Snow Says No to Fullerton, Will Stick With Loyola 9

Times Staff Writer

The forecast is for more years of Snow at Loyola Marymount University, and school officials couldn't be happier.

Baseball Coach Dave Snow, who was thought to be the first choice to replace recently departed Augie Garrido at Cal State Fullerton after three successful seasons at Loyola, spoke with the Fullerton athletic department late last week.

It was widely assumed he would return to the big state school, where he was an assistant to Garrido on two NCAA championship teams.

But Snow met with Loyola officials early this week, asked for some improvements in the program and facilities, was offered a raise and decided to stay at Loyola.

Snow said it was a tough decision. "When it finally came down to it, I realized I liked it here and if I left there would be some unfinished business for some of the goals I've got here," he said.

Athletic Director Brian Quinn and other officials were putting together a formal contract for Snow late Tuesday.

"We wanted him very much to stay," Quinn said. "We feel our program is one of the best around here. We feel we did some things to help the program. Those things helped keep Dave."

Snow was hired at Loyola for the 1985 season after handling the pitching staff for the 1984 Fullerton team that won the College World Series. Previously he had won four conference titles and one state title at head coach at Los Angeles Valley College.

Taking over a Loyola team that had won only 11 games in 1984, Snow produced a 27-28 record in 1985. In 1986, he took the Lions to the College World Series and finished with a school-best 50-15 record. Last season he won 36 games but his team was passed over for a spot in the NCAA playoffs.

When Garrido was hired by the University of Illinois, Snow was thought to be the first choice of Fullerton--a move many would regard as a step up.

But not Quinn. "I don't see (Fullerton) as a step up," he said. "We have a good program, an excellent conference, a strong schedule. . . . I believe Dave all along wanted to stay. He likes it here. He had a tremendous recruiting year. He's got a major schedule--we go to Hawaii next year. I was hopeful, but you never know."

Snow said part of his decision came down to the realization that "to continue to watch this program grow appealed more than going to an established program."

He said Fullerton's timing, trying to hire a new coach so close to the new school year, wasn't good either. "For me to leave this late, with the emphasis we stress on loyalty and commitment, would go against the grain at this juncture," he said.

To sweeten the pot, Quinn said Snow will get a salary increase, improvements will be made to Loyola's George Page Stadium and the players will receive improved academic advice.

"It's nothing earth-shattering. Dave's not getting a Cadillac or a Mercedes-Benz. Dave was not holding people up," Quinn said. "The things he wanted will help the program and I'm glad to see us get them."

Snow said the improvements he got showed him the administration felt "an overall commitment to the program that, to me, was important. We're starting to gain more credibility, and we need that same kind of commitment from the university to build a program that has tradition, one that contends for the conference title every year and maybe gains some national recognition."

Quinn said he is not very concerned with a time commitment from Snow, saying Snow would stay "as long as he wants. . . . It could be a lifetime. I certainly feel strongly we're committed to Dave Snow. . . . He's an honorable person and will always field competitive teams. I'm just delighted he's staying."

Snow agreed: "I'm really, really happy with the decision I made. I'm pumped up."

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