MANHATTAN — Less than a month after guiding Kansas State to one of its most successful seasons, football coach Bill Snyder appears ready to try for several more.
Snyder signed a new contract worth $14.75 million over the next five seasons on Thursday, locking up his services with the Wildcats for the long-term. His salary will rise from $2.2 million to $2.75 million next season and increase $100,000 each year. Though the contract runs through 2017, it contains the same automatic rollover provision after the completion of each season that was in his past contract.
K-State athletic director John Currie announced the new contract Thursday morning in a letter to fans, but said it has been in the works for quite some time.
“Coach Snyder is not one to worry about himself or ask for any enhancements or personal stuff at all, but this has been an extraordinarily successful run of Kansas State football,” Currie said in a phone interview. “It was important for us to recognize that and take care of him in a fiscally responsible way.”
Currie said he is also in the process of raising the salaries of Snyder’s assistants. He reworked their contracts last offseason and gave Snyder a $250,000 raise last summer. Snyder becomes the fifth-highest paid coach in the Big 12, according to data compiled by USA Today. Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Texas’ Mack Brown, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and TCU’s Gary Patterson make more than $3 million.
K-State has improved each season since Snyder returned to the sideline. The Wildcats won six games his first season back, seven in his second, 10 in his third and 11 last year. K-State is coming off one of its best seasons, winning its first Big 12 championship since 2003 and playing in the Fiesta Bowl.
Still, Snyder’s new contract will help signify stability at the top of K-State’s program at a time when speculation about his future was starting to build. In the past month, the Wildcats lost two long-term assistants who both played for Snyder. Former defensive ends coach Joe Bob Clements left for Oklahoma State and receivers coach Michael Smith left for Arkansas. They were regarded as K-State’s top two recruiters, and some thought they left over concerns of how long Snyder, 73, wanted to continue coaching.
With national signing day less than a week away, those concerns have been put to rest.
“My entire family and I have been so very grateful for the genuine, caring and loyal support K-Staters have provided our coaches, staff, families and young people on a yearly basis,” Snyder said in a statement released by K-State. “And, as I have stated so often we came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged. We have continued to make daily improvement as a football program, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue and will do so as long as I feel that I am having a positive impact on our university, community and football program and the young men that are involved.”
Snyder will be 78 in 2017. When asked if he expects Snyder to still be coaching at that time, Currie said he had no reason to suspect otherwise.
“I sure hope so,” Currie said. “He has certainly spoken very positively about himself and the future of the program.”
Snyder’s new contract contains new benefits such as 10 hours of private use on the university’s airplane and a free yearly physical at Mayo Clinic or Scripps Health. Snyder will also be allotted the use of one courtesy car, use of a suite at Snyder Family Stadium and a membership to Manhattan Country Club.
When Snyder steps down as coach, unless he is terminated with cause, his new contract stipulates he will remain employed by K-State as a Special Assistant to the Athletic Director for “as long as Coach is physically and mentally able,” and earn a salary of $250,000. The contract also indicates that he will be asked to provide “appropriate input” to the athletic director and university president while they search for his successor.
Currie and Snyder have signed the contract. K-State said president Kirk Schultz was traveling and would sign the contract and licensing agreement Friday.
Currie is proud of what that will represent.
“We are at a point where we don’t lose people because of salary at K-State,” Currie said. “There is a long-term assumption that we can’t compete, but that is just not true. When you win games at a high level you’re going to have other programs targeting your people. Sometimes they are ready for a new challenge or opportunity, but we are not going to lose great people at K-State because we don’t have the resources to reward them.”