A bloodline isn't the only thing that bonds the Snelbaker brothers from Dover.

Football has been a part of their lives since they were grade-school kids in the Tri Town Youth program.

All three played football at Dover High School and in college, and they're coaching, or have coached, the sport at the high school level.

Wayne Jr. played college football at California (Pa.), while Jim played at Lebanon Valley and Dan played at Millersville.

The brothers also followed the same career path following graduation: they're all teachers. Wayne (40) and Dan (35) teach at Red Land High School (technology education) and Jim (38) teaches at West York Middle School (social studies).

West York offensive line coach Jim Snelbaker works with his unit during Monday s practice.
West York offensive line coach Jim Snelbaker works with his unit during Monday s practice. (Bill Kalina photo)

Wayne and Jim are also assistant coaches for the West York football team that will take on Bishop McDevitt for the District 3-AAA championship. The opening kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Hersheypark Stadium.

"My youngest brother (Dan) and I coached together at Red Land, and the neat thing is that the team won the district title (Class AAA) in 2006," Wayne Snelbaker said. "It would be neat to win another district championship with my other brother."

Wayne was still coaching at Red Land in 2009 when tragedy struck the family. Wayne's wife of 12 years, Rose, died in December of that year at the age of 35. She and Wayne had three children, all of whom were 8 or younger, when Rose died.

"It hit us hard," Wayne said. "To find out in April (about the illness), and she passed away in December. The family, and the support of others, that's what helped me get through things. Mom and dad were there, they're still there, the kids are at their house now. And Jim's wife, Steph, has helped a lot getting the kids into practice."

Wayne accepted a coaching offer from West York head coach Ron Miller after he stepped down at Red Land, and his children transferred to a school closer to York to be closer to other family members.

Jim s brother Wayne gets the Bulldogs  defensive line ready for Friday night s District 3 Class AAA title game. Football has been a big part of the
Jim s brother Wayne gets the Bulldogs defensive line ready for Friday night s District 3 Class AAA title game. Football has been a big part of the brothers lives since they were grade-school kids in the Tri Town Youth program. (Bill Kalina photo)

"It was a sad situation (Rose's death), obviously, but it's been an honor to have him here with our kids," Miller said. "He's a tremendous defensive line coach. Our defensive line play is the best it's ever been, by far."

Wayne Snelbaker doesn't know how much longer he'll be coaching. His oldest son, 11, is planning to play middle school football. When he does leave the coaching ranks, he'll depart with a load of fond memories, including this year with the 13-0 Bulldogs and his brother.

"We complement each other," Jim Snelbaker said. "He does the D (defensive) line, and I do the offensive line. He gives me what I need to see as far as a scout look, and I turn around and do the same thing for him.

"I'm excited for the kids. They've been working toward a goal, and I would like to see it materialize for them in a gold medal. Dan got a gold medal with Wayne, now it's my chance to try and get one with Wayne."

Dick VanOlinda covers high school sports for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at dvanolin da@yorkdispatch.com or at 505-5407.