Keith Snyder has been around athletics his entire life.
The Levittown District director of physical education, health and athletics grew up watching his father, long-time Farmingdale football coach and athletic director Don Snyder, and said he hoped to follow in those footsteps, leaving his own mark on a program and Long Island.
That mark was cemented Friday morning when Snyder, with his father next to him, was named Nassau County Director of the Year, one of several awards presented as part of the Todd Heimer Luncheon at Westbury Manor.
“I was always around athletics and seeing people that excelled in it,” said Snyder, who started at Levittown in 2000 and was nominated for the award by his fellow athletic directors in Nassau. “They were people that I idolized and not necessarily the star athletes, but people that were parts of teams. They belonged to something and that was important to me.”
In his nearly two decades at Levittown, Snyder said he’s done his best to grow athletics, providing opportunities for as many kids as possible. He wants to be his school’s biggest fan and added that he relishes the opportunity to work one-on-one with teams.
“I’m able to attend games and get out there and the kids know my name,” Snyder said. “We do well, across the board, with our female and male athletes accomplishing great things.”
While Snyder has seen plenty of changes during his career, he was quick to point out that his approach to the position hasn’t changed and credited his father for influencing him.
“He’s 93 years old, but he remembers almost all his teams,” Snyder said. “Not only does he know the players, he remembers the water boy, the people that made the program work.”
The father-son duo have always shared a love of sports, but now they also share accolades. Don Snyder was named Athletic Administer of the Year in 1987 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2003.
“Tradition, that’s the first word that comes to mind,” said Section VIII assistant executive director Dominick Vulpis of the Snyders. “[Keith’s] brought that experience of a former generation.”
Snyder has no intention of leaving athletics anytime soon and while he’s certain there will be more changes ahead, he’s also confident he and his district will embrace them, appreciating the past, but ready for what’s next.
“Demographics are changing on Long Island and in Levittown, but the one thing we want to do is keep a leg up on new athletics to provide for people,” Snyder said. “So that they have the avenue and the comfort zone kids always have.”