Hall of Fame Member Dave Snyder

December 14, 1934 - November 4, 2023

David (Dave) William Snyder was born on December 14, 1934, in Wichita, Kansas and passed away on November 4, 2023, in Austin, Texas with family by his side.

The son of Murrel K. Snyder and Frances Roderick Snyder, Dave graduated from Winfield Kansas High School where he played basketball and tennis and won two state tennis championships. He reached the quarterfinals of the 1952 National Junior Championships and was offered a tennis scholarship by University of Texas tennis coach Dr. D.A. Penick. He played on three Southwest Conference championship teams and won the conference doubles title in 1956 with US Davis Cupper Sammy Giamalva. In 1955 the Texas tennis team finished second at the NCAAs.

While at UT he met his future wife Nancy Bitter and they were married in 1957.

After college he played summer tournaments and was ranked 22 in national men’s singles and number 10 in national men’s singles with Ronnie Fischer. He also coached the U.S. Junior Davis Cup Team, which included Arthur Ashe. Dave taught and coached at his hometown in 1956-1957 and at San Angelo Texas in 1957-1958. With the recommendation of Dr. D.A. Penick and Wilmer Allison. He was named tennis coach at University of Arizona in 1958 and had eight top ten NCAA teams. Dave earned his master’s degree attending classes part-time and took a sabbatical to complete a PhD at Ohio State in 1969. David and Nancy Snyder’s three children Rodney (deceased), Douglas, and Allison were born while they were living in Tucson, Arizona.

When Wilmer Allison retired in 1972, he encouraged Athletic Director Darrel Royal to hire Dave as the third tennis coach in University of Texas’s history. Besides coaching he was also an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at UT from 1972-2000. Dave coached 17 All-Americans, two NCAA Champions (Kevin Curren in 1970 and Steve Bryan in 1990). Coach also had five NCAA doubles teams reach the finals. Kevin Curren reached the finals at Wimbledon and along with fellow Longhorn Steve Denton reached the finals of the Australia Open doubles twice. Together they won the U.S. Open doubles. During Snyder’s term, Texas won six Southwest Conference titles and the first three Big 12 Titles and reached the NCAA team semi-finals. He retired with 696 team victories at Arizona and Texas—the winningest active Division One NCAA tennis coach at retirement and second all-time. He was Coach of the Year and was inducted into six different Hall of Fames.

David and Nancy were active in the Westlake United Methodist Church. His wife Nancy was the tennis team “mother” and a great support to Dave and the teams he coached. The family spent summers in Snowmass, Colorado from 1970-1985 where Dave was the Head Tennis Pro at Snowmass Country Club. Dave and Nancy moved to Westminster Manor in 2017.

Their son Doug Snyder was a state tennis champion at Westlake High School and played for Dave at Texas. Doug and his wife Lori have two children, Bailey Abrams and Reed Snyder. Daughter Allison is Executive Director of a non-profit, Pathfinders, and is a grief counselor. She lives in Aspen, Colorado and has two sons Rider and Burke Daily. Survivors also include Bailey’s husband Brad and their sons Ford and Beau Abrams, and Reed’s husband Preben Kristiansen and their son Vilhelm Kristiansen Snyder. Dave had three siblings, Eldon Snyder (deceased), June Frager of Edmond, Oklahoma and Darrell Snyder of Wichita, Kansas.

He leaves behind a circle of friends and extended family members who were touched by his warmth, kindness, integrity, faith and wit. Thank you to the many friends, former players and associates, and others who reached out to Dave, Nancy, and the family over the past few months with love and support to Coach and our family – he passed knowing the impact he had on others throughout his life.

Special thanks to Dr. Clay Cauthen and his team at Seton Heart and to Hospice Austin and the staff at Westminster Health Center for their care in Dave’s final days.

There will be a private family burial at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin on the morning of December 6th and a Celebration of Life will be held at Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church, 7127 Bee Cave Rd in Austin on December 6th at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers Dave asked that people donate to Westlake United Methodist Church, 1460 Redbud Trail, Austin, TX 78746 or online at https://onrealm.org/WestlakeUnitedM/-/form/give/now (choose “special donation” and place in the memo line “in memory of David Snyder”) or to Pathfinders (his daughter Allison’s non-profit) P.O. Box 11799, Aspen, Colorado 81612 or www.pathfindersforyou.org.