Kansas State Football: Bill Snyder Proving That Old Coaches Can Still Win
South Carolina, Kansas State and Ohio represent three of college football's remaining teams with unblemished records.
The common denominator?
During ESPN's telecast of the Georgia vs. South Carolina game on Saturday night, announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit pointed out that Kansas State's Bill Snyder, Ohio's Frank Solich, and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier are the three oldest active coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
That comes as a surprise, given the youth movement that permeates the coaching ranks in big-time college football these days.
The best story of the three comes in the form of Snyder. At age 73, the veteran coach has the Wildcats in position for a BCS run, sitting at number six in the AP Top 25 after a 5-0 start.
Sure, significant credit is due in the direction of Heisman-contending quarterback Collin Klein, who has accounted for 14 touchdowns and 1,292 yards of offense.
However, the main reason for Kansas State returning to national prominence is none other than Snyder, the man who came out of retirement in 2009 to resurrect the struggling program.
In 2005, the legendary coach retired after two consecutive losing seasons. Interestingly, as reported by the Manhattan Mercury and ESPN's Big 12 blog, Snyder had second thoughts about retiring shortly after stepping down from his post.
Ultimately, Snyder remained retired, prompting the Ron Prince era in which Kansas State went 17-20 with one bowl appearance.
Inevitably, after firing Prince in November of 2008, the Wildcats turned back to the coach that led them to six 11-win seasons in seven years from 1997-2003...
...a coach that turned Kansas State from doormat to national contender.
...a coach whose name graces roads and stadiums all over town.
...a coach whose love for the program superseded a life of easy retirement.
"The Kansas State family is in flux right now," said Snyder at his 2009 news conference. He added, "I want to be able to soothe the waters."
Soothing the waters is exactly what Snyder has done, leading his team to a bowl game in each of the last two campaigns, including a 10-3 record in 2011.
With an exceptional career record of 164-83-1, Snyder is one of the most underrated coaches in college football history.
In 2012, the seasoned coach has his team in position to challenge for the only thing lacking on Snyder's resume—a BCS National Championship.
A championship just might be the thing that allows Snyder to ride off into the sunset, this time for good.
A storybook ending, indeed, for a grizzled coach with a new beginning.
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