Last year, Jefferson Knapp, owner of Kraken Books, wrote a short children’s book in collaboration with Bill Snyder called “Take It From Me.” The book centered around Snyder’s 16 goals for success. Knapp wrote a long Facebook post on Tuesday recalling the event and reflecting on his interaction with Snyder.
“I’m a children’s author and Coach is unquestionably a figure that children should look up to and learn from,” Knapp said in the post. “I was told that he always responds when you write him and I checked the mailbox every day praying for something from him.”
Shortly after, Snyder responded to Knapp, saying they would be in contact once the season was over. Knapp immediately got his proposal together and sent it once the Wildcats won the Texas Bowl.
Just a few days later, Knapp heard that Snyder had cancer, and gave up on the book. He now only wanted Snyder to heal; however, Knapp received a letter apologizing for a late response and phone call from Snyder a few months later.
“On the phone, he was so apologetic,” Knapp told the Collegian last year. “I remember thinking ‘why are you apologizing? I think you’ve got a legitimate excuse, and plus, you’re Bill Snyder.’”
Knapp ended up having a meeting in Snyder’s office, who loved the manuscript and illustrations. He had Snyder end the book with his famous slanted writing.
“‘So if you paid attention to these things, please keep them close to your chest,’” Knapp wrote in the post. “‘I leave with you my heart, my time and my gratitude, and my 16 Goals for Success.’ He perfectly added, ‘With love and best wishes for a wonderful and successful life. – Bill Snyder’. The only image I could think of for the last page was Coach hugging Willie. Willie represents us all and this book is a love letter to us.”
The book includes illustrations with significant parts of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium, including the statue of Snyder and the marching band.
“I knew this would be what you call a ‘collector’s item’ for anybody who loves K-State,” Knapp said. “I think it’s going to help preserve him, I needed to help with that in any way. He was interested in reaching a younger audience with his 16 goals. This was a tool to help kid that might not be interested in sports.”
Knapp’s family had attended the meeting with Snyder, and when it was over the coach had looked at Knapp’s four-year-old daughter and said, “You’re not leaving without giving me another hug.”
“This past Sunday, when I heard the news that Coach stepped down, I felt sick to my stomach,” Knapp wrote in the post. “I know he made the decision best for him and K-State, but there’s a huge part of me that wants to tell him, ‘You’re not leaving without giving us another hug…another smile…another kiss blown to the crowd.’”
“Take It from Me” can be ordered at billsnydersbook.com or purchased at the K-State Super Store.