Saturday, November 26, 2016


Tom Keegan: K-State’s Bill Snyder celebrates 200th win in his own way

Kansas head coach David Beaty congratulates Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder on his 200th coach win following the Wildcats' 34-19 win over the Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty congratulates Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder on his 200th coach win following the Wildcats' 34-19 win over the Jayhawks on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.


The man who built something truly amazing out of nothing reached a milestone Saturday afternoon with his 200th football victory at Kansas State. His players celebrated the moment by pouring water on him and then carrying him off the field.

Surely, even the stoic Bill Snyder couldn’t contain his emotions, right?

“I got my pants wet,” was Snyder’s opening remark after his Wildcats defeated Kansas, 34-19, in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. “Cold.”

By that, Snyder didn’t mean he was so excited he wet his pants. He merely commented on the result of having water dumped on him.

The pain of watching his team’s lead, which had reached 27-3, fade had not completely healed.

Yet, Kansas State senior receiver Deante Burton said he did witness emotion from Snyder, 77, a native of Saint Joseph, Mo., a quarterback for William Jewell College, and the shiniest of many grade-A apples to fall from the coaching tree of Iowa’s Hayden Fry.

“I think he started to crack a smile,” Burton said. “I don’t know if he held it, but I saw the right side of his face edge up a little bit, so I was like, ‘Maybe we got one. I don’t know.’ I’m sure maybe he’ll smile a little bit and then he’ll watch the film and go back to stoic.”

The coach didn’t have to wait that long to send that right side of his face back to its proper place. He knows what awaits him when he watches it again. After he called attention to general groups invested in the 200 victories, from players to assistant coaches to administrators to his family, he looked at the particulars of No. 200.

“I probably do not sound in a very good mood, but I am responsive to how we played, and today we played rather ugly," Snyder said. "I do not feel good about that, I assure you.”

Does the milestone squash those feelings of disappointment?

“Not really,” Snyder answered and moved onto the next question.

It’s not the result itself that seems to please Snyder, rather the process of players executing the things that lead to victory and Snyder knows that against a more experienced, more talented, deeper opponent, his team must perform in tidier fashion to win than it did Saturday.

The hope among KU fans pining for a fresh start in the rivalry that Snyder has dominated with a 21-4 record is that reaching the 200 milestone might lead the coach to retire for the second time and this time for good.

Not so sure about that. He’ll retire when he reaches a point where he thinks life in retirement will be more enjoyable than life as a coach who obsesses on every little detail that leads to winning plays. Maybe that’s after K-State’s bowl game. Maybe it’s a few years from now. But this job means more to him than a number and so does his life outside the job. He'll walk when he wants to change his work/life balance and not when a nice round number is reached.

“He treated his 200th win like his second win,” Burton said. “He’s a stoic guy. He told us numbers mean nothing and he couldn’t have done it without us.”

Burton did a nice job of capturing his coach’s style.

“Coach Snyder is a creature of habit,” Burton said. “Practice is exactly two hours and 47 minutes. You can time it if you want. We’ve tried and it’s exactly the same time every day. Things start at 3:52, (it lasts) 2:47, everything’s on the exact same schedule. He’s a creature of habit and I think that’s how he created such a great team and such a great atmosphere here by doing it the right way and doing it every time.”

The closer the Wildcats come to consistent behavior, practice habits, etc., the closer they come to reflecting their coach.

“He believes in the same thing, no matter the situation,” Burton said. “We could be up by 50. We could be down by 50, and he’s going to tell you to keep rowing the boat. We could be playing a middle-school team. We could be playing the Patriots. He’s going to tell you the exact same things you need to do to win the game. I think that’s what builds a program.”

Tears don’t. And Snyder didn’t shed any over his milestone.

“I’m glad they hung on,” Snyder said. “I know that.”

As for the celebration the milestone triggered, Snyder called it, “Part of the deal.”

— See what people were saying about the game during's live coverage.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Kansas State


Dale Rogers 1 year, 5 months ago

I thought his kids showed their respect for Coach Snyder when they dumped that whatever it was on coach's back and not on his head. Dumping cold liquid on a 76-year-old man's head in chilly weather could be dangerous to his health.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 4 months ago

Tom, here's hoping for a big, in-depth column from you on the state of KU football, and what's next. I would really like to see your take on where we are.

Andy Godwin 1 year, 4 months ago

Snyder is a class act. I tuned in to 810 am to listen to his news conference after the game and without being asked, Snyder volunteered his opinion of the KU program and how much it has improved under Beaty and his staff. He was truly genuine with his praise. He also deflected all attention to winning 200 games to his players, staff, administration, family, fans, and on and on. He rebuilt KSU with Kansas players (twice as many on the roster than KU), which is impressive and against the norm of raiding Texas and Florida. Here is hoping that KU can end Synder's and KSU's streak in Lawrence next year.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 4 months ago

I think there is a chance that he will retire. Apparently he wants his son to take over. Seems to me that he would like to.step back and watch and enjoy Sean running the program being able to coach him along the way. I think most people would be okay with that. He's earned it.

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