Whoop's Legacy: Strong Leadership, Hard Work, and Genuine Caring

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Snively's lessons live on in the many players whose lives he touched. Many credit him with helping shape them into the adults they became. He cared about them not just as players, they say, but as people.

"Whoops always checked in on what was going on in each of his players' lives," says Dick Lamontagne '63, who played hockey for Snively. "It really wasn't all about hockey—it was about all of us as individuals."

Lamontagne credits Snively with teaching him most of what he knows about leadership. Now retired, he spent part of his career as a labor relations director for Verizon, a position that required him to work closely with people who saw the world differently from him.

"What I learned from Whoops was that if someone is really interested in you as a person, you tend to establish a good relationship," he says. "One of the first things I did was try to learn as much as I could about the people I was working with, to make it more of a personal relationship than strictly a business relationship. It made my job a lot easier, and I enjoyed it more.

"I think I learned more about life—forget about hockey—from him than anybody else."

Snively valued hard work and spirit above raw ability, on and off the field. Writing in the New Hampshire Alumnus, John "Doc" Enos described a time when a player was having trouble grasping a maneuver at practice. Snively ran the play himself to illustrate it, saying, "You move to here, see?This guy cuts around you and then you move to here. Their defenseman has to move over to cover him and you spin like this, see? Our guy passes to you and you score." The player took six tries to get it right, but each time Snively paused to patiently explain it again.

Enos wrote about another player, a natural athlete, who won national attention for his success in a game. The following day, he skipped practice, so Snively barred him from playing in the team's next game, explaining that the rules about missing practice applied to everyone equally.

Tim Churchard '65 '84G had his own taste of Snively's tough love. When Churchard returned to UNH after flunking out, his coach gave him not only a place to live but also a job, hiring him to hand out and collect the equipment for intramural sports—and promptly firing him after he didn't show up to work one drizzly evening. When Churchard reported for duty the next day, a new student already had his position. Stunned, he went to ask Snively for a second chance, but the coach was firm. "He told me, 'Your job was to take care of the equipment,' Churchard recalls. "'I replaced you, see?'

Sam Paul '60, who played football for Snively, still treasures the many "Whoopsisms" he picked up from his coach and mentor. One in particular, which he learned while helping Snively chop wood for his fireplace, stands out.

"He turned to me and said, 'Sammy, remember, if you cut your own wood you get warm twice,' " Paul says. "I have used that quote many times over the years, especially with my sons."

After graduating, Paul made a point to visit Snively whenever he was in Durham, since the coach and his wife always wanted updates on his life. During one visit, he revealed that his wife had just had their first child, named Sammy, after his father. "Two weeks later, I received a call from the Durham bank informing me that a savings account had been opened by Whoops in young Sammy's name," Paul recalls. "I cried!"

Snively had two children of his own, but considered scores of former players to be surrogate sons. He was hard on them, but he loved them, and he was never prouder than when they played well. Dave Eastman '65, who was the football team manager, still recalls how happy it made Snively to see them win.

"While we were beating UMass for the Yankee Conference Championship at the end of the 1962 football season, he was strutting behind the bench, saying, 'I'm walking proud, see? Because those are my boys out there!' "

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