One of the developing situations that seems to draw attention every off season is will Bill Snyder come back for another season on the sidelines at Kansas State, or will the longtime head coach, who has twice resurrected the program in Manhattan, come back for another year at 79 years old?
Snyder and athletic director Gene Taylor were set to meet originally on Wednesday, but Snyder wanted some “more time,” according to a number of reports out of Manhattan. Taylor told the Wichita Eagle that he’s not sure when that sit down will happen, noting that he “can’t promise” it would happen today either, but did note during an interview on Monday that the meeting between him and Snyder will “definitely happen this week.”
One report from 247 states that “Snyder is likely to step down by the end of the week.” Several weeks backs we noted the building buzz within the profession that this would be Snyder’s final season.
There is building buzz within the coaching profession that soon enough Bill Snyder will announce this will be his final season…. https://t.co/rOAWrzT0t5
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) November 6, 2018
The Wizard got his head coaching shot taking over a team with easily the most losses of any major college program back in 1989 and steadily built it up to a point where they won 7 games in year three, and had hit the 10-win mark by year seven. From 1993-2003 he led the program to 11 straight bowl games, ending the year ranked among the top 25 all but one of those times. He retired in 2005 before coming back to lead the program in 2009, and quickly built the program back up to back-to-back double-digit win seasons in 2011 and 2012, taking the team to eight straight bowl games up until this season’s slip to 5-7 overall.
In 27 seasons, and two different stints, Snyder has led the program to 215 wins, including 19 bowl trips and two Big 12 titles. This year will be the first time the program hasn’t made a bowl trip since 2009.
In the event that Snyder decides to step away, the feeling historically has been that Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt or Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables would be the front runners. Venables is a former Kansas State linebacker under Snyder who went on to coach linebackers under him from 1996-98, while Leavitt coached the linebackers for Snyder in 1990, rising to co-defensive coordinator by 1992. Bret Bielema & Dana Dimel have both been mentioned as candidates as well throughout the years.
With all that said, the current chatter around the job is tied to North Texas head coach Seth Littrell and North Dakota State (FCS) head coach Chris Klieman among the favorites in Manhattan.
Littrell is a former Oklahoma fullback with deep coaching and recruiting ties in the region who got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Kansas in 2002. From there he moved on to be an assistant at Texas Tech and Arizona, taking over as co-offensive coordinator in Tucson back in 2010. His journey calling plays has also taken him to Indiana (2012-13) and North Carolina (2014-15) before he got his shot as a head coach at North Texas in 2016. With the Mean Green, Littrell has quickly built a C-USA contender, winning the West division with a 9-5 mark his second season and has the team sitting at 9-3 this year for an overall record of 23-16 (which includes a 5-8 first year) with what will soon be three straight bowl trips.
As for Klieman, he was handed the reigns of an NDSU juggernaut of a program from Craig Bohl and has picked up right where he left off. Despite his only previous head coaching experience coming at the Division III level at Loras (one 3-7 season back in 2005), Klieman has gone an impressive 65-6 in five seasons in Fargo, including back-to-back titles his first two seasons, and a third national title in 2017. The Bison continue their hunt for a fourth national title in five years this weekend, as they’re still very much alive in the FCS playoffs. Current K-State AD Gene Taylor served more than a decade as NDSU’s AD, so the comfort level with Klieman is probably as good as can get.
Snyder has cemented himself as one of the best coaches of all time, and if he decides now to be the right time to step away, he’s put the program in a position to be handed off to a stacked pool of candidates that should be able to go in there, build a quality staff, and do really well and they’ll forever have Snyder to thank for that.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.