Bill Snyder’s unsettled coaching future is beginning to feel a bit like a college football game that requires multiple overtimes. Most expected a quick resolution, but now there is no definite end in sight.
Will he retire after 27 seasons as the head football coach at Kansas State? Will he return for 2019? And when will the school publicly announce his decision?
K-State fans have been asking those questions since the Wildcats ended their season with a road loss at Iowa State last weekend, but they have received no answers.
It’s hard to say why this process has taken so long, given that K-State athletic director Gene Taylor stressed the importance of a timely decision by saying “the sooner the better” on Monday. The earlier the Wildcats can announce a decision, the earlier they can provide clarity to recruits or begin a coaching search.
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Many thought something would be announced by Wednesday, when Taylor said he hoped to meet with Snyder and discuss his future. Instead, fans are still nervously checking their phones for updates. Taylor did not return a message seeking comment for this story, and the only statements Snyder has made have been one-liners to reporters camped outside K-State’s football complex.
The waiting game has gone on long enough that one news outlet inadvertently posted a pre-written story announcing Snyder’s retirement and quickly took it down. And for North Texas athletic director Wren Baker to take to Twitter and calm fans about the rising speculation that Mean Green coach Seth Litrell is a potential candidate to replace Snyder, if he retires.
How did we get here? There are a few explanations.
For starters, Snyder has never had to expedite his decision-making process before. Though he has coached year-to-year for a while now, he normally consults with family and thinks about his future at his own pace in early January with the Wildcats coming off a bowl game.
He’s not used to going through his checklist in late November and early December, one week removed from the end of the regular season. Taylor said he would give Snyder deserved leeway during this process, and he has.
But there are more factors involved. Ultimately, university president Richard Myers and Taylor will decide who will coach the football team next season. If all three parties didn’t agree on a decision early this week, they may have needed time to work through that.
Another possible holdup: At least one other power-conference team has expressed interest in Sean Snyder as a special teams coach in the event his father decides to retire, according to a source. It is unclear if Snyder has any interest in leaving K-State, as he stayed and worked for Ron Prince after his father briefly retired for three seasons, but it’s given the family something extra to ponder.
The longer things went without an announcement, recruiting became an issue. The Wildcats arranged for a handful of committed players and other prospects to make official visits this weekend, and they arrived on campus Friday afternoon with Snyder’s future still unresolved.
Canceling those visits at the last minute or making an announcement in the middle of them would have been awkward for all parties, unless it was to proclaim Bill Snyder’s return. That, perhaps, is telling. Still, uncertainty lingered into the weekend. It now seems unlikely anything will be resolved until after those recruits leave campus late Sunday morning.
If the plan is for Snyder to retire after a legendary run that featured 215 wins, 19 bowl appearances and two conference championships, Monday seems like an ideal time. The Wildcats have scheduled a team meeting that day, according to a source, and Snyder could inform his players of his decision at that time.
K-State fans would likely have to wait a few more days if his decision remains unknown beyond that point. Snyder, and several other members of K-State’s athletic department, are scheduled to travel to New York for the annual college football Hall of Fame festivities that same day.
The traveling party will include Bill Snyder, Sean Snyder, Taylor and senior right tackle Dalton Risner, who is a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, an award often referred to as the academic Heisman, which will be awarded this week in New York.
College football coaches, athletic directors and agents from across the country will converge on the Big Apple for those ceremonies. It’s one of the biggest networking events in the sport. That would be an excellent opportunity for Taylor to discuss K-State’s head coaching position with potential candidates, should he need to begin a coaching search.
For now though, K-State doesn’t have any kind of announcement or news conference scheduled to announce Snyder’s decision, whatever it turns out to be.