Bill Snyder revives Kansas State football program, continues to improve team’s national standing


The Associated Press

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder walks onto the field during warm-ups before a game against Baylor on Saturday, Nov. 17, in Waco, Texas.

Sara Beth Purdy

Bill Snyder has been a thorn in the side of the Longhorns during his career as head coach at Kansas State, both during his current tenure (2009-) and his previous era (1989-2005) in Manhattan.

Snyder has a 4-2 record against the Longhorns with Kansas State holding a 7-5 overall series advantage. The Wildcats are the only conference foe who have a winning record against Texas.

Snyder, now 73, led the Wildcats to their only Big 12 Conference title, a 35-7 victory over Oklahoma, in 2003. He narrowly missed two other titles, one in 1998, a three-point loss in double overtime to Texas A&M, and one in 2000, another three point loss to top-ranked Oklahoma.

With a win over Texas, the Wildcats will clinch their second Big 12 title and Snyder will almost certainly win the Big 12 Coach of the Year award. Snyder already has three Big 12 COY awards, 1998, 2002 and 2011.

In addition, as a coach for the Wildcats when they were a member of the Big 8 conference, Snyder was Coach of the Year three times in 1990, 1991 and 1993. He was a Walter Camp Coach of the Year in 1998, a Woody Hayes Coach of the Year in 2011 and a Paul “Bear” Bryant Award winner in 1998.

When Snyder first arrived in Manhattan, Kan., in 1989, the football program was not in good shape. In its history, Kansas State had a 299-510 record, easily the worst record in Division 1 college football at the time. The school had only four winning seasons during the 45 years prior to Snyder’s hiring and were in the midst of a 27-game losing streak.

At his original retirement in 2005, Snyder had taken Sports Illustrated’s “Worst Program in the Country” and built an impressive program. As a parting gift, Kansas State University renamed its football stadium the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium.

During his first tenure, Snyder went 136-68-1 with one Big 12 title. In 1998, the Wildcats went 11-0 in the regular season rising to their first ever No. 1 ranking. Snyder was considered to be the most prolific coach in college football at the time thanks to the impressive rebuilding he was able to do.

After a few down years, Snyder retired in 2005 and was replaced by Ron Prince, then the offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia.

Prince went 17-20 in three seasons — with two wins over Texas in the span — and in 2009 Snyder was back, becoming one of the only coaches to coach at the same institution for two separate terms and one of the only coaches to coach at a stadium bearing his namesake.

Printed on Friday, November 30, 2012 as: Bill Snyder revitalizes KSU, brings program into spotlight