Bill Snyder Family Stadium: How legacy changed K-State’s football stadium

The sun sets over an empty Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Feb. 26, 2018. (File photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on April 18. It has been updated to reflect Bill Snyder’s retirement.

In the 2005 season, the Kansas State football stadium didn’t look much different except for one thing: its name.

The stadium was renamed Bill Snyder Family Stadium to recognize the architect of the greatest turnaround in college football history.

The Kansas Board of Regents made the proclamation on Nov. 16, 2005 to honor the College Football Hall of Fame coach.

“As a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, it is certainly an honor to approve this new name which reflects Coach Snyder’s tremendous contributions not only to Kansas State University but also to the entire state of Kansas,” said former-Regent Nelson Galle of Manhattan. “Coach Snyder’s contributions extended well beyond the football field, and the Board is truly grateful for his 17 years of dedication to K-State.”

Snyder has the stadium and the highway that leads into Manhattan both named after him, as he brought the Kansas State football team back to life and to be a competitive force in the Big 12.

Through the years, the stadium has seen a very big change in how it looks.

From the name change, the new Vanier Football Complex, two video boards and much more, the stadium might not be recognized by someone who has not seen it in awhile.

Since 2016, Snyder has been the coach for the Wildcats the majority of the time and has a .800 winning percentage at home during that span. That includes a Big 12 Championship in both 2003 and 2012.

The name of the stadium was requested by Kansas State, but Bill Snyder had one detail in the name that he wanted in there. He wanted it to say Bill Snyder Family Stadium because of the people he had met over the 17 years as head coach at the time.

“If you are going to do it, name it after the people that I care about the most,” Snyder said.

The stadium holds over 50,000 people that come to support the Wildcats on Saturdays during the fall.

Although Snyder’s career has come to an end, the stadium that future Wildcat football teams will run into on Saturdays is named after the coach that put Manhattan back on the map: Bill Snyder.