Westminster’s Snyder named Francis Howell football coach – STLtoday.com

7 months ago Comments Off on Westminster’s Snyder named Francis Howell football coach – STLtoday.com

Cory Snyder will be Francis Howell’s next football coach.

Snyder, 36, was officially introduced as Howell’s new head coach Tuesday morning. He takes over the Vikings after five years at the top of Westminster’s program. Snyder met with his former players before school Tuesday to make the news official.

Chris Pederson, who has been an assistant at Westminster, will step into the Wildcats’ head coach position. 

Howell’s top position opened up when Bryan Koch resigned Feb. 26. Koch had a nine-year run that brought the one-time doormat to its greatest heights, including its first championship-game appearance in 2011.

Snyder’s hope is that he can keep the Viking machine rolling.

“There’s a good thing going over there and I’m not going to come in and drastically change what’s going on,” Snyder said. “My goal is to assimilate myself and my family to their community and see how things run and go from there.”

Snyder leaves behind the only program he has ever known. Originally from Ohio, he played wide receiver at Washington University. Upon graduating in 2001, he started as a teacher and an assistant football coach at Westminster later that year.

He didn’t enroll at Wash. U. with the intention of becoming a teacher and a coach.

“I went to Wash U. thinking I’d go to med school. I took organic chemistry and that kind of was the end of that interest,” Snyder said wryly. “I just felt like that the calling for my life, teaching, coaching football and being around student athletes and kids.”

When Snyder started at Westminster, he got in on the ground floor of what has been a competitive Class 4 program. Westminster played its first varsity game in 2000. Snyder took the reins in 2011 and in his five seasons the Wildcats were 44-17.

The past three seasons, Westminster advanced to at least the state quarterfinals. Last season, it finished 13-1 and made its first state semifinal appearance before losing 35-16 to eventual champion Kearney.

Snyder said there weren’t many positions that piqued his interest to explore a move, but Howell was chief among them.

“My family lives in the district. That’s the high school my kids would attend down the road,” Snyder said. “It matches up our calendars. I missed their spring break this year. My wife was sending me pictures of my son swimming with dolphins in the ocean and I’m sitting at work.”

The support for Howell and its football program also played a role in his decision. The level of enthusiasm for the school and its football program are among the best in the area.

“One of the things that was attractive at Francis Howell is the support system they have in place,” Snyder said. “They have a great community and a great football community that’s going to embrace a new football coach and help him out. That was really attractive.”

One of Snyder’s coaching cornerstones is that the football program has the power to enrich its players beyond Xs and Os. There are no shortage of life lessons to be had in football — commitment, preparation, camaraderie, sacrifice, faith. If players embrace those lessons in the game, they will be better prepared to face the world well after their playing careers are complete.

“I think in the end we’re not only continuing to compete on the field, but we’re also continuing to develop young men who’ll be great fathers, husbands, community members. That’s a huge part of what I’m about,” Snyder said. “You don’t want to lose sight of the ultimate goal which is that when kids leave the football program you want them to be more than football players. I think that integrates well into having a successful program on the field.”

Added Howell athletics director Sean Erwin, “What we were looking for at Francis Howell was more than a football coach. Cory is that guy that met all the standards.”

Snyder will meet with the current coaching staff and does not plan on making many, if any, changes. He doesn’t plan on rocking the boat.

“From what I understand they have a bunch of passionate coaches and a lot of alumni. My anticipation is that all the guys that want to stay they’ll be a spot for them,” Snyder said. “I don’t see a whole lot of change over.”