Tracy High graduate Nick Eddy and longtime Bulldog coach Wayne Schneider were named to the section’s Hall of Fame back in April. They are part of what will be the largest class of inductees, as the section had to go back 60 years to research the accomplishments of its athletes and coaches.
Schneider, who coached Tracy High football for 24 years between 1965 and 1972 and again from 1977 to 1994, said the induction means a lot to him because he knows many of the coaches who will also be inducted on Sunday.
“There have been a lot of great coaches in our section, so it’s an honor to be named among them,” he said.
They include those he has worked with on playoff committees, those he has competed against in the section playoffs and in the regular season, and those that came before him in the 60-year history of the section.
Schneider named Charles Washington (Edison), Mike Alberghini (Grant), and Tom Zunino (Vacaville) as examples of coaches he has come to know over the years. He knows Washington as the former Edison High coach, who was always a rival during the regular football season, and also as a coach who sent many players to the NFL. He knows Zunino as the Vacaville High coach, and a competitor during the section playoffs in two of Schneider’s trips to the post-season.
Schneider previously was named to the California Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National High School Athletics Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007. Schneider is also a member of Tracy's own Sports Hall of Fame.
He stays active with the Tracy Breakfast Lions Club, and organizes the Annual Lions All-Star Football, which played its 37th game in June at the University of the Pacific. He is still a fixture at Bulldog football games.
Eddy, Tracy High’s Class of 1962, graduated before Schneider came to Tracy, but the two became friends after Schneider invited Eddy back to talk to Bulldog players about the potential to get involved in higher levels of athletics. Eddy said subsequent coaches have also invited him back to meet the new generations of players.
He said that regardless of his later success, his role as a star player for a small-town high school football team in the early 1960s will always be memorable.
“Back in those days the whole community bused, carpooled and caravanned to the game site,” he said. “People are involved in so many things now, it just isn’t the same. It was a special time in our culture, and I realize that more and more now.”
Eddy went on to play as a running back for Notre Dame, where he was named All-American, and was third in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in the 1966 season when the Fighting Irish won the national championship. He went on to play four years with the Detroit Lions as a running back and kick returner.
After his career in Detroit he moved back to California and raised his family in Modesto, where his four children went to Central Catholic High School while he had a 25-year career as an insurance agent. Eddy also was an assistant football coach at Central Catholic, and was the school’s head track and field coach for 10 years until 1990.
He said that while contemplating retirement in 1997 he went to hear a talk by General Colin Powell. It turned out to be a motivational speech that would set Eddy on yet another professional path.
“He inspired me to get into teaching. A lot of kids need mentors,” he said. “I was able to deal with kids pretty well when I was coaching.”
He got into a new career as a substitute teacher 12 years ago, and today he teaches at Modesto High School, specializing in special education. He also has stayed active in athletics as an official for high school volleyball and track and field at Stanislaus State University.
“I’m still very much involved and get a big kick out of it,” he said.
Sunday's inductees will also include Nelson and Mark Tennis of Cal-Hi Sports, the lone media inductee. Nelson Tennis founded Cal-Hi Sports in 1975 and also founded the Cal-Hi Sports State Record Book and Almanac, now in its seventh edition. His nephew, Mark Tennis, former sports editor for the Tracy Press, has continued with the legacy as Cal-Hi Sports has become part of ESPN Rise.
The banquet, which will be held at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, begins at 5 p.m. Sunday, with the ceremony at 6 p.m., but has been sold out as of early this week. Both Schneider and Eddy will attend, and will be there early Sunday afternoon for a private reception, and then for a photo session.