At 76 years old, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder is the oldest active head coach in college football. With the Wildcats season on the brink of ending in the season finale against West Virginia, the questions about whether the man who built Kansas State football as we know it will be back next season have picked up in frequency.
Had the Wildcats already reached bowl eligibility, those questions could have been saved for later weeks, but a sputtering second half of the season has KSU sitting at 5-6 and needing a win over the Mountaineers to make certain Snyder will coach at least one more game.
For now, Snyder has declined to comment on his future. Ever the professional, he said he wouldn’t want those questions as a distraction from game preparation. He will wait to have that talk with his family until the season is over.
“I’ve put those things off until the end of the season so that I truly can stay focused. That is very time consuming to make those kind of decisions. For me, there’s a lot of people that are involved in that: My family, certainly my health and the players in the program and how responsive they are,” Snyder said.
“There’s a number of things to process and people to visit with, along with the administration, so I’ve put those things off until the end of the season when I can do due diligence to it.”
This season has been an aberration when you consider the tradition of success Snyder has constructed at Kansas State. Snyder said this year has been unlike any other he’s been a part of.
“I’ve never been through a season at Kansas State like this. It’s been difficult, not just for me but for our staff, for our fans, for our players and people around the program. It’s been hard on everybody, but the positive things that not only came out of the last couple of wins but came out of that difficult time is the old adage of how you respond to adversity that identifies the quality of character. I’ve been awfully proud of the young people in our program because they’ve responded quite well,” he said.
Despite the disappointment of enduring a six-game losing streak in the middle of the season, the Wildcats have bounced back in the last two weeks to string together back-to-back wins against Iowa State and Kansas.
Of course, playing the league’s bottom two teams is almost always a cure for a losing streak, Kansas State has done enough to give itself a chance to reach a bowl game.
With a shortage of six-win teams to fill the bowl game lineup this year, however, there will be a few 5-7 teams that see their season extended. Snyder said it is not a guarantee his team would accept a bid if it got one after finishing 5-7, but he would leave it up to his players.
“Would we accept? I don’t want to think about it, in all honesty. That’s not the direction we’re trying to move right now and I certainly don’t want a way out,” Snyder said.
“If we happen to be in that position as a 5-7 team it wouldn’t be any different than if we were a 6-6 team. It would be the option of the players. I’ll provide them with the opportunity to make a decision if they want to attend a bowl or not.”