Coach’s Corner: Jerry Snay
By: Oliver Nissi
January 18, 2021
Jerry Snay is not only the Massachusetts Pirates special teams, defensive line and linebackers coach, but he’s also a prominent figure in Central Massachusetts sports history. He has coached at the professional level prior to the Pirates, back in 2007, in the former Continental Indoor Football League for the New England Surge of Worcester. He’s also coached at the college football level and many years of high school football in Worcester. Before coaching, he was a semi-professional football player and won multiple championships for the Marlboro Shamrocks. Now, he is a track and field coach at Worcester Technical High School.
Snay, who was originally hired by the Pirates after the 2019 season, has been patiently waiting to get back to coaching at the professional level. I had the chance to speak with him over the phone and together we talked about preparing for the upcoming season, his favorite football movie, and how he likes to spend his time away from sports. Here’s our conversation:
Nissi: I’ve seen your first name spelt a couple of different ways, how do you actually spell it?
Snay: J-E-R-R-Y. The other way to spell it is with a ‘G’, but that usually indicates it’s a female. Stupid fact, my mother-in-law’s name was Gerrie.
Nissi: How did the holidays go for you and your family?
Snay: Very well, luckily no one was ill and I was able to get some much needed downtime.
Nissi: What is the feeling like knowing you have had a job for over a year now, but haven’t had a chance to get on the field yet?
Snay: Coach Kizer and myself came in after the 2019 season and Coach Pass was promoted to head coach around the same time. Generally, in a normal offseason, jumping into a new system is a tad rushed. But even with limited time, I was ready for the 2020 season. Now, Kizer and myself have been in constant communication, breaking down the playbook, roster changes, talking about other IFL teams. We’ve also been looking at the different rules as we move to a new league. I feel very confident and ready to go because I’ve had a lot of prep time.
Nissi: Which players have you had a chance to build chemistry with?
Snay: Definitely Griggs, Roberts, Ghaifan and Yarbury. I had a chance to get to know them and work with them ahead of the 2020 cancelled season. I feel comfortable with them. They know who I am. Now I’m looking to take our relationships to the next level once training camp gets started eight weeks from now.
Nissi: I heard you used to be a player, what position did you play and what was your favorite moment as a player?
Snay: Offensive tackle. I also played guard, center, and long snapper. My most memorable moment came in 2008 with the Marlboro Shamrocks. I had technically retired and was volunteer coaching. We were playing the Brockton Buccaneers for the Eastern Football League championship, and for whatever reason, I decided I wanted to play. I hadn’t played in a year and grabbed our kicker’s helmet and played guard. We won that game, but I lied to my wife about playing and got away with it. But, I did not know they put the game recap in the local newspaper, and my mother saw a picture of me in uniform. She sent the picture to my wife and ratted me out. I thought I got away with it.
Nissi: Grabbing a kicker’s helmet and going into the game, huh? Does that mean your favorite football movie is The Waterboy?
Snay: Oh I love The Waterboy. Absolutely. All-time favorite.
Nissi: Who’s your favorite character in The Waterboy?
Snay: I’d have to say Farmer Fran. “You live to play another day.” Farmer Fran in the overalls.
Nissi: What is your favorite sport outside of football?
Snay: Track and field. I coach at Worcester Technical High School. I’ve coached their boys and girls indoor and outdoor track team for twelve years. I’m also the special olympics unified track and field head coach for Worcester Tech. I’ve been in that role for two years. I have the most fun working with special olympics.
Nissi: What is your favorite hobby outside of sports?
Snay: Going to concerts. My wife and I are concert-aholics. When school is off and it’s summertime, my wife and I go to every single country concert. Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, etc. We travel all over New England to see them. We’re regulars at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA.
Nissi: What do you think Coach Pass’ main message is going to be to the team this season?
Snay: Attention to detail. You’re going to be on-time everytime, prepared, and give 100% effort 100% of the time. We’re going to treat you like a professional and you’re going to behave like a professional.
Nissi: How do you feel the Pirates will transition to a new league in just their third season on the field?
Snay: Never going to say seamless. We have two quality coordinators in Chris Thompson and Rayshaun Kizer. Both have experience in the IFL and have experienced coaching transitions. They’ll have a diminished learning curve. If I ever have a question, I’m going to run to J.D. (Griggs). He’s an experienced player who has a lot of answers as well. It’s an exciting time.
Nissi: What do you believe a Pirates championship in 2021 would mean to the city of Worcester and to Massachusetts as a whole?
Snay: It would mean a lot to Worcester. We had the Massachusetts Marauders, who were not around too long. We had the New England Surge, which I was a part of. Now the Pirates are in Year Three. The fan base is looking to trust us. A championship could be the final nail in the coffin to say, “The Pirates are for real.” I think a championship would be huge. For the state of Massachusetts, I think it will go a long way for the heritage of New England in general.
Nissi: What’s your pregame meal?
Nissi: What’s your post game meal?
Snay: All-time favorite is a prime rib dinner. Nothing goes better with a win than that.
Nissi: What are some of your goals for the Pirates this year?
Snay: For the team to win games. It’s important to have the team back on solid footing after COVID-19. Also, to put together the best special teams package week-to-week.
Nissi: When you’re not focusing on the Pirates or working another job, how do you spend your free time?
Snay: I’ve been getting back in the gym. It’s important to me to keep my body healthy as I get older. Also, focusing on getting better quality time with my wife is very important to me.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email email@example.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single-game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard