By Bruce Campbell
Former Enid High School assistant football coach Gary Snider, who lost a long battle to cancer Monday night, was remembered by former colleagues as a “coach’s coach.”
Snider, 51, coached the Plainsmen secondary from 1979-1990. He also served as the school’s wrestling coach and assistant track coach. EHS won the state football championship in 1983.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa. Memorials can be sent to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“I have so many good memories of him,” said Plains-men assistant coach David Lee, who did his student teaching un-der Snider. “The kids just loved playing for him. He related to kids real well. He was a positive role model for them.”
His players, Lee said, “always knew where they stood.” He was blunt without being antagonistic.
“He was never disrespectful to the kids,” Lee said. “He would always coach the last kid in line as hard as he would the first.’’
“When he was here, he wasn’t that much older than the kids so it made it easy for the kids to identify with him,” said ex-EHS assistant Darrell Herndon. “He continued that demeanor as he got older.”
Herndon, who coached with Snider his entire 12-year tenure at Enid, said he didn’t know anyone who didn’t like Snider.
Snider’s father, Lee, was a longtime high school football coach in the state and at one time was an Oklahoma State assistant.
“They were always the center of attention at parties,” Herndon said of the Sniders. “He was a happy person. It’s just a shame something like this cut him down in the prime of his life.”
Snider was the lone Enid assistant to accompany Plainsmen head coach Ron Lancaster to Jenks in the spring of 1991. He was on the Trojans’ staff until 1998 when he joined the Union staff.
“He was the buffer for Ron for the rest of the staff,” Lee said. “He knew what Ron wanted as coaching was concerned.”
Snider and Lee would break down opponents’ film on weekends for scouting reports.
“He taught me a lot on how to break down opposing team’s defenses,” Lee said. “We had a great time when we were scouting together. He was a great coach.”
Snider was a college roommate at OSU of Craig Simmons, the Plainsmen’s head coach from 1991-98. Snider helped get Simmons on the staff in 1982.
“He was always a fighter,” Herndon said of Snider’s competitive spirit. “He was an undersized player at OSU, but he hung in there and did a great job. Those two had some great stories.”
Snider had been battling cancer for some time.
Lee said he talked with members of the Snider family when the Plainsmen were at a football camp in Tulsa last week.
“They told us Gary wasn’t doing well, and they didn’t know how much longer he would make it,” Lee said.
Herndon last saw Snider two years ago when Union visited Enid for a football game.
“Some friends of his told me it didn’t look like he was going to make it through the summer,” Herndon said. “He fought the cancer pretty hard. The big regret you have when you lose a friend like this is that you didn’t take more time to see each other more often.”
Lee said the last time Snider came to Enid “you could see he was in a lot of pain.”
“I feel bad for the kids who are not going to be around him and won’t get to learn from him,” Lee said.
Snider’s teams had an overall record of 238-48 and won five state championships and 15 district championships. He coached his three sons — Beau, Zach and Lucus, all of whom were born in Enid.
By Bruce Campbell
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This Week's Circulars
ENID [mdash] Viewing and visitation for Melvin Lee Unruh, 85, will be today and Wednesday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at Stittsworth's. Private graveside services will be held in Memorial Park Cemetery. Remembrances may be shared @www.stittsworthfuneralservices.com.
FAIRVIEW - Graveside services for Elda J. Nightingale, 97, of Montezuma, Kansas, formerly of Fairview, Oklahoma, will be 2 p.m., Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at the Cedar Cemetery, southeast of Fairview. Arrangements by Fairview Funeral Home Inc.
ENID - The memorial service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 20, 2021 in Henninger-Hinson Funeral Home Chapel. Burial of her cremated remains will follow in Enid Cemetery. Memorials through the funeral home to Enid SPCA. www.enidwecare.com
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