Court in session: New Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder delivers convincing first argument

Published: Saturday, June 7 2014 6:50 p.m. MDT

Quin Snyder gestures after being introduced as the new Utah Jazz head coach during an NBA basketball news conference Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz announced Friday that they hired the Atlanta Hawks assistant coach to replace Tyrone Corbin, who was let go earlier this year after three-plus seasons in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


SALT LAKE CITY — If newly hired Quin Snyder coaches as well as he conducts himself in interviews, with both the media and his new bosses, the Utah Jazz could be in for quite the promising future.

“Let me just say, first of all, that I'm incredibly honored to have this opportunity to coach the Jazz,” Snyder said after being introduced as the eighth coach in the franchise’s 40-year history. “This is a program with a great foundation.”

And one with great hopes for its new coach, who was hired Friday to replace Tyrone Corbin and take over a team that just endured a 25-57 season while beginning a rebuilding process.

“It's an exciting day in the Utah Jazz organization's history,” CEO Greg Miller said.

Fans and team employees listening in to the press conference had to be thrilled with what they heard from a law-degree-toting man who's eloquent and educated enough to work around multiple courts.

Snyder, who earned a double major, MBA and Juris Doctor law degree at Duke, shared interesting nuggets about his family’s connection with Utah, including his wife’s college studies at Utah State and a bus trip he took in high school from Washington to the U. to attend a team camp conducted by then-Ute coach Jerry Pimm.

“I know Salt Lake, what a great community it is, what a great family community it is,” said Snyder, whose wife is expecting a baby. “We're unbelievably excited to be here for a lot of reasons.”

The 47-year-old, who’s worked for four previous NBA teams in the past 22 years, expounded on his basketball philosophy and vision about “attention to detail,” winning with an up-tempo, creative offense, having a trusting group that plays unified on defense, developing players as individuals and as a group, and instilling more of his core concepts: being unselfish, competitive and accountable.

“This is a process, a building process. It’s one that I like,” Snyder said. “I think the fit is just terrific for me personally with Amy, myself and the organization.”

Snyder, hired over finalists Brad Jones (a potential assistant hire), Alvin Gentry and Adrian Griffin, responded to a wide variety of questions, including being asked about his past, which includes running into NCAA trouble while at Missouri from 1999-2006.

“I've faced some challenges in my life. Those challenges have helped me. I’ve been through some adversity and that adversity has made a better coach and it's made me a better person,” Snyder said.

“I feel like I persevered through some things and just tried to work hard and have been fortunate to have support from a lot of good people. Hopefully, this is the result from a lot of that hard work.”

Snyder showed gratitude for lessons learned from spending time being mentored by basketball legends, including Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and international coaching guru Ettore Messina. He credited Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey. He’s also worked with well-respected coaches like Larry Brown, Doug Collins, Mike Brown and, most recently, Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks, and has held five other jobs in the past five years.

“I've had a chance to work for some of the best minds in basketball,” said Snyder, a Hawks assistant last season. “It's humbling to think that I've had a chance to be around those people.”

Even before saying all of the right things in his Utah media debut, Snyder made a big impression on the Millers in the past couple of weeks. He'd already won the Jazz GM over while they worked together in the San Antonio organization from 2007-10, Lindsey as an assistant general manager and Snyder as the head coach of the Spurs' D-League Austin Toros.

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