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Archive for Friday, November 27, 1998

NERVOUS FANS

November 27, 1998

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Any opening for a football coach at a major university makes loyal Kansas State University fans a little uneasy.

Bill Snyder is one of the nation's finest college football coaches. In fact, he may be the best. That being the case, many Kansas State University alumni are understandably concerned that other schools will try to lure the highly successful Snyder away from Manhattan.

Earlier this week, Iowa University football coach Hayden Fry announced his retirement after 20 years as head coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Snyder came to KSU from Iowa, and the sudden opening in Iowa City makes many Wildcat fans nervous.

For a number of reasons, it is doubtful Snyder will leave Manhattan. Few coaches in the country enjoy the freedom to run their own program to such a degree as does Snyder. He is answerable only to the schools' president, who is his biggest fan and who appreciates what the winning program has meant to the school. Another factor is the admissions policy at KSU for football players and the question of whether Snyder would be able to get a similar policy at the Big Ten conference school. Lastly, Snyder is highly compensated. Would another school be as generous and what would such a combination of total freedom and high pay do to morale in the rest of the athletic department?

There are a couple of reasons, however, that might cause Snyder to at least listen to an attractive offer from Iowa: the lure of being coach at a state's No. 1 academic institution and the question of what prospects look like for the next season at KSU. Does he have the necessary talent in his pipeline to maintain the level of excellence he has enjoyed the past several years?

Regardless of what Snyder may do, he has done a tremendous job of building the KSU program into a true national power. He has set a win-loss record for others to try to match, but few other coaches enjoy the freedoms Snyder commands. Likewise, few university presidents are as supportive of the football coach and agreeable to giving the coach such latitude as Snyder enjoys at KSU.

Kansas State players and coaches are to be congratulated for their outstanding record this year, and even though Snyder is sure to receive many attractive offers, it is likely he will be on the sidelines in Manhattan again next year.

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