Many ties bind K-State and its staff to other Big 12 schools, but perhaps no more so than at Iowa State.
From 1976-1978, Bill Snyder was an assitant coach at North Texas under Hayden Fry, helping the Mean Green to a 26-7 record. When Fry was courted by the University of Iowa to take over a program in disarry, he took along his offensive guru and Snyder joined the staff at Iowa.
Waiting for them was Dan McCarney, a holdover from the Bob Commings era who was a line wizard. He moved over to coach the defensive lines upon Fry's arrival, and worked side by side with Snyder from 1979-1988, when Snyder left to take the duanting challenge of resurrecting Kansas State football.
McCarney would stay on with the Hawkeyes until 1990, when he and former Iowa assistant Barry Alvarez went to Wisconsin, with McCarney running the defense. In 1996, McCarney returned to Iowa take over the challenge of a Cyclone program that was a prennial Big 8 doormat under Coach Jim Walden.
That year, Snyder and McCarney met on opposite sidelines for the first time.
The tie that binds Snyder to McCarney isn't as strong as that which binds McCarney to Kansas State defensive coordinator Bob Elliot.
Elliot was a graduate assistant Iowa in 1976, one year before McCarney came, but he returned to Iowa to coach the secondary in 1987. For three years he helped scheme Iowa defenses along with McCarney that included several first-team All-Big 10 selections.
After a bout with cancer, Elliot took on an administrative role with Iowa before returning to the sidelines. In 2001, however, he left Iowa to become associate head coach, as well as special teams and secondary coach at Iowa State, reuniting with McCarney.
Elliot left Iowa State in 2002 to become defensive coordinator at Kansas State, and Saturday marks the second time he will face McCarney in Big 12 conference action.
Del Miller, K-State's co-offensive coordinator, was also on Commings staff at Iowa and was retained by Fry upon his arrival. He was an assistant coach from 1978-88 on opposite sides of the ball from McCarney, leaving in 1989 to follow Snyder to Kansas State.
Bret Bielema was a defensive end at Iowa in the late 1980s, a teammate of Snyder's son Sean for the Hawkeyes that won the Big 10 title in 1990. During that time, Bielema's position coach for his first two years was McCarney.
After finishing hish playing career, Bielema joined the Iowa staff as a graduate assistant before coaching linebackers. He came to K-State in 2002, along with Elliot, and Saturday will mark his second game against McCarney.
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