County AD’s show support for Snodgrass
Ashtabula County athletic directors believe the abrupt departure of Ohio High School Athletic Association Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass is
a big loss and will miss
working with the long-time educator.
In a stunning development Monday night, Snodgrass was relieved of his duties as executive director of the OHSAA by the association’s Board of Directors.
Highly regarded among coaches and administrators statewide for his optimism, accessibility and openness on all matters, Snodgrass had held the position since the retirement of Dan Ross in July 2018. Snodgrass, 64, had spent the past 12 years of his 31-year career in education at the OHSAA.
Bob Goldring, who has served as director of communications, assistant commissioner and, most recently, senior director of operations during his 25 years at the OHSAA, was named interim executive director.
“Jerry is a good man and cared about and had a great understanding of what the ADs and coaches do on a daily basis,” Lakeside Athletic Director Jason Baxter said. “He cared about the athlete and fan experience and always wanted the best for all. He was always available to answer questions and most importantly, he listened.”
Grand Valley AD Terry Hejduk added: “I believe it is a big loss for the OHSAA. He put a ton of time and effort into trying to do what was best for all. He was always available when needed and kept everyone informed. His departure throws a bit of concern how a fall sports season may look now.”
Conneaut Joel Taylor was puzzled by the decision.
“He was down to earth and approachable,” Taylor said. “He seemed to have genuine concern to help with any
problem. I am left wondering why any organization would want to part with such an
Jefferson AD Steve Locy added, “He knew and understood what we did every day.”
OHSAA board president Dan Leffingwell announced that a nationwide search for the vacancy will begin immediately.
The reasons for Snodgrass’ removal remain a puzzle even to those who work with him daily.
“With most of us working at home, we weren’t intimately involved in everything going on,” Goldring told The Dispatch. “I knew there were things that the board had discussed that they wanted resolved.”
He added, “Yes, I was kind of caught off guard about the interim position.”
Snodgrass did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.
Tim Stried, the OHSAA’s senior director of communications, provided a brief statement to statewide media via email.
“The Board of Directors felt it necessary to go in a different direction with OHSAA leadership,” he said. “We cannot go into more detail at this time.”
Stried added that the board’s move was hastened not by one single action by Snodgrass in or out of the office, but had been an ongoing issue.
“The board is elected by school administrators and has the ultimate authority on all OHSAA matters,” he said.
Goldring, who served as acting executive director for three months in 2016 when Ross was sidelined with health issues, inherits a tough situation.
The state boys and girls basketball, wrestling and ice hockey tournaments were canceled in March when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States.
The entire spring sports season also was wiped out. Snodgrass confirmed that
the lost revenue from those events had placed the OHSAA in a financial hardship.
With some uncertainty still surrounding the reopening
of schools and the resumption of sports, Goldring will collaborate with state leaders,
health experts and school
administrators on those
“The experience I had [in 2016] will bode well for me, but we’re in unprecedented times now and it’s hard for anyone to prepare for that,” Goldring said. “There’s no question that we face a real challenge moving forward during this pandemic.”
Edgewood Athletic Director Steve Kray said Snodgrass will be missed.
“Jerry was an advocate for high school students, coaches and ADs.” Kray said. “He was well-versed in what it takes to be a coach and an administrator in high school athletics. He worked hard to do what was best for kids and that’s what it is all about.”