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Pinkel praises Snyder for return

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Big 12 coaches said they were excited about the return of Kansas State coach Bill Snyder to the conference. Snyder led the Wildcats to the 2003 conference championship and three conference championship games.

But Missouri coach Gary Pinkel doesn't think he could duplicate Snyder's return, particularly after a three-year sabbatical from football.

"I told some of our staff, 'If I do that when I'm 69, I hope somebody comes and takes me out,' " Pinkel said. "But everybody's different. Look at coach Paterno. Everybody's got to do what they've got to do. But I know that Bill is a great football coach. And I know he knows how to build a program and run it. I was very surprised, but obviously he missed coaching a lot and he's looking forward to getting back in."

Texas coach Mack Brown, the current dean of Big 12 coaches, said he's excited about seeing one of the original coaches from the conference return.

"Every time I was seeing him you could tell he was missing coaching and the excitement of the game," Brown said. "He's one of the best. To see what he's done there is amazing."

Brown said his wife, Sally, has frequently mentioned the need for a sabbatical for coaches to refresh theselvves after the stress and long hours involved in building a program.

"You start eating better and getting into shape and feeling better and in six or eight months you start looking for a new job," Brown said. "When you are coaching you are always tired and trying to get things fixed. And then when you get away, you see how much you miss it."

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said that he has ample respect for Snyder, learning from two of his direct coaching proteges. Leach formerly worked with Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and later had former KSU special teams coach Manny Matsakis on his staff.

"Bill Snyder is one of the most impressive coaches in the history of the game," Leach said. "I don't know him well, but I try to draw from his organizational abilities in building a program. Manny used to work with him and would always talk about how Bill would have done this or that in terms of organizing recruiting. Bill is one of the coaches I admire most."