From coaching athletes to impacting generations of Edmond Public School students, Edmond North Athletic Director Tom Snider has become the pride of his school. After 41 years with the district, Snider will retire at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
“I never had a desire to go anywhere else because I knew I was already there,” Snider said. “Edmond schools was the place to be and still is.”
It was never Snider’s plan to work with students, but it would all change when he was asked to help a group of special needs athletes.
“We helped those kids and there was nothing more fulfilling than helping those kids,” Snider said. “And I thought, I want to do something like this.”
This passion has defined Snider’s career in education, according to those who have worked closely with him for decades.
“I think the world of Tom and it is amazing all of the things he has done for me and our students,” said Kent Douglas, Edmond North assistant athletic director. “The Tom Snider you see is the Tom Snider you get.”
Douglas has known Snider for around 20 years, whether it was when they coached against each other, or when they began working together in 2003.
“We have traveled all over Oklahoma together,” Douglas said. The two also ride motorcycles, run, and gush about their grandchildren together.
“It is all about caring for not only the kids but those you work with,” Snider said.
Snider came to Edmond Public Schools after finishing his degree in physical education and history from Oklahoma Christian in 1980.
“It has not been a job but a lifestyle,” Snider said. “I never dread coming in the front door for work.”
When he came to the district, he was given advice from a colleague who stated that “Every kid in every sport is important,” and it stuck with him.
Those words are what Snider has lived by ever since and is constantly reminded of when students come back to thank him for his service.
Academics is one area Snider pushes student-athletes to excel in as well; he often tells them to “get your grades.”
Early on in his career Snider would coach football, track and other sports at Sequoyah Middle School until he went to coach girls cross country at Edmond High School-now Memorial High School.
He was the first full-time athletic director at Edmond North since the position previously had been under the role of the assistant principal.
“The position has really grown since I started in 97 – 98,” Snider said, who recalls having a suitcase full of cash boxes slammed on his desk during the first week and being told, “Here you go.”
In total, Sider oversees 19 sports at Edmond North. He often works 60 to 70 hours a week, including nights and weekends. But, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
During his time at Edmond North, 68 teams have captured state championships.
“Tom Snider is the definition of ‘irreplaceable’,” said Mike Nunley, the athletic director for Edmond Schools. “He is Edmond North Husky pride.”
While Snider said he cannot go “cold turkey,” he does have plans for retirement including starting construction of a new church building, spending more time with his grandchildren, and restoring classic cars, including a 1962 Chevy truck and his wife’s original 1966 Mustang.