By: Jorge Campos
Sophomore Tyler Sloan threw five innings of one-hit ball in the Dons’ season opening 7-1 victory over the visiting L.A. Harbor College Seahawks. But a familiar face wasn’t in the dugout to congratulate Sloan on his successful outing.
“Even though [Sneddon] is not physically here, a lot of what he has brought and helped us achieve in this game is carrying over to this season,” Sloan said.
The Modesto Nuts hired Coach Don Sneddon as the team’s manager Jan. 27. The Nuts are a Class A Advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The position is Sneddon’s first professional managerial opportunity.
“I think Don [Sneddon] can be successful at any level he can coach,” Avie Bridges, dean of kinesiology said. “Because coaching is all about teaching.”
Sneddon, known as ‘Skip’ to his players, managed the Dons for the past 32 seasons. He started coaching at Santa Ana College as an assistant to Jim Reach and was named head coach following Reach’s retirement in 1981.
Sneddon led the team to 16 Orange Empire Conference and three state titles. The Dons appeared in six state championships, including a record four in a row from 1993 to 1996. In March 2006, Sneddon set a new state record for career wins with No. 832, passing Sacramento City College’s Jerry Weinstein.
The winning didn’t stop there.
Sneddon became the first manager to achieve 900 and 1,000 wins, ending his community college career with 1,072.
Sneddon coached C.J. Wilson of the Angels, Kris Medlen of the Braves and Heath Bell of the Rays. More than 100 of his former players have signed professional contracts and at least 200 more have received scholarships to four-year universities.
Sneddon is replaced by his former assistants Bryan Harris and John Bryant.
“It’s going to be a little different this year with him not at the reigns, but I think that all the players and coaches will have a little bit of Coach Sneddon in them,” Harris said.