Bill Snyder Saved a Town and a Football Team - Twice

By Sam Mellinger - KC Star


Bill Snyder (Photo:  K-State Athletics )
Bill Snyder likes to say he enjoyed retirement, but that’s not completely true. People like Snyder don’t enjoy retirement. Oh, sure. He kept busy. The man knows no other way than busy. If his life’s calling was not to coach football, he’d have been the hardest-working engineer or professor or mechanic you ever saw.

So after stepping away seven years ago from the sports miracle he created at Kansas State University, he buried himself in activities. He watched every grandchild play every game he could, discovering new parts of Manhattan in the process — parks and restaurants instead of the office and his house. He read books he’d put off too long. He even played golf once or twice.

But he couldn’t enjoy all of it, either. Not after a year or two, anyway, when the football program he put so much of his life into went off the tracks under his successor.

Games meant a reminder that Snyder no longer had control, and he doesn’t like not having control. Sharon Snyder’s memory of her husband on fall Saturdays is a man standing in a stadium suite, arms folded, stern look on his face and only speaking when asked a question — and even then only a few words.

“It hurt him to not be involved,” Sharon says. “…You’re giving up part of your identity.”

You could say the same thing about Manhattan and the university, as the losses stacked on each other and the football program drifted back toward the irrelevance that Snyder once inherited. They needed a man who’d just turned 69 to come out of retirement and replicate the greatest job of program-building in college football history.

They needed another miracle. Read the full article>

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