Holtz hires Snyder at South Florida

Published 5:28 am Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TAMPA — Mark Snyder can keep his green shirts, he just has to switch from buffalo to bulls.

Snyder — who resigned at the end of last season as the Marshall Thundering Herd head football coach — was hired Monday as the defensive coordinator for the University of South Florida Bulls by recently hired head coach Skip Holtz.

Snyder and Holtz coached against each other the past five seasons in C-USA. Holtz led East Carolina to its second straight league championship.

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“Mark Snyder has been a head coach the last five years in Conference USA. Mark Snyder is a high-energy, emotional and passionate coach,” said Holtz.

Snyder had several other possible jobs. He was second in line for the Youngstown State head coaching job and turned down the defensive coordinator job at Memphis. He interviewed for jobs with Michigan, Houston and New Mexico.

During his five years at Marshall, Snyder rebuilt a program that was on NCAA probation, lost 15 scholarships, jumped up from the Mid-American Conference to Conference USA, and had just six starters back from a 6-6 team.

Snyder had a 22-37 record with the Herd but was 6-6 during the regular season and earned its first bowl bid since 2004. Marshall beat Ohio 21-17 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to finish 7-6.

Snyder is returning to the state where he began his coaching career. He was a graduate assistant at Central Florida. He later served as an assistant coach at Youngstown State, Minnesota and Ohio State.

Under Jim Tressel at Ohio State from 2001-04, Snyder coached linebackers including the 2002 national championship season. He was named the Buckeyes defensive coordinator in 2004 when Ohio State won its second straight Fiesta Bowl title.

Known as an outstanding recruiter, Snyder helped developed a number of players at Ohio State including Matt Wilhelm, Cie Grant and A.J. Hawk. At Minnesota, he coach defensive linemen Lamanzer Williams — who led the nation in sacks in 1997 — and Karon Riley — the 2000 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Snyder was one of five new coaches hired by Holtz that included Todd Fitch, Rick Smith, Vernon Hargeaves and Peter Vaas.