Kansas football announces hiring of former K-State special teams coach Sean Snyder, son of legendary Wildcats coach Bill Snyder

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder talks with his son and special teams coordinator Sean Snyder before an NCAA college football game against the South Dakota, in Manhattan, Kan. Snyder said again this week that he will evaluate after the season whether he will return next year, but there has been growing unrest in the program. Many believe that Snyder, who prefers that his son and special teams coordinator Sean eventually replaces him, will retire after this year. The question then becomes whether Snyder will get his wish.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

For more than two decades, Sean Snyder worked closely with his father, Bill Snyder, in spending countless hours trying to figure out ways to keep the Wildcats ahead of the Kansas football program.

Now, the younger Snyder has joined the other side.

KU announced on Friday that Sean Snyder had been hired as a special assistant to third-year KU coach Lance Leipold. Dennis Dodd, of CBS Sports, was the first to report the news.

KU’s newest staff member was at the Jayhawks’ Pro Day event on Friday afternoon and is expected to meet with the media following Saturday morning’s scrimmage.

Sean Snyder, 53, comes to Kansas after spending the 2022 season as the special teams coach at Illinois. He also coached special teams at USC during the two seasons prior to that.

Following his father’s second retirement in 2018, Sean Snyder coached one more season at Kansas State in 2019 under new K-State coach Chris Klieman.

Tale of the Tait: Matt Tait’s reaction to the latest unprecedented KU football hire


The end of his time at K-State was somewhat controversial in that it seemed to be common knowledge that Bill Snyder had hoped to see his son take the reins of the KSU program after he walked away.

Instead, Kansas State Athletic Director Gene Taylor hired Klieman, whom he had hired at North Dakota State several years earlier.

During his time working for his father, Kansas State ranked in the Top 15 of the ESPN Special Teams Efficiency rating five times, including first in 2017, second in 2015 and third in 2012.

The Wildcats also were in the Top 25 of the Football Outsiders Special Teams Rating six times since 2011, ranking first in 2017, third in 2014 and 2019 and sixth in 2012. Both FootballScoop and sportswriter and analyst Phil Steele named Sean Snyder national special teams coordinator of the year in 2015. In 2017, Snyder earned the honor from Steele again.

Sean Snyder began his career at Kansas State in 1994, working for two seasons as a part-time assistant coach. He then served as KSU’s director of football operations from 1996-98, as assistant athletic director for football operations in 1999 and 2000, jumped to associate athletic director in 2001 and senior associate athletic director from 2002-10. He then moved into his role working with the Wildcats’ special teams for the remainder of his K-State career.

After leaving Kansas State, Sean Snyder’s reputation as a stellar special teams coordinator only grew.

In 2020, USC’s special teams were ranked No. 1 nationally by Football Outsider and the Trojans were in the national Top 25 in NCAA statistics in kickoff return defense (10th at 17.0) and net punting (25th at 40.8).

As a player, Sean Snyder was a consensus All-American and All-Big Eight first team punter under his father at Kansas State as a senior in 1992, averaging 44.7 yards per punt. He was the Big Eight Defensive Newcomer of the Year as a junior in 1991 and his career punting average of 43 yards per punt was a school record.

He was inducted into Kansas State’s inaugural Ring of Honor Class in 2002 and into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Sean Snyder redshirted at Iowa in 1988, then saw action in two games for the Hawkeyes as a redshirt freshman in 1989 before transferring to Kansas State. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State in money and banking in 1994. He signed as a free agent in the NFL with the Phoenix Cardinals and San Diego Chargers in 1993 and 1994.


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.