Rocky Fork Enterprise

Football

Snoad fired as coach at Gahanna

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With then-senior quarterback Tyler Grassman leading the way in 2011, the Gahanna Lincoln High School football team went 9-3 for its first winning season in four years under coach John Snoad and made the playoffs for the first time in his tenure.

The Lions followed with a 7-3 finish in 2012 but came up short of the postseason, and then slipped to 3-7 this fall.

Ultimately, having just one playoff appearance, no OCC-Ohio Division championships and two winning seasons in six years cost Snoad his job.

After the Lions' 48-28 loss Nov. 1 at Pickerington Central, Snoad, who went 32-30 at Gahanna, was informed by athletics director Justin Sanford that the program was making a coaching change.

"I told him (Nov. 1) that the plan was to meet with the coaches this week, but he pressed me (about his status) Friday night and he was informed on Friday after the game," Sanford said. "(The football team's) banquet is (Monday, Nov. 11) and he'll have an opportunity to recognize the kids.

"John is a phenomenal human being and he's done some great things. But having two winning seasons out of six with one playoff appearance in six years, we certainly had expectations and our kids had expectations. We feel with the number of 800-plus boys we have (in the school), we should contend and make the playoffs on a regular occurrence. We have higher expectations than 3-7."

From 1995-2007 under Mike Lanza, Gahanna went 90-49 with six playoff appearances and two league titles. Lanza is the winningest coach in program history.

Snoad served as an assistant under Brian Cross at Grove City from 1989-90. From 1991-93, he coached Antwerp, a now-Division VII program in northwest Ohio, to a 6-24 mark.

Then from 1994-2007, Snoad led Napoleon to a 96-53 record that included seven playoff appearances. In 1998, the Wildcats were Division III regional runners-up.

Snoad's tenure at Gahanna began with back-to-back 4-6 finishes and followed with a 5-5 record in 2010.

This fall, the Lions lost their first three games. In a 31-7 loss Sept. 13 at Upper Arlington that dropped them 0-3, they committed three turnovers, had 10 negative-yardage plays and had a miscue on special teams.

Gahanna followed with three consecutive wins to begin league play but closed the season with four consecutive losses, including a 22-19 setback Oct. 11 at Lancaster in which it led 19-7 entering the fourth quarter.

"The expectation here is to make the playoffs, and we just didn't win enough games," Snoad said. "We've had some success here. We had two really good seasons in a row. At the end of the day we did everything we could to be in position to win and it was an honor to coach them. As I told the kids (Nov. 4), someone has to be held accountable, and that's me. I will not walk with my head down and with my head in shame.

"I've still got a job teaching, so I'll have to decide what to do with my (coaching) career. I know my abilities and I'm blessed with a wonderful family. It hurts. I'm sad I don't get to coach at Gahanna because I was hoping to finish my career here."

Sanford hopes to have a replacement in place before the holiday break in December but isn't planning to rush the process.

"What we're looking for first and foremost is leadership with kids wanting to play and having respect for what the coach demands," Sanford said. "Whether it's a head coach with 30 years of experience or a qualified assistant, we're open at this time. ... The biggest thing we're looking for is who's going to have the leadership and character to get our players to play above what they're capable of and have that belief in themselves."

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