SALT LAKE CITY — Meet your new head coach, Utah Jazz fans: Quin Snyder.
One n in his first name. Two majors and advanced degrees from Duke University. Three Final Four appearances as a point guard with the Blue Devils. Four previous jobs in the NBA, including with the Clippers, Sixers, Lakers and Hawks.
Five on the list of Jazz coaches since the franchise moved to Utah in 1979, following in the footsteps of Tyrone Corbin, Jerry Sloan, Frank Layden and Tom Nissalke.
Six gigs in the past five years, including this new one and stops in Atlanta, Moscow, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Austin, Texas.
And the list of accolades, accomplishments, trivial tidbits, flowing hair references and, yes, questions about his past go on for this former Missouri coach, who will be formally introduced to Utah in a Saturday morning press conference.
"The opportunity to join the Utah Jazz and to be part of such a highly respected franchise with an incredibly bright future is a great honor," Snyder said via a statement released by Jazz PR. "I approach this opportunity with gratitude and humility and am committed to doing everything I can to help the Jazz become a championship-caliber team."
If that last phrase sounds familiar, it might be because Snyder had a working relationship with Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey from 2007-10 when they both worked for the San Antonio organization. "Championship-caliber team" is a phrase Lindsey has repeated often since he was hired as the Jazz general manager since leaving his assistant GM position with the Spurs two years ago.
After deciding to not renew Corbin's contract following the 25-57 rebuilding season of 2013-14, Lindsey and Jazz ownership believe Snyder is the guy who can best help get this franchise back to that level. Not only is he well known for being a bright basketball mind, but he's also been credited for developing talent and being a motivating leader.
Jazz assistant Brad Jones, longtime NBA coach Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin were the other of four finalists of a coach search that's gone on since Corbin's dismissal six-plus weeks ago.
"Quin Snyder combines a unique skillset with several intangibles that makes him the right fit for our team and approach to basketball," Lindsey said in a statement.
"He is passionate about the game and has a 20-year track record of teaching and developing young talent. His personality, work ethic and communications skills are important traits that will benefit the Utah Jazz. We have taken a significant and exciting step forward in the evolution of this franchise."
Snyder agreed to a three-year deal with a team option for the 2017-18 season, according to Yahoo! Sports. Sportando.com, a European basketball website, first broke the news.
Jones is expected to be retained as an assistant coach on the Jazz staff, according to sources. Jones, the nephew of Jerry Sloan, spent the past two seasons as an assistant and player development director in Utah. He was a regional scout for the Jazz from 2001-07 before a successful coaching stint with the now-defunct Utah Flash through 2010.
Former University of Utah standout Alex Jensen could also be promoted from his position as player development coach to a full-time assistant on Snyder's staff, according to sources.
Jensen has been leading Utah's pre-draft workouts with Johnnie Bryant, also likely to be retained on staff, after being retained following Corbin's dismissal. It's possible other teams will try to snatch Jensen, mentored by the late Rick Majerus as an assistant at St. Louis and the 2013 D-League coach of the year, but the Centerville native is highly regarded by the Jazz organization.
The next process for Snyder will be to familiarize himself with the Salt Lake City community and Jazz organization, which is preparing for the important June 26 draft. In fact, the team will host two workouts following Saturday's press conference.
Snyder will also be tasked to handpick assistants to fill out his Jazz bench.
"Quin Snyder, welcome to the Utah Jazz family," Jazz CEO Greg Miller wrote on his Twitter account Friday night. "I'm looking forward to working with you to build our team into a championship contender."
Jazz president Randy Rigby said the organization's thorough search elicited "overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding Quin from some of the most respected basketball minds in the game."
The 47-year-old Snyder has played for and worked with Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, but he became a national coaching star while guiding the Missouri Tigers from 1999-2006. He's been an NBA assistant on multiple occasions, including with Larry Brown (Clippers), Mike Brown (Lakers) and the Hawks' Mike Budenholzer last season.
"We are extremely happy for Quin and his family," Budenholzer, Lindsey's friend from their Spurs jobs, said in a statement. "He played an instrumental role within our coaching staff and team. This is a great opportunity for him and we wish the best."
Snyder, first reported as a lead candidate by the Deseret News, held multiple positions on Krzyzewski's staff from 1993-99, including associate head coach. His Missouri coaching days were filled with Elite Eight success in 2002 followed by bumpy times, including the program being placed on probation for minor NCAA violations.
From there, Snyder returned to the professional ranks, beginning with a three-year stint with the Toros. Since then, he has toiled as the Sixers' player development coach (2010-11), as a Laker assistant (2011-12), on Ettore Messina's staff at CSKA Moscow (2012-13) and with the Hawks (2013-14).
Snyder received multiple votes of confidence from former Jazz players on Atlanta. Forward DeMarre Carroll, who's credited Quin for helping his footwork, shot and overall game, tweeted, "Big (shout out) to my friend/coach Quin Snyder on getting the Utah Jazz job. #Jazznation you all have gotten a great COACH. Trust me!!! ##blessed."
All-Star Paul Millsap also gave Snyder some public love on Twitter, congratulating him and adding, "The Jazz are getting a great coach and person."
Snyder also received high praise from former NBA coach Doug Collins, his boss in Philly who once told USA Today that he's "one of the best basketball minds I've ever been around."
"He has an impressive basketball pedigree, including more than a decade of head coaching experience that positions him well to succeed in the Jazz organization," Miller added. "We look forward to Quin’s contributions both on the court and in the community."
Messina, an interantional coach who'd been mentioned as a candidate for the Jazz job, has been linked to Utah as a possible addition to Snyder's staff by ESPN's Marc Stein.
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