There is much speculation amongst K-State fans now that Gary Patterson doesn't appear to be such a lock as the next Wildcat football coach. Rumors have begun to circle that Bill Snyder is Bob Krause's second choice if Patterson is not available. But, is that really the answer to the problems that currently plague the KSU program?
I don't believe Bill can bring us what we truly need.
When Bill Snyder stepped down as head coach three years ago, K-State football was already on wobbly legs. The team was coming off of two straight losing seasons, and the recruiting classes had fallen off compared to just a few years before. Shortly after the season ended, it became apparent that Snyder's retirement was not a carefully planned decision. No assistant coaches were prepared to properly take control of the university's cash cow. Thus, the coaching search extended outside of the program. Unfortunately, our administration gambled and lost by hiring an unproven coordinator from a middle-of-the-pack team in a middle-of-the-pack conference.
Now, we are again stuck looking outside of the program for another head coach. But, ask any number of faithful K-State fans, and their vote of confidence lies within the door of the football complex. They are calling for Coach Snyder to bring back the glory days of Wildcat football. The unfortunate reality is that we need more than what Snyder can probably afford to give us.
This is not meant as any kind of direct, or personal, slight towards Coach Snyder. I truly admire the guy, and I feel fortunate for the few times I've met him. Fans, students, and alumni owe him a great deal of gratitude for making Kansas State relevant on an athletic and academic scale. We were a moribound place, destined for eventual demotion to the Missouri Valley Conference until Bill arrived from the fields of Iowa. However, all of this can not cover the fact that K-State football will be taking a step back if he returns to the sidelines.
Let's just imagine that Bill Snyder is named our next head coach. I see two likely scenarios. The first, and most likely, would be that a young assistant coach is hired with the intention of taking the reigns within 2-3 seasons. The second scenario would be that he be brought in for at least 3 seasons with the hope that he can right the ship and get the program back on course.
Unfortunately, either one of these scenarios would put us right back to where we are right now. If an assistant is hired in hopes to take the reigns within a few seasons, we are experimenting with another person who most likely doesn't have head coaching experience. We've learned this does not reap great rewards. The latter scenario would probably create a better situation, but we would be back to hiring a coach that has to follow a legend and try to meet high expectations.
There's no doubt Bill Snyder can still coach at a successful level. But asking him to come back just reeks of desperation. The KSU image is obviously a little tarnished with the events that have occured the last few weeks. We need to show that we can stand on our own and rebuild from the ground up. K-State needs an experienced head coach that - if successful - will want to stay for at least 7-10 years, if not longer.
What if Bill doesn't want to coach anymore? I have reason to think all of this talk is because Bob Krause is trying to lure Coach Snyder back to the game. Nothing is worse than someone taking a job reluctantly. Plus, there's no guarantee of success if he does return. My biggest concern is how Snyder's legacy may lose a little luster if his return is a flop. I prefer to remember my heroes as close to the top as possible.
I will support Coach Snyder with every being of my purple fiber if he is announced as the next KSU football coach. I may not agree with the decision, but I'll still cheer for him and hope he succeeds. My concern lies mostly within how the AD and our new University President (whoever it may be) will handle the situation once Snyder steps down. If Bill is standing on the sideline next season in the stadium that bears his name, I'll be one of his loudest fans. I just worry he may not be the same coach we knew 5 -10 years ago. Times change, and it may be hard for him to adjust after sitting out for 3 years.
I understand there are many out there who will disagree with me, and who will say that desperate times call for desperate measures. K-State is not that desperate. We may not be in great shape, but we're still able to get off the couch and run around the block. We need a clear direction, and bringing a legend back to the sidelines will just leave us running in place.