Longtime baseball guru George Snider takes over as head coach of Aurora's girls golf team

George Snider

Aurora High School recently got acquainted with its newest member.

Of course, this “new guy” isn’t exactly unfamiliar.

He just decided to opt for a new chemical element on the periodic table.

For George Snider, it’s goodbye atomic number 13 and hello to atomic number 22.

Pending board approval, Snider will be named the head girls golf coach at Aurora. When it comes to West Pioneer Trail, the 69-year-old Snider has been around the block.

Snider is currently an assistant coach with the Greenmen baseball team, which saw its 2020 season canceled due to a deadly respiratory tract infection known as COVID-19.

Snider is quite familiar with handling aluminum objects in Aurora. He was the Greenmen’s head baseball coach from 2000 to 2013.

These days, though, Snider will turn his attention to titanium. And the longtime Aurora history teacher will instruct his pupils to swing at a stationary sphere rather than a moving one.

It’s not like Snider will be stepping on the course for the first time either.

He was the head golf coach for 10 years at the now defunct St. Peter Chanel High School in Bedford during the 1980s. He also spent 10 years as the head golf coach at Woodridge High School in Peninsula during the 1990s.

In recent years, Snider has worked with Aurora’s middle school golf teams, which were added last year, thanks mainly to the work of former Greenmen head girls coach Noah Goodman and current Aurora head boys coach Dave Munson.

“I have been coaching golf at Aurora,” Snider said. “I was an assistant to [former head coaches] Gary Prough [who passed away in 2018] and Gus Mehallis. I think I’m walking into a good situation as I see it.”

Snider replaces Goodman, who led the girls team for, appropriately enough, 10 years. The Greenmen finished 7-6 in 2019, which included a fourth-place finish in the rugged Suburban League American Conference.

Aurora will have a much different look when tryouts are scheduled to begin in August. The Greenmen will take the course without the services of Olivia Traci, Olivia Vagasky and Molly Russell, who graduated during the spring.

“We graduated quite a few players, very good players,” Snider said. “It appears that we’re going to be young, but there is a lot of promise.”

Aurora athletic director Paul Powers said Snider is expected to be approved at the next board meeting, which is set for July 20.

“We look forward to George taking over our AHS girls golf program,” Powers said. “I look forward to seeing what he can do with the program.”

Snider played baseball and golf prior to his coaching career. While his love for both sports is evident, the longtime swing guru feels more comfortable on the course rather than the diamond.

“I really like the game and I really like coaching,” Snider said. “We’ve had an all-state golfer in previous years. I had been kind of waiting for an opening with the girls team.”

In an age where just about every golfer has his or her own instructor, Snider admits that staying out of his pupils’ way might be the best approach when it comes to his latest gig.

“I don’t have a basic theory,” he said. “I know golf management. It’s about saving strokes in their game and management of the course.

“There’s no difference between the boys’ game and the girls’ game. They can hit it long and hard, but you have to work on managing your game. If we limit our strokes, we can be more competitive in tournament play.”

Snider will learn just how challenging the American Conference will be quite rapidly. That’s perfectly fine with him, though.

As the longtime coach knows all too well, fierce competition is the best way to get into the “swing” of things.

“I’m excited,” Snider said. “We have two league tournaments during the first week of play. We’re going to hit the ground running.”

Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, faceto@recordpub.com or @Faceto_Gannett.