Thursday, November 26, 2015


Tom Keegan: Snyder’s brilliance evident early

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder leads his Wildcats on to the field before taking on Kansas Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder leads his Wildcats on to the field before taking on Kansas Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 at Memorial Stadium.


As college announcing tandems go, Gary Bender and Dick Vermeil were tough to beat. When Bender looks back on those days with ABC, his mind often drifts to a moment that with the benefit of history would reveal Vermeil as a prophet.

The announcers had flown in early to do their preparation, part of which was meeting with Iowa’s offensive coordinator in 1988. Bender remembers that after he and Vermeil had finished, shut the door and were walking down the hall, the ex-and-future NFL coach turned to him and said something close to, “That man has as good an offensive mind as any coach I’ve ever met.”

That man was Bill Snyder, a year shy of beginning a college football turnaround that stands second to none.

More than a quarter-century later, isn’t that really what sets Snyder apart, an ability to arrange 11 young men in such a way as to put bigger, faster athletes somehow at a disadvantage? Isn’t his offensive genius really the key?

“You know, that’s a great question, because there is so much about him that has been so successful in this game,” first-year Kansas coach David Beaty said. “That is absolutely unparalleled. There is no doubt about that. There has always been offensive production under him.”

Beaty stopped short of saying Snyder’s offensive mind is his greatest advantage.

“I think the thing that doesn’t get talked about enough is how smart that football team is,” Beaty said. “You very rarely see those guys beat themselves. You’ve got to beat K-State when you play ’em because of Bill Snyder and his philosophy that he has adopted there. They are a very disciplined unit.

“He is just an attention-to-detail guy, and all of us are still — all of us coaches in this country — are still learning from our predecessors, and he is certainly one of finest examples in all of college football.”

Snyder, 76, knows how to keep secrets, including the hidden keys to his success. When an offensive mind as innovative as Vermeil’s identifies Snyder as an offensive genius so early, I can’t help but think the K-State coach’s offensive vision remains his greatest strength.

The keys to Snyder’s greatness can be debated, but the extent of it is unquestioned.

“I’ve it said before,” Beaty said, before saying it again, “That job he’s done there, I don’t know how you can say there has been a better job done. I just don’t know how. ... He’s one of the best coaches that’s ever coached this game.”

— Tom Keegan appears on “The Drive,” Sunday nights on WIBW-TV.


Suzi Marshall 5 years, 4 months ago

Snyder on the KSU sidelines has made all the KU losses to them seem more tolerated. Even the final game of the year, which a win would mean so much to somewhat save a season and revenge to the KSU band, there's a lot of me that will not be disappointed with a KSU win. I hate to see Snyder struggle so much in one of his last years. A win for Snyder leaves them in the bowl picture, pending a win v WVA. My only regret about Snyder is that KU didn't sign him up.

Dale Rogers 5 years, 4 months ago

I think it's really cool to see a very nice, well-deserved, tribute to the KSU coach on a KU site. Well done.

Darrell Giles 5 years, 4 months ago

Seriously, there is nothing tolerable about losing to K-State. Best tribute to Bill Snyder, send him back to Manhattan with a KU win!

Dave Coen 5 years, 4 months ago

Most, if not all, of my Jayhawk friends have praised Coach Snyder for his incredible success at K.S.U., his football genius, his leadership and his class as a human being. They have praised his tremendously positive impact developing young men and his huge economic impact on the state of Kansas, Riley County and Manhattan. Sadly, I have yet to hear any praise from my K-State friends for another coaching genius, Coach Self, but I have heard them spread false and shameful gossip toward him. Stay classy K-Staters.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 4 months ago

On paper this is our best chance for a W. They are the second worse team in the Big 12 but they have been far more competitive in conference play than we have. With Willis as a starter we haven’t scored more than 20 points a game and our defense, sans TCU and Tech have been amazingly porous. Oddly enough TCU and Texas Tech are two of the most prolific offenses in the country and two of our best defensive efforts. If that same defense shows up tomorrow, the weather doesn’t inhibit our passing game and we don’t turn the ball over I think we have a chance. I may not have my finger on the pulse of this game but my sense is they want it more they we do. I just hope our guys leave it all on the field.

Dirk Medema 5 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, we're more likely to see closer to a repeat of last week - an O that just runs the ball all over us. If we can force them into throwing the ball (vs. them dictating when they want to) we have a chance. Big If.

Lora Gilliland Schneider 5 years, 4 months ago

Dave Coen I think you need new friends. As a K-Stater I have spoken Bill Self's praises many times, as have many of my KSU friends. When the teams from the state of Kansas wins, the entire state (as a whole) wins. Both men are great coaches, but in different arenas and for different reasons. I wish you would practice what you preach however...because, your comment was quite classy... until the final remark.

Michael Lorraine 5 years, 4 months ago

This why KU-KSU will never be a good rivalry. Can't have mutual admiration. We don't even play mizoo anymore but I still can't think of anything nice to say about them.

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