Bev Snyder never has been one to seek the spotlight, but tonight, the Towson High girls basketball coach will not be able to duck the attention.
If the Generals (8-1) win at Dundalk (6-4) tonight, and they figure to, Snyder will become the first Baltimore County coach to reach her 400th career victory. She will be only the fourth Baltimore-area girls coach to reach the milestone.
In 26 years at Towson, Snyder always has deflected credit for the program's success to her players, recreation programs that prepare them, and support from within the school. Her reaction to the impending milestone is no different.
"It doesn't mean, to me personally, as much as it means to the program," said Snyder. "The consistency and the number of good kids coming through -- that's what I'm proud of. It takes more than me to make this happen."
Wednesday night's 64-62 overtime win at Woodlawn boosted her career record to 399-92.
When she hits the 400 mark, Snyder will join an elite company of local coaches -- Breezy Bishop, Pat Chance and Dave Greenberg.
Former Western coach Bishop is the all-time wins leader with a 424-40 record over 25 years. Bishop was 13-1 in her first season at Douglass and 411-39 at Western.
Chance, who spent three years at Glen Burnie and 22 at Old Mill, retired in Anne Arundel County last year with a 415-150 record.
The most recent member and the only active coach in the 400 club is Howard County's Greenberg, who spent 16 years at Mount Hebron and has been at Centennial five. He got No. 400 on Jan. 11, and his record now is 401-99.
The 400 mark is particularly impressive for public school coaches, said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler, because teams cannot play more than 27 games in a single season. They can reach 27 only by playing the maximum permissible and making the state final.
Snyder's teams never have played more than 25.
"That's a point that is missed all too often," said Mohler. "That's why 400 is truly a test of time -- and truly meaningful."
As others count down, Snyder tries to conduct business as usual.
"Now I know what Cal Ripken went through and why he ended the streak," said Snyder, laughing.
Still, Snyder is no stranger to success. She guided the Generals to their first state title a year ago. Her teams have won three Baltimore County titles, five regional titles and also reached state finals in 1979 and 1985.
Jill Myers, Snyder's high school coach at Franklin, spotted her coaching potential early.
"She always had a real love for the game, and I just knew she had coaching in her blood," Myers said. "When she played for me, she was a very competitive athlete, and that competitiveness carried into her coaching career.
"She really loves working with the kids, and you have to have that to do this as long as some of us have," said Myers, who also coached against Snyder for many years and is now Franklin's athletic director.
Kim Forthuber, Snyder's assistant for nine years, agreed that Snyder has a strong rapport with her players.
"She gets a lot out of the kids," said Forthuber. "No matter what type of team we have, she's able to reach down inside and pull the best out of them. They feel really good about what they can do, and she inspires them to do their best in every game."
Snyder's success is also notable, because, unlike Bishop, Chance and Greenberg, she has never had a Division I basketball player. She's had many athletes who made Division I college teams in other sports, and many have had extensive recreation play.
"In the Towson area, we lose a lot of athletes to private schools," said Snyder. "We don't have the luxury of taking this one or that one, so it's kind of neat that not just me but other public school coaches can build programs with just what they've got."
Pub Date: 1/22/99