a new core of athletes in the upcoming Pacific Mini Games happening on Saipan this June and the Micronesian Games next year in the Republic of Marshall Islands,” NMA said in a statement.

In appointing Snyder, NMA added that the Saipan International School headmaster and athletics team head coach has a proven track record of successful athletics recruitment, developing competitive programs, and prioritizing athlete/student success.

Snyder is excited and looks forward to coaching the CNMI National Athletics Team for both the Mini Games and Micro Games.

“I am honored in the trust and confidence that Northern Marianas Athletics has placed in me and I look forward to working with all the coaches in the different events as we get ready for the Pacific Mini Games and the Micronesian Games,” he said after his appointment to the head coaching gig.

Snyder, who was NMA distance and cross country coach prior to being named national head coach, also gave kudos to the athletics coaches and NMA top brass for all of their efforts in honing CNMI National Athletics Team as they prepare for the Mini Games.

“A big thanks in advance to coaches Elias [Ranagamar], David, [Shamburger], Greg [Iginoef], and Ron [Olopai] who will be instrumental in getting our amazing athletes ready for the Games. Also special thanks to president Robin Sapong and Oceanic Athletics Association for all of their support and to NMA, Northern Marianas Sports Association, and the Games Organizing Committee for all of the hard work they have done, are doing and will do to get us ready to host the Games. Finally, I also need to thank my wife, Kim Church, for supporting me in this new endeavor,” he said.

NMA president Ramon “Ray” Tebuteb expressed his thanks to Snyder for accepting the critical role for the benefit of NMA’s programs.

“His recent selection to the Oceania Athletics Coaches Association, under the tutelage of our Oceania Athletics Association, certainly accelerates our goals and aspirations to not only our athletes and their family but to our family of committed sponsors. Coach Ron is a shining example of sharing his knowledge and skills from the heart.”

Rangamar said he’s confident that Snyder has the experience, knowledge, and vision to successfully launch NMA’s athletics program to an elite level.

“I look forward to working and supporting Dr. Snyder as we look for NMI Athletics to regain its place as a talented and successful program,” he said.

Off the bat, Snyder already is anticipating that the CNMI National Athletics Team will have some difficulty in continuing their training as the Oleai track and field facility is set for renovation.

“We will have some challenges with training as we get our track and field ready for the Pacific Mini Games, but I am thinking that by being creative and flexible with our training we will be able to successfully compete with the athletes across the region, while showing them how hospitable and truly beautiful the NMI is,” he said.

Snyder has a doctorate in education from the University of Bath, UK, a level II middle/long distance IAAF coaching certification, and brings over 30 years of coaching experience with a well-traveled coaching resume that includes coaching stints in Europe, Africa, Pakistan, Japan, and the U.S.

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

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