If there were ever a coach who knew a little bit about winning it would be East Hardy's Raymond Snapp.
The veteran coach, who has guided the Cougar baseball team the past 32 seasons, reached a milestone on Monday night when he earned his 500th career victory.
Not many coaches get close enough to even sniff 500 wins, so one might think that such an accomplishment would be a forethought of a coach closing in on such a feat. Not Snapp.
"I didn't even really know I was that close until the beginning of this year," the coach said. "Everybody seems to be making a big deal about it, but I just looked at it as another win. Getting that many wins just means I'm getting older."
The adage older and wiser would definitely apply to Snapp then, because the Cougars haven't seen a drop off in wins as the coach's long career begins to wind down. East Hardy posted its best-ever record in 2006 at 29-2. That same year, East Hardy made it all the way to the Class A state championship game.
The Cougars made it to the state semifinals last season, and with all but one starter returning from that squad, chances are good for East Hardy to make some more noise at the end of this season.
"We've been successful around here because we've been fortunate to have good players," said Snapp, whose team is off to a 7-2 start this season. "Last year we kind of snuck up on some people and made it back to the states. But if we want to make it back to Charleston again this year, we're going to have to get past some big obstacles, particularly Moorefield."
Snapp's teams have posted just seven losing seasons during his 34-year baseball coaching career. He has led the Cougars to the state tournament seven times. He said that perhaps his biggest moment as a coach, however, was in 1987 when he guided the Cougars to the Class A state championship.
"That was definitely a special season and perhaps my proudest moment as a coach," he said. "Everything seemed to fall into place for us that year and we had a little luck along the way. We've had some teams just as good as that one, but we just didn't catch the lucky breaks like that one did."
Winning in baseball isn't the only thing Snapp is good at, though. He also has a coaching resume in basketball that is almost as equally impressive. Before stepping down as the girls hoops coach two years ago, Snapp racked up 418 wins in 29 years at East Hardy. He led the Lady Cougars to five state basketball tournament appearances, including one in his final season as coach.
"I kind of got burned out with coaching basketball toward the end and that's why I retired," he said. "I thought after I decided to quit that I was going to miss it, but I really haven't. I have more time to spend with my grandchildren, so that's probably the biggest reason I don't miss it."
Snapp, who retired from teaching after 35 years at the end of last year, says he still enjoys working with kids out on the diamond.
"I really love coaching baseball," he said. "My goal is to coach maybe two more years and then hang it up all together."