Steve replaces Andy Hurry, who left the role after 13 years at Somerset to join the England set-up as Head of the England Development Programme last month.
Snelly is of course no stranger to the County Ground. He stepped in as replacement wicket-keeper in late 2011 when both Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter were away on England duty.
He played in a List A game and the last LV= County Championship match that season before going to the Champions League T20 in India with Somerset, where he enjoyed considerable success. His unbeaten 34 off 24 balls in the qualifier against Auckland helped ensure a thrilling Somerset victory off the last ball of the match and earned him the man of the match award.
Steve was on hand again to play for Somerset at the end of the 2012 season in both the T20 tournament and the County Championship. Since then he has been playing Minor County Cricket for Hertfordshire and coaching the wicket-keepers at his former county Gloucestershire.
Between 2001 and 2012 Steve played in 44 first class matches, in which he scored over 1,700 runs at an average of just over 26 with a best of 127, as well as appearing in 26 List A and 22 T20 matches.
He has also been a regular member of the BBC local radio commentary team over the past couple of seasons, following Somerset’s fortunes from the now demolished potting shed.
Steve said: “The opportunity to continue the rich tradition of developing exciting and entertaining cricketers through the Somerset Academy and onto successfully representing the Somerset first team is a challenge I am immensely looking forward to.
“The Somerset Academy is held in high esteem around the country and I am well aware of the outstanding work by past and present coaches involved with the county’s development programmes. I am thrilled at the prospect of playing a major role in the future success of Somerset.”
Matt Maynard the Director of Cricket said: “This is a key role within the Somerset cricketing structure and we are delighted to have been able to appoint Steve, who has played for the County and knows the set-up at the County Ground.
“Steve is a high quality coach and he will bring additional experience, enthusiasm and expertise to the team here at the County Ground.”
Steve will start his new role as Director of the Academy and Second XI Coach on January 5th 2015.
Matt Maynard is certainly making his mark with some key appointments to the coaching and playing staff at Taunton. Steve Snell’s appointment at the County Ground follows the return of another former Somerset player, Ben Phillips, as fast bowling coach. Matt himself is taking on responsibility as batting coach – a move which sadly meant there was no place for Dave Houghton who has now joined Middlesex. On the field, Matt has moved to secure Pete Trego’s services until at least the end of 2016 and awarded an overseas contract to Pakistan Test and ODI spinner Abdur Rehman. Not bad for his first month in the job.
Snelly is well-known to supporters at the County Ground and importantly understands the club both as a player and as a media commentator. His observations on Somerset’s fortunes for The Bristol Evening Post over the past season have been shrewd indeed and shows that he understands the challenges ahead and what needs to be done to address them. It was Steve who, in his Evening Post column, tipped Matt Maynard for the Director of Cricket job when Dave Nosworthy’s departure was announced in September.
He has big shoes to fill in replacing Andy Hurry at the Academy. But Steve is his own man and his experience as a player and his sharp insight will make him a key asset as part of Maynard’s team. The young players in the Second XI, some of whom will have played with him in the past, will have an excellent mentor and coach to help take their games forward and put pressure on the first XI for their places. With squad rotation likely to become more important, Snelly’s role with the Seconds could be a key one in 2015.