There was no perfect way for Kansas State to say goodbye to Brad Hill, but the Wildcats handled his exit in a professional and classy manner.
After winning more games than any other baseball coach in school history, guiding the team to four NCAA Tournaments and claiming a Big 12 championship, he deserved to be honored during his final three home games this weekend. And that's exactly what will happen.
The last five years have been disappointing. Hill is first to admit that. He knew it was time for a coaching change and is at peace with his decision to step down at the end of the season. His hope is that by announcing the end of his 15-year career now, Gene Taylor will get a head start on hiring his replacement.
It's nice to see everyone taking the high road in what could have been an awkward situation.
Hill is a stand-up guy and a respected coach. He's always made time for me and other media whenever we had questions. I will always be impressed by his ability to condense so much information into a short window. His postgame interviews never ran longer than a few minutes. Perfect with deadline approaching!
He also took K-State to unprecedented heights, and fans should remember him for that. They will get to say farewell to him in person this weekend, and that's the way it should be.
Now, let's get to your questions. Thanks, as always, for asking them.
Any ideas on a baseball hire?— Brian Suellentrop (@brisul) May 10, 2018
The main thing I would look for in a new baseball coach is recruiting skills. Recruiting is the lifeblood of every college sport, but it has extra importance when it comes to baseball.
I wonder if the average sports fan realizes just how difficult it is to recruit high school baseball players.
Unlike men's basketball and football, baseball coaches rarely offer recruits full scholarships. Each Division I team gets 11.7 scholarships to spread across its roster, which can feature more than 30 players. And unlike men's basketball and football, baseball players can bypass college and go straight to the pros if a MLB team drafts them. So even if you can sell a prospect on half a scholarship you might then have to convince him to take half a scholarship over a signing bonus.
Not the easiest thing to do at K-State, where the Wildcats are at a disadvantage against traditional Big 12 powers in terms of location, weather, facilities and prestige. This is one of the hardest jobs in the conference.
In an interview with media on Wednesday, Brad Hill described getting recruits to come to Manhattan for visits as the toughest part of the job. The ones that tour campus tend to commit, but it's a battle to get them that far.
Hill proved you can recruit and win at K-State. He took the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament four times and won a Big 12 championship, but he couldn't sustain that type of success over the long haul. Why? Recruiting dipped.
The time is right for a coaching change, but it's up to the next coach to come in with energy and a recruiting plan that can bring in new waves of talent. There is more to the job than simply recruiting, of course, but that's where I would start in any search for a new coach.
Do you see Byron Pringle having a longer NFL stint than Chris Harper?— Robby Hudson (@RobHud3) May 10, 2018
The odds are against him.
Chris Harper didn't have much of a NFL career, but as a fourth-round pick in 2013 his potential was impossible to ignore. He signed with four different teams before injuries ultimately caused him to leave football little more than two years after joining the Seattle Seahawks. But that's still two years of professional football.
Byron Pringle certainly has the ability to earn a roster spot with the Kansas City Chiefs and play in the NFL for several years, but he's facing an uphill battle as an undrafted free agent.
He's got the size and speed to turn heads in the NFL, but his hands left a bit to be desired at K-State. He could probably stand to improve as a route-runner, also.
Harper was a much better college receiver than Pringle.
The wild card for Pringle is his return ability. Pringle was money on kick returns with the Wildcats, both as the main returner and a blocker. If he can help on special teams he could end up playing next season.
I’ve decided that if Sandstorm will never make its return that Everytime We Touch by Cascada should take it’s place. Are you with me or against me?— scottwildcat (@scottwildcat) May 10, 2018
You aren't on board with the Mortal Kombat movie theme as K-State's new pump-up jam during timeouts?
I want to say I'm against you. Though I'm not opposed to Cascada I can't say I've ever heard her songs at a recent sporting event. But I just listened to "Everytime We Touch" on my phone and I must admit the techno solo (or whatever you call it) in the middle of the song is somewhat similar to "Sandstorm." It's not featured in the movie "Blade," but it could be. I could see it working. You could even rotate it with "Evacuate the Dance Floor."
Alas, I still think a more mainstream song would work better. But I'm not the one in the student section jumping to the beat, so my opinion doesn't really matter.
This sets up a great question for future Q&As, though. What is the ideal song to replace "Sandstorm" at future K-State sporting events? Tweet me your ideas and maybe we can explore that topic next week.
Better sandwich subway or jimmy johns— myles785emaw (@myles785emaw) May 10, 2018
Not to be a sandwich snob here, but there are very few times where it is acceptable to eat at Subway. I guess I would consider it if I was between flights at an airport and the only dining option was Subway. Or if I showed up to a party and someone ordered a giant sandwich tray from Subway and I didn't want to be rude. Or if I was starving in the desert and stumbled across an oasis that for some reason had a Subway.
But there is no scenario in which I'm choosing Subway over Jimmy John's ... Or Which Wich or Quizno's or Firehouse Subs or almost any other restaurant.
Odds that whoever starts QB finishes the season?— Jeff Malone (@jam3536) May 10, 2018
Maybe 49 percent?
I don't know. That's a hard one to answer. K-State has had rotten injury luck with quarterbacks over the past few years. The Wildcats used Jesse Ertz, Alex Delton, Joe Hubener and Kody Cook in 2015, then Ertz, Hubener and Delton in 2016 and then Ertz, Delton, Skylar Thompson and Hunter Hall last year.
So it seems unlikely that either Delton or Thompson will stay healthy enough to take every snap next year. But there's a chance the starting QB against South Dakota could still be the starting QB against Iowa State. Ertz did that in 2016. Same for Jake Waters in 2013 and 2014.
Some of it may depend on how much different the offense looks under new coordinator Andre Coleman. Will QBs remain central in the running game? Some of it will depend on luck. But it has been a while since a K-State QB was healthy for 12 straight games.
Is kstate football going to bungle this 2 QB situation and end up with a season like 2001-2002?— Matt Schmidt (@Schmidtburgh) May 10, 2018
I think the Wildcats will be all right. The last time they had a QB race this close they had some bumps in the road but still managed to win eight games behind Daniel Sams and Jake Waters.
Skylar Thompson and Alex Delton are both good quarterbacks. One will start. The other will see action on certain drives and specific plays. I doubt Bill Snyder "bungles" the situation.
And, as stated above, there's a decent chance K-State will need both of them. Having two QBs could be a good thing.
Love the new turf but what are the thoughts on why the old turf only lasted a few years and always looked like crap? How far we have come where we can install turf and not need a lottery winner (Wagner) pick up the tab!!— Richard Warren (@WarrenWildcat) May 11, 2018
I am also digging the new turf at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, though a new paint design would have been fun. Looks like real grass instead of carpet.
The answer to the old turf's short life span is simple: the K-State football team used it for every single home game and the vast majority of practices. Snyder doesn't like transporting the entire roster to the grass practice field or the indoor facility on the other side of Bramlage Coliseum, so darn near every practice is on that turf.
The cost-per-use breakdown on the old turf must have been crazy low.