The Associated Press is reporting that Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has signed a new contract worth $14.75 million over the next five years.
According to the report, Snyder's currently salary will be increased to $2.75 million with $100,000 increases every year through 2017.
Snyder, who will be 74 years old this October, is responsible for spearheading one of the greatest turnarounds in college football when he took over an 0-11 team from 1988 under then-head coach Stan Parrish and posted a 7-4 record three years later.
Snyder's accomplishments resulted in Kansas State's football stadium being renamed Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium after he retired in 2005. But when his successor, Ron Prince, was dismissed after posting a three-year record of 17-20, Snyder came out of retirement and has been Kansas State's head coach for the last four seasons.
Snyder is a great coach and a remarkable mentor to young adults, but he's also going to be coaching at Kansas State until he's 78 years old, and his advancing age begs some questions.
Will Snyder still be as mentally sharp in five years as he appears to be now? At 73 years old, Snyder is closer to being in his 60s than in his 80s, but at 78 years old, he's closer to being in his 80s.
What if he can't keep up with the game?
Should coaches in their 70's be given multi-year contracts?
Bobby Bowden, Florida State's former head coach, was a coaching legend, but he was "pushed out" by the school after 34 years. I talked to Bowden personally and I can tell you his mind is sharp, but even he admits that coaching nowadays is much more pressure-filled. And that's a concern for coaches who are classified as senior citizens.
Bowden was a polarizing figure for Florida State fans toward the end of his tenure—they had so much respect for what he had done for the program, yet they felt tremendous guilt over wanting a change. It's difficult to boot out someone you love, but the longer you hang on, the more uncomfortable it gets.
You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was in similar circumstances—the fans loved his dedication to the school, yet there appeared to be a need for a change. Unfortunately, Penn State hung on too long with Paterno—while he was dismissed before his former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty of 45 counts stemming from a child-sex-abuse scandal, Paterno's legacy and the school's athletic department's reputation were tarnished.
Snyder is a football legend and should be rewarded for all of his dedication and success. And for all we know, Snyder could remain sharp as a fiddle for the next five years—we're hoping for that.
But if Snyder loses a few steps—and that is perfectly natural as part of the aging process—the school could be placed in a situation where it has to force out a man who rebuilt Kansas State football and whose name graces the stadium where Kansas State football is played.
You gave him five years, Kansas State. Just make sure you don't become another Florida State if things go south in Manhattan.