Multiple Position Player Can Play First Base and Outfield
Athletic, Versatile Group Continues Steady Stream of Talent to Champaign
Complete Skills, Pitching/Catching, Hitting & Evaluation/Exposure Camps Scheduled
2012 Signing Class Expands to 10
Davis, Parr, Kimes Make Smooth Transition to Pro Ball
Photos of the Illini playing Mizzou at Busch Stadium in St. Louis
Recruited/coached 4 of the 5 highest-drafted position players in Illinois history (Chris Robinson, Lars Davis, Kyle Hudson, Brandon Wikoff)
Recruited/coached Big Ten Players of the Year in 2005 (OF) and 2007 (C), and All-Americans in 2005 (OF), 2007 (C), 2008 (OF) and 2009 (SS)
Recruited/coached Freshman All-American 1B in 2000, OF in 2002, SS in 2003, OF in 2008, OF in 2009 and 2B/P in 2012
Recruited/coached 51 All-Big Ten selections and 13 first-teamers
Recruited/coached 24 position players who signed professionally
Coached Illinois to .300+ average in 9 of 14 seasons and a .960+ fielding percentage in 13 of 14 seasons
Coached Illinois to 100+ stolen bases in 2007, 2008 and 2010
Eric Snider is in his 15th season on the Illini coaching staff and fifth as associate head coach in 2013, after earning the promotion on Oct. 13, 2008. Snider has led the Illini to three of the finest offensive seasons in school history in the last six years. He coordinates the team's offense while handling hitting instruction, third-base coaching duties and working with the Illini infielders and outfielders. He also directs the off-season conditioning program for the entire squad, is instrumental in recruiting for the Fighting Illini and is responsible for placing the Illini in summer leagues across the country.
Snider has led the Illini offense to batting averages of better than .300 in nine of his 14 seasons, including a .335 mark in 2008, and Illinois has hit better than .315 as a team in three of the last six campaigns. He also has coached the Illinois defense to fielding percentages of better than .960 in 13 of his 14 years and marks over .965 in eight campaigns, including a school-record .973 in 2011 and a .972 mark in 2012.
Under his tutelage, the Illini also led the NCAA in double plays per game in 2012 with 1.3. In addition, the Illini's 2008 offense broke school records for hits, runs, RBIs, doubles and walks in a Big Ten season, and fell just three stolen bases short of breaking that record in a conference season.
The school stolen bases record was broken or tied in consecutive seasons, with Shawn Roof breaking it in 2007 by stealing 40-of-48 and Kyle Hudson tying Roof's mark in 2008 with 40-of-49 steals. For their careers, Hudson and Roof rank 2-3 in steals in school history with 66 and 65 steals, respectively. Then, in 2010, Willie Argo broke the record with 41 steals in 45 attempts. Argo proved to be the most consistent base-stealer in school history, swiping a school-record 98 bases, a total that ranks fifth all-time in Big Ten history.
Overall during his tenure, Snider has guided Illini players to five base-stealing seasons that rank in the school's top-10: Argo's 41 in 2010, Hudson's 40 in 2008, Roof's 40 in 2007, Ryan Rogowski's 31 in 2005 and Roof's 25 in 2006. Four of the top five career marks and five of the top seven career steals totals by Illini in Big Ten action have been set under Snider, and he has overseen nine of the top 12 single-season efforts in conference play.
Snider began his Illini tenure by recruiting three Freshman All-Americans in four years in Andy Schutzenhofer (2000), Drew Davidson (2002) and Eric Eymann (2003). Schutzenhofer was a four-time All-Big Ten honoree, finished in the career top-10 in 11 offensive categories, won the 2003 Big Ten Medal of Honor and signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Davidson was the 2005 Big Ten Player of the year, ranks third on the career homers and sixth on the career total bases lists and was drafted by the San Diego Padres. Eymann hit .359 with a team-high 15 doubles and 71 hits en route to Freshman All-America and All-Big Ten second team honors in 2003.
He has since hit recruiting paydirt again recently, as Illinois has had Freshman All-Americans in 2008, 2009 and 2012. In 2008, Snider brought in Casey McMurray, who hit .331 on the way to becoming a Freshman All-American in 2008, and he also landed Argo, who became a Freshman All-American in 2009 when he hit .355 with 12 homers, 47 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. Second baseman/pitcher Reid Roper became the most recent Illini to earn Freshman All-America honors in 2012 when he served as Illinois' closer, going 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA and three saves - including a 0.75 ERA as a reliever - and hitting .293 wiht nine doubles, one homer, 20 RBIs and 32 runs.
