Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder is looking for a new offensive coordinator now that UTEP has hired Dana Dimel as its head coach.
Dimel will remain with the Wildcats through the Cactus Bowl, so Snyder should be in no rush to target replacements. But it’s never too early to look at potential candidates.
First, a few things to keep in mind:
If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, odds are good Snyder will promote from within to fill the spot and hire position coaches to complete the offensive staff.
Since returning to the sideline in 2009, Snyder hasn’t looked outside the program to hire a single coordinator. When co-defensive coordinator Vic Koenning left after the 2009 season, Chris Cosh was named sole defensive coordinator and K-State hired Keith Burns to coach defensive backs. When Cosh left a few years later, Snyder promoted current defensive coordinator Tom Hayes to take his place and hired Mike Cox to coach linebackers. When Del Miller left in the offseason, Dimel took over as lone offensive coordinator and Snyder hired Collin Klein to coach quarterbacks.
Snyder also likes to hire coaches he has worked with before. Though Burns and Cox lacked K-State ties, he has had history with most of his other recent hires — Blake Seiler, Jon Fabris, Andre Coleman, Hayes and Klein.
If he looks outside for a hire, you can likely rule out the hottest names on the OC market. Dimel’s salary was $472,600. As fun as it might be to think about luring a sitting offensive coordinator from another power-conference team, that’s probably not enough money to get it done. Also, with Snyder nearing the end of his coaching career, it might be hard to convince an outsider to move to Manhattan without the promise of long-term stability.
With all that in mind, don’t be surprised if Snyder finds a way to promote Andre Coleman and Collin Klein to co-offensive coordinators.
A look at the potential candidates:
Andre Coleman, K-State WR coach/passing game coordinator
Coleman, a former star receiver for the Wildcats, appears next in line for a promotion. He has done an excellent job as a recruiter and in player development since joining the staff in 2013. It would be a change for him to move up into the press box and call plays, but he has assisted with play-calling duties over the years from the sideline.
Collin Klein, K-State QB coach
Klein, a Heisman Trophy finalist with the Wildcats, is only 28 and in his first full-year as a K-State assistant. But he is one of the most respected coaches on staff, especially with players. He has been a mentor for K-State quarterbacks going back to his days as a graduate assistant, and he has helped call plays at Northern Iowa and K-State in the press box. It seems unlikely he could take over solo as offensive coordinator, but he could make a nice partner with Coleman.
Michael Smith, former Arkansas/K-State WR coach
Smith seems like a better fit to return to the K-State staff as a position coach than as offensive coordinator, as he has never been an OC, but he is looking for a new coaching position and Snyder could give him a look. Smith played for Snyder and spent many years on his coaching staff before leaving for Arkansas.
Sean Snyder, K-State special teams coordinator
This seems unlikely, as Sean Snyder isn’t qualified to coordinate an offense. But you never know. Bill Snyder wants his son to someday take over as head coach. Could he let him try offensive coordinator?
Mark Mangino, former KU coach
Mangino has said he is content in retirement, but he has history at K-State with Snyder and knows the Big 12, most recently serving as offensive coordinator at Iowa State. Snyder dipped way back into his coaching past when he hired Jon Fabris to coach defensive ends this year. Could he go that route again with Mangino? Crazier things have happened.
Brian Wright, Toledo offensive coordinator
If Snyder looks outside his coaching tree, Wright would make sense. Toledo has been explosive on offense the past two seasons under his guidance. This year, the Rockets rank fifth nationally in total yards (6,629) and they have balance, averaging 291.9 yards through the air and 218 yards on the ground.
Graham Harrell, North Texas offensive coordinator
Harrell is on the young side for an offensive coordinator, but that didn’t show this season at North Texas, where the Mean Green ranked 11th nationally in total offense. Harrell played quarterback at Texas Tech and knows the Big 12. He also spent time under Mike Leach at Washington State as a receivers coach.
Sonny Dykes, former California coach
He has head-coaching experience at Louisiana Tech and California, where he was fired after the 2016 season. He is currently an offensive analyst at TCU, and is said to be looking for a new gig as a head coach. If that doesn’t work out, he could make an interesting OC target. He knows Snyder from his days as a Texas Tech assistant and has recruiting ties in the Lone Star State.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett