Big 12 coach Of THE year Sny­der hon­ored for Wild­cats’ sur­pris­ing rise

At 73, he earns a unan­i­mous vote for guid­ing K-state to con­fer­ence ti­tle.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Kansas State coach Bill Sny­der is the sec­ond three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year af­ter lead­ing the Wild­cats to an 111 sea­son and the Fi­esta Bowl. The other three-time win­ner is Ok­la­homa’s Bob Stoops. lm OTERO / as­so­ci­ated PRESS Year-by-year big 12 coach o

Bill Sny­der said he re­turned to Kansas State four years ago to “calm the wa­ters.”

In­stead, he stirred up col­lege foot­ball.

The 73-year-old coach, re­freshed and re­ju­ve­nated af­ter a brief re­tire­ment, has once again raised a down­trod­den pro­gram to na­tional promi­nence. The sev­en­thranked Wild­cats won only their sec­ond Big 12 ti­tle and the third con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship in their 117year his­tory, and will play Ore­gon in the Fi­esta Bowl next month.

His star quar­ter­back, Collin Klein, is among three Heis­man Tro­phy fi­nal­ists, and sev­eral other play­ers on a team whose only loss came at Bay­lor late in the sea­son have fu­tures in the NFL.

It’s no sur­prise that Sny­der was the unan­i­mous choice as AP’s Big 12 coach of the year.

“There’s a lot of peo­ple who in­vest a lot of emo­tion, a lot of spirit, and prob­a­bly who as much as any­thing gen­uinely care,” Sny­der said. “Cer­tainly that em­braces all of our play­ers and all our staff and all the sup­port peo­ple that we have in our pro­gram.”

Sny­der joined Okla- homa coach Bob Stoops as the only three-time win­ners of the award on Tues­day. He also won it last sea­son, when he guided the Wild­cats to the Cot­ton Bowl, and in 1998, when Kansas State came up just short of play­ing for a na­tional ti­tle.

The award was voted on by 18 re­porters who reg­u­larly cover the con­fer­ence. The play­ers of the year and All-Big 12 teams will be an­nounced 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 Bill Sny­der, Kansas State Bill Sny­der, Kansas State Mike Gundy, Ok­la­homa State Mack Brown, Texas Mike Leach, Texas Tech Mark Mangino, Kansas, and Gary Pinkel, Mis­souri Bob Stoops, Ok­la­homa Mack Brown, Texas Gary Bar­nett, Colorado Bob Stoops, Ok­la­homa Les Miles, Ok­la­homa State Gary Bar­nett, Colorado Bob Stoops, Ok­la­homa Frank Solich, Ne­braska Bill Sny­der, Kansas State Larry Smith, Mis­souri Tom Os­borne, Ne­braska Wed­nes­day.

Kansas State (11-1, 8-1) was pre­dicted to fin­ish this sea­son in the mid­dle of the Big 12, a league that sud­denly fea­tured three re­turn­ing con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons in Ok­la­homa, West Vir­ginia and TCU.

Things started slowly, too, with the Wild­cats strug­gling early in a win over Mis­souri State.

Then they be­gan to pick up mo­men­tum.

They ran roughshod over Mi­ami, a team that tied for its di­vi­sion ti­tle in the ACC. And af­ter an easy win over North Texas, Kansas State beat then-No. 6 Ok­la­homa on the road.

The Wild­cats’ next big show­down came on the road against the Moun­taineers, at the time one of the top teams in the coun­try. Kansas State grounded Geno Smith and Co. in a 55-14 blowout.

The Wild­cats fi­nally cracked on a Satur­day night in Waco, Texas. They had climbed to No. 1 in the BCS stand­ings for the first time in school his­tory, but were done in by turnovers and blown as­sign­ments in a 52-24 loss.

Never more was Sny­der’s even keel more valu­able.

Af­ter a week off, the Wild­cats re­turned to the field for their sea­son fi­nale Satur­day night against Texas. They needed a vic­tory to wrap up their first Big 12 ti­tle since 2003, and scored 35 sec­ond-half points in a 4224 vic­tory.

Sny­der even al­lowed a lit­tle smile to slip in the postgame cel­e­bra­tion.

“It means an aw­ful lot to all of us,” he said. “A great deal to the young peo­ple in our pro­gram — they were ex­cited about it. Ob­vi­ously I speak for ev­ery­body in our foot­ball fam­ily, I think it’s sig­nif­i­cant and im­por­tant for each and ev­ery one of us.”

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