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An era ends at Kansas State

The college football world reacts to Bill Snyder’s retirement

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Kansas State v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images


Yesterday, Kansas State announced that Hall of Fame head coach Bill Snyder was retiring from college football. The news came via a short press release and featured brief comments from athletic director Gene Taylor and Kansas State University president Richard Myers. Tellingly, there were no words from Snyder himself.

That’s fine. His record did the talking for him. He is the 20th all-time in games won, and leaves Kansas State with a 215-117-1 record. In that time, his teams have made 19 bowl appearances (out of a total of 21 all-time for the school), won two Big 12 titles, been ranked in the Top 10 several times. He’s also coached 214 All-America players, including several consensus first-team All Americans, and two Heisman finalists.

Snyder will transition into a university ambassador role, as per the terms of his contract.

Reaction to the news was swift and predictable. ESPN’s Jake Trotter reported on the announcement, as did the network’s talking heads during the CFP Selection Show. Their comments were of the usual cliched variety (“doing less with more” is a theme), although maybe David Pollack deserves special props for noting that Snyder might have won several national championship if he’d coached at one of the blue-blood programs.

Shortly after the annoucement, ESPN Senior Writer Ivan Maisel weighed in as well. This bit stood out, if only for being absurdly on point:

Snyder’s attention to -- and mastery of -- detail is legendary. During his first tenure at Kansas State, he pushed himself so hard that he ate only one meal a day. Bret Bielema, the former head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas who coached for Snyder at Kansas State, once recalled a staff meeting in which Snyder explained how to shave (upward strokes, if you must know).

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, more familiar with Kansas State than most national writers, offered his own tribute to Snyder, focusing on the brutal work schedule and dogged determination that made college football’s greatest turnaround possible.

At The Athletic (subscription), Max Olson reflected on Snyder’s accomplishments and noted that Snyder did more than enough to ensure Kansas State is never where it was in 1988 again.

Closer to home, Blair Kerkhoff, writing for the Kansas City Star, struck an emotional tone and suggested Snyder deserves thousands of thank you notes (in slanted purple ink) himself. His colleague Pete Grathoff helped out a bit, aggregating tweets from appreciative fans who are not quite ready to send Snyder off just yet.

In the Topeka Capital-Journal, Arne Green reported the retirement announcement, while Tim Bisel noted that Snyder is not just a tough act to follow but an irreplaceable one. The Journal also featured an excellent photographic timeline of the Snyder era.

Kellis Robinett, reporting live from Manhattan, described the moment as surreal and noted “[t]he most iconic coach in K-State history has chosen to move on to the next stage of his life.”

In the eye of the storm in Manhattan, it was Ryan Black who officially broke the story in the Manhattan Mercury. The paper’s editor-in-chief, Ned Seaton, added his own commentary, noting that Snyder made it possible for Manhattan to care about Kansas State football and he did it by changing how the community set its goals.

The K-State Collegian, closest to the story in at least the geographic sense, has a whole slew of Snyder-specific content today, including this piece on “Snyder Magic” from Jarrett Whitson.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you in the direction of Dan Youngman and his excellent short on Bill Snyder and the Miracle in Manhattan:

Here at Bring on the Cats, we have mixed emotions. For months (maybe years), we have been at the forefront of the call for change, but now that the moment is here, we’re not quite ready for it.

TB was first to the post with the news and his thoughts on what Snyder had meant to him. Derek Smith’s own experiences were far more personal, while I tried to describe what Snyder had done beyond just football in Manhattan.

As needs must, the staff here also speculated about Snyder’s possible successor.

We encourage you all to offer your own thoughts as an era comes to an end for Kansas State football.


Believe it or not, there is actually non-Snyder action to report! Yesterday afternoon, Kansas State’s women’s basketball team beat Vanderbilt 72-61 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

The Wildcats actually had a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter but Vanderbilt came on strong in the last stanza, scoring 25 points to put the outcome of the game in doubt. Kansas State rallied in the final minutes to build the lead back up and ultimately win the contest.

Christiana Carr had a team-leading 21 points off 7-of-16 shooting and also made five shots from beyond the arc. Teammate Peyton Williams had her third double-double of the season, tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Kayla Goth had 14 points and nine assists.

Next, the Wildcats will continue this two-game homestand with a game against Lamar on Wednesday at 7 PM in Bramlage Coliseum.