The “Qualifications” section of Quin Snyder’s coaching resume is a mightily impressive one. Juris Doctor and MBA Degrees, playing and coaching under legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and coaching in the NCAA, NBA and D-League are just some of Snyder’s accomplishments that, on paper, make him look like an ideal candidate for an NBA head coaching job.
His previous head coaching results? Maybe not quite as much.
Despite a diverse and largely successful 22-year coaching career, Snyder is best known for his run as head coach of the Missouri Tigers men’s basketball squad that, following periods of success, ended somewhat controversially. Although some consider his final years at and exit from Mizzou a black mark on his resume, Snyder finds himself on the short list of head coaching candidates for the Utah Jazz, according to a report from Deseret News.
Snyder’s coaching career actually began at the NBA level. After a successful collegiate playing career under Krzyzewski at Duke and in the midst of working on his MBA, Snyder was assistant coach for the Los Angeles Clippers under Larry Brown. After his brief NBA foray in Tinseltown, Snyder headed back to Durham, North Carolina and demonstrated impressive multitasking skills by serving as an administrative assistant under Coach K while completing both his MBA and Juris Doctor degrees. Upon completion of said degrees in 1995, Snyder became a full-time assistant coach for the Blue Devils, and was promoted to associate head coach in 1997. In 1999, Snyder was tabbed to replace coaching legend Norm Stewart as Missouri head coach. Snyder hit the ground running, significantly overachieving in his inaugural season despite what was thought of as an undermanned roster comprised primarily of Stewart’s recruits. Snyder’s success continued in succeeding years, highlighted by four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances including an Elite Eight run in 2002.
Snyder’s popularity in Columbia hit a snag when an NCAA investigation into the program revealed multiple incidents of misconduct. As Snyder’s image declined, so too did the success of the Missouri program. Though all improprieties uncovered by the investigation were deemed minor, Snyder decided to resign in 2006. In 2007, Snyder tried his hand at coaching in the D-League, taking over the Austin Toros. Though he never won a D-League championship in his three-year stay in Austin, Snyder won more and saw more players from his squad get called up than any other coach in the league. After spending single seasons as an assistant coach in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, this time for the Lakers, Snyder was hired as head assistant coach for CSKA Moscow for the 2012-13 season under Ettore Messina, coincidentally another name loosely tied to the Utah Jazz head coaching job.
Snyder returned to the NBA last season and served as an assistant coach on Mike Budenholzer’s staff for the Atlanta Hawks. While it’s difficult to measure the impact, positive or negative, that an assistant coach has on a team, former Jazz forward and current Atlanta Hawk DeMarre Carroll gave Snyder a glowing review. “I have to give a shout out to Coach Quin,” Carroll said in an exit interview. “This is the first year a coach really worked with me on my footwork, my shot, spent time with me. That’s a credit to coach Quin. That shows me that he cares about me as a person, cares about my career.”
Offensively, Snyder seems to be somewhat of an expert in a variety of areas. Snyder is an expert at pick-and-roll offenses, as a 2009 FIBA Assist article co-authored by Snyder that discusses nearly every facet of pick-and-roll basketball can attest. Snyder also created a DVD/video based around his intricate motion offense that was also chock-full of very intricate and very specific details on motion principles, philosophies, rules, drills and myriad other facets of the offense. With a detail-oriented and cerebral coach like Snyder, previous offensive sets and philosophies may not be a surefire indicator of what Jazz fans could expect Snyder to run in Utah should he land the job.
In several interviews and publications, Snyder has demonstrated a high level of basketball comprehension and effective communication. It should come as little or no surprise that Snyder has evidently impressed Jazz brass enough in interviews to land on the short list of coaching candidates. However, it’s unlikely that his inauspicious exit at Missouri will not loom large over the prospect of hiring him. Are high-level credentials, diverse experience and in-depth offensive knowledge enough to outweigh perceived failure, especially at a lower level of competition than the NBA?
That’s for Dennis Lindsey and Co. to decide.