Rochester’s new coach its seventh since 2002

mwochnick@theolympian.comJune 24, 2013 

For the second year in a row, Rochester High School has hired a Black Hills assistant coach — this time, defensive coordinator Eric Snelson — as its new football coach.

Snelson also had coached linebackers for head coach Jack Zilla, who resigned at Black Hills in February after 15 seasons.

Snelson replaces Chris Barnes, a former Black Hills assistant under Zilla, who resigned after one season at Rochester.

Several former Black Hills coaches, including Zilla, will join Snelson’s new coaching staff at Rochester.

Snelson is Rochester’s seventh coach since the departure of Bob Wollan, now at W.F. West, in 2002, and the fourth coach since 2010. After Paul Christianson stepped down following the 2010 season, Tom Griggs (2011) and Barnes (’12) each coached for one season. Last fall under Barnes, the Warriors went 2-7.

Snelson, a high school math

teacher, played tight end at Stanford, where he won All-Pacific-10 Conference honorable mention in 1987. He had stints at linebacker for the Los Angeles Raiders (1988, ’89) and the San Antonio Riders and Ohio Glory of the World League of American Football.


Tumwater High School won the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s annual Scholastic Cup for Class 2A, edging out Evergreen Conference rival Capital, 1,495 points to 1485.

The Scholastic Cup combines performance on the field and in the classroom.

The Thunderbirds had five runner-up state finishes in the 2012-13 school year: football, baseball, volleyball, girls swimming and boys track and field; and four academic state championship teams and activities. The Cougars had four top-four finishes at state: football, boys tennis, girls cross country and girls golf; and four academic state championship teams and activities.


Tumwater High graduate Jaimie Bryant, who is committed to play football at Washington, was named defensive MVP of the West team Saturday at the Earl Barden Classic in Yakima. The all-state game features the top seniors in the 2A, 1A and B classifications.

Bryant’s West team, which also featured Tumwater’s Andrew Brown, Capital’s Mat Cox and Kai Van Sickle, River Ridge’s Brad Wallace and Mary M. Knight’s Kyle Willey, beat the East squad, 30-6. Van Sickle, who set a state single-season rushing record of 2,774 yards in 12 games last fall, had a team-high 68 yards on eight rushes and a touchdown, while Brown, The Olympian’s all-area football player of the year, had 56 yards on four rushes.


Recent River Ridge High School graduate Wallace signed with North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, a nationally ranked junior-college men’s basketball program that sent six players from its 2012-13 team to NCAA Division I programs. … Olympia’s Brendan Leonard honored his verbal commitment and signed with Division I Air Force. … Capital’s sharp-shooting guard, Keenan Williams, signed with Lewis-Clark State College, an NAIA program, in Lewiston, Idaho, coached by former W.F. West standout Brandon Rinta. … Olympia promoted ‘C’ team girls coach Tina Washington to take over as varsity coach, replacing Rod Tripp, who resigned after three seasons. Washington has experience coaching all levels of high school basketball, including a stint as a girls varsity coach at Eastside Catholic in 2008-’09. … W.F. West’s Jamika Parker signed with Western Washington for women’s basketball, joining a Vikings program that advanced to the NCAA Division II national semifinals. … Yelm’s Anushka Maldonado has signed with Odessa (Texas) College, a junior college, for women’s basketball. … Rainier has yet to fill its vacant girls basketball coaching position, previously held by Jim Kindle, who resigned after three seasons. Junior varsity coach Dave Montgomery is running the Mountaineers’ summer team.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 @MegWochnick

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