The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

October 18, 2012

Snyder turns KSU into college power — twice

(Continued)

MORGANTOWN — o o o o o o

Raised by his mother, Snyder attended tiny William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., Missouri, and obtained a master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University in 1965. He went west, working as a graduate assistant at Southern Cal, then became a high school coach in California, meeting up with Hayden Fry at North Texas State in the mid-1970s and accompanying him to Iowa, where he was offensive coordinator until Kansas State hired him after the 1988 season.

There are those who might not necessarily consider that a promotion.

Kansas State was the worst team in college football.

Before his first year at K-State, Sports Illustrated did an article on the school entitled “Futility U” and called it “America’s most hapless team.”

Why not? Kansas State had lost 26 of the previous 27 games it had played when Snyder was hired.

The other game? A tie.

From 1938 to 1988, when he was hired, the Wildcats had just 130 wins in 51 seasons. It had not won a conference title since 1934 and had been to one bowl game in its history, the 1982 Independence Bowl.

Snyder walking into a graveyard of coaches, but he would not accept it. He had known winning under Fry, had his own ideas and was not only a motivator of young men but imaginative in his approach to offensive football.

The turnaround was difficult. There was only one win the first season, that over North Texas State on a TD pass on the final play of the game.

Snyder won five games his second year and then, in 1991, went 7-4, just the second winning season for Kansas State since 1970.

In 1993, the Wildcats played in a bowl game and scored their first bowl victory to make themselves Copper Bowl champions. At K-State you’d have thought they won the Rose Bowl.

Soon going a bowl became a habit, playing in 11 in a row.

More important than that, winning became a habit, and in 1998 Kansas State went 11-0 and had a No. 1 ranking, a decade after it had been dubbed “Futility U.”

In 2003, it won the Big 12 title, beating No. 1 Oklahoma, a team many “experts” were calling the best team the Sooners ever had, 35-7, in the championship game.

Barry Switzer, Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame coach, was so impressed with the way Snyder built the Wildcats into national contenders, he was moved to say:

“He’s not the coach of the year; he’s not the coach of the decade; he’s the coach of the century.”

When two down seasons followed, Snyder decided he would retire, Ron Prince being named to replace him.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

  • Were Bowlsby’s fears about college athletics’ future justified?

    I have never met or even talked to Bob Bowlsby, commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    But I did read a lengthy story on his 45-minute address to reporters last week on Media Day in Dallas, Texas. Among other things, Bowlsby forecast a startling change threatening the existence of intercollegiate athletics as we have known for these many, many years.

    July 28, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Seider's brother commits to WVU

    West Virginia University’s football team has received a commitment from one of its own.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides much optimism heading into 2014 season

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
    Forsey, a native of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, was representing Team Canada. She was the first Canadian to cross the finish line in the women’s 5,000-meter run, finishing in ninth place overall in 16:02.55.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

    July 25, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos