David Snyder Born: December 14, 1934 (Wichita, KS)
Graduated: Winfield High School, 1952; University of Texas, 1956; University of Arizona (M.A.); Ohio State University (PhD), 1969
Today is a proud day in Winfield. The seat of Cowley County nestled on the banks of the Walnut River has been the hometown of many famous athletes, including Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees Myron Roderick, Ernest Schmidt, Fred Clark, Natasha Matson Fife, Frank Lindley, and Gerald Tucker. But today, the community celebrates the induction of another native son, legendary tennis coach David Snyder, into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Few athletes or coaches in any sport can match Snyder’s accomplishments throughout his stellar career. Not only did his career span parts of five decades, but he was also one of collegiate tennis’s most successful coaches during that period.
Snyder’s love for the game of tennis began in Winfield and he carried that love and passion for the game across the nation, becoming a legend of the sport along the way.
A two-time state singles champion in high school, Snyder continued that success in college for the University of Texas where he helped guide the Longhorns to three consecutive Southwest Conference championships (1954-1956) and a second place finish in the 1955 NCAA tournament. He was named the captain of the 1956 Texas squad and reached number twenty-two in the United States Tennis Association’s men’s singles rankings that year.
Yet for all his accomplishments as a player, it was as a teacher and coach where Snyder’s impact on the history of the sport can truly be felt.
He began his remarkable collegiate coaching career in 1959 at the University of Arizona and guided the Wildcats to a record of 161-48 in dual-matches during his fourteen seasons at the helm. Based on those results, it seemed like an obvious fit for Snyder to take over the University of Texas tennis program after the position came open in 1972.
The reunion of Snyder and his alma mater was a match made in tennis heaven. Over the next twenty-eight years as the leader of the Longhorn tennis program, Snyder won over seventy-five percent of the dual-matches including nine conference championships. His Longhorn squads also reached the NCAA tournament in twenty-two of those twenty-eight years.
In total, Snyder coached an astounding thirty-three All-Americans at Arizona and Texas and his combined win-loss record of 697-226 in dual-matches placed him among the game’s greatest of all-time.
Snyder’s success earned him several honors throughout his career. In 1962, just four seasons after he began coaching, Snyder was named the coach of the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team, a team that was led by Arthur Ashe. Snyder was also named the ITCA Coach of the Year in 1985.
He retired as the head coach of the University of Texas following the 2000 season, yet even retirement could not slow him down. Since his retirement, Snyder has also won two national age-group racquetball singles championships.
David Snyder’s life has been one for the record books. From a small Kansas town to tennis courts across the nation, he has spent his life teaching and playing the game he loves. And once again, it is a proud day in Winfield.
Coach Snyder lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Nancy. He still remains active in his retirement playing golf and tennis several days a week, along with attending many athletic events at the University of Texas.