Dimel and Miller Apply for HC Job

MANHATTAN - Kansas State University has its first two official candidates to fill Bill Snyder's vacancy as head coach of the Wildcats.

Wildcat offensive coordinator Del Miller and offensive line coach Dana Dimel both confirmed to The Manhattan Mercury Sunday night that they would be applying for the position today or Tuesday.

Both were members of Snyder's initial KSU staff in 1989; both left the program to become head coaches; both returned as graduate assistants.
Miller: 'I've worked for two tremendous leaders'

His case:

"I think I could provide a continuity that is essential to win next year," said the 55-year-old Miller. "It's just so important with the number of kids we have coming back to not risk missing a year because of losing the continuity we have in this program.

"We're closer than a lot of people think when you look at the number of points we've had between winning and losing," said Miller, who serves as the Wildcats' quarterbacks coach. "A transition to a new head coach from the outside would mean losing some of the learning process that has taken place."

Miller served on the University of Iowa staff with Snyder from 1978-88, and then joined Snyder on his first Wildcat staff as offensive coordinator, plus coordinated the initial KSU recruiting efforts.

"I've worked for two tremendous leaders in Hayden Fry and Bill Snyder," Miller said. "I've been a part of two of the top five turnarounds in the country, and I think I would lend a great deal of experience in knowing the strengths and weaknesses in this particular program.

"I think I could improve on the weaknesses as quickly as anybody, and understand all of the strengths that Bill Snyder has provided us to work with," Miller said. "If education is important, I've had a great education the last 20 years."

From 1991-94, he served as Snyder's assistant head coach before taking a head coaching position at Southwest Missouri State from 1995-98.

While Miller's Southwest Missouri State teams went just 21-23, which included six losses to Division I-A programs, he said it was a positive learning experience.

"This is not a position for on-the-job training. There is so little room for error," Miller said of the KSU position. "I've been fortunate to have worked with donors and boosters, I've had my own radio and TV shows, and I've managed people.

"I've been fortunate to be taught by coach Fry and coach Snyder, so I have the best traits of those two, plus Del Miller's," he said.

In 1999, Miller returned to K-State as a graduate assistant, then worked at Oklahoma State as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2000.

Miller served as KSU's assistant director of football operations in 2001, coached the defensive ends in 2002, and was back as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from 2003 through 2005.

As for continuing the Snyder system at Kansas State, Miller said, "When you work for a head coach, and he's a great one, you do the things that the head coach wants. We've worked together a long time, but we don't always have the same offensive philosophies. We're very similar, but I have some other ideas."

To go with his coaching background, Miller agreed that the school has some unique qualities that he is well aware of.

"I've studied and been around the greatest coach in Kansas State history. Nobody else has that advantage," Miller said. "I have a knowledge of the personnel, I know the donors, faculty, deans, and the places to recruit, which is paramount for the next coach."

Dimel: He played, and coached, as a Wildcat
His case:

"I've been here in struggling times and I've been here in winning time," Dimel said. "I've had first-hand experience in analyzing how you can be successful at Kansas State."

"Nobody is any closer to the program than I am," Dimel said. "I've been through all the times dating back to when I was a player when Kansas State was not successful, to being a member of the original coaching staff when we turned it around. I've been through times when things were done the wrong way, and I was here when we built the program the right way."

Dimel, 43, played at Kansas State from 1985-1986 as an offensive lineman, which was followed by 10 years on the K-State staff from 1987-1996.

In 1997, Dimel became the youngest head coach in NCAA Division I football when he was hired at Wyoming at the age of 35.

In three seasons, the Cowboys posted a 23-12 record before he moved to Houston for three seasons from 2000-2002 where he went 8-26, which included a 5-7 final season.

"Those trial runs of being a head coach were very important in my career," Dimel said. "Because expectations are so much higher today, this is not a program in position to hire someone who has to learn how to become a head coach. For someone to come in with head coaching experience is very important."

After sitting out the 2003 and 2004 seasons after leaving Houston, Dimel returned to K-State in 2005 as a graduate assistant with his duties being to assist Bob Stanley with the offensive linemen.

"Being here this year gave me a good analysis on where the program is and what this program needs to get back to challenging for championships again," Dimel said.

That, Dimel said, starts with recruiting, which he thinks he could give to Kansas State.

"I know what kind of kid fits in at Kansas State," Dimel said. "You've got to recruit the Kansas kid, and then sprinkle in the kids from Texas and Florida. You have to put together a tremendous recruiting staff, No. 1, and tremendous football coaches, No. 2. You have to get a staff where you have at least four great recruiters so we can get back to where we can challenge for championships."

While coaching in Texas, he said, "I had a great relationship with the Texas high school coaches. They embraced me when I took over the Houston job."

Dimel said his recruiting classes his last two years with the Cougars ranked third in the state behind Texas and Texas A&M.

Another plus, Dimel says he was coaching in a location where the former head coach was still a part of the department, which he faced at Houston.

At K-State, Dimel said, "Our first goal would be getting back to 7-4 and going to bowl games. After that, we need to win eight or nine games and compete for the Big 12 North (title)."

As for staying in-house, or at least within the Snyder coaching tree as opposed to going outside of that shadow, Dimel said, "With the success we've had, it would be hard to understand going outside. It just wouldn't do justice to coach Snyder and what we've done here."

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