SHENANDOAH JUNCTION - The sport of basketball has taken Wildwood Mustangs seventh grade girls basketball coach Charles Snyder on a long journey.
Snyder's numerous stops in his many years around the sport had him reach a memorable milestone on Dec. 17 with a 26-8 victory over the Shepherdstown Cardinals.
That victory was number 100 for Snyder as a head coach.
Although Snyder knows the game from the side of a coach, he started out on the floor in a black and white striped shirt and black pants.
For 13 years, Snyder was an official for the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission before he ever took a coaching job. He was able to reap the benefits of being an official by staying aware of the rules and knowing what the officials look for on certain calls.
"I never get frustrated with the officiating because I know what they go through," Snyder said. "The officials do not always get the calls right, and I am not one to jump on them about it as a coach.
"Being an official benefitted me in also being able to see both sides of the floor."
Following his time as an official, Snyder then turned to coaching. First he was an assistant for the Jefferson Cougars and Musselman Applemen before taking a middle school position at Musselman Middle, where he finished 36-7 in his three years there.
"We ran a basic offense for just in case on offense and defense there as a way to make sure the kids knew what they were doing, and I coach to the talent that I have on the floor." Snyder said. "It was an amazing three years there."
The same philosophy never changed for Snyder, as he continued to coach and eventually arrived at Wildwood Middle School as the head coach this season.
"Our players have had a lot to learn this season, as some of them had never played basketball before until they came here, so it was a lot of teaching fundamentals," Snyder said. "With some kids not playing basketball until the middle school years, and having a mixture of sixth- and seventh-graders in Jefferson County, it has been a big challenge to field two teams."
Over the years, Snyder had only two losing seasons and also found no other win more challenging than getting the milestone victory.
"The talent has changed over the years," Snyder said. "One year, you could have a team with a ton of talent that can go 14-2, and then the next we wouldn't have as much talent and have to take a .500 season.
"Every year is a different situation."
The Mustangs are 3-4 entering the halfway point of the season, and Snyder is hoping to get more wins.
"It took me a good while to get to 100 wins, and I hope to establish a program that can keep winning year after year," Snyder said. "Even if I don't, it's all about working with the kids, and that is what I love most about coaching."
Snyder still gets to see his former players play basketball at the high school level, particularly players on the Musselman Applemen varsity girls basketball program under coach Amanda Eaton-Burge, and is thankful for everyone that helped him learn different nuances and helped him reach 100 wins.
"The kids are the ones that helped me get this milestone," Snyder said. "It may not seem like a big milestone, but the kids are the ones that play the game."
Snyder, orignially from Shepherdstown, resides in Bunker Hill with his wife, Sharon and son, Evan.