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On Bruce Snyder

I was saddened by the death of former USU football coach Bruce Snyder, Monday in Phoenix, even though I'm pretty sure I was never one of his favorites.

He was the last USU coach to win seven games more than once (Charlie Weatherbie's team went 7-5 in 1993). And he was the last coach at USU that I remember had numerous star players like Rulon Jones, Mike Perko, Shawn Miller, Mike Hamby, Hal Garner, Rick Parros and Eric Hipple.

The thing that made me unpopular with Snyder occurred during the 1980 season. Earlier that year, Utah had defeated the Aggies in Logan. During the game, play was stopped and USU players were ordered to change uniform jerseys. That's because one of the assistant coaches had instructed linemen to spray WD-40 on their jerseys so Utah players couldn't grab them properly.

A week later, I was on a road trip with USU and working on a feature story on Willard Browner. It was the morning before a game at Cal State-Fullerton. During the course of the interview, I asked Browner about the jerseys, but he said he didn't know anything about it. The question apparently upset him enough that he went back and told Snyder, who from that time forward said there would be no game-day interviews, until the post-game locker rooms were opened.

So reporters could thank me for that.

Snyder also had the sports information office call me one year because I wrote that the Aggies without their kicker would be like Steve Lawrence without Eydie Gorme. Snyder took umbrage at that, feeling it minimized the effort of others.

Nonetheless, I never had a confrontation with Snyder. I liked him and felt he was a good coach. He held the program at a decent level - back then, the Aggies could still beat BYU and Utah on occasion - until it began the long, slow decline.

When I think of Snyder, I'll think of a coach who seemed measured and introspective, but respected by his players and fellow coaches. And although his overall record at USU was 37-38-2, I'll remember him as the last coach to preside over a winning Aggie program.