Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Former men’s tennis coach and Texas letterwinner Dave Snyder passes away at 88

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

For almost 30 years, UT legend Dave Snyder coached the men’s tennis team to new heights. Snyder dominated the world of tennis and established himself as one of the most impactful coaches in Texas history. On Nov. 4, at the age of 88, Snyder passed away. 

From 1973 to 2000, Coach Snyder led the men’s tennis team to a flurry of accolades. Winning over 75% of his matches throughout his career, Snyder produced 27-All Americans and led the team to nine conference titles. In 1985, he was awarded the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s National Coach of the Year award.

Having attended the University back in the 1950s, Snyder had been involved with Texas Athletics for decades. Once he retired, Snyder maintained involvement with the Longhorns’ tennis program. He attended matches, alumni events, seasonal banquets and more. Snyder was never truly out of touch with the team for long. 

“He would call me, probably once a month, and just talk tennis a little bit and tell me how proud he was of the team and how he was in our corner,” said Bruce Berque, current men’s tennis head coach, in a phone interview. “He was understated, very humble and just fiercely loyal to Texas and very proud to be a Longhorn.”

Some of the most memorable moments of Snyder’s career included helping two of his players, Kevin Curren and Steve Bryan, to NCAA Singles Championships in 1979 and 1990. Both of these players carried on their careers beyond the collegiate level and into the professional level. 

“Coach was always there for his players, no matter what, good times, bad times, indifferent, you could go to him with anything, he was there for (them),” said Bryan in a phone interview. “I think that helped people to believe, not only in him, (but) believe in his teams (and) believe in what he was doing at Texas.”

Snyder was honored for his efforts as a coach when he was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1988 . After Snyder retired in 2000, he was elected into the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame as a first-year nominee. 

“A guy like (Snyder), Eddie (Reese), Darrell (K. Royal), Mack (Brown), these guys, the long-standing coaches who set the culture of what it meant to be a Longhorn,” said Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte. “They’re the ones that lay the foundation (and) groundwork.”

Snyder’s impact on his players made him such an endearing coach. Described as always being there for those who needed him, Snyder created a caring culture within the tennis program. 

“I think I got to know (Snyder) more from interacting with his former players than I did interacting with him,” said Berque. “Seeing how much he was loved by everyone who played for him … and to see how they kept in touch with him and came to visit him and spoke so positively about their experience with him.”

Snyders’ impact was so large that a group of former players even endowed a scholarship in his name just last year. Constantly checking in and staying involved, he truly displayed his commitment to Texas and its athletics. Whether it be for his accomplishments on the courts or in the community, Coach Snyder’s legacy at Texas will not be soon forgotten.

“A great coach believes in students when they don’t believe in themselves and (Snyder) was the best at that,” said Del Conte. “He infused belief that you can be really successful in his student athletes, and his legacy carries over in all of his players.”


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