Chad Snodgrass, a two-year letterman (2010-11) and a five-year member of the Mountaineer program, has had his eye on a career in strength and conditioning for a long time. As his football playing career concluded, he began working to line up an internship or graduate assistant spot in his chosen field, and thought he had done that when LSU offered him a position. As he was preparing to make the move to Baton Rouge, though, an offer nearer and dearer to his heart came along – one that he wasted no time in accepting.
"I had been interning with coach Darl Bauer with the Olympic sports, and I was learning a lot there. I thought that would really help me get started," Snodgrass said. "I was set for LSU, then Mike Joseph said there was an opening for a graduate assistant on his staff. It was a great opportunity for me, so I jumped on that."
Snodgrass, a West Virginia native who played his high school football at Nitro, is clearly a Mountain State guy. Playing and now coaching in the hills of West Virginia is a dream come true for him.
"I've been here for seven years and it has been a great part of my life," he said of his time on campus. "It's been a great opportunity to play here, and now to be a coach, I'm really thankful for that. Strength and conditioning has always been a career path that I wanted to follow, especially after Mike Joseph and his staff came in. I want to follow in his footsteps. That's my goal, and it's a great way to stay in the game. I've always been around sports and always been competitive, so this was a great way to stay in the state of West Virginia. It's a great opportunity for me."
As Snodgrass progressed through his career at West Virginia, he always kept an eye on the strength side of his work, and looked to pick up as many bits of information as possible that would allow him to move ahead in his chosen field. Through those observations, and in his work with Bauer, he settled on a couple of keys that stood out.
"A lot of the principles with training for the different sports are the same, but technique is the important thing," he shared. "That is one of the keys here at West Virginia. We preach that here – technique and rep integrity. Giving full effort every time. Every time you run, every time you come off the line, 100%. Every time."
The budding coach in Snodgrass comes out as he lists those items in a staccato voice – much as he likely does in the weight rooms of West Virginia's athletic facilities. So too does his respect for Joseph, who he holds in high regard. Add in his enthusiasm at getting to start his career at his alma mater, and it's clear he couldn't be in a much better place.
There was one bit of worry for the genial West Virginia native, however. In taking the job, he would now be coaching and pushing some of his former teammates. Changing the interactions between himself and guys that he used to hang out with was a bit of a concern. It's one thing to work alongside friends and suffer through a tough workout, but something else to be the one inflicting the pain.
"I did think about that at first, but I knew they were great friends and would support me," Snodgrass said of the transition from teammate to coach. "The guys that I played with, some of them are my ex-roommates. But they have been really great. They have shown me a lot of respect, listened to me and communicated well. It's been great."