By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
It’s the goal of every coach to leave their program in better shape than when they arrived.
Craig Snyder certainly did that for Rowland High School.
But after restoring one of the area’s better programs, Snyder announced he is stepping down as Rowland’s football coach.
“I’ve put a lot of thought into this,” said Snyder, who is in his 35th year at the school. “For me, I believe behind every successful football coach, there’s a great lady. For 35 years, my wife has allowed me to coach a variety of sports. I’ve watched her have her own career while handling the kids, taking them to youth games. We have an empty nest now, and she’s home a lot. I owe it to her and my grandkids to be with them.”
The veteran coach, who will continue to teach and coach softball at the school, was 42-35 in seven seasons with the Raiders.
He guided Rowland to a share of two league titles and the CIF-Southern Section Southeast Division semifinals in 2008.
“We are extremely grateful to Craig and his efforts for the past 34 years,” Rowland AD Ralph Harris said. “He has been the consistent face of Rowland football during that time. Craig and I started at Rowland at the same time, so we have grown up together.
“(Craig) is a man of unwavering integrity and for that, we are all better. His family, particularly his wife, Sue, has been incredibly supportive during his tenure and he has often mentioned to me how grateful he was for his family and the sacrifices they have made in his behalf. This will be a huge void for us to fill as we move forward.”
Snyder, who also has served time as the school’s baseball coach during his tenure, helped restore the Raiders back to the area elite.
Rowland, which was one of the better programs in the area under Harry Robinson during the 1980s, hit some lean times in the 1990s and in the early 2000s. But the Raiders prospered under Snyder.
Rowland went 8-3 and shared the San Antonio League title in his first season before going 10-3 and a semifinal appearance in 2008. The Raiders were 7-4 this season.
“I learned from some awfully good people,” said Snyder, who was an assistant under Tim Brancheau at West Covina and Robinson at Rowland. “I was with Tim for a year, and later Harry. I felt I learned from the best.
“I just tried to carry on and pass on what I thought was important, to instill that in our program. It had to be more about wins and losses, but get the kids to buy into hard work, dedication and commitment. I’ve always felt that if you did that, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”
Snyder is now looking forward to a different atmosphere on Fridays.
“I think spending time with my grandkids is very important to me,” he said. “The last seven years have been fun. I really enjoyed my time.”
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN