After plenty of speculation as to what the future holds in Manhattan, legendary Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has announced his retirement.
Snyder is retiring after 27 seasons as the head coach of the Wildcats. The Wildcats finished the 2018 season a disappointed 5-7 and 3-6 in Big 12 play, missing a bowl game for the first time since 2009, which was Snyder’s first year of his second stint as the head coach.
Athletic Director Gene Taylor said in a statement, “Coach Snyder has had an immeasurable impact on our football program, Kansas State University, the Manhattan community and the entire state of Kansas, and it has been an honor and a privilege to get to know and work with him the past two years. He and his family have touched the lives of so many people, from student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, and he is truly one of the greatest coaches and leaders in college football history. His impact on college football is unmatched and legacy is one that will last a lifetime.”
Snyder constructed what will go down as, to date, the greatest turnaround in college football history. Snyder was hired following the 1988 season and a stretch in which the Wildcats had lost 26-straight games and were 2-30-1 under head coach Stan Parrish from 1986 to 1988. In fact, when Snyder was hired, the team had not had a winning season since 1970, when they went 6-5 under Vince Gibson.
Not only did Snyder get this team to respectability, he took them to places no one ever dreamed was possible in Manhattan. After a 1-10 season in 1989, his first year on the job, Snyder had the program at 10-2 by 1995. Upon the move from the Big Eight to the Big 12, Snyder won the Big 12 North three straight seasons from 1998 to 2000. During this three-year stretch, the team went a combined 33-6. The 1999 team finished with its highest ranking ever in the AP Poll at No. 6.
Snyder retired the first time around following the 2005 season. The team had gone 4-7 and 5-6 in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and Ron Prince took over as the head coach. However, Prince struggled in three seasons, going 7-6, 5-7 and 5-7. That led to the return of Snyder, Part II.
By 2011, the Wildcats were back to winning 10 games in a season. And in 2012, the Wildcats reached the No. 2 spot in the polls before a November loss to Baylor derailed the 2012 season, which finished 11-2 and loss in the Fiesta Bowl to the Oregon Ducks.
However, the program had seen things take a bit of a dive in recent seasons. The Wildcats have finished under .500 two of the past four years, have lost 25 players from the program the past couple of seasons, along with coordinators on each side of the ball.
It was a trying 2018 campaign in Manhattan, which started off with a 27-24 comeback win over South Dakota and was followed up with a 21-point loss to Mississippi State. In typical Snyder fashion, the team did progress as the year went on, highlighted by wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. But the lack of continuity at quarterback, combined with some odd postgame press conference comments, along with highly-unusual special teams mistakes, allowed many to question whether or not Snyder was the right man to continued to lead the football program as he pushes 80 years old.
Snyder career wraps up with an overall record of 215-117-1 and 128-89-1 in league play. He took the Wildcats to 19 of their 21 bowl appearances, with a 9-10 record in those match ups.
He’s also one of just six coaches with 200+ wins with all of them coming at one school. Snyder is already in the College Football Hall of Fame, as he was inducted back in 2015.
Kansas State has not yet announced who will be the next head coach of the program. Stay tuned to Heartland College Sports as the story continues to unfold.
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