The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Coach Mark Snow retires from head track and field coach position after being one of the school’s longest tenured coaches


In F-10, Coach Mark Snow’s room is adorned with photographs and records of the cross country and track teams he had built from the ground up nearly 20 years ago. Now, after announcing his retirement from the role of head track and field coach, his legacy as one of campus’ longest tenured coaches has come to an end. 

In 2005, Snow began the cross country program and created the track and field program the following year. For several years, Snow functioned as the head coach for both programs until passing on cross country in 2016 to current Coach Jerry Dodge. 

“It’s been fun learning from [other coaches] and being part of the whole athletic department and that community of coaches — not just at the school, but throughout the area,” Snow said. 

For Snow, he said that his choice to retire was influenced both by external and internal factors in his life. 

“I’ve been involved in track and field for a long time, from my high school days all the way through last year, basically from 1984 until now. It just seemed like the right time, but there’s a couple other reasons. One of them was just the time switch for an hour later. It was just something that impeded me from doing other things in my life,” Snow said.

Snow started his running career as a distance runner at Norco High School, located in southern California. He was drawn to the tight knit community of cross country, which planted the seed for his future endeavors.

“Cross country is great because you develop wonderful friendships, as you’re doing that the whole time on a long run. You’re with people and talking and improving that way. From the very beginning, I liked that part of it,” Snow said.

The sport had a notable impact on Snow’s life, pushing him towards coaching. He was directly influenced by several coaches who helped develop his philosophy, like Ben Gonzalez, Snow’s former cross country coach, and John Corona at Arlington High School.

“They really helped me to understand those principles of management, and supporting, encouraging and developing [the athletes] through the mundane practice times in track and field,” Snow said.  

His coaching philosophy led to 45 of Sac-Joaquin Section (SJS) individual champions and 180 Sierra Foothill League (SFL) meet champions. Additionally, he led the women’s varsity track team to a position of 10th in the state of California last year.

Ava Kopec, one of Snow’s SFL individual champions, said that his mindset regarding coaching is beneficial for other coaches to copy. 

“Snow’s overall passion and dedication for the team is something that a lot of coaches could draw from and really implement in their program. I think Coach Snow was just always so enthralled in the team and the program, and track and field in general that it was so fun to watch him truly love the team and the sport, and love his athletes,” Kopec said. “He truly gets so excited to watch his athletes succeed and I think that is a big part of the culture, and has been something I will always remember. Just seeing his excitement for the team’s success, it has just been an amazing experience to have a coach so invested in the team, and so prideful of his athletes.”

Additionally, Destinee Kombo, one of Snow’s former team managers, said he made a consistent effort to take care of athletes and staff. 

“Snow helped us become the best versions of ourselves that we could be. He always pushed us to be our best, but he never scolded us for not succeeding in the ways that we wanted to. He always reminded us that it was okay to make mistakes, but that we had to learn from those mistakes as well,” Kombo said. “I was very upset to find out that he was retiring because he just had such a big impact on the track and field department that I don’t think can be replaced.”

On the other hand, Coach Tod Furtado said that Snow’s retirement will have consequences, but ultimately the track and field program will stay afloat. 

“Mark has relationships with the community, he has relationships with other coaches, and he has relationships with the players and their parents. While it will have an impact, I don’t think that it’s going to be a devastating impact — I don’t want that to reflect on Mark negatively, because that’s not what this is about, but the program is so solid, and he built it,” Furtado said. 

 As he moves into this new chapter without coaching, Snow said his path is already full of opportunities in other areas of his life. 

“God has plans for us. He’ll put other things in my path that I’ll be involved with. I’m starting the bowling club on campus, and that’s going to be super fun. It’s only one day a week for an hour, but it’ll keep me busy, and I do other things. I have another job that I do besides teaching that is really fun for me and part time. It just works out; one door closes, another one opens,” Snow said. 

  As athletes look towards next spring. Snow closes a door on a 20 year legacy that produced thousands of athletes in both cross country and track and field. Through tears, he recognizes the immense pride he takes in the recognition of his program.

“I liked that people recognize that we’ve done well — track and field is not something everybody recognizes and knows about. Being able to say that there’s recognition that we were successful, and that I was a part of that — it definitely wasn’t all me for sure — the kids do all the work,” Snow said. “My legacy is whatever people want it to be, and I think it’s one that people will see throughout the kids we sent to college who are competing, the championships and through the relationships. It’s all I care about really; I don’t need the stadium named after me, but it’s been a great time and a great run.”




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