Snyder to coach Wildcats for final time Saturday

Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder, who took over a downtrodden program in 1989 and orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in college football history, has told his team he will retire at the end of this football season, ESPN confirmed Monday night.

Snyder will make the announcement on Tuesday at his weekly news conference, two players told ESPN on condition of anonymity late Monday night.

Don Marso, father of senior defensive tackle Derek Marso, said Snyder told the team after Monday's practice that his 17th season as Wildcats coach would be his last.

"I am told it was a teary-eyed meeting," Marso told ESPN's Joe Schad. "It was understandably emotional."

The Wildcats (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) will not play in a bowl for the second straight year after making a bowl in 11 straight seasons. Their final game of the season is Saturday against Missouri.

Snyder, 66, will best be remembered for taking over a moribund program and leading it to the cusp of a national title. The Wildcats were 1-10 in his first season but improved to 5-6 in 1990 and 7-4 in 1991 before falling back to 5-6 again in 1992. But then came the string of 11 straight seasons to end with a bowl game.

Snyder is 135-68-1 in his 16-plus seasons at Kansas State, but the three-year stretch from the 1997-99 seasons is the pinnacle for what a Kansas State coach has achieved and the example of how the big one got away from one of the winningest programs in college football in the 1990s.

Snyder's 1997 Wildcats were hammered 56-36 by old Big 8 nemesis Nebraska in the fourth game of the season before easily running the table to finish 11-1 and ranked No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and No. 8 by AP.

But the 1998 team suffered the most bitter disappointment, cruising into the Big 12 title game undefeated to play double-digit underdog Texas A&M. The Aggies won 36-33 and took away the Wildcats' shot at a national title. Snyder's team capped the disappointment with a 37-34 loss to Purdue in the Alamo Bowl.

The 1999 team came into the Nebraska game 9-0 but left Lincoln with another crushing defeat, 41-15, and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. A 24-20 victory over Washington raised the Wildcats' record to 11-1 and a No. 6 ranking in both polls.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.