Quin Snyder stepping down as head coach of Utah Jazz

Quin Snyder stepping down as head coach of Utah Jazz

Quin Snyder speaks during a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, May 9, 2022. Snyder stepped down as head coach of the Jazz on Sunday. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret News )

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SALT LAKE CITY — Quin Snyder is stepping down as head coach of the Utah Jazz, the team announced Sunday, ending his eight-season run with the team.

Snyder inherited a team that had finished last in the Western Conference and turned it into a perennial playoff contender. Utah made the playoffs in Snyder’s final six seasons at the helm.

The Jazz, though, never made it past the second round under Snyder. Still, this wasn’t a firing and Snyder wasn’t pushed out; this was the coach’s choice. He was under contract for next season and held an option for 2023-24, and the Jazz hoped he’d sign on for longer. But contract extension talks with ownership and management eventually fizzled out and Snyder decided to end his tenure with the team.

“Quin Snyder has embodied what Jazz basketball is for the last eight years,” said Jazz owner Ryan Smith in a statement. “The tireless work ethic and attention to detail Quin displayed each day is a testament to the professional he is. I have nothing but admiration for Quin and respect his decision. On behalf of Ashley and I along with our ownership group and our entire organization, we thank Quin and Amy from the bottom of our hearts for all of their contributions to the state of Utah and the Jazz and wish them nothing but the best.”

Snyder said in a statement that there was no “philosophical differences” that led to his decision, just that he felt the organization needed a “new voice to continue to evolve.”

“After eight years, I just feel it is time to move onward,” he said. “I needed to take time to detach after the season and make sure this was the right decision.”

Snyder said he was appreciative of the time and discussions that Smith and team executives Danny Ainge and Justin Zanik provided since the season ended, but he admitted: “I just know it is time.”

“I am forever appreciative of all the players, coaches, partners, and people I have worked with at the Jazz,” he said. “Your sacrifice, your kindness have made this an incredible and special experience. Amy and I are so grateful for our time here as it has been just a tremendous place to raise our family. Thank you to our always supportive and passionate fans. We only want the best for you and to see you raise a championship banner.”

Snyder, who is highly regarded around the league, leaves as the second-winningest coach in franchise history (second to hall-of-famer Jerry Sloan). In his eight seasons, he had an overall record of 372-264, but Snyder’s teams won just three playoff series.

In 2017-18, Snyder was the runner-up in NBA Coach of the Year voting, and he was named Western Conference Coach of the Month four times during his time with the Jazz.

His high point in Utah came during the 2020-21 season when he led the Jazz to the best record in the NBA (52-20) for the first time in franchise history. The team’s performance led to being the head coach of Team LeBron at the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

That season, though, ended in disappointment. Untimely injuries and a shocking collapse led to the Jazz losing in the second round to a banged-up Los Angeles Clippers team. That loss seemed to hang over the team the entirety of the last season, and Utah never could regain the magic it found in its record-breaking 2020-21 regular season.

Utah struggled to fifth place in the Western Conference standings and then fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, despite Dallas playing without Luka Doncic for the first three games. The early-round loss fueled more rumors that major change was coming.

Starting last March, there had been speculation about Snyder’s status for next season — speculation that Snyder had multiple chances to shoot down but never did. That ultimately made Sunday’s news less of a shock.

“I am incredibly grateful to have spent the last eight years with such a respected and historic organization and in the beautiful, kind, supportive community of Salt Lake City. I could not have asked for better owners in the Miller family and with Ryan and Ashley (Smith),” Snyder said. “They represent the Utah Jazz in every good way and I know the team couldn’t be in better hands with Ryan’s ownership. He is fiercely proud of and committed to doing what is right for the Utah Jazz and bringing a championship to Utah.”

The Jazz will now begin a search for the franchise’s sixth coach since it moved to Utah in 1979. The Jazz join the Charlotte Hornets as the only team without a head coach. The Sacramento Kings (Mike Brown) and Los Angeles Lakers (Devin Ham) have already hired coaches since the season ended.

Ryan Miller has covered the Utah Jazz for KSL.com since 2018.

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