Cirminiello: The Magic Of Bill Snyder
Posted Sep 10, 2012

Week 2 Thoughts: Cirminiello on the magic of Bill Snyder

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By Richard Cirminiello  

What Bill Snyder continues to do in Manhattan defies all logic.

College football has always been about coaching staffs. Always will be. It's the head coach and his assistants who not only secure talent, but also cultivate players and ensure that their ability is maximized for four or five years. An ineffective staff can ruin a collection of gifted athletes. A crackerjack one can milk a level of production out of players that otherwise seemed impossible. Snyder and his underlings fall into the latter category.

At the ripe old age of 72—he'll be 73 on Oct. 7—Snyder is the same skilled teacher and motivator that he was when he accepted the daunting task of leading Kansas State for the first time back in 1989. The coach somehow guided the Wildcats from the Big Eight cellar to national relevancy, a feat that earned him widespread acclaim. The program won at least nine games and finished ranked in all but one year between 1993 and 2003.

However, as amazing as Snyder's first stint was before it ended in 2005, this sequel is off to a remarkable start of its own for an entirely different set of reasons. When the coach returned to the sidelines in 2009, Kansas State was in a state of disarray under Ron Prince, going 17-20 over three forgettable seasons. Enter Snyder on a white horse, with a white mane of his own. Despite being well past the age of retirement, it took the coach just two years to get the Wildcats back to the 10-win mark and a January bowl game.

And here comes Kansas State again. Overlooked and unranked in the preseason, the Wildcats have dispensed of their first two opponents by a combined score of 103-22. The latest rout, over Miami, sent a resounding statement across the Big 12 landscape that the ‘Cats plan to contend for a league championship … whether they get a proper amount of respect or not. Snyder's kids put on a clinic at, of course, Bill Snyder Family Stadium. QB Collin Klein was sensational, and both lines mauled the overmatched Hurricanes up and down the field.

Kansas State doesn't attract blue-chip recruits, and probably never will. That reality never stopped Snyder from manufacturing wins with a well-coached, disciplined team that's willing to outwork its opponent. Fresh off a 52-13 whooping of Miami, the Wildcats are a factor again. What else is new for Snyder, one of the game's true gems in the college coaching ranks?