Prince's KSU coaching tenure finishes Saturday

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Ron Prince era concludes Saturday at Kansas State in the stadium named for his predecessor who also happens to be one of the top rumored candidates to replace him.

Prince will take his team onto the field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the final time and unsure what the future holds.

Despite that uncertainty, Prince said he finishes his three-year run as the Wildcats' coach without any second thoughts about the job he has done. His passion for coaching remains strong, he says.

"I don't know what will happen for me," Prince said. "We'll see what comes to us. My focus on coaching has been making this season as good as we can for the seniors. To this point, we haven't been able to do what we wanted, but there will be time for that to come to us later."

Prince carries a 16-20 career record into Saturday's game against Iowa State. The Wildcats are mired in a five-game losing streak after finishing last season on a four-game losing skid that kept them out of bowl contention after a 5-3 start.

His coaching tenure has been marked with a few notable highs. Prince upset highly ranked Texas teams in 2006 and 2007, using the victory in his first season to springboard into the Texas Bowl.

But defensive struggles in the last two seasons have undone his plans for the program. KSU yielded an average of 49.5 points per game in a four-game losing streak that ended last season.

The Wildcats have been blistered by opposing offenses again this season, ranking among the bottom 10 teams nationally in scoring defense (tied for 110th), rushing defense (114th) and total defense (114th). Opponents have ripped KSU for an average of 51.8 points per game over the last four games as it has gashed for at least 500 yards of total offense by opponents seven times in a disappointing 4-7 campaign this season.

Those struggles led KSU athletic director Bob Krause to pull the plug on Prince's tenure on Nov. 5. The Wildcats have responded by losing the last two games that Prince has coached since his fate was determined. His three-season tenure will end up being the second-shortest for any coach in Big 12 history, trailing only the two-season term given to Dave Roberts by Baylor in 1997-98.

KSU players say they have been impressed with the way that Prince has handled his fate after his dismissal was announced.

"He's been exactly the same coach as he was before," KSU tight end Brett Alstatt said. "He's handled this with a lot of class and shown us the right way to handle adversity. He's going to finish this the way he started things. And if we pay attention to those kinds of things I think we can all learn from how he's been the last few weeks."

Kicker Brooks Rossman said that Prince's influence will remain strong with him as he finishes his career.

"He's not only our coach on the field, but also a father figure to a lot of the guys on the team," Rossman said. "I feel like I became a better man by coming through his program. He's definitely taught us how to handle negative things with the utmost class. He's definitely a role model I will aspire to be like."