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Snyder#039;s game plan scores with Herd coaching job

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - As a player, Mark Snyder always studied the game plan. Once his playing days were over, he devised his own game plan.

The plan reached the end zone Thursday when Snyder was named the Marshall Thundering Herd head football coach.

"It's something I always wanted. I started my coaching career preparing for this day. It all came to fruition today," Snyder said.

After playing high school football at Ironton and starting two seasons as a safety at Marshall, Snyder began a long coaching journey that finally brought him back to the Tri-State.

"I'm home and it feels so good to be home," Snyder said. "It's a very emotional time for me. The trip down Route 23 was very special this time. I've come full circle."

Snyder said his goals at Marshall are three-fold as they enter Conference USA this season.

"We want to win the conference, get to a (Bowl Championship Series) game and graduate our players. It's that simple," Snyder said. "We want to be the class of college football. We will be the class of college football."

Following a meeting with the team earlier in the day, Snyder was introduced during an 11:30 a.m. press conference in the Big Green Room at the Henderson Center. Snyder donned his green jacket and addressed the media.

"I'm about loyalty and enthusiasm. These are the things I am along with coaching," Snyder said.

Snyder replaced Bob Pruett who retired in March after a 6-6 season. Assistant coach Larry Kueck was name interim head coach and he conducted spring practices. Kueck also applied for the Herd head coaching position.

With spring ball to conclude with practice Friday and the spring game Saturday, Snyder is at a disadvantage as he begins his tenure.

"Obviously the timing is not good. It would take (being named Marshall's coach) for me to leave Ohio State," Snyder said.

"I'm in an evaluation process. I'm going to have to count on my assistant coaches. The staff will run spring practice and then we're going to have to go to work."

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said it was tough to see Snyder leave, but he was excited for his long-time assistant.

"It was a no-doubter. It great just to see him have the chance to do what he talked about being one of his goals. I'm excited for him. He's been very special to us," Tressel said.

Snyder was an assistant at Youngstown State under Tressel when the Penguins won three Division I-AA national championships, two against Marshall.

Snyder took a job as an assistant coach at Minnesota but returned to Ohio when Tressel was named the Buckeyes head coach. Snyder has been an assistant coach with the Buckeyes the past four seasons including the defensive coordinator last season.

"Jim Tressel helped me grow as a man, as a leader and as a coach," Snyder said.

Ohio State was 40-11 during the four years Snyder served as a Buckeye assistant coach including a 3-1 record in bowl games. Ohio State won the 2002 National Championship.

Interim President Michael J. Farrell said Snyder's five-year contract will pay him a base salary of $144,200 a year. Additional promotional compensation of about $135,000 and an incentive package of about $197,000 could bring the total package to about $478,000 based in large part upon his coaching success.

Farrell also said Snyder will receive a $50,000 welcome bonus from the Thunder Club.

An Ironton native, Snyder was an All-Ohio selection for the Ironton Fighting Tigers and guided the team to a 22-1 record in two seasons as the team's quarterback and safety. The 1982 team was the Division III state runners-up and Snyder set a then-state championship game record of 12 completions, 19 passing attempts and 143 yards.

For the season, Snyder was 47-of-83 (.566 percentage) for 934 yards and eight touchdowns.

Snyder originally signed with Morehead State, but transferred to Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College where he quarterbacked the team to the JUCO national championship game. He then transferred to Oklahoma State for one season and finally settled at Marshall University where he was a starting safety for two years.

In 1987, Snyder set a Marshall record with 10 interceptions and helped the Herd to the I-AA national championship game and a 10-5 record. His 124 tackles were second on the team and his 10 interceptions led the Southern Conference.

Although Marshall lost the title game 43-42 to Northeast Lousiana, Snyder was first team All-Southern Conference and an honorable mention All-American selection.

Snyder graduated from Marshall in the spring of 1988 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater the following fall.

Snyder moved to Central Florida the next year and spent two seasons there, the first as a graduate assistant and

the second as a part-time coach with fulltime responsibility for the linebackers.

In 1991, Snyder returned to the Buckeye State as coach of the outside linebackers on Tressel's Youngstown State staff. In 1994, he was given the added responsibility of special teams coordinator. Tressel promoted him to defensive coordinator in 1996.

After six very successful years at Youngstown State, during which the Penguins won three Division 1-AA National Championships and played in four consecutive title games, Snyder left Youngstown State for Minnesota.

During Snyder's stay at Minnesota, the Gopher defense twice set school records for single-season sacks and averaged 40.7 sacks during a three-year span. Snyder helped develop a number of outstanding players

including 2000 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Karon Riley.

Snyder and his wife, the former Beth Molter, have three daughters, Chelsea, Lindsay and Shaylee.