OPINION: Snyder’s legacy is a K-State miracle, but he needs to move on

The Kansas State Wildcats play the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 14, 2017. The Wildcats lost with a final score of 6 to 26. (File Photo by Meg Shearer | Collegian Media Group)

It is safe to say that head coach Bill Snyder has been the best thing to come in the history of Kansas State football.

However, the Snyder era needs to end before the program is in the same state that he found it in 1989 and 2009, the start of his respective coaching tenures at K-State.

When Snyder took over the program in 1989, the program had a winning percentage of just .370. The school had also only been to one bowl game, the Independence Bowl in 1982.

Snyder’s first victory came in the fourth game of the 1989 season with a 20-17 defeat of North Texas. Before that, the Wildcats had not won a game since October of 1986.

While it took Snyder a couple of years to turn the program around, by 1993 the team had seen a drastic improvement, posting a 9-2-1 record with a win in the Copper Bowl— the school’s second bowl appearance and first win.

The success Snyder saw that season didn’t end there, as he only saw a losing season two times in the next 12 years before his retirement after the 2005 season.

While Snyder’s first reign was nothing short of impeccable, he should realize that his coaching record is going in the same direction as it did toward the end of the first stint (2005), down (5-6).

Ron Prince took over the program in 2006 and had three mediocre seasons, going 7-6 in the first year followed by two 5-7 seasons.

As a result, when Snyder stepped back in as head coach in 2009, there were a couple of years of rebuilding. K-State went 6-6 in 2009 and 7-6 in 2010 before great seasons in 2011 (10-3) and 2012 (11-2), also winning a Big 12 championship team.

Since the 2012 season, the Wildcats have not won a Big 12 championship, giving fans and donors a reason to ask for a change.

Earlier this year when Snyder’s contract was extended, students voiced hesitation over his age, specifically on the question of if he has adapted to the game as well as another coach would, and if his five-year contract extension will mean another five years of mediocre football.

The 2018 season, in particular, has been nothing short of a disappointment, as K-State has gone 3-5 through eight games.

The Wildcats have not shown any consistency from week to week, finding different problems on all sides of the ball every week. From quarterback issues, the offensive line playing inconsistently and the defense allowing opponents to outscore K-State consistently, it has been nothing but a disaster.

With four games remaining, the Wildcats need to win all of the games to try to salvage what is left of the season and make a decision as to what to do when it comes to coaching.

In order to get into a bowl game, the Wildcats need to win at least three games but with the way that this season has turned out, it isn’t looking like it’s in the cards for the Wildcats, and K-State could potentially miss its first bowl game since 2009.

While he has turned K-State into a competitive football team and kept the program from going off the map, the future of K-State football is moving on from Coach Snyder to someone with fresh ideas, and a new staff.

In the meantime, the Wildcats will take on TCU on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, kicking off at 2:30 pm on FS1.

Molly Hackett is junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

Hi, I'm Molly Hackett and I graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in broadcast journalism in May 2020. When I worked for the Collegian, I had a variety of different jobs, including managing editor and sports editor. Additionally, I served a one year term on the Collegian Media Group Board of Directors. I also worked for KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day during my final semester at K-State. In my free time, I like to spend time with the people closest to me, travel, drink coffee and take naps.