Coach and Me: Dalton and Dad


Coach and Me is a series of stories that reflect on the relationships between coaches and their children and the lessons learned through sports. It will also be a reflection of memories for Tony Chapman and his dad, who passed away July 6, 2021. 

JUST IN THE OUTFIELD, THIRD BASE LINE, EAST HILL PARK — If “Coach” had a favorite spot to watch football other than his chair, it was five blocks north of his house. 

Right there, just next to the concession stand at the “ball field” in York. We had a bunch of chats about the games he watched there, especially after current coach Glen Snodgrass arrived in 2011. 

At the time, coach didn’t see the need to get up there much. The Dukes had lost 20 straight games when Snodgrass took over. Dad wasn’t much into venturing out on Friday nights — his son was out covering other teams. 

Snodgrass brought a winning pedigree with him from Overton when he came to York. It was built in him by his father on the farm in North Loup and he carried it with him to Concordia University in Seward. 

He won a state football title as a senior in high school, played in multiple national basketball tournaments as a standout for the Bulldogs and then, in his fifth year, switched to football and was all-conference. 

His dad, Ron, was a 6-10 standout for Peru State by way of Seward. He had an NBA tryout offer he turned down because Glen’s oldest sister Terri was on the way. He was a successful three-sport coach at Greeley Sacred Heart, but left teaching to get into breaking horses and working cattle. 

“He was Rip from Yellowstone, minus the shotguns and train stations,” Snodgrass jokes. “He taught us to work hard, but also it was important that we compete.”

That work ethic has stayed with Coach Snodgrass. It’s been passed on to his teams, to his sons. It continues this week in the quarterfinals of the Class B playoffs when the Dukes travel to play unbeaten Omaha Gross.

It was something Coach admired. 

Snodgrass almost didn’t go to Overton. His buddies had found him a supervisor position for a janitorial services company out of college. 

Good money. The choice was easy. A night before he was scheduled to head to Overton for a coaching and teaching interview he called the superintendent to say he had accepted the job and didn’t want to waste their time with the interview.

“But he called me the next day and was adamant that I come down and see them,” he said. “I told him I’d be late. Not sure how I didn’t get stopped for speeding going down there.”

It didn’t take long for coach to know he wasn’t going to take the “other” job. 

“I just always knew I wanted to coach,” he said. “We were newly married and I knew the other job would be more money but I wouldn’t be happy.”

He and wife, Allison, spent 12 years in Overton and built a winner. Son Garrett came in their second season of 2000 — his first game was Parents Night against Anselmo-Merna at two-days old — and Dalton, now a senior, was born in 2004. 

The Eagles made 10 playoff appearances in those 12 years. Lost to Howells twice in state final games and won a state title in 2006 over Bancroft-Rosalie. 

But, most importantly, two little boys got raised on a practice field and in the weight room at Overton High School. 

“Both the boys were around it from the beginning,” Glen Snodgrass said. “They love being around those teams.”

But the ultimate competitor found out quick that what he was doing while raising his sons around his football boys wasn’t about winning at all. 

“I think I realized pretty early in my career that what we really do is about 70-80% mentoring kids and then the rest is football,” the coach said. “What we have tried to do in our programs is create men who will be great husbands and fathers.”

FOOTBALL FAMILY: On Senior Night, Dalton (34) with mom Alison, dad Glen and brother Garrett. (nebpreps photo / Eric Allgood)

In York, the Snodgrass boys would finally put on a uniform. Both wore 34 — a likely nod to dad’s basketball number at Concordia, but also, well, Walter Payton. 

The boys tagged along as the Dukes advanced to the 2013 state final, yes, just two years after a 20-game losing streak. 

Garrett’s career was well-documented. A football-basketball double in his junior year of 2017-18. The Duke defense didn’t allow a point in the semifinals and finals in football and won a miracle state final in basketball. He now plays linebacker at Nebraska.

Dalton was a ball boy for those teams. 

“I am not sure I knew how intense it was until then,” Dalton says. 

Glen gives an answer I find I most coaches give about the players they live with. 

“I know I expected more of them and was harder on them than any other kids I ever coached,” he said. “Obviously, we are so proud of both of them. Garrett was probably a little bit more of a natural athlete than Dalton, but Dalton, he just never missed a workout.

“He was always trying to push himself to be better.”

Garrett’s career was filled with highs — four playoff appearances, the state championship and all-state honors. Last Friday night, Dalton’s class of seniors won their first-ever playoff game over Seward, 21-7. 

DEFENSIVE QUARTERBACK: York’s Dalton Snodgrass was the leader of the Duke defense from his linebacker position. (nebpreps photo / Eric Allgood)

One thing I learned growing up with Coach is that the thank you comes easily when you are winning a bunch of games, but when it’s more difficult and the wins are harder then the thank you goes away and the questions come. And Coach is coaching is harder than he ever has.

York is 7-3 this year and not very flashy. They have been through a lot. Long-time public address announcer Jack Vincent passed away in early October.

Their football team is a walking wounded; it’s a reason this story is a week late — Dalton’s high school career ended with a broken leg in week nine against Northwest. 

An abrupt ending. A hard chapter to a long story. 

“Those guys have been my best friends for 12 years,” Dalton says. “It’s tough not being out there with them because I love being with them so much.”

Last Friday night, he set on a padded table against the fence in front of an always raucous York Duke crowd. A jersey and jeans. And an iPad. 

He took to coaching the linebackers when they weren’t on the field. They made some adjustments after a quick Seward drive gave them an early lead. Cousin Leyton has taken his starting linebacker spot. 

“I am learning a lot now,” Dalton said. “It was kind of fun coaching up the younger guys and helping them make adjustments.”

His coach has learned something, too. 

“I learned how much he loved football,” the coach said. “And his toughness. I am not sure I would have got through what he went through.”

DALTON AND DAD: Glen and Dalton Snodgrass with a handshake before York’s game with Northwest. (nebpreps photo / Eric Allgood)

Dalton Snodgrass will play football again, he’s sure of that. He’s being recruited by FCS, Division II and NAIA schools. But he already knows that’s just part of his story. 

There is wisdom in his words. 

“I want to teach US History and coach football,” tells me. Just like my favorite coach. 

When he gets to do that he’ll have plenty of training. Some from growing up in Overton. And from being on the sideline with his dad and his big brother. And, well, through his own York Duke football story where success isn’t always measured in wins and losses. 

“What you are some of the time, is what you are all the time,” Glen Snodgrass often says. 

“He’s given us a great team culture, a great work ethic,” Dalton says of his dad. “And teaches us how to be great men when we leave here.”

Those are timeless lessons of coaching (and playing) that go well beyond winning. Lessons Glen Snodgrass learned on the farm in North Loup and that someday maybe his son will pass down if his plan works out just right. 

The lessons of football and life — in a special corner of the end zone — Coach and Me. 

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