Steve Snyder (right) takes a moment to talk to his players at St. FX.

Courtesy of Erica Roberts

The Western Mustangs will have a new look on offence with the hiring of Steve Snyder as the program's new offensive coordinator.

Snyder, a London native, has spent the last three seasons leading the offence at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Snyder helped the X-Men win Atlantic University Sport (AUS) titles in 2015 and 2016. The X-Men offence was fifth in the country in 2016 in both points per game and passing yards per game while ranking eighth in total yards per game. Now Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall hopes that Snyder can bring this offensive brilliance into the much tougher Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference.

According to St. FX head coach Gary Waterman, fans can expect Snyder to work hard in continuing to build a powerhouse offence at Western.

“He’s a very detail-oriented, organized guy," said Waterman. "He’s an innovative guy and he’s very thorough.”

Marshall has called the plays for the Western offence for the last 11 years. But after the stunning Yates Cup collapse to Laurier this past season, it is clear that Marshall is looking to shake things up to find that piece to take the program to the next level.

The Mustangs offence does not need a major overhaul. Western led the nation with 415 total points in 2016. But Marshall will now be able to have someone take over control of the offence and allow the head coach to oversee the entire football operation. Snyder hopes to maintain the success of the Mustangs offence while innovating and improving.

"You're looking at one of the prolific offences in the country for the last couple years," Snyder said, denying that the program needed a major overhaul. "So I don't know if it needs to be retooled, but we can always find ways to make things more efficient and more productive and ultimately that's what this is about."

Snyder will also play a key role in recruiting, as he did at St. FX, helping to build one of the nation's top up-and-coming programs.

“He’s a fantastic recruiter," said Waterman. "He played a huge part in recruiting here. It’s a small operation here and it was all hands on deck but he was an outstanding recruiter and did a great job of building relationships with high school athletes.”

Snyder coached special teams and receivers and coordinated recruiting at the University of Windsor in 2012 and 2013. Snyder also has experience coaching locally in London, spending time as an assistant coach at his alma mater H.B. Beal Secondary School, a quarterback coach at St. Thomas Aquinas and as an assistant coach on the 2012 London Junior Mustangs team that went undefeated and won a provincial title.

Snyder will miss coaching at St. FX but is excited for the opportunity to return home and be a part of one of the nation's preeminent university football programs and hopes to bring St. FX's success to the Mustangs.

"I played there and I went back to coach and we had success as a program. We went from worst place to first place, and won back to back conference championships, and really had a very successful season offensively and as a team in 2016, and accomplished some great things."

With OUA football as deep as it's ever been, adding an offensive mind and strong recruiter like Snyder could give the Mustangs an advantage going into the 2017 season. But he made it very clear that the Mustangs offence does not need major overhauling.

During the early stages of his time at Western Snyder will work hard recruiting athletes to come to Western while immersing himself in the Western community.

"This university is going to start to mean a lot to me very quickly and certainly the city of London already does," said Snyder. "I'm excited to get to know students and faculty and support staff on campus, and it might not have anything to do with football. At the end of the day we're all a university and community and if we support each other ultimately our individual programs and clubs will have success down the road."

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Mike is a sports editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. He is currently a third year history major. Contact Mike at mike@westerngazette.ca.

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