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Bill Snyder tells the story behind his extraordinary coaching career.

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Bill Snyder 11-14-2009
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Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder amassed an overall record of 215-117-1 in his 25 years at the university.

When Kansas State hired Bill Snyder as its head football coach in 1988, no one could have predicted the total transformation he would engineer in Manhattan, Kansas.

At the time Snyder took over the program in 1988, K-State was the worst football program in Division 1-A history. It was the only collegiate football team to lose 500 games, with just one win in its last 38 games and having gone winless in 27 straight games.

Bill Snyder staged one of the greatest turnarounds in college sports. In his new memoir, 'Bill Snyder: My Football Life and the Rest of the Story' he offers an in-depth look at his life as a coach and at what it took to turn Kansas State into a winning program.

About his decision to take the job Snyder recalls, "By and large there wasn't time to have second thoughts . . . it was just something new pops up every five minutes."

It took long hours and hard work to get Kansas State to be a top program. Snyder remembers his one meal and ten cups of coffee a day, one of the sacrifices of his early years in coaching and a testament to his commitment to achieving his goal.

Convincing the best players to come to a losing program wasn't easy and Coach Snyder and his staff found no degree of success in their attempts to recruit them.

"What became important to us was to define young people who fit our value system of intrinsic values and were wiling to put in the time, and the effort, and the work and the commitment to become the best that they could possibly be and then rely on being able to develop them," Synder says.

Despite having a number of big wins in his 25 years at Kansas State, Snyder says "most of the real joys are seeing young people that come through a program develop as individuals . . . to go on and have success in their lives."

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As Up To Date’s associate producer, I construct daily conversations that give our listeners context to the issues of our time. I strive to provide a platform that holds those in power accountable, while also spotlighting the voices of Kansas City’s creatives and visionaries that may otherwise go unheard. Email me at zach@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.