Since Ron Prince took over the K-State football program in 2006, the Wildcats’ performance — players and coaches alike — has been about as consistent as the weather in Manhattan.
In Prince’s first season, K-State fans saw it all: a one-point win over Division I-AA Illinois State, a stunning upset over No. 3 Texas, a dismal loss to Kansas and an embarrassing Texas Bowl loss to Rutgers.
Spirits appeared to be on the rise in 2007. After a near upset at Auburn and a convincing road win over the Longhorns, the Wildcats seemed to be on the fast track to their second straight bowl game. However, the team’s fortunes slowly began to change.
After heartbreaking losses to Kansas and Oklahoma State, the Wildcats rebounded by manhandling Baylor. With four games remaining and bowl eligibility just one win away, it looked like K-State’s postseason chances were still alive and well.
You’ve probably heard the story of the defense’s collapse, so I’ll spare you the agony of going through it again. Long story short: the one win never came. What started as a promising season ended in disaster.
Though the 2006 and 2007 seasons were hardly similar, they both lacked any form of consistency. One could pick from the seemingly endless list of excuses: lack of leadership, coaching changes, loss of motivation. Regardless of the reason, the facts are indisputable — Prince’s career is off to a 12-13 start and full of question marks.
Inconsistency in the Wildcat football program isn’t just noticeable on Saturdays. During his tenure, Prince has continually made statements and then contradicted them with his actions. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Shortly after Prince arrived at K-State, he recruited quarterback Josh Freeman. Prince claimed the starting quarterback spot would be won in practice and that every candidate had an equal opportunity to win the job.
However, former Wildcats Allan Evridge and Kevin Lopina left the program prior to the start of the season, claiming they weren’t getting the chance to take any snaps in practice. Coincidence? You be the judge.
Another example is Prince’s scheduling tactics. Since his career began, he has scheduled games against national powerhouses such as Auburn, Oregon and UCLA, claiming that playing strong nonconference opponents would help the team improve. If he truly believes that, why would he drop Fresno State, a team from a non-BCS conference, from this year’s schedule in favor of Division I-AA Montana State?
If Prince wants to succeed at the collegiate level, he needs to figure out his priorities and get them in order. The same idea applies to his team. Consistency is a must in a conference like the Big 12. Without it, the Wildcats will likely be looking at another 5-7 season and Prince will likely be looking for another job.
Justin Nutter is a junior in print journalism. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.