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Monson: Quin Snyder’s charmed life turned rocky en route to the Utah Jazz

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"I realized I got something I love to do," he said. "To work hard, to learn, and I’ve had a lot of people who helped me do that."

Snyder’s wife, Amy, said that’s when her husband rediscovered his passion for the game, even as it roughed him up.

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And what he did next set the foundation for his coming to Utah.

He coached the daylights out of that Toro team, affiliated with the San Antonio Spurs, from 2007 to 2010, getting to know a Spurs personnel guy named Dennis Lindsey, before re-emerging as a player-development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. Then, he became an assistant with the Lakers. Then, he joined Ettore Messina, as an assistant at CSKA Moscow. Then, he was a lead assistant coach at Atlanta, helping improve players who needed improvement.

On Saturday, he was introduced as the Jazz’s new head coach.

Snyder, now 47, appeared thrilled to have found his new place, his first job as a head coach in the NBA. And the Jazz seemed thrilled to have him.

"The opportunity to join the Utah Jazz and to be a part of such a highly respected franchise with an incredibly bright future is a great honor," he said. "I approach this opportunity with gratitude and humility and am committed to doing everything I can to help the Jazz become a championship-caliber team."

Said Lindsey: "We’re glad to have him."

If the circuitous route to this place and that position, after a quick start, has worked its wonders on Snyder, if it has taught him significant lessons about how to succeed, it must have rounded the sharp edges out of his demeanor. Add diligence and humility and gratitude to his brainpower — they don’t just recklessly dispense law degrees and MBAs at Duke — and Snyder might now be ready to lead the Jazz the way — and to the place — Lindsey intends him to lead them.

On his extended sojourn, Snyder worked with, among others, Krzyzewski, Larry Brown, Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford, Doug Collins, Messina, Mike Brown and Mike Budenholzer. That’s a strong group of tough basketball men who Lindsey probed about his new hire ahead of hiring him.

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Lindsey liked what he heard.

And so, a story of redemption comes into play: Snyder, the golden child, who won and won and won, then lost, then fell hard, then scratched and clawed and labored his way from basketball’s backwater to its bright lights, has another chance to make a real difference, this time with the Jazz.

There will be nothing easy about the job at hand. The Jazz won 25 games last season. Defense was little more than a whispered suggestion. Losing night after night hammered the young club.

That’s real life.

Good thing the Jazz’s new guy knows how to work and plod and fight, even, especially, when the Spalding doesn’t bounce his way.

Gordon Monson hosts "The Big Show" with Spence Checketts weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM/1280 and 960 AM The Zone. Twitter: @GordonMonson.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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