Bill Snyder retired as Kansas State’s football coach earlier this month, but the university plans to pay his $3 million contract buyout as if he was terminated from the job without cause.
“The buyout is just something I wanted to do,” K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said on Wednesday. “I think he deserved it for everything he has done.”
Taylor went on to say the $3 million, which the university will pay over the next three years, is “not really a buyout.”
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Snyder signed a new five-year contract in August that increased his salary to $3.5 million annually and his buyout to $3 million. He left potentially more than $14 million on the table by opting to retire at the age of 79 after an incredible 27-year run with the Wildcats.
Taylor told Snyder he wanted to take care of him by providing the buyout, and Snyder accepted.
“He is going to get his $3 million,” Taylor said, “and he deserves every penny for what he has done for this program. I am happy to do it.”
Snyder’s contract also stipulated that upon retirement he will take on a new role with the university as a special ambassador with an annual salary of $250,000 for as long as he is “physically and mentally able.”
The contract reads as though Snyder would receive only his buyout for being terminated without cause or the ambassador job after retiring, but it now seems like he will receive both.
“We don’t know yet exactly what his ambassador role to the university will be,” Taylor said. “It is probably going to be a little bit in athletics and a lot in his leadership studies and then anything else from a donor perspective.”
Snyder was in attendance for new coach Chris Klieman’s introductory news conference. Snyder showed support with a few smiles and claps. Klieman thanked Snyder for all his work with the Wildcats and said he hoped to make him proud.
But Snyder left immediately after the event and chose not to speak with reporters, saying it was Klieman’s day.
Snyder spoke for 30 minutes at K-State’s football banquet over the weekend, but he hasn’t made any public statements. When K-State announced his retirement with a news release, it didn’t include a single quote from Snyder.
Some have suggested that’s a sign that he was forced out, rather than choosing to retire. But Taylor said it was Snyder’s decision to step down. He said it didn’t surprise him that Snyder chose not comment on his retirement.
Snyder’s son, Sean, might also continue to have a role with K-State. Sean Snyder, who was the Wildcats’ special teams coordinator last season, spoke with Klieman for nearly an hour on Wednesday and Klieman said during his news conference that he looks forward to working with him.
That made it sound like Sean Snyder would be retained on staff the same way he was for three years under former coach Ron Prince. But Klieman later clarified that nothing has been finalized on that front.
“I want to continue to visit with Sean,” Klieman said. “He’s been a big part of this program, big part of this success … I want to continue those discussions next week.”
For now, the only certain holdover from Snyder’s staff will be recruiting coordinator Taylor Braet. Klieman said Braet will remain on in some capacity as a recruiter and be given extra support as he looks to broaden K-State’s recruiting staff.
Taylor thanked Snyder for his “invaluable input” throughout the coaching search. Though Snyder didn’t sit in on any interviews with candidates, he did provide his former athletic director with thoughts throughout the week.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Taylor said. “Sure, I imagine if you really drilled down he would say it’s been hard. I walked up, his office was cleared. That’s hard. It’s just hard to walk away from something you have built. I know how hard it was for me to walk away from North Dakota State.
“It’s hard to walk away from something you love. I’m sure it’s not been easy, but he has been phenomenal and very helpful for me. He’s been very supportive. My hat is off to him, but I wouldn’t expect anything less.”