POSITION Defensive Ends Coach
Mark Snyder comes to Tallahassee with 29 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 12 as either a head coach or defensive coordinator, and has been on staffs that have won four national championships. He has spent the previous three seasons as special teams coordinator at Michigan State, where he also coached defensive line and linebackers. During his time in East Lansing, the Spartans won 25 games, including the 2015 Big Ten championship, and played in the College Football Playoff.
“I’m so excited to be at Florida State and working for Coach Taggart,” Coach Snyder said. “Who wouldn’t want to coach at Florida State? I am looking forward to getting to know our current and future student-athletes and helping lead them during this important time in their lives.”
In 2017, Snyder’s defensive line helped Michigan State lead the Big Ten and rank second in the NCAA in rushing defense, allowing only 95.3 yards per game on the ground. The team also ranked seventh in the NCAA in total defense by holding opponents to 297.6 yards per game, 18th in third-down defense with a conversion percentage of only .328, 19th in the country in scoring defense, allowing an average of 20.0 points per game, and had the nation’s 17th-best passing efficiency defense rating.
Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes thrived under Snyder’s tutelage in 2017. The former walk-on led the Spartans in tackles for loss with 14.5 and in sacks with 7.0, totals that also ranked sixth in the Big Ten. Willekes was a third-team All-Big Ten selection and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award. Sophomore defensive tackles Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams both earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
Kicker Matt Coghlin was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and an honorable mention All-Big Ten performer after tying the MSU freshman record for field goals made with 15. He finished the season 15-of-19 on field goals, making his last eight in a row to end the season, and a perfect 38-of-38 on PAT attempts. Coghlin’s makes included a game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired to give MSU a 27-24 win over No. 7 Penn State. Punter Jake Hartbarger also garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors after averaging 42.0 yards per punt with a long of 62 yards and 12 punts of 50 yards or more.
During his first two seasons at Michigan State, he led four Spartan linebackers to All-Big Ten recognition, including two-time recipient Riley Bullough, who made a team-high 106 tackles as a junior before collecting 76 as a senior despite missing time due to an injury. Bullough was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 and appeared in three games as a rookie.
In 2015, all three of Michigan State’s starters earned All-Big Ten accolades, helping lead the team to the Big Ten championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl. The linebackers helped pace a defense that ranked 11th in FBS in rushing defense, 25th in scoring defense and 26th in total defense.
The Spartans’ special teams played a crucial role in the 2015 championship season and were directly responsible for two game-winning plays as time expired. At No. 12 Michigan, Jalen Watts-Jackson scooped up a fumble by the Wolverines’ punter that he returned 38 yards for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 27-23 victory. The touchdown was later voted the No. 1 play during the 2015 season at the ESPN College Football Awards Show. At No. 2 Ohio State, kicker Michael Geiger made a 41-yard field goal to give the Spartans a 17-14 victory and snap the defending national champions’ 23-game winning streak.
Snyder was Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator from 2012-14. In 2014, he coached true freshman Myles Garrett, who broke school and SEC freshman records with 11.5 sacks and was a consensus first-team Freshman All-American and second-team All-SEC performer. Garrett went on to be picked No. 1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. In 2012, Snyder oversaw the development of consensus first-team All-American Damontre Moore, who recorded 85 tackles, including 21.0 for loss with 12.5 sacks, and was a third-round pick by the New York Giants in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Aggies finished the 2012 season with an 11-2 record and a win in the Cotton Bowl over Oklahoma behind a defense that ranked 26th in FBS by allowing an average of 21.8 points per game.
As the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at South Florida in 2010 and 2011, Snyder oversaw a top-25 rushing defense both seasons. In 2010 the Bulls allowed 125.6 rushing yards per game and were 22nd in the country before improving to 15th in the nation with an average of 107.3 yards per game on the ground in 2011. The 2011 team collected 99 tackles for loss, the second-highest total in the nation, and ranked fourth in the country with 39 sacks, while the 2010 team ranked 17th in total defense and 22nd in scoring defense. Snyder coached first-team All-Big East defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers.
Snyder was the head coach at Marshall for five seasons, during which he led the program’s transition from the Mid-American Conference to Conference USA. He won 22 games, including a 6-6 mark and berth in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2009, and produced 40 all-conference selections, led by 2006 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Albert McClellan. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw was a two-time all-conference selection before being selected in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI while becoming only the eighth running back in NFL history to be the leading rusher in multiple Super Bowls.
Snyder spent four seasons at Ohio State, helping the Buckeyes win the 2002 national championship and post a 40-11 record from 2001-04. That 2002 squad ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 13.1 points per game, and third in rushing defense, giving up only 77.7 yards per game on the ground. In 2003, Ohio State ranked second in the country in rushing defense, 10th in total defense and 16th in scoring defense while putting together an 11-2 record and a No. 4 final ranking.
While in Columbus, Snyder oversaw the development of first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten linebacker A.J. Hawk, who won the Lombardi Award and was the No. 5 overall pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2006 NFL Draft. He also coached Bobby Carpenter, the 18th overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, Rob Reynolds, a fifth-round draft pick in 2004, and Matt Wilhelm, who was a first-team All-American before being picked in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft.
Prior to his time at Ohio State, he was the defensive ends coach at Minnesota for four seasons. While there, he helped develop first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten performer Lamanzer Williams, who led the nation with 18 sacks in 1997. He also coached Karon Riley, who earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition in 2000.
Snyder spent six seasons on staff at Youngstown State, where he helped the Penguins win three I-AA national championships and play in four consecutive national title games. At Youngstown State, he coached outside linebackers, inside linebackers and the secondary while spending two seasons coordinating the Penguins’ special teams and one season as defensive coordinator. His first college coaching experience came at Central Florida, where he was a graduate assistant in 1989 before being promoted to linebackers coach in 1990.
As a player, he was an honorable mention All-American and first-team All-Southern Conference free safety at Marshall. He led the Southern Conference with a school- and conference-record 10 interceptions in 1987, and he made 124 tackles during his senior season to help the program reach its first national championship game.
Snyder graduated from Marshall in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and marketing. He and his wife, Beth, have three daughters, Chelsea, Lindsay and Shaylee.