Iowa Football

Bill Snyder retires as Kansas State football coach

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, left, congratulates Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, right, on his 42-38 victory over Kansas State, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Ames. (Matthew Putney/Freelance)
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder, left, congratulates Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, right, on his 42-38 victory over Kansas State, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Ames. (Matthew Putney/Freelance)

Longtime Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder announced his retirement on Sunday.

Snyder, 79, is credited for taking a program deep in the doldrums and turning it into a perennial contender for a bowl berth.

The announcement was made to the players Sunday afternoon. Kansas State’s athletics director issued a statement after the team meeting.

“Coach Snyder has had an immeasurable impact on our football program, Kansas State University, the Manhattan community and the entire state of Kansas, and it has been an honor and a privilege to get to know and work with him the past two years,” AD Gene Taylor said. “He and his family have touched the lives of so many people, from student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans, and he is truly one of the greatest coaches and leaders in college football history. His impact on college football is unmatched and legacy is one that will last a lifetime.”

The Wildcats had a down season in 2018, finishing 5-7 and failing to qualify for a bowl game for the first time this decade. His teams compiled a 215-117-1 record in Snyder’s two stints at Kansas State.

He was enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.

When Snyder took the reins at Kansas State in 1989, the program had lost 27 games in a row.

“There is only one school in the nation that has lost 500 games,” Snyder told Sports Illustrated that year. “This is it, and I get to coach it.”

Snyder was an assistant under Hayden Fry at Iowa from 1979-88 before turning around the Wildcats’ program.

In his first four seasons with the Wildcats, they went 18-26. But his fifth season brought a 9-2-1 record and the first of 11 straight bowl games.

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In 1998, a double-overtime loss in the Big 12 championship game knocked the Wildcats out of a chance to play for the BCS national championship.

He retired in 2005 but returned to coach the team before the 2009 season.

Before the 2018 season he signed a five-year contract that would have taken him through the 2022 season.

Snyder’s 215 career victories place him No. 15 on the all-time list of college football coaches. His last game in charge was a 42-38 loss to Iowa State on Nov. 24.

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