MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan community is mourning the passing of former football player and fan favorite Ontario Sneed, who died Tuesday at the age of 25.
Sources close to Sneed's family have reported the former Chippewa died Tuesday at John Warner Hospital at Clinton, Ill. The cause of death is still unknown
"We are stunned," remarked CMU Athletics Director Dave Heeke. "Ontario was an outstanding student-athlete just a few short years ago and was always a proud Chippewa. Many people around the CMU family still have fresh memories of his time at Central. We are deeply saddened by the startling news and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends."
Sneed, a native of Decatur, Ill., was a running back and four-time letterwinner for the Chippewas from 2005-08. He was beloved by the fans at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, who would enthusiastically chant his last name any time he touched the ball and created a cheering section known as "Sneed's Creed."
He finished his career in 2008 as one of the most accomplished backs in program history, ranking in the top 10 in career statistical categories. Sneed scored more touchdowns, 39, than all but three players in school history.
For his career he also ranks sixth in receptions (157), eighth in rushing touchdowns (26) and points scored (234), and ninth in rushing yards (2,863) and touchdown receptions (13).
Sneed made an impact on the field for the Chippewas right away in his 2005 freshman season, earning Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News and Rivals.com, and garnering an All-Mid-American Conference honorable mention award. His 1,065 rushing yards led the team and made him just the 34th player in school history to record a 1,000-yard rushing season.
He again led the team in rushing in 2006 with 764 yards. He tied the record for most touchdown receptions in a single game–three against Temple in 2006–and tied for eighth in program history in single-season touchdown receptions (7).
Sneed also set the MAC Championship Game record for the longest rush when he scampered for a 96-yard touchdown dash en route to a 31-10 win over Ohio. He scored a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the Chippewas’ 31-14 win over Middle Tennessee State to earn a Motor City Bowl crown.
As a senior in 2008 he rushed for 548 yards and eight touchdowns, and had 297 receiving yards and three scores.