DeKALB – Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic has been a tumultuous time for most people, but DeKalb football coach Keith Snyder said the fall away from football opened his eyes to the importance of family.
Snyder announced his resignation as DeKalb football coach Wednesday. Being able to spend more time with his children was not an opportunity he wanted to pass up anymore, he said.
“A lot of people will look back at COVID as a time that for obvious reasons was a real struggle or hardship,” Snyder said. “But for me, I’ll remember it as a time I got to watch my kids grow up more. ... The more I got to spend time with my kids, the more I realized I just enjoy being able to be more present.”
Snyder said he informed athletic director Peter Goff of his decision Sunday night and told the team Monday.
Goff said the job needs to be posted for two weeks but had no specific time frame on a replacement. Offensive coordinator and former Fieldcrest head coach Derek Schneeman will take over coaching duties on an interim basis as summer workouts are set to begin.
“He’s kind of taking things over until we get a clear picture on what’s happening,” Goff said.
Snyder took over for Matt Weckler in 2019, going 6-4 in the Barbs’ first year in the DuPage Valley Conference, in which the Barbs have the smallest school size by more than 1,000 students.
Still, the Barbs qualified for the playoffs for the seventh straight year, continuing a streak started by Weckler in his first year, 2013.
Goff said he’s looking for a high-energy replacement to continue the success of the program in recent years.
“We’re looking for someone to step right in,” Goff said. “Coach Snyder and coach Weckler, this year was crazy of course, but when we had a full season Keith kept the streak going that Matt started. ... We’re looking for someone to come in and keep that energy up.”
Snyder said he was starting to feel drained and wanted to spend more time with his daughter, Charlotte, 3; son, Carson, who turns 1 this week; and wife Erica.
“It starts to pull from you,” Snyder said. “Even when you’re home, you’re distracted. For me right now what was most important was to be able to be a dad. I felt it was a time to recharge my batteries. I was feeling rundown and drained. I needed to spend time with my family, my kids, for a little while. And be a better husband.”
Snyder said he tried to do things the right way in guiding the Barbs into the DVC. He was 8-7 overall and 5-5 in conference – although that includes two losses against a Naperville Central team that last month had to forfeit games for using ineligible players.
Snyder said the lasting memories for him will be of his players.
“There have been so many I got to coach that I’ve been thankful for,” Snyder said. “Kids like Donovan Lacey, Jordan Gandy, Keegan Smith, Tanner Macdonald jump right to the front of your mind because they were so awesome. But kids like Alex Siebens, Luke Freeman, Jahi Craig that were just good kids and fun to coach. And there are so many more that I’m leaving out. You hate to mention names because you’re going to forget someone that meant something to you.
“Today I saw Jaylen Hobson on the track. And to be able to talk to him, even though I was the D-coordinator when he was running back - there are just so many good kids like that. I’ll remember kids like that that made it a positive experience coaching at DeKalb.”
Snyder also is an assistant to boys track coach Jeff Saurbaugh. He said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll continue to assist the track team or not, saying he’ll make that decision after the track season ends June 19.
But he said his time coaching football in DeKalb is done.
“We tried to usher DeKalb into the DVC in a good fashion,” Snyder said. “I thought we did that. I think you saw teams that played hard. We never made excuses, we just tried to find ways to be 1-0. It wasn’t always on the scoreboard, but in life.”