Midland Valley boys basketball coach Mark Snelgrove views his program’s development in three-year intervals, and the Mustangs are currently in the middle of their best run yet.
Snelgrove has seen an
11-win improvement over the past three years, and Midland Valley reached the furthest point in the Class AAA state playoffs in school history this season.
As a result, Snelgrove has been named The Augusta Chronicle’s South Carolina Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
The eighth-year coach led Midland Valley to the third round of the state playoffs before bowing out a game shy of the Lower State Championship by four points to Myrtle Beach. Reaching that stage in the tournament was an accomplishment in itself for the Mustangs after losing in the first round the previous year. They improved from 12 wins in 2012 to 23 wins in 2014.
“We’re in the second year of our next three-year cycle, and we already have 40 wins in two years,” Snelgrove said. “It used to be, if you lost to Midland Valley, it was embarrassing to them. When I came here, I felt like we had an inferiority complex. The last two years, it has started to change to we expect to win.”
Snelgrove took over a program that failed to win a game in 2006. He said the first three-year cycle was about being competitive; he won four games in his first season and 11 in 2009.
Snelgrove’s second interval began with 19 wins in 2010, but the team was loaded with seniors, and the Mustangs fell back to 11 wins the next year. However, his current core grew into what has become his best group yet, and Snelgrove will return the majority of his starters next season.
“The year before, we won region for the first time playing with basically six guys,” he said. “I knew this year would be different, because our (junior varsity) team was pretty good. We had depth and more talent. We went from playing six to playing 10 or 11. It was more exciting.”
Snelgrove said the addition of a coaching staff was helpful, as he brought in Miguel Burns, a former head coach who handled defensive duties. Also added were Marquett Carr, the older brother of star guard Daniel Carr, and Ken Quiller.
Snelgrove said he’s confident Midland Valley can return for another deep playoff run next season.
“The immediate goal when I first got here was to be competitive,” he said. “We’ve tried to do some things to make it attractive for kids to want to be here.”