COLUMBIA, Mo. • In a twist on Paul McCartney’s original lyric, Quin Snyder is back from the USSR.
After spending a season in Moscow, the former Missouri basketball coach is back in the NBA, joining the staff of newly hired Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.
“Quin is an excellent addition to our staff,” Budenholzer said in a press release. “He has a very strong knowledge of the system that we will implement and his extensive experience will enhance the development and knowledge of our players.”
Snyder’s arrival in Atlanta should come as no surprise. The Hawks new general manager is Danny Ferry, a teammate of Snyder’s at Duke in the 1980s. Also, Budenholzer spent the last 17 years as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. In the wake of his demise at Missouri in 2006, Snyder resurfaced in the NBA Developmental League and began to rebuild his career coaching the Spurs’ affiliate team, the Austin Toros.
“I am excited to join Bud's staff with the Hawks,” Snyder said. “They are creating a system and a culture that I strongly believe in and have seen its success. I look forward to being a part of the organization and contributing to our players' every day improvement.”
Since his ugly exit at Missouri seven years ago, Snyder, 46, has quietly carved out a promising career in pro basketball. As the Toros’ head coach from 2007-10, he led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances and was named the league’s coach of the year in 2009.
"I had more control over my life," Snyder told the Seattle Times in 2010 of his time in Austin. "No one knows what I did there. No one cares that we won more games than anybody else. But I don't care that no one knows it. For me, it's something to hold on to."
"It was a gradual thing. It was organic," he added. "You're off the radar. People don't see your name or your face. And I think that separation provided more clarity for me. Now I have a lot more control over my life with what I'm doing now. And I feel more at peace with what I'm doing now."
From there, Snyder worked under Doug Collins with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2010-11 then spent the 2011-12 season on the Los Angeles Lakers staff.
Snyder was mentioned as a head-coaching candidate for NBA jobs in Orlando and Charlotte last summer but instead headed to Russia, where he became an assistant with CSKA Moscow, working under head coach Ettore Messina, a former Lakers consultant and widely respected European coach.
“It is sad to say goodbye to Quin,” Messina said in a statement released by his team. “We are losing a friend, great coach, great person who was able to establish close relationship with many of people here in CSKA. I am happy that he will continue his career on the highest level. It will be not easy to substitute him.”
In seven seasons at Mizzou, Snyder was 128-96 with four NCAA Tournament appearances. Some Missouri fans may never forgive Snyder for the program running afoul under his watch after such a hopeful start 14 years ago. But pro basketball has seemed like a better fit, and Atlanta could be his launching point for a head-coaching job at the game’s highest level.