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Meet the coach

Meet the coach

Following a national search, the Queen’s Gaels announced Steve Snyder as the head coach of the university’s prestigious football program. He is the fifth coach to lead the Queen’s football program in the last 70 years, following in the footsteps of Frank Tindall (1939,1948–1975), Doug Hargreaves (1976–1994), Bob Howes (1995–1999), and Pat Sheahan (2000–2018).

[photo of Queen's football coach Steve Snyder]
Bernard Clark

Q. How did you get your start in coaching?
A. During my high school and university playing career, I would volunteer coach in the summers with minor and junior varsity programs. After I finished my university playing career, I signed a contract with the Osnabrück Tigers in Germany to play quarterback. I began my coaching career with their U18 team, and we won back-to-back state championships.

I returned to Canada after two seasons in Germany to join the London Junior Mustangs staff of the Ontario Varsity Football League in the summer of 2012; we went undefeated and won the league title. The fall of 2012, I joined the Windsor Lancers as the special teams and recruiting coordinator. The move to Windsor was the official start to my university coaching career.

[photo of Steve Snyder tossing a football]

Q. How would you describe your coaching style?
A. I love the details of football and running an organization. I like to be organized and prepared. Working with and building relationships with the people in our program is the best part of coaching. I’m a teacher at heart, and I love teaching the game. I’m competitive, like all the coaches in our league, so I tend to operate with a sense of urgency, and I often bring an intensity to football that is genuine. When it’s football time, I’m intense – I can’t help it! – and I love the game.

Q. Why Queen's?
A. Queen’s is a first-class university, with a very strong athletics program and a rich tradition of excellence. The commitment to the future of the football program is apparent. I have always gravitated to traditional programs as a football fan. Queen’s is as traditional of a program as there is in Canada and it is an absolute honour to be a part of it.

Q. What are your thoughts on Richardson Stadium and the new high-performance training zone?
A. Richardson Stadium has set a new bar in Canadian university Football for facilities. It’s an extremely fan-friendly stadium that has provided Queen’s with an opportunity to attract the best student-athletes in the country and create a very enjoyable experience for alumni, supporters, and our student body.

The new high-performance training zone is an incredible facility. It allows us to train our athletes in large numbers with state-of-the-art equipment and space in an environment that is well-branded and provides a very professional atmosphere.

Q. What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you as a coach?
A. I did get hit in the head by a long snap once. Everyone was looking at me, wondering if I was okay. I took it like a champ and acted like it didn’t faze me. My ears were ringing for a few minutes afterwards, but I kept coaching!

Q. What are you most looking forward to, long-term?
A. Building a championship football program, one that everyone associated with Queen’s University – our alumni and our community – can be proud of.

Q. Since you started in January, you’ve had a chance to meet with alumni at events including the Gael Force Football Dinner (which raised more than $100,000 for the Gaels Football Club). What makes the Queen’s alumni community so special?
A. Our alumni are proud, they enjoyed their experience at Queen’s, and so many of them want to stay connected to the program. I have met so many successful alumni from multiple decades. It’s truly remarkable to see what our former Queen’s football players are doing with their lives after football; it is a very special fraternity. You’re talking about more than 100 years of football excellence, including an incredible number of championship teams. We all take great pride in wearing the tricolour and continuing to represent this great program.

Q. How important is chemistry when building a football program?
A. It is extremely important. We will ultimately win because of team chemistry. Every championship team I have been a part of has had special team chemistry. We are committed to building that here. We will focus on bringing in high-character individuals and developing a culture of working together.

You have to trust each other; you have to work well together. Making your teammates better is a huge part of team growth.

We will ultimately win because of team chemistry.

Q. What is the team’s philosophy for the Gaels heading into the 2019 season?
A. Our philosophy is based around building an organization made up of individuals who are committed to the concept of team. The most important quality we look for and work to develop is reliability. We believe in creating a structured environment where we constantly teach, learn, and work together. We believe in competition because it brings out the best of our abilities. We focus on the preparation process of football: preparation and teamwork drive winning.

Follow Coach Snyder on Twitter: @SteveSnyderQ

2019 football schedule

Aug. 25 vs. Carleton
Sept. 2 at Western
Sept. 7 at Ottawa
Sept. 14 vs. Windsor
Sept. 21 at Toronto
Sept. 28 at Laurier
Oct. 10 vs. Guelph
Oct. 19 vs. York

[cover image of the Queen's Alumni Review issue 3, 2019, showing art conservator Heidi Sobol with a painting by Rembrandt]