Archive for Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kansas State’s Snyder focused on ‘Cats’ finale

November 19, 2005


— The talk of a legacy will have to wait. Bill Snyder has one more game to coach, even if it is in a stadium that will bear his name from now on.

"There will be that time to sit back and reflect," said Snyder, who will retire after Kansas State's regular-season finale against Missouri today. "You've asked me that a hundred times, year in and year out -- or someone has -- and I've always said the same thing: 'If you look backward, you're looking in the wrong direction.'

"After Saturday, there are a few other things I've got to do," he said. "Once I've gotten the business out of the way, then, sure, I can reflect back."

Snyder announced his retirement Tuesday after 17 years in which Kansas State went from college football's worst team to, at times, one of its best. At the same time, the university announced that KSU Stadium would be renamed Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

And while Snyder is too competitive to treat today's season finale against Missouri as an afterthought, talk in Manhattan these days is less about stopping Tigers quarterback Brad Smith and more about who next will lead the Wildcats.

It's also about whether a new coach can return them to national prominence after back-to-back losing seasons.

Much of the speculation surrounds candidates with ties to Snyder, Kansas State or both.

Will it be one of two Oklahoma assistants, Chuck Long or Brent Venables? Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson, South Florida's Jim Leavitt, or perhaps even a long shot such as Southern Methodist's Phil Bennett or North Texas' Darrell Dickey?

Or will it be a surprise, as Snyder's hiring in 1989 was?

That decision will fall to athletic director Tim Weiser, although he said Snyder would be consulted.

"I want the best guy possible. I believe coach Snyder is in a position to tell us what is going to be best for us," Weiser said. "At the end of the day, I'll make the decision and not put that on coach Snyder. It would be foolish for us to make any decision without giving him an opportunity to share his thoughts about it."

Snyder hinted that someone who has seen the program from inside might be the best fit.

"I think there's a lot to be said for people who have gone through the process," he said. "They've seen the uniqueness of Kansas State, the uniqueness of being a football coach at Kansas State and what that entails."

Freshman quarterback Allan Evridge, one of 18 starters the next coach could inherit, said he wasn't thinking about the uncertainty created by Snyder's retirement.

"Right now I'm trying to get his playbook down for Saturday and be able to get him a win," Evridge said.

That's something the Wildcats haven't pulled off since beating Kansas, 12-3, on Oct. 8. Kansas State (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) has lost five straight and is headed for a second straight losing season for the first time since 1991-92.

All but lost in the hoopla over Snyder's last game is that Missouri, led by Smith's 1,080 yards rushing and 1,774 yards passing, could still win the Big 12 North title.


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