It was a packed house at University Club on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 as Queen’s Athletics Executive Director Leslie Dal Cin introduced the new Head Coach of the Gaels Football Team, Steve Snyder.
Prior to the introduction, Snyder had a chance to chat with most of the gathered football alumni, members of the Quarterback Club and assembled media. Most if not all came away impressed with his passion for teaching student athletes and his vision of the future for the program.
In her opening remarks Dal Cin thanked former Head Coach Pat Sheahan for his 19 remarkable years leading the program, the highlight of which was the 2009 Vanier Cup victory. Word was circulating around the room that Coach Sheahan had just accepted the position of Offensive Coordinator of the Calgary Dinos, a position his eldest son, Ryan, held until he was recently hired as Head Coach at University of Guelph.
Coach Snyder answered a number of questions from Sports Information Officer Shawn MacDonald and members of the audience. The common themes in his answers were: ‘they are going to be successful because of how his student athletes are taught the game’ and, ‘the members of the program are going to be actively involved in the Kingston community.’ Snyder emphasized that the number one goal he has for himself and fellow coaches is to be the best teaching staff in the country.
The first question from the audience was from Gaels fan Sue Bates who asked about the quarterback situation after the graduation of 5th year starter Nate Hobbs. Snyder stated that the slate is clean at all positions and it will be up to the athletes to earn jobs at training camp in August. With that said, one would think that heavily recruited Ryan Lacandro will have an inside edge, given his resume. Snyder went on to say that, while the quarterback position is important and probably the most debated, he and the recruiting staff are focused on building the offensive line. Not quite as sexy, but it’s a major key to success.
When asked about specifics regarding the new offensive playbook, Snyder used good humor to keep his plans tightly under wraps. It’s obvious that the new playbook is going to be a heavily-guarded state secret until opening day. For instance, when asked by legendary Gaels quarterback Cal Connor if the QB will be allowed to run, Snyder answered “Anything is possible.”
Also introduced at the gathering was new Offensive Coordinator Tom Flaxman. Flaxman comes to the Gaels with a remarkable football resume and held the same position with McMaster. He was the Marauders interim head coach this past season.
With the new additions to the Coaching staff, the Gaels have also upped their recruiting game. Snyder played a key role in recruiting at Western, while Flaxman ran McMasters recruiting. On top of that, Assistant Head Coach Ryan Bechmanis was the key recruiter during his time at Carleton, while former Gael and CFL star Shomari Williams will be tasked with running the department. That in itself is an impressive lineup.
The Gaels open the season at home on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 against Carleton.
Tim “The Coach” Cunningham has played every sport ever. His inside knowledge can be heard and seen on radio, television and in print across Canada. Follow him on twitter at @TheCoachTC.