Bill Snyder made his long-anticipated retirement official earlier today, and now it’s time to look to the names that might be in the running to replace the legendary coach at Kansas State. Here’s every name the BOTC staff could come up with, from the most likely candidates to the silly, off the wall scenarios:
Will definitely get a call from ADGT:
— Brent Venables (DC, Clemson)
A Salina, KS native, Venables played for K-State, and now former head coach Bill Snyder, from 1991-92. After graduation, he immediately joined the K-State football staff as a graduate assistant from 1993-1995 before becoming the full-time assistant for linebackers in 1996. Venables left with the “exodus” following the 1998 to join Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, where he was an assistant in various capacities until the end of the 2011 season. Since 2012 he’s been the defensive coordinator at Clemson, earning two awards for being the top coordinator in the nation.
— Jim Leavitt (DC, Oregon)
Leavitt, a Texas native and Missouri grad, is the oldest name on the “prime” list, as the veteran coach will turn 62 later this week. Leavitt has made coaching stops all over the country, but gained fame on Bill Snyder’s early staff at K-State, as the linebackers coach from 1990-91, and then coordinated the defense from 92-95 before he departed to take on the job of creating the South Florida football program from scratch. He built USF into a program that eventually reached as high as #2 in the BCS rankings (in 2007), before eventually getting fired for conduct towards a player in 2009. He has since coached in the NFL, and coordinated P5 defenses at Colorado and Oregon. Leavitt is probably also the “cheapest” candidate, and his Oregon contract includes a “K-State clause” the keeps him from paying a buyout if he were to take the head spot for the Wildcats.
— Seth Littrell (HC, North Texas)
Littrell, an Oklahoma native and graduate of OU, has seen his stock rise rapidly after taking over a North Texas program that had gone 1-11 in 2015, the season before his arrival, to two consecutive 9-win seasons. Littrell’s history is covered in K-State connections, starting from his playing days at OU under Bob Stoops, to his coaching career start at Kansas under Mark Mangino, to his stop at Arizona under Mike Stoops. He’s also coached with Mike Leach and Sonny Dykes along the way. His name has been a prominent feature in the K-State rumor mill.
— Neal Brown (HC, Troy)
Brown, native of Kentucky and a UMass grad, is definitely the biggest outsider name on the “prime” list, and has no ties to K-State or Athletics Director Gene Taylor. However, Brown has seen K-State on the field, as he was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech for Tommy Tuberville from 2010-12. Brown also coordinated the offenses at Troy (08-09) and Kentucky (13-14) before returning to Troy to take the head coaching position in 2015. His time at Troy has seen the team go from 4-8 his first season, to three straight seasons of at least 9 wins (and would be three straight of at least 10 if the Trojans win their bowl game).
— Chris Klieman (HC, North Dakota State)
Klieman, an Iowa native and Northern Iowa grad, is currently the head coach at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, a position he was hired to by current K-State AD Gene Taylor when Taylor was still the AD at NDSU. Klieman’s coaching career has primarily kept him in the Great Plains region, and includes a stop at Kansas as the DB coach in 1997. He’s been on staff at NDSU since 2011, when he was hired as the DB coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012, and then took the head spot in 2014 when Craig Bohl left for Wyoming. Klieman has merely gone 69-13 overall and 15-1 (so far) in the NCAA D1 football playoffs, has won five-straight Missouri Valley titles (arguably the best conference in FCS), and has earned at least* three NCAA D1 national titles, only failing to do so in 2016 when they fell in the semifinals to eventual national champ James Madison. (*NDSU is the favorite to win the 2018 title as well, which would bring him to four titles in five years)
And now that we have the legitimate prospects out of the way, we decided to have some fun and come up with a few more weird possibilities because honestly we’re stressed and we want to have some fun.
Guys who might get a call because of previous connection to K-State and/or interesting resumé:
— Bret Bielema (former HC, Arkansas/Wisconsin; former DC, Kansas State)
— Willie Fritz (HC Tulane)
— Craig Bohl (HC Wyoming)
— Bob Stoops (former HC, Oklahoma; former DC, Kansas State)
Guys who won’t get a call but have Kansas State connections:
— Eric Wolford (OL coach, South Carolina; former HC, Youngstown State; former assistant/player, Kansas State)
— Joe Bob Clements (DL coach, Oklahoma State; former assistant/player, Kansas State)
— Jonathan Beasley (OC, Tarleton State; former assistant/player, Kansas State)
— Dana Dimel (HC, UTEP; former assistant/player, Kansas State)
Guys who definitely shouldn’t get a call, but would make for interesting discussion:
— Bo Pelini (HC, Youngstown State; former HC/DC, Nebraska)
— Mark Mangino (former OC Iowa State; former HC, Kansas; former assistant, Kansas State)
— Mike Leach (HC, Washington State; former HC, Texas Tech)
— Jerry Kill (acting AD, Southern Illinois; former HC, Minnesota/NIU,/Southern Illinois/Emporia State; former athletic department liaison, Kansas State).