Snyder finds success on the defensive side

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

For a guy who loves offense, Mark Snyder always seems to be making a name for himself on defense.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

For a guy who loves offense, Mark Snyder always seems to be making a name for himself on defense.

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The former Ironton Fighting Tigers All-Ohio quarterback attended a couple of colleges in hopes of playing quarterback. He finally came to rest at Marshall University where he became first team All-Southern Conference and Div. I-AA honorable mention All-American.

As a defensive back.

After graduating from Marshall, Snyder began a college coaching career with his eyes always glancing at the offensive side. But he spent his time coaching defensive backs, defensive ends, and, now, linebackers.

During his stint at Youngstown State, Snyder was elevated to defensive coordinator but soon after accepted a job – on the defensive side – to coach at Minnesota under Glen Mason.

Snyder’s guidance was felt immediately at Minnesota. After recording eight quarterback sacks as a team the previous year, the Gophers racked up a school record 41 sacks in 1997 and Lamanzer Williams tied for first in the country with 18.5 sacks en route to being named first team All-American.

The Gophers broke their own record again in 1999 with 44 sacks and Karon Riley became Snyder’s second All-American with 16 sacks.

During his four seasons at Minnesota, the defense averaged more than 40 sacks a season.

"Three out of my four years at Minnesota I had the Big Ten leading sacker, and one year we had the nation’s leading sacker," Snyder said. "We did a good job getting to the quarterback, but we had some good players."

Even though Snyder has found his niche on defense, his understanding of offense may be the key to success on the other side of the ball.

"Defense is more of reaction. (Having played defense) gives me some good background. It did as a player and as a coach. With defense, you’ve got to get in (the offensive coordinator’s) head and see what he’s thinking and it helps you figure out what he’s doing next. I thought that way when I was a player trying to anticipate the play or a receiver’s route," said Snyder.

Snyder will be honored with a banquet at 7 p.m. Friday, July 27, at Tanks Memorial Stadium.

Current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and assistant coach Ken Conatser are expected to attend. Another possible guest is former Ohio State quarterback and current ESPN studio analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from any Ironton High School football coach or by contacting the athletic department at 532-5235. The dinner will be catered by The Scioto Ribber of Portsmouth.

The 2001 Ironton football team also will attend and meet with fans.