K-State did Nothing Wrong in Snyder/Leavitt Proposal

Cole Manbeck

Let’s go ahead and make this clear right away regarding Brett McMurphy’s report on Thursday — Kansas State’s administration didn’t force Bill Snyder to do anything. If McMurphy’s report is accurate (I have no reason to doubt its accuracy, as I know John Currie had zeroed in on Jim Leavitt to take over for Snyder when he did retire), the administration simply put a proposal in front of the K-State head coach and asked for his input. They did not force it on him. If they had, Jim Leavitt would already be on the coaching staff and be set to take over as the head coach. So let’s please put an end to any accusations or suggestions that K-State tried to force Snyder out. That did not happen.

Snyder is 78. He’s the head coach and essentially the CEO of K-State football. Like it or not, college football is a big business that involves  millions of dollars. Any successful business or company will typically have a succession plan put in place for its CEO when they’re close to the point of retirement. That’s what K-State’s administration was seeking to do — to build out a plan for the future. It’s smart business. Snyder going year to year on how long he’ll coach does no one any good at this point. The fans and administration want a plan in place. And they deserve one. The endless speculation surrounding when Snyder may or may not retire is only going to damage the program and divide the fan base the longer this goes on.

It’s not as if K-State’s administration approached Snyder with someone he wasn’t familiar with. The verbal agreement would have brought in Leavitt, someone Snyder trusts from his coaching tree.

The most important part of McMurphy’s report reinforces that Snyder continues to push for his son, Sean, to take over for him. And while I think Sean could spark a positive change to the culture within the Vanier Football Complex right now, and would make some key changes, he should not and can not be just handed the job.

Some believe Bill Snyder should be able to determine who takes over for him — that this responsibility is owed to him. I disagree. We all appreciate and are extremely grateful for what Snyder did for K-State and the Manhattan community. His loyalty to stay and never take another job through all these years is something you rarely see from coaches in sports nowadays. There are no words to thank him for all that he has done and the lives he has positive affected.

But K-State does not owe it to him to decide his successor. Snyder has done so much for K-State and the community, but what is often failed to be mentioned is that K-State and Manhattan have rewarded him as well. He and his family have been financially taken care of, the stadium is named after him, a statue of him sits in front of the stadium, and a highway is named after him. Getting to decide his successor is for the athletic department to handle, not Snyder.

Simply promoting Sean to head coach without a thorough coaching search is insulting to all the donors and K-State employees who worked so hard to raise the nearly $200 million in renovations to the football stadium the past several years. Those renovations not only help K-State remain in a position to stay in a Power-5 conference long term, but also to attract a quality head coach when the time comes.

It’s my belief that Brent Venables is the best fit to take over for Snyder.  But Leavitt is a solid hire who has the capability to get rid of the stigma that someone other than Snyder can win at K-State. Because it can be done. K-State’s facilities are in great shape. The fan base cares. There are talented pieces on the roster.

All of that is because of Bill Snyder. Because of everything he has done, someone from outside the Snyder family can win at K-State. The time has come for Snyder to recognize this and stop trying to control who succeeds him.

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