Another member of the 2003 class who Snider recruited was not as heralded initially, but catcher Chris Robinson, a native of London, Ontario, Canada, became the highest-drafted position player in Illinois history when he was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the third round in 2005. He has since gone on to play for Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics.
Snider struck gold once again with a catcher from north of the border when he brought in Alberta native Lars Davis to replace Robinson behind the dish. Davis exploded in the 2007 season, hitting .400, earning All-America honors by three organizations and being selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year. He then followed in Robinson's footsteps, being drafted in the third round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Colorado Rockies.
In total, 24 position players have made the jump to professional baseball since Snider joined the Illinois staff. That list includes Jon Anderson, Chris Basak, Dan O'Neill, Craig Marquie and D.J. Svihlik. Patrick Arlis joined that group after being drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 11th round of the 2002 draft. Three Illini position players signed as free agents in 2003, as center fielder Brandon Cashman inked a deal with Texas, Sean Patrick signed with Baltimore and Schutzenhofer joined the Cardinals.
However, 2005 was the most fruitful for Illini in the draft during Snider's tenure as five position players were either drafted or signed free agent contracts. Robinson, Davidson and shortstop Toby Gardenhire had their names called in the 2005 draft, while first baseman Dusty Bensko and left fielder Ryan Rogowski inked free agent deals later in the summer.
In 2007, two Fighting Illini position players were drafted and one more Illini signed a professional deal. Davis and Roof were selected during the two-day draft, while Mike Rohde signed a free agent contract. Hudson made the jump in 2008 as he was drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Orioles. Most recently, shortstop Brandon Wikoff was a fifth-round draft pick by the Houston Astros in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, third baseman Dominic Altobelli was taken in the 16th round by Colorado and center fielder Joe Bonadonna was a 43rd-round pick by the Texas Rangers.
Most recently, catcher Adam Davis was an 11th-round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2011 MLB Draft and shortstop Josh Parr was taken in the 12th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Willie Argo was a 22nd-round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays as a senior in 2012, the third time in his career that he was drafted.
Prior to joining the Illini, Snider was the head coach and general manager of the Waterloo Bucks, a summer collegiate league team that competes in the Northwoods League, from 1995-98. He compiled a record of 163-90 (.644) over the four years and was twice named Northwoods League Manager of the Year. Snider was honored in 2004 for his contribution to the NWL by being named to the NWL All-Decade team.
A two-year letterwinner at Northern Iowa, Snider finished his playing career with a .411 career batting average and 69 stolen bases in 72 attempts on the way to being a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. Snider transferred to Northern Iowa from Kirkwood Community College where he was a junior college All-American shortstop.
Snider's sons, Jacob and Noa, and daughter, Jenna, reside with him in Savoy.
Professional Players Snider Recruited/Coached
John Anderson (SS)
Chris Basak (SS)
Dan O'Neill (OF)
Craig Marquie (3B)
D.J. Svihlik (2B)
Pat Arlis (C)
Brandon Cashman (OF)
Sean Patrick (C)
Andy Schutzenhofer (1B)
Chris Robinson (C)
Toby Gardenhire (SS)
Drew Davidson (OF)
Dusty Bensko (1B)
Ryan Rogowski (OF)
Shawn Roof (SS)
Mike Rohde (IF)
Lars Davis (C)
Kyle Hudson (OF)
Brandon Wikoff (SS)
Dominic Altobelli (3B)
Joe Bonadonna (CF)
Adam Davis (C)
Josh Parr (SS)
Willie Argo (CF)
Austin Peay (5)
Chuck Abbott (SS)
Wes Sims (2B)
Scott Quade (SS)
Nate Manning (3B)
Bryan Link (1B)
The Snider File
Born: May 24, 1964
Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa
Hired:Sept. 14, 1998
Children, Jacob, Noa & Jenna
Austin Peay State, 1993
M.S., Health and P.E.
Northern Iowa, 1987
B.S., P.E. and Coaching
Kirkwood Community College, 1984, A.S.
2008-Present Associate head coach, University of Illinois
1999-2008 Assistant coach, University of Illinois
1995-98 General manager/head coach, Waterloo Bucks
1992-95 Assistant coach, Austin Peay State University
1992-93 Manager, Champaign County Colts
1990-92 Graduate assistant, University of Iowa