Jim Snow’s voice could be heard at every Desert Vista high school home football and basketball games. It had become a staple for the athletics community at the school.
Snow, an employee at the school since it opened in 1997, died suddenly Monday while on campus in the equipment room. David Klecka, the school’s athletic director, said a cause of death was still not known.
Snow was 67 years old.
“We all carry radios, and they were all trying to get a hold of him, and he wasn’t responding,” Klecka said. “Within five minutes of that I heard, ‘911 to the equipment room.’ It was tough.”
Klecka said Snow had been ill, but he was cleared to return to work. The two met to go over things that happened while he was away from the school. Klecka said the two shared jokes and small talk before he headed to Tucson for the girls’ golf championships, where the Thunder were competing.
It was just a short time after Klecka’s return to campus Snow was found.
Snow worked as a security guard for the school and took on the role of equipment manager for the athletics programs. He was the one who interacted with players nearly as much as their respective coaches.
Klecka said he was beloved by the athletes and their peers. He was the one who gave tours to students transferring to Desert Vista. His presence made them feel welcome at the school.
Snow’s son, Chris, played football, baseball and participated in track for the Thunder. He was part of Desert Vista’s 1998 state championship team coached by Jim Rattay with players like school legend Bobby Wade on the roster.
Chris was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Desert Vista in 1999. Snow’s daughter, Jennifer, was at Mountain Pointe when Klecka was an assistant coach. Her husband, Martin, was coached by Klecka. Their daughter is a senior at Desert Vista. Their son is a freshman.
“It’s numbing,” Klecka said. “When something like that happens, we all have our jobs to do. We have a job to do because we have a campus of 3,100 kids and we are trying to maneuver fire trucks and ambulances. But in the back of my mind, I kept saying, ‘oh my gosh, that’s Snow.’
“It was tough. I still walk around, and it hits me.”
Klecka said Snow’s death caused a stir among the athletic programs and school. Athletes and students were saddened by the news, which was officially announced Wednesday.
His loud, boisterous yet soothing voice was one all involved with the school looked forward to daily. Klecka feels he will undoubtedly be missed dearly.
“The kids were shocked when we announced it. There were a lot of kids who were upset,” Klecka said. “Snowman had that huge personality. Everybody knew him. Every athlete knew him, and he knew them.
“It’s going to be weird not having him around.”