On Tuesday afternoon, Queen’s football got their first look at the Gaels’ new sideline boss.
Steve Snyder, named head coach of the program on Dec. 19, met with season ticket holders to answer questions at the University Club on Stuart Street—his first formal introduction since getting hired.
“It means a lot to come to a place like Queen’s,” Snyder said.
Tactically, Snyder hails from a comprehensive, offensively-minded background. Coming out of his playing career as quarterback for St. Francis Xavier
(St. FX) in 2009, he moved to Germany for his first coaching job. He said that period of his life—in which he met his future wife—forced him to make immense strides in his coaching ability.
“I had to become a great communicator and use body language and teach the game,” Snyder said. “I felt like an ambassador for the game.”
When he returned to Canada in 2012 as a minor league coach, Snyder was the University of Windsor’s special teams and recruiting coordinator before transferring to St. FX as its offensive coordinator.
In 2017, he returned to his hometown of London, Ont., as the offensive coordinator for the Western Mustang’s eventual Vanier Cup-winning team. A year later, the team lost to Laval in the national championship game.
Shortly after sending his application to Queen’s national head coaching search, Athletics Executive Director Leslie Dal Cin called him to offer him the job.
“When Leslie gave me a call, my heart sunk,” Snyder said. “It was just, okay, this is what life’s about. It was all meant to be.”
In his first weeks as head coach, Snyder has brought in four recruits—some of whom have deep ties to him. At Thursday’s luncheon, he also introduced the team’s new offensive coordinator, Tom Flaxman, who served as McMaster’s offensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2018-19.
With his coaching staff, Snyder said he’s prepared to bring a new culture to Queen’s football program.
“My philosophy […] is about culture,” Snyder said. “The real thing we want to find for our program is reliability. We have to start to communicate more so we know. If everyone in our program knows that we’re doing that, then we’re going to start to work together at a higher level.”
In addition, Snyder said he’s forcing the entire team to fight for their positions, regardless of what they’ve played in previous years under past coaching staffs.
“When a new head football coach comes in, we’ve got to wipe the slate clean for athletes and re-open competition,” Snyder said. “We’re opening competition across the board, certainly including quarterback.”
His utmost concern is making sure his players are able to realize their value as athletes and students.
“The student athletes gotta know that they’re getting more out of this,” he said. “They’re not an X or an O on a sheet of paper. They’re a human being that’s going to be put on an expressway for success as soon as they leave this program.”
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