Cross-posted from Project Spurs.
PHILADELPHIA — In June 2010, the Philadelphia 76ers added the former coach of the San Antonio Spurs’ D-League affiliate Austin Toros Quin Snyder to their assistant coaching ranks in charge of player development.
Snyder led the Toros from 2007-2010 and took them to the D-League Finals in the 2007-2008 season in his first season as coach. He coached in the 2009 NBA D-League All-Star Game in Phoenix, received the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award and reached the D-League Semi-Finals. In his final season with the team, he took the Toros to the D-League semi-finals.
Snyder compiled more wins and had more players get call-ups to the NBA than any other coach in the D-League. Some of those players saw action with the San Antonio Spurs such as Malik Hairston, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Marcus Williams, Curtis Jerrells, and Alonzo Gee.
While I was in Philadelphia to catch the Spurs-Sixers game last week, I caught up with coach Snyder to get his thoughts on coaching the Toros, the D-League, the Spurs, and more.
Jeff: Have you been keeping an eye on your former team now that you are with the 76ers?
Coach Snyder: Yeah. To coach the Toros and be with the Spurs, I had such a great experience with that organization. I want to see them do well and I follow them as much as I can.
When you took the job with the Toros, did you feel any added pressure following in the shoes of the late Dennis Johnson?
No I wouldn’t call it pressure. I was certainly revered in that opportunity and aware of the tragedy that was his heart attack. But I think once basketball started, that was another thing.
You have a reputation as being a player’s coach when you were in the D-League. Do you feel your time with the Toros and in the D-League was training for your current position?
I think it’s great training for a lot of reasons. One of the things about the D-League is it’s hard. I think if you understand that as a coach then the players are working hard and it’s not an easy situation to “try to make it.” You have an opportunity to go through that with them. There’s a lot of really good things about that league – that’s one of them.
While you were with the Toros you got an opportunity to coach some great players like Dwayne Jones and Alonzo Gee. How was it to work with them?
It was great. To see them have success to get either call-ups or signed with NBA clubs, I try to follow those guys as much as possible.
How was it to have the luxury of learning the Spurs’ system?
That was probably the best part of it for me. To be a part of their coaching staff when time permitted. They let me do that. They let me in. It was terrific. It was a great learning experience and it was fun to. Just a great group of people.
In the NBA we see lots of front-office personnel and coaches who got their start in the NBA with the Spurs such as yourself. What is it about the Spurs organization that allows for this?
They’re very discerning about who they draft, who they hire all those things. They see some potential in you. From that point it’s a great place to develop. You have a lot of guidance and there’s a lot of people there no matter if you’re a player, a trainer, a coach whatever. I think it’s natural that those people be successful.
Have you seen Toros’ guard Squeaky Johnson’s “Squeak TV” webisodes?
(laughs) I’ve seen a couple of them. I saw one from down in the (D-League) Showcase.
Any words for the people out in Austin and the Toros?
I have a lot of friends there and I just wish them all well. The players, fans, coaches everybody.