To The Snyder Girls,
It took me a number of days to gather my thoughts into words when I first learned of Bruce's illness. Once again, I've thought at length about what I want to say.
First and most importantly, I don't doubt for a second that Bruce was a great husband and father. I saw enough examples of that over the years to know that was true.
What I know for an absolute fact was he became a great coach. I don't think any of us in that profession were ever born great coaches. We all were mentored and developed to certain degrees. Your husband and father never stopped growing as a coach. He knew the football part from the get go. Many of his concepts ("throw to score, run to win") I've adopted and repeated thru the years. What made Bruce unique in my opinion was his inquisitiveness. He was always striving for himself and his staff to be better communicators and teachers. He was tough and his teams played that way. His players always knew where he stood and where they stood. He had standards and they were to be adhered to. But what separated him from the other head coaches I've been associated with was his continual desire to do things better. Not necessarily x's and 0's, but many of the tough issues off the field that every program must face and deal with. Recruiting, player develoment, academics to name a few come to mind. Many of the hard lessons learned by players have paid dividends over the years as I read the guestbook. As I said in an earlier entry, he in a way never stopped coaching us as he reminded us in his journal that family and friends are the things that really matter in life.
Our relationship evolved, like many others I presume, from me being one of his players, then one of his assistant coaches, to finally to a good friend. I remember receiving a note from him one year signed "your friend". It was a compliment I never forgot.
Bruce fought hard this past year as we all know. He wrote to his good friend Darryl Ashbacker "how the struggle is waged is as important as the outcome itself. Courage, dignity, and grace are the attributes I want my family to witness". I believe he did all that and much, much more as he touched and influenced thousands of people, many who had never met. Your husband and father was truly an inspiration to so many of us and I have never used that word to describe an individual. I doubt I'll ever use it again.
The Snyder Girls can be very proud.