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Snyder takes long road to 76ers
Missouri was placed on three years of probation, lost three scholarships and was barred from off-campus recruiting for one year. His defense wasn’t helped by the only thing worse than NCAA sanctions: losing. Snyder was 42-42 and missed the NCAA tournament his final two-plus seasons
Snyder resigned in a two-sentence statement 21 games into the 2005-06 season, although he still claims that he was fired.
“Those are semantics in my mind. Technically, I resigned. In my mind, I was fired,” Snyder said. “Any time you’re asked to resign, it’s the same thing.”
Snyder had a compensation package of over $1 million a year and went 126-91 with six postseason appearances. He passed on other marquee jobs because he loved his players and is proud of his team’s high graduation rate.
“I felt like we were building something that was pretty special. That ended,” Snyder said. “It put me through some things that made me really ask myself tough questions about whether I wanted to coach.”
An academic All-American with Duke law and business degrees, Snyder considered all types of jobs during his yearlong sabbatical, like investment banking or entrepreneurial endeavors. He just couldn’t shake the coaching bug.
David Kahn was a friend of Snyder since the early 1990s. Now the GM for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kahn owned the Austin Toros in 2007 and offered Snyder a second shot at coaching far from the spotlight of March Madness.
He took over in a pinch after coach Dennis Johnson’s sudden death and led the Toros to the D-League finals in his first season. Snyder insists he never wanted to use the Toros as a steppingstone job and was content in the NBDL.
The Toros were affiliated with the San Antonio Spurs, allowing Snyder a rare and welcomed opportunity to work with an NBA staff. He traveled with coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs during the postseason. He sat in on team meetings, participated in coach retreats, and stayed involved in San Antonio’s summer league and preseason games.
“I had a great opportunity with people who were very supportive,” Snyder said. “I had the opportunity to work in the NBA. It was one that was pretty unique.”
Snyder sidestepped a question about how much longer he was willing to coach in the developmental league. It’s not his worry anymore.
He moved into a house with his wife and two dogs this week and joked that he is only looking for a good cheesesteak. Snyder, who successfully recruited 76ers forward Elton Brand at Duke, knows he can make a difference on a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since 2003.
“There’s no fear of failure,” he said. “That’s empowering in my mind.”
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