Well, this is not going to be real easy. I can assure you of that. The intent was not to have a room full of people here today. The intent was a lot of ways different than the way this turned out, but I'll share with you what I can.
Let me say that there's so many people here today that I have such a great appreciation for, that have meant so much to Kansas State University and so much to our football program; so much to me, personally, and my family; and I thank you for being here.
The question is "why?" And the answer, to me, is really simple. Kansas State University has been very good to Bill Snyder, and the family of Bill Snyder, and to our football program. I appreciate this university a great deal. I appreciate the community, and some other people entities that I would speak to in a moment.
I think for everything there is a right time, and it's normally pretty difficult to define what that right time is. To me, this is the right time, and the reasons, I think, are pretty simple. A lot of very, very wonderful things have taken place over the years in my tenure here, and certainly before that, but in my tenure there were some things that I'm awfully proud of, and I know K-Staters are awfully proud of. To turn this over to someone else, I think would be a very, very difficult thing if it were following the '03 season, for instance, with the consecutive bowl games and all that goes along with it. As I've said to Tim (Weiser), Jon (Wefald), and Bob (Krause, and coaches and our players, the time is right.
I think the time is right because, first and foremost, it's best for the university. I believe that sincerely. I think that it's probably just the nature of the profession that we're in. It becomes a difficult thing needing to follow a great deal of success, and you've seen that happen. I think Kansas State University deserves the very best of the best. And I think what has taken place in the last year's period of time has probably taken some of the glow off our program and there's a dip in the road. I think it's a little easier now for someone, to say the expectations now are not going to be quite as great, and this can be a good program because there is a foundation.
We're very confident in the young people we have returning. You know, those of you that follow us, that we're a young football team. I've tried to avoid saying that, but we are a young football team. We have probably 18 returning starters next year, so there is a foundation. I guess that's the point. I think there's a foundation to entice the right individual to lead this program, and that makes it, in my way of thinking, the right thing for Kansas State University. That's what is important to me - Kansas State University.
This is my home. It will continue to be my home, and the home of my family. We have been blessed by the people that have surrounded our program, and I appreciate them so very much. The thing that I regret more than anything, and I think I will always regret, is the fact that there are a few people that I did not have an opportunity to talk with prior to this becoming public knowledge. I will always regret that. I wanted time to be able to visit with them. They needed to hear it from me, and not from (the media), of what was going to take place. Everybody didn't have that opportunity, and I feel badly about that.
First and foremost, there are so many positives. I wouldn't do this if there weren't positive things that were going to come from it. As I said, one of the things is there is a foundation; there will be a foundation for the next individual that stands up here before you.
I've got a number of my family here today, and I think everybody that is in this profession, at some point in time, normally says, "OK, I'm going to retire. I'm going to give this up so that I can spend more time with my family." This has been very consuming for me, and very consuming for my family. They are very, very special people, and I've got (daughter) Whitney, and (daughter) Shannon, and my wife Sharon, (son) Sean, and (daughter-in-law) Wanda and the children here. I've got five children - wonderful children. I've got eight grandchildren, who are going to be very special in my life. Indeed, I am going to do that. I've not been the kind of father that I should have been, nor the kind of husband. I don't know if I can correct that, but I know what I can do, and believe me I'm going to spend some time - an awful lot of it, because they have been so wonderful. When I have suffered, they have suffered.
I've said so many times, it was a Godsend that Sean was able to play here and come back and work here, and for me to have a chance to see him every single day, and see my grandchildren everyday. (Gathering himself). I thought I was a little stronger than this. (to family) Thank you.
There are so many others. I was fortunate to be hired here many years ago, 17, I think, to be exact. I have always appreciated Jon giving me the opportunity to be here. It's been a grand experience. It's been a wonderful experience. I have so much respect, and so much passion for the people of Kansas State University; for the people of Manhattan; for the community; for so many dear friends that have been so special during this period of time. Our faculty, our student body - I think we have a relationship here with administration, and the faculty and the student body that I think is rather unique, and I've appreciated it so very, very much. Those people, obviously, have been of great support to our football program and to me personally. They will always be dear friends. The community - likewise. The state of Kansas, K-Staters all across the county have been unbelievable, and you don't know the half of it. They have been truly special.
We have a support staff here that - once again, because of the seemingly sense of urgency for all of this, to get it out there - I didn't have a chance to do just to them. But I did spend some time with them this morning, and what a wonderful group of people. I would be remiss, I'd miss out on somebody, to name all of them. (Administrative assistant) Joan Friederich sat in that chair when I walked in to the door for the very first time, and she still sits there and she has been a guiding light for me. Our secretarial staff, and all the support staff, we have people- (equipment manager) Shorty Kleinau, who was here also when I came, just a true, loyal, K-State individual, (who) I'm sure struggles with this right now, just as I am, but an unbelievable individual at Kansas State University. So many people- I see (offensive coordinator) Del Miller back there, and Del was the very first coach that I hired at Kansas State University.
There's a lot of emotion that goes with this, but, as I said, I want it to be right for Kansas State University. That was the guiding principle for the decision that I've made. My family and I will remain in Manhattan, Kansas. I will be as big a K-State as anybody, and will continue to help and support this university in all ways that I possibly can. There are two wonderful people here, and the deal is K-State is far bigger than Bill Snyder. This is about a university that is very, very unique and very, very special, and I was just blessed with the opportunity to be a small part of it. Those of you that were to here to just be a part of this, thank you so very much; but thank you even deeper for what you've meant to me, and the great relationships and friendships that we've had. I will cherish them for all my life. I thank you.
I mentioned Del, but if you think back to the tremendous coaches that have been part of what is taking place here, and have helped develop and lay the foundation for the successes at Kansas State University and think of the players - my phone has gone constantly since 1:00 in the morning. The young people that are out there, to hear from them is rewarding and it really sends a message and says, these are young guys that will be K-State people forever, because they genuinely care; because there are special things that have happened here.
The players and the coaches that I've been so fortunate to be around, they're the reason that Kansas State University has been seen as whatever you want to determine it to be - the greatest turnaround, or just a run of bowls, or whatever the successes are. It's because of so many talented, talented people, both in coaching ranks and as players.
I've rambled on, and I need not do that. I think that's probably enough to be said. It's going to be hard enough getting ready for this next ballgame. The distractions are great; I can assure you of that, but we will weather the storm, as well. Hopefully it will be a great Saturday for us.
Thank you very much.