At least it’s over?
Kansas State baseball’s 2018 campaign is now done. A season of few highs and far too many lows that saw the retirement of longtime head coach Brad Hill came to an end with a 7-5 loss to the San Francisco Dons. The Wildcats has already taken the series, so the loss was of little consequence by itself, but as morose punctuation to an already dead season, it was pointed and probably fitting.
The BatCats finished the season with a record of 23-31 (5-19 Big 12) and missed the Big 12 Championship for the second consecutive year.
The program will now begin the process of finding Hill’s replacement. Considering what he’s meant to the program and some of his past success, this will be an uphill climb, especially because, as Hill himself said, “it’s difficult sometimes getting kids to Manhattan, Kansas.”
For athletic director Gene Taylor, the baseball search may also a bit of a dress rehearsal for a much bigger coaching replacement to be made when Bill Snyder—eventually, but inevitably—decides to hang up his clipboard for a second time. As is usual for this time of year, speculation is rife. This time around, Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated kicked things off, noting that “[w]hile he should be able to coach as long as he wants, Snyder probably shouldn’t be able to unilaterally decide on his successor.”
For now, Snyder seems content to coach at least another season. Given the way the Kansas State finished the season, the returning talent on the field in Manhattan, and the injection of some much needed younger talent to the sidelines, it’s easy to see upside to his decision for 2018. But what happens after that? Does recruiting suffer as Snyder gets older? Is his alleged insistence on handpicking his successor a bad look for the program? Who knows? Only one things is for certain: talking about all this will make the dog days of summer go by that much faster!
With that in mind, I’ll leave you with this photograph of the 1983 Iowa Hawkeyes coaching staff. The assembly of coaching talent on display here is absolutely ridiculous, and also a stark reminder that even this wasn’t enough to build a true dynasty at just one school.