Born: October 7, 1939 – St. Joseph, MO
Graduated: LaFayette High School (St. Joseph, Mo.), 1958; William Jewell College, 1962; MS – Eastern New Mexico University
Miracle in Manhattan
It’s been called the “Miracle of Manhattan” or simply the greatest turnaround in college football history. Whatever the case, when Bill Snyder was named the head coach at Kansas State on November 30, 1988, the Wildcats were arguably the worst college football program in America. Over the next 17 seasons, they became one of the best as Snyder won 136 games, lost 68, tied one and became one of the country’s most respected and admired coaches. To fully understand Snyder’s impact, K-State was in the midst of an 0-26-1 run when he was hired and the program had won just 130 games in its previous 51 seasons. From 1993-2003, the Wildcats won nine or more games 10 times under Snyder, played in 11 consecutive bowl games and produced a record of 109 wins, 29 losses and one tie.
Snyder retired in 2005 but returned to the sidelines just four years later again as head coach of the Wildcats. During his second tenure, Snyder once again returned the purple and white to national prominence. The Wildcats missed a bowl game in Snyder's first season back in 2009, but then made another run that saw them reach a bowl game streak that sits at seven in a row as of 2016.
The Wildcats won the Big 12 North championship four times and won their first-ever Big 12 Title in 2004 with a stunning 35-7 victory over No. 1-ranked Oklahoma. Snyder’s best team, however, may have been the 1998 club, which won 11 consecutive games and was on the cusp of playing for the national championship before losing a double-overtime thriller in the Big 12 title game.
Snyder claimed another Big 12 Conference Championship during his second tenure with the Wildcats behind the arm and legs of quarterback Collin Klein in 2012. Klein finished third in the Heisman voting that year, led the Wildcats to a #1 ranking for a portion of the year and took the Wildcats to Snyder's third Fiesta Bowl appearance.
Honors & Achievements
Snyder was named the national coach of the year three times (1991, 1994, 1998) and the conference coach of the year five times. He produced eight consensus first-team All-Americans and 42 National Football League draft picks. In 2014, Snyder was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. On November 26, 2016, Snyder tallied his 200th win of his career, becoming just becoming the 23rd coach in Division I history to reach the milestone and just the fifth to win all of those games at one school.
Achievements beyond K-State
Snyder was a three-year letterman at William Jewell College (1960-62) and was an assistant coach at North Texas and Iowa before coming to K-State.
Presented by Howard Sherwood