Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Snyder says he was told he would be fired

Missouri to investigate circumstances surrounding coach's departure


— In his long-delayed farewell address Tuesday, Quin Snyder said he stepped down as Missouri's basketball coach after a university official sent by athletic director Mike Alden told him the entire administration had agreed to terminate his contract after this season.

Snyder's statements might have shifted into overdrive the University of Missouri's investigation into the handling of his sudden departure last week.

Elson Floyd, president of Missouri's four-campus system, watched Snyder's televised 45-minute news conference, which was conducted at a downtown hotel. He quickly issued a rebuttal statement.

"I am startled to hear that anyone suggested the president of the university had any role in the events surrounding the discussion with coach Snyder," Floyd said in a statement. "I was never consulted prior to this reported conversation."

According to a published report, basketball analyst Gary Link, also a special assistant to Alden, delivered the news to Snyder. Alden has said he sent Link simply to "gauge how he's doing."

Snyder said he spoke to Alden by telephone later Friday and wasn't complaining about his treatment.

"I don't think that's relevant," Snyder said. "I'm moving on. I respect the university's decision. When somebody tells you it's time to move on, in my mind, you do that."

Alden was out of town and did not return a telephone message from the AP.

Snyder said his belief the university was unanimous in its decision to terminate his contract made stepping down the only move for him. He said it would have been difficult coaching every day knowing that nothing he did the rest of the season could save his job, which he said he was told by the university official, who he declined to name.

"I was inquiring as to a little more detail, and he informed me that he had been told that the president and the chancellor and key members of the board had approved," Snyder said. "At that point, there was no confusion in my mind. I knew it was over."

Snyder stepped down Friday, a day after vowing to finish his seventh season at the school. He said he had the conversation with the athletic department employee shortly after he had met with reporters.

The investigation apparently will begin with an interview of Link, who has had no comment about his role in the matter. He did not return phone calls Tuesday.

Snyder was upbeat during his farewell address, smiling often, continuing to refer to Missouri as "we" and even showing up five minutes early. He was notoriously slow emerging from the locker room after most games.

"My head's not chopped off, and if it is I'm the headless horseman," Snyder said. "I'm not going to come in here and hang my head and pity myself because I got to be the University of Missouri coach at 32.

"I would have liked to have done better; that's someone else's opportunity now. There's no way I can look at the situation and feel pity or bitterness about the opportunity I've been given. It's been fantastic."

Only one of Snyder's former players, junior guard Thomas Gardner, attended the news conference and met privately with the coach afterward. He said other players did not attend because of school commitments.

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