Bill Snyder's reputation at not only Kansas State, but across the college football world, is nothing short of legendary. From 1989 to 2005, and again from 2009-2018, he served as the greatest football coach in Kansas State history, one of the best Big 8/12 coaches of all time, and as perhaps the best "local guy" recruiter in all of college football. He ran a tight, but well-respected, well-disciplined, and often-copied regime during his tenures, and produced a 215-117-1 all-time record. This brown nosing is coming from a KU alum and fan, by the way. In summary, he's a great coach, a great man, and while I may not be a fan of how many times he beat my Jayhawks, he's more than deserving of reverence and respect.
Now, you may be asking yourself "Burn, Bill Snyder and his family must be royalty in Manhattan, right?" Well, yeah. They named the whole darn stadium after him and his family. Manhattan basically has a religion centered around at least Bill. That Wildcat family, however, now includes a Jayhawk football coach, Bill's son Sean. The "Family" part of the "Bill Snyder Family Stadium" is potentially in danger, I believe. Sean Snyder accepted the offer to become the Assistant to the Head Football Coach position at KU after serving as special teams coach for the University of Illinois this past year. Snyder also served as special teams coach at USC from 2020 to 2021. Oh, and he served on his dad's staff at Kansas State as Special Teams Assistant, Associate Head Coach, and Director of Football Operations from 1994-2019. Did I mention he also was an All-American punter for the Wildcats in 1992? Yeah, this one has left a few of the Wildcat faithful feeling a bit betrayed. A guy that a lot of people had next in line when Bill Snyder retired in 2018 for the head coaching job, until current coach Chris Klieman came onboard. The Sunflower Showdown now has a bit more vitriol fueling the rivalry.
For Kansas though, they're getting a guy who has to this point lived up to his dad's reputation. Special Teams Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017, a Kansas State Ring of Honor member (subject to change?) and overall quality keeper of quality culture, he will fit in nicely with Leipold's staff. That or they're getting a spy, and this was Kansas State/Bill Snyder's plan all along. Either or I suppose. Nonetheless, the Jayhawks, coming off a landmark year where they started turning the corner towards success by making a bowl for the first time since 2008, are starting to build into a potential football powerhouse. Jalon Daniels is developing into a potential Heisman contender; they're returning one of the largest crops of players in NCAA Division I, and they have a newfound life with a passionate fan base and an Athletic Director and coach that are incredibly driven to make this team into not only a bowl game contender, but a Big 12 contender, in Travis Goff and Lance Leipold. Sean Snyder is walking into a great situation that he can have a resoundingly positive impact on. The Jayhawks special teams unit left a lot to be desired last year, and that just so happens to be Snyder's specialty. Better special teams could have made the difference in a lot of the Jayhawks' heartbreaking losses last year, and if improved, could set this team up to be a group worth reckoning.
In the end, this, if nothing else, is a fun twist in the Sunflower Showdown saga. I'm sure ESPN will be chomping at the bit to mention this factor throughout next season's game (you know it's coming, and it will be mentioned a LOT) With both teams becoming forces to be reckoned with in the Big 12, it could prove to be one of the most fun Sunflower Showdowns in recent memory, and if Snyder makes an immediate impact on the Jayhawks like I think he will in the special teams department, it could prove to be an absolute slugfest.
Burn Notice: 10/10 "Family" is a hot button topic in Manhattan right about now...