Chris Snee: Impact felt across the area

BY JOBY FAWCETT
Times Shamrock Writer

Chris Snee has served as an inspiration to high school football players in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
A larger-than-life sports figure and Super Bowl champion lineman with the New York Giants, Snee retired Monday in an emotionally charged day that had a ripple effect here.

Before he was an All-American at Boston College and an All-Pro lineman, Snee cut his teeth as an unstoppable force along the line of scrimmage at Montrose High School in the Lackawanna Football Conference. And his rise to stardom in the National Football League was a source of pride for that community.

“Locally, he is just one of those guys who is a wonderful role model for the kids,” former Montrose coach Tom Lucenti said. “He gave kids a sense that a guy from a small town can make it if you put the time in. He has given kids that vision and hope.”

Snee’s success, which included Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl titles, came as no surprise to Lucenti, who guided him during those early years.

He knew then that Snee had remarkable talent and size, but more importantly he had a strong will to succeed.

That came to the forefront in school and on the football field.

“He was always a good kid in high school as far as academics, always being at the top of his class,” Lucenti said. “A funny story about Chris is that when the coach at Boston College was recruiting him, he told me that they would move him to guard and we would be watching him playing on Sundays.
“He just had a presence about him.”

As a player at Montrose, Snee had no equal. He was a devastating blocker and a menacing tackler. He was a force and someone opposing coaches admired.

And his retirement from professional football will certainly leave a void for those who watched him develop and emerge as one of the top players in the NFL.

“It’s always good to see a local kid do well on the big stage, so it’s hard to see him retire,” said Lakeland coach Jeff Wasilchak, who faced Snee three times between 1997 and 1999 when Wasilchak was the head coach at Lackawanna Trail.

“When we played him, we were afraid people were going to get hurt. It’s hard to compete against a guy like him with normal high school players.

“Him being in the NFL was a great thing for football in the area, for kids to be able to see him play and it was great for the Montrose community.”