Like many things that Coach Snyder has done in his tenure at Kansas State, Coach Snyder again thought of others first. At around 9 pm last night, Coach Snyder pulled the team together following a practice at KSU Stadium to inform them he would be stepping down as the Head Coach at K-State.
After seventeen seasons as the Head Coach for Kansas State, Coach Bill Snyder will coach his final game for the Cats this Saturday, at home in Manhattan when the Wildcats host Missouri with a 1:10 pm kick-off.
Like many things Coach Snyder has done in his career at K-State, he quietly discussed his decision to retire with his coaches and then broke the news to his players. For a man that has meant so much to so many, it took many of the players by surprise.
One source close to the situation told Purple Pride late last night: "I am still kinda in shock. Coach Snyder is the reason I came to K-State and for him to retire after all this time. I mean I understand why but I just can't believe this is happening right now. This is tough."
Although rumors have surfaced over the past three weeks that changes in the assistant coaching ranks might be in order at season end, Coach Snyder had re-affirmed many times that his desire and will to continue coaching had not subsided.
After winning the Big 12 Championship two years ago, the Cats have hit hard times going 8 and 13 and losing games to in-state rival Kansas and storied Oklahoma and Nebraska. The Wildcats failed to qualify for a bowl for the second year in a row after losing to Nebraska last week, the first time that has happened since the 1991 and 1992 seasons. Kansas State's streak of 11 consecutive bowl bids came to an end in 2004 with a 4-7 season and left many to wonder what was next for Coach Snyder and the Cats.
Prior to his arrival in Manhattan in 1989, Coach Snyder inherited a program in disarray with a tradition of losing. Despite recent history however, what Coach Snyder has been able to accomplish in his tenure has been nothing short of miraculous. Taking over the only program in the history of college football with 500 losses, Bill Snyder has been the architect for one of the biggest turnarounds in college football history. Going only 1-10 his first year as Head Coach, Coach Snyder improved year after year and built a powerhouse in the Big 8 from a program noted for being the losingest program in Division I college history.
Going into this season, Coach Snyder's Wildcats had the eighth most wins in Division I-A from 1993-2004, ahead of elite programs and perennial powerhouses with names like Penn State, USC, Georgia, Auburn, Oklahoma, Texas and Va Tech. Coach Snyder is one of the winningest active coaches by percentage in college football with the likes of Steve Spurrier, Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno, Phillip Fulmer, Lloyd Carr and Bob Stoops.
Stringing 11 consecutive bowl bids together from 1993 to 2003, the first ever BCS bowl berth in the Fiesta Bowl, a Big 12 Championship and an overall record of 135-68-1, Coach Snyder literally carved history out of the wilderness in Manhattan, Kansas. Taking the Cats to within a eyelash of playing for the National Title in the 1998 season before eventually falling to Texas ATM in the Big 12 championship, Coach Snyder has put together a long string of first-evers at K-State.
At age 66, Coach Snyder has informed the team that he will be stepping down due to health concerns, He is expected to make his retirement announcement today at the weekly media news conference at 1 p.m. at the Vanier Football Complex.
Purple Pride will continue to cover these events as they unfold.