Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Snyder steps down as Trojan Football Coach

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By TR HARLAN

18 years and 106 wins.

That’s the amount of time and the number of wins John Snyder has been a part of the Chesterton Football Program.

That came to an end on Monday when Snyder resigned his position as Head Football Coach at CHS.

“I’m am stepping down as head football coach at CHS because I have the opportunity to pursue a goal I’ve had for a long time to coach college football,” Snyder said. “These opportunities don’t come around very often and I see this as an opportunity to prepare myself for what may lie ahead.”

Snyder was part of three Duneland Athletic Conference titles at Chesterton, including as Offensive Coordinator for then coach Bill Dorulla in 2000. In 2008 and 2012, Snyder was head coach when the Trojans shared the DAC title.

“It’s an extremely difficult decision because my heart and my passion over the last 18 years is as a part of Chesterton Football,” Snyder said. “I’ve had great assistants and players that have given me everything they have. I feel like I’ve done that too.”

Snyder will now report to Head Coach Dale Carlson as part of the Valparaiso University Football Program, the place he started his coaching career.

“I coached at VU when I first moved to Indiana,” Snyder said. “I’m extremely impressed with the school and I like the vision of what their future is. I’m excited for the opportunity.”

“I think he has a good understanding of the school and the things the school is about,” Carlson said. “It’s different now than it was when he was here, but he’s seen us go through the lean years and now he gets to help us return to success.”

The Crusaders are 1-21 under Carlson having snapped a 29-game losing streak with a 34-31 victory over Campbell last November.

“I am very excited to add him to our coaching staff,” Carlson said. “He’s the type of person that’s a hard-worker and really knows football. I’m very impressed with his knowledge and the success he’s had at Chesterton. He’ll fit in very well for us on the offensive side, just not sure exactly what that position is at this point.

“Running backs, tight ends, something along those lines.”

“I think the experience of being a head coach allows me the opportunity to be a great assistant coach,” Snyder said. “After 25 years of coaching, I think I bring a lot to Valparaiso University. I think I have a lot to offer.”

But it won’t be easy the first fall Friday night just as it wasn’t Monday telling his coaching staff and players.

“Probably the hardest meeting I’ve ever walked into,” Snyder said. “I’ve always told [players] to pursue their goals on and off the field and that’s what I’m doing. I hope they understand that. Coaches just guide you in a direction, but it really comes down to them competing together for a common goal. They are the ones out on the field making plays.”

It will also be a change for the Snyder family, even though Snyder will remain a full-time teacher at CHS and head of the Physical Education Department.

“My family has always supported everything I’ve done,” Snyder said. “Anytime you have engulfed yourself in something like this for 18 years, you have a lot of friends and (wife) Barb especially has given of themselves to let us build a program like this.

“It’s hard to understand how hard it is as a kid to grow up as the coach’s kid. Chesterton Football is a big part of their lives and it’ll be different.”

Snyder was also quick to point out the support of CHS Athletics Director Garry Nallenweg.

“Making the decision to hire me makes me extremely grateful,” Snyder said. “Garry is a true Chesterton guy. It’s a unique situation. He’s grown up here and has taken a lot of heat, but has produced outstanding athletic programs. He’s always in your corner as a coach and that’s rare. I’m sure there were a lot of emails and phone calls that I’ve never been told about because he handled it.

“I don’t think I can every thank him enough for giving me a chance 12 years ago.”

“Coach Snyder has done a great job with the CHS Football Program,” Nallenweg said. “Coach Snyder set high standards for himself, his coaching staff and his athletes. His program was a title contender year in and year out in one of the State’s premier football conferences.

“John is going to be missed because he is not only one of the best football coaches in the state, but he is an exceptional role model for his student-athletes.”

And don’t forget the fans that turned out every Friday night.

“I am so grateful for the support and facilities that the community has fought to provide the players over the years,” Snyder said. “I hope they are proud of the product we’ve been able to put on the field. As time has gone by over the last 18 years, the expectations have grown. I wouldn’t want that to be any other way.

“Chesterton Football was here long before I got here and it’ll be here long after I leave. Staff-wise, facility-wise and everything, this program is as good as it’s ever been.”

 

Posted 5/14/2013