In 2012, Erik Hoops was finishing his senior season on the Loyola men’s golf team and Carly Schneider was coming off her sophomore campaign on the women’s team.
At that time, the programs were more separated than they are today — there wasn’t an overarching director of golf like the program has now. But the two still saw each other around campus and briefly talked.
After Hoops graduated, they went their separate ways and started to lose contact. Five years later, the duo is back at its alma mater on the coaching staff.
After graduating as a sport management and accounting double-major, Hoops headed to the University of Toledo as a Graduate Assistant for the golf team in 2013. After a year there, he became the men’s head golf coach at St. Bonaventure University. There, he worked under current Loyola Athletic Director Steve Watson, who came to Loyola one year after Hoops started at St. Bonaventure.
Hoops then said he received a phone call from Watson after the fall 2015 season, one that would change his entire plan.
“He gave me a call last winter break … and said they want to make a change in the coaching position, and he wanted me to come in and do it,” said Hoops. “I was speechless on the phone. It was like that dream being realized of, ‘I’ve got the opportunity to do something very special.’”
He added that the hardest part for him was leaving his golfers at St. Bonaventure, who Hoops said knew this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“When you get a call from your alma mater, it’s really, really hard to say no to,” said Hoops, who has kept in contact with the golfers at St. Bonaventure. “It was a fairly easy yes.”
Beside the chance to coach at his alma mater, Hoops also saw a chance to develop a program. Once he got settled, he checked with the golfers on the roster to see where they saw the program going while adding in his ideas.
Sophomore Orion Yamat was in the middle of his first-year season when Hoops took over, and he said he sees differences in the way the team practices more than anything.
“He definitely has us doing a lot more structured practices that I think are more beneficial,” said Yamat. “Not that Coach Stefan was a bad coach in any way, but I think we’re doing a lot more work that’s directly beneficial for our games.”
Carly Schneider graduated from Loyola in 2014 as a new and digital media major and a sport management minor. After playing alongside current Ramblers, Natalie Meyers and Logan Willis, during her senior season, Schneider went on to become a Professional Golfers’ Association-certified professional coach and teacher.
After assistant coach Marty Schiene left Loyola, Hoops thought Schneider was the right choice for the job despite never coaching at the collegiate level.
“Carly hadn’t learned a whole lot about college coaching yet, but she knew Loyola,” Hoops said. “She had successful teams when she was here, and … she understands all of the challenges that we have [and] she understands all of the opportunities that we have.”
Schneider was already familiar with the athletics department before she accepted the position. While she was a student at Loyola, she did a work-study program with the department. She performed many tasks, including working as a laundry room attendant, a scriptwriter for game announcer Pat Schultz and even dressing up as LU Wolf.
Beside being familiar with the Athletic Department, Schneider said, like Hoops, her college experience was one of the main reasons for coming back and coaching.
“There’s just so much to say about Loyola that’s so wonderful,” said Schneider. “I’m really happy to be back.”
Sophomore Elayna Bowser played for Schiene last year, and feels the transition has gone well.
“[Schiene and Schneider] have different coaching styles, but [the transition] has been good, overall,” said Bowser. “As the season goes on, you learn how [they] work and how to interact on the golf course, but that’s been easy to fall into place and get that going.”
Schneider is scheduled to take her alma mater to Terre Haute, Indiana, for the Indiana Spring Invitational April 9-10, while Hoops will take his group to Muncie, Indiana. for the Earl Yestingsmeier Invitational April 14-15.