The search is on

MANHATTAN - Coach Bill Snyder's retirement has been accepted and celebrated, and now it's time to move on to find the next football coach at Kansas State University.

"More than anything else, we're looking for a fit," said athletics director Tim Weiser. "We want to find that individual where we will all say, 'That's a perfect fit.' "

Weiser went on to say that the mission was to find a coach that will continue the Kansas State story ''so that all of Bill's effort and sweat won't be in vain."

Weiser, who led the Austin Peay State athletic program from 1988 to 1993, said he learned early in his career that the best coach is not necessarily the best hire.

"I learned that each school has its own unique set of circumstances and you hire to the institution," Weiser said. "We want to step back and recognize what is unique about Kansas State University, and then decide who's the best fit."

Weiser added, "People have come through here who are great coaches, but not great fits. Those individuals are not going to succeed."

Weiser said he had a "list of characteristics" that he would be trying to address in naming Snyder's successor.

That included work ethic, character qualities, and an understanding of the uniqueness of Kansas State. Among other things, that uniqueness includes its geographic location, its battle for exposure and its limited financial resources.

"We're also unique in that we have a president (Jon Wefald) who cares deeply about our department and wants to be heavily involved in what goes on when it comes to recruiting, to the actual competition, to the conversations that take place in the locker room," Weiser said.

"It's also a program that does have a rich tradition in basketball, but prior to Bill, it's hard to say we've had a rich tradition in football compared to other schools like Oklahoma," Weiser said. "It's important for the next coach to have that understanding."

For now, it's primarily a Weiser and Snyder search for the next coach. That could grow to six, or on up to 10, according to Weiser, depending on the stage of the search.

"I do not thing it's fair to say a small group will make this decision," Weiser said.

But in the end, he said he would be the one making a recommendation to the president.

"He and I have enough of a relationship and trust that I would never recommend somebody to him that he's not comfortable with, and by the same token, he would not hire anyone that I'm not comfortable with," Weiser said.

As for the time frame, Weiser would only say, "Sooner the better, but we won't hurry up and make a mistake. We're trying to plant a tree here that will serve us for many years."

When asked if the first weekend in December would be a realistic deadline, Weiser said, "We want to hire our next head coach when we find him."

Entering the week, Weiser said absolutely no contacts had been made. He added that throughout the process, he would not confirm, or deny, contacts or candidates.

On the importance of a Kansas State tie, Weiser said, "All things being equal, to have someone who has touched the Kansas State story would be a plus. But, I will also say that very seldom are all things equal."

Pointing to history, Weiser said it's important to note that Bill Snyder had no ties to Kansas State, Jon Wefald had no ties to Kansas State, and Jack Hartman had no ties to Kansas State when each was hired.

"Limiting it to Kansas Staters limits our search," Weiser said. "We are not going to limit our search at all ... with ties, no ties, with bow ties."

On the importance of head coaching experience, he said, "It is always a risk, but it's a better risk with someone who has done the job. Sure, successful head coaching experience is a good thing, but again, it won't be the only factor."

On a minority hiring, Weiser said, "It would be a mistake for any school not to consider people of color. That's one of our priorities with all positions. But it still comes down to finding the best person. If that person is a person of color, that would even be a greater story to share with the country about where we are going with our football program. But we won't be hiring only based on that fact."

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