HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Ohio State defensive coordinator Mark Snyder was hired as Marshall's football coach Thursday, returning to the university where he set a school record for interceptions.
He received a five-year contract and replaces Bob Pruett, who retired in March after nine seasons. Marshall went 6-6 last year and lost to Cincinnati in the Fort Worth Bowl. It was the school's first nonwinning season in 21 years.
"We want to be the class of college football," Snyder said. "We will be the class of college football. Thank you so much for bringing me home."
Snyder takes over as Marshall prepares to play in Conference USA after eight seasons in the Mid-American Conference.
"Our goal is simple to do this: We want to win the conference championship. We want to get to a (Bowl Championship Series) bowl game," he said. "We want to graduate all our players."
Snyder's contract features a base salary of $144,200 a year. With promotional work and incentives, he could earn up to $478,000 a year. He also received a $50,000 bonus from a booster group.
Larry Kueck had served as interim coach after Pruett retired. He also interviewed for the job and ran the team's spring practices. Pruett and several former players, including quarterback Chad Pennington, wanted Kueck to be hired.
Snyder was Ohio State's defensive coordinator last season and its linebackers coach for three years before that. He also was an assistant at Minnesota, Central Florida and Youngstown State, where he served under current Ohio State coach Jim Tressel from 1991-96.
Snyder lettered one season — 1987 — at Marshall. He still holds the school record for interceptions in a season with 10.
He was on the Buckeyes' staff when Ohio State won the 2002 national championship. He coached against Marshall last fall when Ohio State beat the Thundering Herd 24-21 on Mike Nugent's 55-yard field goal with no time left.
Snyder also was with Youngstown State when it won the 1991 and 1993 I-AA title games against Marshall and lost to the Thundering Herd in the 1992 championship game.
Snyder said the success of Marshall football will hinge in part on fan support.
"We need that 12th man out there every Saturday in that stadium," he said.