Brother to Brother: Former Head Football Coach at Baldwin Wallace, John Snell, Shares Advice With Aspiring Coach, Undergraduates
By JOHN BEYER
High Sigma, Kappa-Phi Zeta
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and catch up with Brother and Alumnus John Snell who graduated in 1987 from Baldwin Wallace University. Snell made a great impact on both the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter and Baldwin Wallace community.
When Snell was an active member in his collegiate career, he was awarded the “Outstanding Brother Award” in 1987 by chapter alumni. The award is given in honor of a brother who gives back to the chapter and shows all the Core Values of the fraternity: loyalty, duty, respect, service and stewardship, honor, integrity and personal courage.
Snell was the Recruitment Chair of the Kappa-Phi chapter back in 1987. He helped motivate the brothers to recruit the biggest class of soon to be Associate Members into the chapter.
Snell went on to become the head football coach of the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets for 15 years. In his time as head coach, he led the team to the NCAA Division III playoffs and had an incredible record of 92-60. Snell also produced 122 All-Ohio Athletic Conference and 102 Academic All-OAC student athletes.
Baldwin Wallace University has a great history of tradition in its football program. This tradition started with College Hall of Fame Coach Lee Tressel, father of the legendary Ohio State Hall of Fame Coach Jim Tressel. Prior to returning to his alma mater, Snell coached at the University of Rochester (1987-88 and 1992-94), Rutgers University (1988-90) and the University of Buffalo (1990-92).
Snell is now the Assistant Athletic Director at Baldwin Wallace. He handles NCAA compliance and assists in the management of recruitment and retention for the university. He is in his 23rd year with the Yellow Jacket Athletic Department.
Snell recently won the “Award for Excellence in Teaching” at the annual All Athletes banquet at Baldwin Wallace University. The award is presented to a person who embodies the true value of education and devotes themselves to the personal growth of all athletes on and off the field. This award is a very clear reflection of the values and standards Snell held himself and his athletes to as a coach.
As someone who hopes to be a collegiate coach and the best Lambda Chi I can be, I reached out to him to ask some questions about his time as an active brother and how being in the fraternity has helped him throughout his career.
John Beyer (JB): Why did you join Lambda Chi Alpha?
John Snell (JS): When I was in undergrad, Lambda Chi really attracted me at the time with the size of the fraternity. We had more than 60 members and took over all of E-House on campus (a campus dorm). I also really enjoyed the values that were apart of Lambda Chi. I use many of the same values that the chapter has within my football program. I have amazing memories of the brotherhood and still keep in contact with many of my friends who were in the chapter.
JB: How did the chapter help you grow as a college student?
JS: When I was in the chapter I took on a couple officer positions. For a year or so, I was recruitment chair (High Delta) in the fraternity and it taught me a lot about planning for events and taking a lot of pride in growing the chapter.
JB: Did Lambda Chi Alpha help you in your coaching career after graduating?
JS: When the coaching position came up here at Baldwin Wallace, it was a no brainer that I wanted to be a coach here. I always loved the program here and really loved what Coach Packard (the previous head coach) was doing with the program. Something people didn’t really know about Coach Packard was that he was also a Lambda Chi — we had been through the same teachings and rituals and could always really connect on that level. It for wasn’t the reason I got the job, but it was absolutely a pulse being a brother of the fraternity.
JB: Do you still try to live out Lambda Chi Alpha’s teachings and ritual in your life?
JS: One of the biggest things I took away from the fraternity, which I didn’t know at the time, was a lot of the Christian teachings within Lambda Chi Alpha. The years after my time in the fraternity I have grown more in my faith. I still follow a lot of those Christian teachings I learned within the chapter.
JB: What advice would you give to a brother who wants to go into college coaching?
JS: You have to love what you’re coaching. You can’t be in it for financial gain because coaches don’t really make that much, so you have to have a passion for what you’re doing. I love making impacts in people’s lives on the field, in the classroom and in their professional careers. If you want to be a high-level coach, you need to try and work for high-level programs at a young age if you can. When I became a senior, I sent out 49 letters to graduate assistantships all over the country, and to be honest I should have sent out more. Out of those letters I sent out I only got two interviews. If you want to get into coaching in your sport, you need to look at a GA position for your sport and apply to all of them to get your foot in the door.
JB: Now that you aren’t coaching anymore and have moved into being an assistant athletic director at the school, what’s the biggest difference in your job now?
JS: It has been a transformation going from coaching to my new job. It was very challenging at first knowing I didn’t have a team to coach the next morning, but I got over that with some time. If I didn’t coach, this job I’m doing right now would have been my dream job. I get the opportunity to help out and support the athletic program and the coaches. This job is something I’m loving more and more each day I do it.
JB: Do you think there is a correlation between success and being involved in Greek life?
JS: I would say if you put the work in to become successful you will be successful in any career. Lambda Chi Alpha in my undergrad really lay down an amazing foundation for me to be successful. The teachings of this fraternity and the values that it still has will help push you or any other brother in the right direction, but it’s what you make out of it that will help you grow in your career.
JB: What advice would you give your fellow brothers?
JS: I urge you and all other Lambda Chis on this campus to continue searching for your passion until you find it. I never work a day in my life because I’m passionate about what I do and love Baldwin Wallace University. Keep searching until you find it.
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