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How Quin Snyder Went From Law Student to Utah Jazz Head Coach

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Hah! Again folks, you really can do anything with a J.D. Granted, Quin Snyder's law degree (and his M.B.A.) probably have very little to do with his recent hire as the coach of the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz. It probably didn't help him land his last gig as a head coach either, for the Missouri University Tigers.

But hey, if you have a law degree, and some other talent, and connection, know this: it won't prevent you from chasing a far more exciting dream.

From Duke to the NBA, The Long Way

Like many NBA coaches, Snyder played college ball. But how do you go from playing point guard at Duke to law school? And better yet, back to coaching? I wanted answers, because, really, being paid millions to coach in the NBA beats the crap out of document review.

From his bio on Mizzou's website (which is still up, despite his resignation eight years ago), this was his life, in bullet points:

  • Duke Basketball/Undergraduate (1985-1989) -- All-American PG, Team Captain
  • Indiana Pacers (1989) -- Didn't make the cut after training camp
  • Duke University Management Company (1989-1990) -- Investment arm for the university's endowment fund
  • Duke Law School (1990-91, 1993-1995) -- two-year hiatus for MBA, NBA coaching
  • Duke's Fuqua School of Business (1991-1992, 1993-1995) -- one-year hiatus for NBA coaching
  • Los Angeles Clippers (1992-1993) -- Assistant Coach
  • Duke Basketball (1993-1995) -- Administrative Assistant Coach
  • Duke Basketball (1995-1997) -- Assistant Coach
  • Duke Basketball (1997-1999) -- Associate Head Coach
  • MU Tigers (1999-2006) - Head Coach

We'll stop there, because at that point, he was clearly a basketball coach, not a lawyer. He'd go on to coach, as head or assistant, in the NBA Development League, NBA, and Europe before being hired by the Utah Jazz as their newest head coach earlier this week.

What's Law Got to Do With It?

Good question. And probably nothing, though it may help him survive the grilling at press conferences. Plus one might make an argument that the analytical and reasoning skills from his J.D. would help with the X's and O's.

We're just impressed that the managed to not only finish up his degree after taking two years off (one for his MBA, one for the NBA), but that he acted as an assistant coach during his 2L and 3L years.

Not the Only One

Snyder isn't the only JD/MBA out there -- we looked at NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's far more traditional (clerkship, BigLaw) path last month.

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