Snyder to coach Wildcats for final time Saturday

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, Bill Snyder retired Tuesday from the Kansas State program he coached from college football's depths to a spot among the nation's elite.

The 66-year-old Snyder, Kansas State's coach since 1989, said
health was not a factor.

"As far as I know, my doctor has not complained -- well, he's
complained about some of my habits," Snyder said. "But to my
knowledge, I'm physically fine."

Athletic director Tim Weiser said no timetable had been set for
choosing Snyder's successor. Snyder, who signed a six-year contract
extension in 2001, will remain under contract as the football coach
until his successor is hired.

After that, he will stay on as a special assistant to Weiser,
the school said.

With Kansas State failing to qualify for a bowl for a second
straight year, Snyder's final game will be Saturday against
Missouri. The stadium will be renamed Bill Snyder Family Stadium,
the university said.

"Family" was a common theme during Snyder's news conference,
with the coach repeatedly fighting back tears almost every time he
said that word.

And although Snyder's health might not be at issue, he talked
several times about the toll his schedule -- long hours spent at the
office, breaking down film and preparing game plans from the
predawn dark to late at night -- has taken on his family life.

"I've not been the kind of father that I should have been, and
the kind of husband," said Snyder, who has five children and eight

When Snyder took over the Wildcats' program, Kansas State was
the only major college team with 500 losses.

He is 135-68-1 in Manhattan, including a run of 11 straight bowl
games that began with the 1993 season. But after winning the Big 12
championship in 2003, Kansas State has stumbled to two straight
losing seasons.

Kansas State, (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) has failed to qualify for a bowl
game for the second straight year, the first time since 1991 and
1992 that Kansas State missed bowl games in consecutive seasons.

Snyder went 1-10 in his first season, but his team steadily
improved. In 1993, the Wildcats appeared in a bowl game for the
second time in school history, defeating Wyoming in the Copper

By the late 1990s, with Michael Bishop at quarterback, they were
a national championship contender.

Snyder had his team on the brink of playing for a national title
in 1998 before Texas A&M upset the previously undefeated Wildcats
in the Big 12 championship game. Kansas State then opened 9-0 the
following season before being routed at Nebraska in 1999.

Stepping away after a successful season would have made things
harder on his successor, Snyder said Tuesday. But with 18 starters
scheduled to return next year -- although some of them could
transfer -- Snyder said he is leaving the next coach in a better
situation than the one he inherited in 1989.

"Some of the glow is off the program," he said. "The
expectations are not going to be quite so high," he said. "But
this can be a good program. The foundation is there."

Freshman quarterback Allan Evridge, who won the starting job at
midseason, agreed.

"I feel a good coach can come in and get this thing rolling
right away," said Evridge, who learned of Snyder's decision in a
team meeting Monday night. "This year didn't play out the way we
wanted it to, but there's a great future and a lot of promise."

That doesn't make Snyder's decision -- or his contention that the
program would be better off in other hands -- any easier to take,
university president Jon Wefald said.

"There is nobody else in this room, and certainly nobody in
this administration that shares his belief," said Wefald, who was
president when the former Iowa assistant was hired in 1989. "Our
thought would be that he would continue on for months and years to