Unity of Snell family leads to athletic success

Jules Cantor

By Edwin Sam ’13, Contributor

Whether Coach John Snell (pictured) is yelling words of encouragement to the girls varsity basketball team, Ashley Snell is instructing the volleyball team from the sidelines, or junior Ricci Snell is draining yet another three-point shot on the basketball court, the Snell family continuously has a major impact on CCDS athletics. Throughout the past several years, the Snell family has made a name for itself in CCDS sports.

After coaching at Landmark Christian for three years, John Snell has been coaching girls basketball at Cincinnati Country Day School for six years. He is the father of Ricci Snell ’12 and Erica Snell ’08, both of whom he has coached. Coach John played soccer, basketball, and ran track at Indianapolis Baptist, where he attended high school. He also played soccer in college. With Coach John’s extensive athletic experiences, it is no surprise that he has won MVC Coach of the Year twice, and has been given the District Coach of the Year Award three times by the Cincinnati Enquirer.

He said that his most memorable moment as a coach was the thriller matchup between CCDS and CHCA at the end of the basketball season last year, which clinched the MVC championship for CCDS for the first time in 10 years. The team came out on top over their rivals after a nail-bitter, which highlighted the importance of senior leadership from Mariah Reed ’10 and Nichole Lowe ’10. When asked about her favorite moment, Ricci gave the same answer, adding that “It was the only thing we talked about when our family got together. It was the best moment ever.”

Coach John’s experience allows him to be able to change his mentality in the middle of games in order to win. “When we are playing well, he encourages us to play even better. When we are losing, he pushes us to do our best to win,” said Caroline Gentile ’13, a member of the basketball team. As his players give him commendation for allowing them to grow as athletes, he credits the players, because “the enthusiasm of the kids wanting to participate makes the coaching experience at [CCDS] special.” John said.

Ashley Snell, John’s sister-in-law and Ricci’s aunt, is in her first year coaching the CCDS girls’ volleyball team, but she has had a lot of playing and coaching experience. Before accepting the job as head coach of the CCDS volleyball team, she coached three years at each Cincinnati Christian, Landmark Christian, and Indianapolis Baptist, where she played volleyball during high school.

After coaching at three schools, something at CCDS had to grab her attention to make her want to coach here. “I enjoy the small school atmosphere. We enjoy the family atmosphere and that is why we put our children here. We really like CCDS.” she said. Her coaching career at CCDS is promising because Ashley is no stranger to winning major competitions. While coaching at Landmark Christian, she led their volleyball team to win the conference and district championships and made it to the regional championship. With the Cincinnati Christian junior high, she also won two conference championships.

Junior Ricci Snell also plays a major role on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams. Part of that success is due to the fact that she is a hard worker on the court. Having family around her adds to the pressure, but she is able to turn that pressure into motivation. “I feel like I have to be perfect or else I’ll let [my family] down. I get used to the yelling and focus on performing to the best of my ability, and I know that they put pressure on me because they know I can handle it.” She believes that having her family around her has made athletics special for the entire family, and it makes them grow and improve together. Every family has one event or activity that each member is interested in, and for the Snells, that common ground is athletics. “We definitely love spending time together,” said Ricci, “and [athletics] bonds us. They keep us close.  What better way to spend quality time with your family than doing what you love?”

Photo courtesy of Rachel Neal ’12.