Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is stepping into retirement, again. After a report from The Mercury in Manhattan, Kansas State has officially announced Snyder’s retirement.
“Coach Snyder has had an immeasurable impact on our football program, Kansas State University, the Manhattan community and the entire state of Kansas, and it has been an honor and a privilege to get to know and work with him the past two years,” said Athletics Director Gene Taylor. “He and his family have touched the lives of so many people, from student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, and he is truly one of the greatest coaches and leaders in college football history. His impact on college football is unmatched and legacy is one that will last a lifetime.”
Snyder began his lengthy coaching career in 1962 as an assistant at Gallatin High School in Missouri. His first job in college came in 1966 as a graduate assistant at USC. After holding a couple of high school jobs in California, Snyder returned to the college game for good in 1974 as an offensive coordinator for Austin College. After two years, Snyder became an assistant coach at North Texas from 1976 through 1978. From there, it was on to Iowa to be the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach in 1979. After a decade with the Hawkeyes, Snyder received his first college head coaching job at Kansas State in 1989. After initially retiring from the Wildcats in 2005, Snyder returned to take on the job in 2009 following the dismissal of Ron Prince.
Snyder will officially retire with an all-time record of 215-117-1, which includes a record of 128-89-1 with Kansas State’s football program between two stints from 1996 through 2005 and 2009 through 2018. Kansas State finished a season ranked in the top 25 a total of 13 times under Snyder with a couple of national title contenders mixed in that collection. Kansas State won two Big 12 championships under Snyder, in 2003 and 2012, and a total of four Big 12 North Division titles. Snyder was a three-time Big Eight Coach of the Year prior to the formation of the Big 12, and he won four additional Big 12 coach of the year honors as well as a handful of national coach of the year honors over the years. Snyder was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Kansas State offered Snyder a contract extension through the 2022 season prior to the start of the 2018 season. Snyder would have been 82 years old at the end of the contract had he remained the head coach. At the time, Snyder made it clear he intended to remain the head coach as long as his health allowed for him to continue coaching. There has been no indication of any health concerns, but given how Kansas State failed to reach a bowl game this season, it could have just been a matter of timing to make decisions that will be for the best at Kansas State moving forward.
A number of former Kansas State football players who have since moved on from the program claim they have not received bowl rings for being a part of a bowl team. A report by GoPowercat, the Kansas State site on 247 Sports, interviewed multiple former Wildcats players who all say any attempt to receive a bowl ring they earned as a member of the team have come up dry in recent years.
A total of 10 players transferred from Kansas State to other football programs this past offseason after Kansas State concluded the 2017 season with a victory over UCLA in the Cactus Bowl. At least three players interviewed for the report claim they have yet to receive a ring to commemorate Kansas State’s bowl victory.
“I know a lot of us feel cheated because we definitely felt that we had a part in the (2017) season,” former Kansas State player Ian Nordell (now at Fort Hays State) told GoPowercat. “They haven’t even reached out and didn’t reply when I messaged them about it. I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t send it to us like they promised. That’s something that you’d want to pass on to your kids.”
Another former player, Bernard Goodwater (now at Prairie View A&M) claims text messages to the Kansas State staff to try getting his ring have gone unanswered. Additional players from teams prior to 2017 have shared similar stories as well for the report, suggesting this isn’t just a one-year mishap for Kansas State but potentially a trend that sees Kansas State withhold commemorative rings from players who leave the program. Whether or not that is a policy going on within the Kansas State program, that is certainly how the report paints the image of the program run by Bill Snyder.
The report says Snyder was asked about the policy, to which the head coach of the Wildcats suggested a player must graduate from Kansas State in order to receive a bowl ring after transferring from the program. That in itself is pure pettiness, some might say, and GoPowercat has reported that may not be the case either as a number of players who have graduated before transferring have similar claims of never receiving a ring, while there are others who have not graduated but did receive a ring after transferring.
So what gives?
“It’s just personal preference,” an anonymous former player told GoPowercat. “You can leave the right way and if (Snyder) doesn’t want to give you your stuff, he isn’t (going to).”
All of this seems bad and is a poor reflection on Snyder. By deciding who is worthy of receiving a ring and who is not, whether they graduated or not, creates a dictatorship environment in which a player is pressured to remain a part of a program he may no longer wish to be a part of. That’s not a good look for Snyder, and it is completely unnecessary from the head coach.
Nine months after Kansas State and Bill Snyder announced Snyder will remain the head coach of the Wildcats for the foreseeable future, a formal contract extension announcement has made it all official. Kansas State announced a contract extension for the 78-year old wizard of college football coaching that will keep Snyder as head coach through the 2022 season. Snyder will be 82 years old at the end of his newly announced contract.
“It has been a pleasure watching our football program up close over the past year and seeing one of the greatest coaches in the history of college football continue to positively impact student-athletes while also producing winning seasons on a yearly basis,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said in a released statement. “With this new contract, we felt that it was important to recognize his commitment to our football program, and we look forward to his continued leadership.”
Snyder will be paid $3.45 million for the upcoming 2018 season and his pay will increase by $300,000 in 2019 and again in 2020. The salary may be renegotiated following the 2020 season. Snyder has been the head coach at Kansas State dating back to 1989, with the exception of a stretch from 2006 through 2008. Snyder has accumulated a career record of 210-110-1, with a 9-10 bowl record and 13 seasons finishing in the AP Top 25. Kansas State was 8-5 last season.
Snyder has said he plans to remain the head coach as long as his health allows for it.
In a somewhat odd development on Friday night, Kansas State defensive coordinator Tom Hayes has retired from coaching. As reported Friday night by GoPowercat.com of 247 Sports, Hayes decided to retire after six years on the job under head coach Bill Snyder. The Wichita Eagle has also confirmed the news of the retirement.
As noted by the report from the original report, Hayes had intended to step into retirement at the end of the 2017 season. That outlook supposedly changed with Hayes opting to stick around for at least one more season. It is suspected Hayes was looking to retire at the same time Snyder may have moved on from being the head coach of the Wildcats, but Kansas State announced earlier this month Snyder will return for the 2018 season.
The reason the timing comes off as odd is because Kansas State just spent some time this week adding new members to the coaching staff, and we are smack dab in the middle of two signing days on the recruiting calendar, with the second national signing day coming up in two weeks. Earlier this week, Kansas State promoted Andre Coleman to the role of offensive coordinator and two other staff members received a promotion to work around some offseason coaching turnover on the assistant coaching staff. Both of those adjustments were on the offensive coaching side of the staff. The new departure of Hayes from the staff leaves Snyder with some more tinkering to do on the defensive side of the staff with signing day looming.
It is never too late for Kansas State to pull a coach from outside the program to fill such a role on the staff, but it may not be a surprise to see Kansas State stay in-house to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Blake Seiler has been assigned the role of assistant defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Wildcats and may be the most likely option to take on the full-time role as defensive coordinator if Kansas State sticks to his own staff to find a replacement. And after replacing his offensive coordinator with an in-house promotion, that would certainly seem to be a likely scenario for the defensive coordinator vacancy now as well. Seiler is a former defensive end for Kansas State who played for Snyder. Seiler has been on the coaching staff for nine seasons, five as a full-time assistant coach.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder celebrated his 78th birthday on Saturday, and the Texas Longhorns were not without a present for him. Sure, the Longhorns may have sent Snyder and his Wildcats home with a 40-34 loss in overtime, but they also presented Snyder with a large birthday card signed by the Longhorns.
The respect for Snyder clearly spans across the Big 12, and the Texas Longhorns showed that with this simple gesture.