From full to part-time: Rod Snook’s 30-year legacy

Published by Robin Bailey on

Rob Snook, retiring health and human performance professor, has amassed a massive archive of Riverhawk achievements.
Robin Bruns / The Mainstream

Health and human performance professor Rod Snook retires this summer from the full-time position he’s held for 37 years.

Snook’s office walls are plastered with three decades’ worth of photographs, articles and other physical commemorations of the innumerable student and personal accomplishments he’s brought about throughout his career. 

Assistant to head coach: “Most successful years in men’s basketball”

Snook coached the men’s basketball team for 16 years, up until 2002. “In the 1987 and ‘88 basketball season, we finished second in the Northwest Athletic Conference,” says Snook.

For 10 of those years, Snook brought the team to the playoffs. He emphasizes the effort and achievement of his former student-athletes, a number of whom have “gotten very strong scholarships,” Snook says. Before UCC, Snook held assistant coach positions — first at the University of Idaho for four years, and then three more at the University of Oregon.

“Then this job opened up,” Snook says. “I went for it because of the opportunity to become a head coach and have at my disposal eight full-ride athletic scholarships. I also liked that it was still in Oregon, and I enjoyed the community college level.”

Thus, in 1986, at 32 years old, Snook joined UCC: “It was time for me, after seven years of being an assistant, to become a head coach.”

All Snook’s seen — and then some

Currently, Snook teaches all health and wellness, first aid and PE activity courses. “I’ve taught others over the years,” he says.

For instance, back in the ‘80s, Snook taught a professional activity class for a now-nonexistent PE major; similarly, a former outdoor recreational program had Snook instruct its wilderness emergency care course.

Racketball, basketball, weight training, aerobic fitness and water polo bring the list to a total of 12 unique classes Snook taught in 37 years. “I think I’ve had one student take all twelve,” Snook says.

Snook easily lists off the changes he’s seen take place at the college. “Our athletic department started with four teams: men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and track/cross country,” he says.

In 1990, UCC added a soccer team, only to later drop it as well as their track and cross country — until 2016. “We have gone from having just three sports to 11 teams total,” Snook says. “It’s been real exciting for me personally to work with and support the athletes in all of the classes I’ve taught them in.”

He also notes the improvement in student enrollment. “We used to have around 45 athletes. Now, we estimate around 250,” Snook says.

With an office overlooking the campus in the PE Complex and Tom Keel Fitness Center, Snook has had an ample vantage point to UCC’s expansive construction throughout his employment: starting in 2012 with the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center; the demolition of Snyder Hall in 2015; the addition of the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing and Science Center and Paul Morgan Observatory in 2016; and finally — where Snyder Hall once stood — Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall was unveiled in 2018.

What lies on Snook’s horizon: Familiar sights, finishing lines

Though Snook will no longer teach his health and wellness or first aid courses, he looks forward to the five part-time activity classes he will continue to teach this coming school year: swimming; tennis; golf; bowling; and walking, jogging and running.

“I’m thankful that (athletics and events director) Craig Jackson and other administrators have allowed me to stay part-time,” Snook says.

The move to part-time is a step back similar to the one Snook made in 2002 when he relinquished his position as head coach to former assistant coach Donnell Morgan. “After 25 years of basketball coaching, I just felt it was time to concentrate on my teaching,” Snook says.

“Nobody’s been here longer than me,” Snook says. “I started here when I was 32; I’m retiring at 68. It’s been a good 37 years.”

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