“Nothing but Admiration” — Quin Snyder Returns to Utah for the First Time

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

Welcome back, coach.

When Quin Snyder returns to the Delta Center on Friday night, there are bound to be emotions and memories everywhere he looks. 

Despite the familiarities around every corner when Snyder walks through the arena, he will find himself in unfamiliar territory. Snyder will be stationed in the opponent's locker room, do his pregame media session in an unfamiliar room, and then take his spot on the bench on the other side of the court. He will hear his name announced pregame as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, to which a rousing ovation should be given by Jazz Nation.

"Quin Snyder has embodied what Jazz basketball is for the last eight years," Jazz Governor Ryan Smith said during Snyder's final press conference on June 5, 2022. "The tireless work ethic and attention to detail Quin displayed each day is a testament to the professional he is. I have nothing but admiration for Quin and respect his decision. On behalf of Ashley and I, along with our ownership group and our entire organization, we thank Quin and Amy from the bottom of our hearts for all of their contributions to the state of Utah and the Jazz and wish them nothing but the best."

Beginning in June 2014 and for the following eight years, Snyder was the leading man of the Utah Jazz. He helped usher in a new era of Jazz basketball, orchestrating some of the best seasons in franchise history.

Throughout those eight years at the helm, Snyder transformed a Jazz team that won just 25 games the year before into one that reached the postseason six straight years. First establishing Utah as a dominant defensive team, Snyder elevated the Jazz to one of the top offenses in the league over his final few seasons—a feat that doesn't deserve enough credit.

"He's a coach that had one of the best defensive teams in the league and then transformed into one of the best offenses in the league. … That's very rare," CEO of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said. "To be able to coach different styles of teams and have so much success on both sides of the ball, I think that's an impressive footprint."

Snyder went 372-264 with the Jazz, amassing a .585 winning percentage — the second-winningest coach in Utah history behind Hall of Fame Jerry Sloan.

Among the highlights was Snyder finishing as the runner-up in NBA Coach of the Year voting during the 2017-18 season. He was also named the Western Conference Coach of the Month four times throughout his career. His best season was during the Covid-shortened year of 2020-21, leading the Jazz to the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs after a 52-20 record, the best in the NBA. He served as the head coach of Team LeBron during the 2021 NBA All-Star game.

Snyder also reflected on Utah's Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in the opening round of the 2012 postseason as one of his major highlights — the first time the Jazz had returned to the playoffs since 2012.

After a three-year playing career under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, Snyder parlayed that tutelage into an NBA coaching career that's still ongoing. 

He graduated from Duke with a double major in philosophy and political science in 1989 and then received a J.D. and M.B.A. degree from Duke in 1995. He also made his coaching debut in 1992 as an assistant coach for the LA Clippers. He joined Coach K's staff at Duke in 1993, serving as an assistant for four years before being promoted to associate head coach in 1997. 

Snyder got his break in 1999, getting the call to lead the Missouri Tigers. He did so for seven seasons before resigning in 2006, not knowing if he was leaving coaching for good. After some reflection, he became head coach of the Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League in 2007. Following a three-year run, he joined the 76ers as a player development coach for the 2010-11 season before heading to the Lakers as an assistant coach the following season. 

In 2012, Snyder took a year off from the NBA and went to Russia to serve as an assistant head coach for CSKA Moscow under Ettore Messina. After a successful season, he returned to the States and was named the head assistant coach with the Hawks. One year later, Snyder was hired by the Jazz, kicking off an extremely successful eight-year stint in Utah.