Don Sneddon, celebrated baseball coach, dies in cancer battle

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Don Sneddon’s jersey was covered by roses at his celebration of life. Photo by Brandon Rowley / el Don

On Sunday, April 28 hundreds of former players, friends and family members filled the bleachers, dugouts, and infield grass in a celebration of life to honor the life and legacy of former baseball coach Don Sneddon

Sneddon died at the age of 72 after a battle with cancer on April 8.

Multiple speakers including current baseball head coach Tom Nilles, Sneddon’s former assistant coaches, wife, and daughter all had funny stories and heartfelt messages for him.

“Don’s impact in CCCAA baseball, across the country, and various other capacities is unmatched,” said Athletic Director Mary Hegarty.

Sneddon led Santa Ana College to over 1,000 wins in his 32 years with the team, the most of any coach in the state’s history, along with three state championships (1993, 1995, 1996).

With a Record of 1,072-383-3 (.735), he led the Dons to the postseason every year from 1988-2012, while earning coach of the year honors 16 times.

Sneddon started his baseball career at Cerritos College before transferring to Cal State Fullerton where he became the school’s first All-American while earning conference MVP in 1974.

After his playing days, he went on to coach at Fullerton, Santa Ana, and in the Minor Leagues with the Modesto Nuts.

He ended his coaching career in the Cape Cod Baseball League from 2017-19, winning their championship in 2018.

In 2011 he was honored by SAC by naming the baseball field after him

He was inducted into the California Community College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 and the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2021.

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Outside of baseball, Don was an avid fisherman, golfer and notorious prankster with an infectious laugh.

Former coach and long-time friend of Sneddon, George Horton speaking at his service. Photo by Brandon Rowley / el Don

“I know you’re in the Hall of Fame, [Coach Sneddon] but you’re also a Hall of Fame dad, grandfather, friend and educator.” said former SAC coach, and close friend George Horton. “You will be missed but your legacy will live on through all of us. Heaven needed another hero, but you are my hero.”

Sneddon has left his mark on Santa Ana College and the game of baseball as a whole. His impact and legacy will never be forgotten.

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