COLUMN: Wefald’s legacy quickly tarnishing


    Jon Wefald came to K-State in 1986 to become the president of a university that was in shambles in terms of its football program – a program that could have been the catalyst to a great revenue base.
    He had the chance to give up on the program like others had once thought of doing, but he believed K-State could win on the gridiron.
    He recognized the importance of a great football program, and thus, went out and hired an offensive coordinator from the University of Iowa, by the name of Bill Snyder, and the rise of K-State began.
    Wefald was instrumental in the success of the football program. He cared.
    But Wefald’s biggest asset – caring – has now come back to haunt the president, who will be retiring at the end of the school year after a 23-year career at K-State.
    Over the last year, things have taken a turn for the worse for K-State athletics. When things go south, people tend to blame the athletic director. But Wefald hired the athletic director, his long-time friend Bob Krause.
    Krause will be stepping down in March due to budget turmoil after a university-wide audit, which is typically ordered by the Kansas Board of Regents when a new president prepares to take over.
    It all starts and ends with Wefald. Wefald chased out former athletic director Tim Weiser, who many now feel was victimized by a raw deal after the Topeka Capital-Journal published a report Jan. 22 about irreconcilable differences between Weiser and Wefald in terms of power within the K-State athletic department.
    The move cost K-State $1.9 million in a settlement owed to Weiser after he signed a 10-year extension in 2006, just a year after departing to take over as deputy commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.
    The report said that Weiser wanted to fire former men’s basketball coach Jim Wooldridge after five years, but Wefald pushed for a sixth and overruled him. After that incident, Weiser wanted in writing the powers he had, which included handling the budget within the athletic department and hiring and firing coaches. Weiser received those powers in writing from Wefald.
    But then former K-State football coach Ron Prince approached Wefald for an increased buyout after the Texas Bowl loss to Rutgers in 2006, which is a little odd in itself.
    Wefald wanted to give it to him – Weiser did not. Numerous K-State donors went to Wefald begging him not to follow through on it, trying to tell him it was a mistake. They were right.
    Wefald has meddled too much in the affairs of the athletic department. He has a passion for athletics and recognizes the importance of them to the success of any academic institution. However, he thought he was smarter than others within the athletics department and overruled their decisions. He had K-State’s best interests at heart, but ultimately made the wrong decisions.
    It’s a shame, because one of the best presidents in the history of K-State — one of the best in the nation — will leave with a tarnished legacy in a year that should be a celebration for him – because he simply cared too much.

Cole Manbeck is a senior in print journalism. Please send comments to