Defensive ends/special teams coach Mark Snyder and quarterbacks coach Brad Salem spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon.
Over the last three seasons, Mark Dantonio has compiled a 36-5 record (.878), including two Big Ten Championships and three Top 10 finishes in the national polls.
During his first two seasons in East Lansing, Snyder helped maintain the Spartan tradition of strong play at linebacker. MSU players earned All-Big Ten recognition four times, including Riley Bullough, who was named to the second team in 2015 and third team in 2016. Bullough led the Spartans in tackles as a junior with 106 and still ranked third on the team his senior season with 76 tackles despite missing three games due to an injury. He was invited to the NFL Combine and signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
All three of MSU's starters earned All-Big Ten accolades (Bullough: second team; Darien Harris: third team; Jon Reschke: honorable mention) in Snyder’s first season in 2015, as the Spartan won the Big Ten title and played in the College Football Playoff. The play of the linebackers was one of the key elements in MSU ranking No. 11 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense (116.0 ypg.), No. 25 in scoring defense (21.7 ppg.) and No. 26 in total defense (349.9 ypg.).
Michigan State's special teams improved throughout the 2015 season and were a part of two game-winning plays as time expired in victories at No. 12 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State. Trailing 27-23 with 10 seconds remaining at Michigan, Jalen Watts-Jackson scooped up a fumbled snap by Michigan punter Blake O'Neill and broke several tackles en route to his 38-yard scamper to the end zone that gave MSU the dramatic win over the Wolverines. Watts-Jackson's TD was named the No. 1 play for the 2015 season at the ESPN College Football Award Show. At Ohio State, with the score tied at 14, Michael Geiger connected on a 41-yard field goal as time ran out to end the defending National Champion Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak.
Snyder and MSU head coach Mark Dantonio have coached together before, as Snyder was the linebackers coach at Ohio State from 2001-03 while Dantonio was the defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. Snyder served as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for the three seasons (2012-14) and had eight previous years of coaching experience in the Big Ten Conference (Minnesota, 1997-2000; Ohio State, 2001-04) before arriving at MSU. He has coached on multiple National Championship and conference championships staffs during his longtime coaching career.
During Snyder's stint as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, two of his defensive linemen earned All-SEC honors, including consensus first-team All-American Damontre Moore in 2012. A third-round NFL Draft pick by the New York Giants (No. 81 overall) in 2013, Moore led the Aggies his junior season with 85 tackles, including 21 for losses and 12.5 sacks, to land on the All-SEC First Team. In 2014, true freshman Myles Garrett set a Texas A&M and SEC-freshman record with 11.5 sacks and was named a consensus first-team Freshman All-American as well as second-team All-SEC. Garrett eventually worked his way to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. During Texas A&M's 11-2 campaign in 2012 that ended with a win in the Cotton Bowl Classic over Oklahoma, Snyder's defense ranked 26th in the NCAA FBS in scoring defense, allowing 21.8 points per game.
Snyder spent two seasons (2010-11) as the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at South Florida. Both of his defenses in Tampa ranked in the FBS Top 25 in rushing defense (22nd in 2010 at 125.6 ypg. and 15th in 2011 at 107.3 ypg.). During USF's 2010 season that ended with an 8-5 record and a win over Clemson in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the Bulls ranked 17th in total defense (317.9 ypg.) and 22nd in scoring defense (20.0 ppg.). Snyder helped mentor first-team All-BIG EAST defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft (No. 65 overall) by the Carolina Panthers. The Bulls were also one of the top defensive teams during the 2011 season in tackles for loss (No. 2 in FBS with 99; 8.25 pg.) and sacks (No. 4 with 39; 3.25 pg.).
Snyder was the head coach at Marshall for five seasons (2005-09) and helped lead the Thundering Herd transition from the Mid-American Conference to Conference USA. In Snyder's final year in 2009, Marshall went 6-6 during the regular season and earned a berth in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. His program produced 40 all-conference selections, including 2006 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Albert McClellan, who had 18.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks his sophomore season. Snyder produced a 22-37 overall record at Marshall (17-23 Conference USA).
Under Snyder, running back Ahmad Bradshaw was a two-time All-C-USA pick and ran for 19 touchdowns and 1,523 yards as a junior in 2006 to earn first-team all-league honors. Bradshaw was selected in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft (No. 250 overall) by the New York Giants and won two Super Bowls with the Giants (XLII, XLVI); he is one of just eight running backs in NFL history to be the leading rusher in two Super Bowls.
McClellan, who had to sit out the 2007 season due to a knee injury, returned in 2008 to earn first-team All-C-USA honors for the second time in his career. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie free agent in 2009 and is currently playing his fourth season in the NFL, all in Baltimore.
Prior to landing the head coaching position at Marshall, Snyder spent four seasons (2001-04) at Ohio State under former Buckeye coach Jim Tressel. During Snyder's time at OSU, the Buckeyes posted a 40-11 record, including a victory over No. 1 Miami (Florida) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl to win the 2002 National Championship.
