At 6-foot-4 and 303 pounds, Kansas State center B.J. Finney couldn’t hide if he wanted to. Good thing the former walk-on enjoys his role as a leader, team spokesman and three-year captain.
“His leadership is off the charts,” said Jonathan Truman, a senior linebacker from Wichita. “B.J. doesn’t even have to say anything to be a leader. He just demands the best out of people. He demands the best out of the offensive line, and they all look up to him. They know how to work and how to represent our team because of him.”
Finney, a senior from Andale, Kan., thinks there are many reasons why his teammates have voted him a captain three separate times — a rarity at K-State — and why they will continue to look to him for leadership as he begins his fourth and final season. But his willingness to constantly allow himself to be put on the spot by the media is prominent among them.
“That comes with the position of being a leader,” Finney said. “I don’t know exactly why they keep voting me as captain, but they see something in me and they like it, so I will keep doing it as long as they want me to. Media are part of that.
“I want to help guys during the good and the bad. I want to help them handle anything that comes their way. In order to do that, they need to realize I’m not being a front runner, a person who is only visible when things are going good. I have to remain visible and show character and perseverance when times are bad. That is just the way I handle things.”
Some players are unwilling to take on such high-profile responsibilities. Others are not allowed the opportunity.
Wildcat coach Bill Snyder encourages players to participate in interviews when requested by reporters, but it’s not a requirement.
Throughout his career, Finney has never avoided an interview. And Snyder has always given him the green light, even as a freshman.
He does not play a skill position, yet his media attendance rivals that of a star quarterback. He’s been asked to analyze good and bad performances from K-State’s offensive line. By now, no question surprises him.
“He’s a staple,” Snyder said. “He is a good teacher of young people, both in terms of values and fundamentals on the field. He is one of those young guys who has learned how to, and is not afraid to, step into a demanding leadership role. I appreciate that, because that is not an easy thing for any young person to do. That has been extremely beneficial for us.”
Finney values leadership, because he knows he can deliver it consistently. Sometimes he will block well. Sometimes he won’t. But he can always set a good example.
He still remembers the emotions of being selected a player representative as a freshman. And he will never forget the rush of being named a captain as a sophomore.
“It was humbling,” Finney said. “It was a blessing.”
It still is.