Bill Snyder is in familiar territory in Arizona

Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian Head coach Bill Snyder with the new West Stadium Center behind him carrying his namesake Monday August 5, 2013 during K-State media day. Snyder began his bowl career with the 1993 Copper Bowl which is now the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl.

Back in 1993, before many K-State students were even born, head coach Bill Snyder brought the Wildcats to their second-ever bowl game, the Copper Bowl. K-State had not appeared in a bowl since the 1982 Independence bowl, which they lost 14-3 at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers.

It was a different story in the Copper Bowl though, as Snyder’s Wildcats trounced the Wyoming Cowboys 52-17. In total now, K-State will have played six games in the Valley of the Sun after Saturday: 1993 Copper Bowl, the 2001 Bowl, this year’s Buffalo Wild WIngs Bowl, and the Fiesta Bowl in 1997, 2004, and 2013, so Snyder may feel at home in Arizona at this point.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was once known as the Copper Bowl, and is run by the same folks who put on the Fiesta Bowl, so Snyder is well-acquainted with how it is done in Tempe.

“The people here have been so very, very gracious,” Snyder said about the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl staff. “They have always been more than accommodating. Probably the most significant thing is the fact that they’re very genuine about how they care. They care about the young people in our program. They go out of their way to be helpful.”

The names found in Copper Bowl news clippings are still relevant today, starting with Lockett.

Back in 1993, Freshman All-American Kevin Lockett scored a 30-yard touchdown pass, capping of a spectacular season for the Wildcats. 20 years later, his son Tyler is sure to have a huge impact on the game as well. The junior wide receiver was named to the All-Conference team as both a wide receiver and a return man, and was named the Big-12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

In 1993, the elder Lockett caught 50 passes for 770 yards and four touchdowns, the first of four spectacular seasons as a Wildcat. This season, his son has hauled in 71 passes for 1146 yards and eight touchdowns, while averaging 25.5 yards on 20 kickoff returns.

The most recent Lockett to play at K-State is coached by another player who made headlines 20 years ago: Andre Coleman.

Now the wide receiver’s coach for K-State, Coleman was named the Offensive MVP after racking up 283 total yards, a career high. Included in his day was 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 61-yard touchdown catch.

The one downside is that the game is so close to Christmas, meaning that the players and staff miss Christmas with their families back home.

“Our families are acclimated to that,” he said of Christmas traveling. “We’ve been to a lot of bowl environments that took place over Christmas itself. We had a nice Christmas dinner last night for all of our travel party, our administration, just everybody in our travel party.”

Now in his second consecutive year playing in the Arizona desert, Snyder is looking to lead the Wildcats to their first bowl win since their 2002 Holiday Bowl. Coincidentally enough, the team K-State beat for their last win was Arizona State, whose stadium plays host to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.