Snyder worked with Dantonio for three seasons in Columbus (2001-03) as the linebackers coach while Dantonio was the defensive coordinator. In 2003, Ohio State's defense was the second toughest against the run, allowing 62.3 yards per game, and was ranked No. 10 in total defense (296.9 ypg.) and No. 16 in scoring defense (17.6 ppg.). Those efforts helped the Buckeyes post an 11-2 record and finish No. 4 in the final polls. Dantonio and Snyder helped assembled the defense which led Ohio State to the 2002 National Championship, as the Buckeyes ranked second in the NCAA in scoring defense (13.1 ppg) and third in rushing defense (77.7 ypg.).
Upon Dantonio's departure to coach Cincinnati, Snyder was promoted to defensive coordinator at OSU for the 2004 season before leaving to become the head coach at Marshall. The 2004 Buckeyes went 8-4 and defeated Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl, 33-7.
Current Spartan co-defensive coordinator Mike Tressel was a graduate assistant linebackers coach for two seasons (2002-03) under Snyder at Ohio State. In addition, current MSU co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Jim Bollman was the offensive coordinator at Ohio State during Snyder's four seasons at OSU, and Spartan offensive line coach Mark Staten was a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes in 2002 and 2003. Snyder mentored two-time first-team All-America and three-time first-team All-Big Ten linebacker A.J. Hawk for three of his four seasons in Columbus. Hawk was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers after winning the 2005 Lombardi Award his senior year at Ohio State.
Snyder also coached NFL Draft picks Bobby Carpenter, Rob Reynolds and Matt Wilhelm at linebacker at OSU. Carpenter was a 2006 first-round draft pick (No. 18 overall) by the Dallas Cowboys, Reynolds was a fifth-round choice (No. 165 overall) by the Tennessee Titans in 2004, and Wilhelm was a fourth-round selection (No. 112 overall) by the San Diego Chargers in 2003. Wilhelm was a first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten linebacker on OSU's 2002 National Championship team.
Snyder also has Big Ten coaching experience at Minnesota, where he worked with the defensive ends for four seasons (1997-2000) under former Gopher coach Glen Mason. Snyder helped develop defensive end Lamanzer Williams, a first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 1997 who led the nation with 18 sacks. Williams was a sixth-round NFL Draft choice (No. 179 overall) in 1998 by Jacksonville. Snyder also worked with defensive end Karon Riley, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2000 and was taken in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft (No. 103 overall) by the Chicago Bears. In addition, Snyder coached Greg "Stylez" White, a seventh-round NFL Draft selection by Houston in 2002.
Snyder worked with MSU Director of Football Operations Tim Allen at Minnesota; Allen was the Director of Football Operations under Mason from 1997-2006.
Prior to landing a position in the Big Ten at Minnesota, Snyder spent six seasons on Jim Tressel's staff at Youngstown State (1991-96). Snyder, who was the outside linebacker coach for three years (1991-93), was given the added responsibility of special teams coordinator and inside linebackers coach in 1994 and was promoted to defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 1996. During his tenure at Youngstown State, the Penguins won three NCAA Division I-AA National Championships (1991, 1993, 1994) and played in four consecutive National Championship games.
Snyder's first full-time coaching position came at Central Florida as the linebackers coach in 1990 and after serving as a graduate assistant at UCF in 1989.
A native of South Point, Ohio, Snyder was an all-state selection for Ironton High School at quarterback and also played basketball and track. He went on to play free safety at Marshall. In 1987, Snyder led the Southern Conference with 10 interceptions and was second on the team with 124 tackles his senior year at Marshall and helped lead the Herd to a landmark come-from-behind win at Louisville and a berth in Marshall's first-ever National Championship game. He captured honorable mention All-America honors and first-team All-Southern Conference honors that season as the Thundering Herd posted a 10-5 overall record and finished as national runner-up to Northeast Louisiana (43-42) in the 1987 Division I-AA National Championship game. Snyder's 10 interceptions in 1987 still stand as the Marshall and Southern Conference single-season record.
Snyder graduated from Marshall in the spring of 1988 and started his coaching career the following fall as a student assistant for the Herd.
Mark and his wife Beth, who is a native of Ironton, Ohio, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky, have three daughters: Chelsea, Lindsay, and Shaylee.
THE SNYDER FILE
FAMILY: Wife Beth and three children: Chelsea, Lindsay, and Shaylee.
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Third. Joined staff on Jan. 9, 2015, from Texas A&M.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College - Graduate assistant at Central Florida (1989); linebackers coach at Central Florida (1990); outside linebackers coach (1991-93), inside linebackers/special teams coach (1994-95) and defensive coordinator/secondary coach (1996) at Youngstown State; defensive ends coach at Minnesota (1997-2000); linebackers coach (2001-03) and defensive coordinator (2004) at Ohio State; head coach at Marshall (1995-99); defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (2010-11) at South Florida; defensive coordinator at Texas A&M (2012-14).
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in sport management and marketing from Marshall in 1988.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College - One-year letterwinner as a free safety at Marshall (1987).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 1999 Sun Bowl; 2001 Outback Bowl; 2002 Fiesta Bowl; 2003 Fiesta Bowl; 2014 Alamo Bowl; 2010 Meineke Car Care Bowl; 2013 Cotton Bowl; 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl, 2015 College Football Playoff (Cotton Bowl).