Bill Snyder is known throughout the coaching community as the architect of on of the biggest turnarounds in the history of college football.
An article in the Kansas City Star points out just how dark things were before Snyder's arrival in 1989. In the seven years before Snyder's arrival (1983-1989) the Wildcats won ten games total, and those losses took their toll. Players wouldn't hit the town when the weekend came around, they wouldn't wear their letterman jackets around campus, and often wouldn't go to class on Mondays and Tuesdays after weekend games. Snyder said he witnessed the “the amazing impact this lack of success on the football field had had on other aspects of their lives.”
Then Snyder touched on a story about one of those players that choked him up as he replayed the events.
“There was a young guy in our program who tried to take his life during that period of time. Who had finished (playing), and it had such an impact on him."
"Somebody told me about it, and I was able to find him. I didn’t know my way around here, and it was out by the lake, and off in one of those little park areas down there, and sure enough they guided me to him...and he was sitting in his car, and he’s got that hose wrapped around from the exhaust into the automobile, sitting there getting ready to give his life up.”
“That really had an impact on me, all of that did, and to think that this silly game has that kind of an impact on the lives of young people.” Snyder added, holding back his emotions.
Over the past two seasons Snyder is 21-5, and while the days of players being embarrassed to wear their K-State gear around is long behind the program, this story serves as a great reminder into the psychological impact that a game can have on the well being of a team and its individuals.
More importantly, it illustrates the role that we can play as coaches in shaping, and changing, the lives of young men.