If those who have followed Quin Snyder’s departure have learned anything, it’s this: Expect the unexpected.
On Tuesday the former MU basketball coach spoke with the media. Snyder talked for a moment about his appreciation of being the head coach at MU and how stepping down was the right thing for the program. He said that he didn’t want it to become a distraction and that resigning would also give interim head coach Melvin Watkins an opportunity to showcase his talent.
Then he addressed the issue almost every reporter wanted to ask him about. Snyder indicated that “a member of the athletic department” was sent to tell him that he was going to be fired at the end of the season. That “member” is, according to many reports, MU broadcaster and special assistant to the athletic director Gary Link.
This has been a point of speculation since last Friday when the allegations that MU Director of Athletics, Mike Alden, sent Link to tell Snyder of his future firing broke. Alden denied the story on Sunday morning, telling reporters that he simply sent Link to visit with Snyder after the Baylor game to see how he was handling the team’s six-game losing streak.
Was there any chance that Snyder misinterpreted what he was being told?
“That conversation began with the statement that ‘you’re gonna be terminated at the end of the season.’ For me, it would be very difficult to misconstrue that conversation,” Snyder said.
Snyder was also asked to speculate on the validity of the Alden’s claim that he didn’t actually send Link to fire him.
Snyder said, “I couldn’t comment on Mike’s conversation with Gary. What I can say is exactly what I’ve said about the way (Snyder and Link’s) conversation occurred and how it occurred and, to me, how very clear it was.”
That was the only time he actually referred to Gary Link by name in the 48 minute press conference.
Snyder also indicated during the conversation that he was informed that his firing had been approved by MU President Elson Floyd, Chancellor Brady Deaton and “a key member of the Board of Curators”.
Snyder mentioned on more than one occasion that he was told Floyd had OK’d his dismissal.
This statement prompted the aforementioned “unexpected”.
Almost immediately the press conference, MU spokespersons Joe Moore and Scott Charton both read a statement from Floyd denying any knowledge of Snyder’s firing until he resigned.
“I am startled to hear that anyone suggested the president of the university had any role in the events surrounding the discussion with Quin Snyder. I was never consulted prior to this reported conversation,” the statement read.
Moore explained that Floyd doesn’t discount Snyder’s contention, saying, “Dr. Floyd did note he was not in any way disputing that Quin Snyder had been told that. He was simply disputing that he had, in fact, had any role up until (Snyder’s resignation).”
This brings up another potential inaccuracy in Alden’s story. First the denial that he sent Link to fire him and if he did, did he tell Link that Floyd approved it?
Another question is whether or not Snyder’s recall of the situation is accurate. Or did Link relay the portion of the conversation regarding Floyd’s approval accurately?
Some of those questions may be answered soon. The University of Missouri is conducting an investigation into the events leading up to Snyder’s resignation. In that investigation, Link will be asked questions. To this point he has offered no public comment on the issue.
But don’t expect Snyder to answer any of MU’s questions. He told the audience at his farewell press conference, “I’m no longer the head coach of the Missouri men’s basketball team and that entire situation is none of my concern.”
Former Missouri Tiger basketball player Jon Sunvold is none-too-happy with the way the situation has been handled. He believes Snyder’s version of the story and wishes Alden would live up to, what Sunvold believes, were mistakes.
“If there is a boss at a business, then a boss usually handles things and if it’s not handled that way then at least tell us,” Sunvold said, “how it happened. Instead of us chasing (the story), trying to figure it out.”
Snyder’s press conference followed the official signing of his resignation agreement, which will pay him $574,000. He leaves MU with a 126-91 overall record in six-plus seasons and a 56-50 mark in the Big 12.
OTHER COMMENTS FROM SNYDER
•ON GETTING THE CHANCE TO COACH MU—“I’m so grateful that Mike Alden gave me the opportunity to coach this program. He stepped out on a limb seven years ago and hired an assistant from Duke University and I’m always gonna be appreciative of him for that.”
•ON NOT GETTING TO THE FINAL FOUR—“One thing we were never able to do was crack that upper echelon of the league, (like) those four teams (in the Big 12) that went to the Final Four and that was always a goal of mine. That’s something I look back on say, ‘You know, damn, I wish, you know, I wish we could have done that’”
•ON INTERIM HEAD COACH MELVIN WATKINS—-“This guy is not only competent, but he’s got an unbelievable amount of integrity and I feel very comfortable handing this team over to him.”
•ON HIS PLANS FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE—-“I have plans to watch the Tigers play on television and I’m going to get some time with my family and decompress and have an opportunity to think about a lot of things.”