Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder steps down after eight seasons

Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder steps down after eight seasons

He said his decision comes down to believing the team’s players “need a new voice to continue to evolve.” However, a new ESPN report says Donovan Mitchell is “surprised and disappointed” by the resignation.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder calls a time out during Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

When Quin Snyder was introduced as the new head coach of the Utah Jazz back on June 8, 2014, he noted, “This fit for me is terrific.”

Eight years later, that apparently is no longer the case.

Snyder is “concluding his tenure as the franchise’s head coach,” the team announced Sunday afternoon.

“I am incredibly grateful to have spent the last eight years with such a respected and historic organization and in the beautiful, kind, supportive community of Salt Lake City,” Snyder said in a prepared statement. “… At the core, and what drives me every day is our players and their passion for the game, their desire to constantly work to improve and their dedication to the team and the Jazz. I strongly feel they need a new voice to continue to evolve. That’s it. No philosophical differences, no other reason. After eight years, I just feel it is time to move onward.”

When Snyder took over as the team’s coach in 2014 (replacing the outgoing Ty Corbin), it was his first job as an NBA head coach after a labyrinthine career that spanned the D-League, the EuroLeague, and several stops as an assistant in the NBA.

He wound up leading the Jazz to the NBA Playoffs each of the past six seasons.

Though Utah has a record of 372-264 (.585) during Snyder’s eight years in charge, the team has never advanced beyond the second round of the postseason during that time.

And if Snyder’s resignation wasn’t seismic enough for team, a subsequent report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that star guard Donovan Mitchell is “unsettled, unnerved and wondering what it means for the franchise’s future” proved quite the aftershock.

Wojnarowski cited sources in describing Mitchell as “surprised and disappointed” by Snyder’s decision to step away, and questioning how the coach’s departure will impact what’s to come for the organization, as well as the All-Star’s role in it.

There had been increasing speculation about Snyder’s future with the organization, owing to reports that he had declined to sign a contract extension that would keep him with the Jazz beyond this coming season (he was under contract for 2022-23, and held an option for ’23-24).

A recent ESPN report said that he’d had ongoing conversations with owner Ryan Smith, CEO Danny Ainge, and general manager Justin Zanik, but that there were “philosophical issues” keeping the sides apart.

In 2017-18, Snyder was the runner-up in NBA Coach of the Year voting. He was named Western Conference Coach of the Month four times during his time with the Jazz. His 372 coaching victories with the franchise are second only to Jerry Sloan.

During the 2020-21 season, Snyder led the Jazz to the best record in the NBA (52-20), and their .722 winning percentage was the highest in Jazz history. He also served as the head coach of Team LeBron at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

Still, that team suffered untimely injuries and was eliminated in the second round of the 2021 Playoffs by the Los Angeles Clippers, who were themselves playing without injured star Kawhi Leonard.

“Quin Snyder has embodied what Jazz basketball is for the last eight years,” Smith said in a statement. “The tireless work ethic and attention to detail Quin displayed each day is a testament to the professional he is. I have nothing but admiration for Quin and respect his decision. On behalf of Ashley and I, along with our ownership group and our entire organization, we thank Quin and Amy from the bottom of our hearts for all of their contributions to the state of Utah and the Jazz and wish them nothing but the best.”

Snyder had previously had issues with the team’s front office, which ultimately culminated in the resignation of then-president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey.

This season, the Jazz slumped to fifth place in the Western Conference standings, and were eliminated in the first round of the postseason by the Dallas Mavericks — a disappointing result that fueled speculation that substantial change was coming to the roster.

Turns out, the first domino to fall was the man responsible for devising the schemes and setting the rotations.

The Jazz will now begin a search for a new head coach many weeks after other franchises have been conducting interviews with various candidates. Indeed, the Sacramento Kings (Mike Brown) and Los Angeles Lakers (Darvin Ham) have already hired new head coaches.

Utah now joins the Charlotte Hornets as the two franchises currently without a head coach.

Snyder underwent hip replacement surgery in the immediate aftermath of the season ending, then met with local media about a week later and was vague about his future.

Still, there were indications that he might perhaps return, as he discussed “what we’ll try to do” to improve.

On Sunday, he said in his statement that he required a few moments to consider is options before ultimately deciding to resign.

“I needed to take time to detach after the season and make sure this was the right decision,” Snyder said. “I greatly respect and appreciate Ryan, Danny and Justin’s discussions regarding moving forward together, I just know it is time.”

Snyder is considered likely to take this season off before becoming a sought-after coaching candidate next summer.

He went on to thank those in the organization he’s worked with over the years, and wished them success in the future.

“I am forever appreciative of all the players, coaches, partners, and people I have worked with at the Jazz,” Snyder said. “Your sacrifice, your kinship have made this an incredible and special experience. Amy and I are so grateful for our time here as it has been just a tremendous place to raise our family. Thank you to our always supportive and passionate fans. We only want the best for you and to see you raise a championship banner.”

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