It’s time for another K-State Q&A.
Let’s get right to your questions. There were a lot of them this week.
Thoughts? I’ve got a few.
My main reaction to the report is that it illustrates just how tricky the situation is going to be whenever Bill Snyder decides to retire and Kansas State tries to name a replacement. We have always known that Snyder wanted the job to go to his son, but I feel like many believed Snyder was willing to compromise and approve another candidate from his coaching tree, especially if he kept Sean on staff. This report makes you wonder if, in Snyder’s mind, there is a Plan B. Maybe he stubbornly only sees a Plan A.
Leavitt would have checked all those boxes. But that didn’t matter, according to this report. To read that he allegedly stopped a deal with someone like that in favor of nepotism is telling.
It made me think back to a conversation I had with him before his Hall of Fame induction two years ago when I got him to open up a little bit about K-State’s future coaching options. I asked: Would he consider recommending anyone other than Sean to be his successor, should K-State one day ask for his input on other candidates. His response: “I could probably name a lot of people that I think would be good.” Then, after a long pause, he said he wanted what was best for K-State and that is why he recommends his son.
“He has been tremendously helpful to me there,” Snyder said then. “In all reality, he runs the program. When you get right down to it, he is the guy that has all the information and knows which decisions to make and knows how to make them and does it all with my approval. He is pretty special.”
In that story, he also admitted K-State’s athletic director, not him, would make the call.
While that’s true, you have to imagine new athletic director Gene Taylor will at least seek Snyder’s blessing on any hire. His contract states he is supposed to have “appropriate input” on the topic. But this report makes you wonder if he is so dead set on his son that he won’t endorse anyone else.
There were always going to be politics involved. But the transition looks even trickier at the moment.
I wouldn’t say that. A different website reported late Thursday that there was never a verbal agreement in place between Leavitt and K-State. So there is some doubt here.
It seems like parts of the report are definitely true, while other parts feel sketchy.
K-State insiders confirmed to me that Leavitt was Currie’s choice to replace Snyder. They talked regularly and had meetings where they discussed the future. One booster described the Leavitt/Currie connection as a “poorly kept secret.” But most of the people I spoke with sounded surprised that they got that far along and were unaware of a financial discussions, particularly the $3 million clause should Snyder coach for several more years.
None of my insiders said the report was definitely true or totally false.
NCAA rules limit head coaches-in-waiting from recruiting like full-time assistants. So why would K-State push for a HCIW, instead of just making Leavitt a highly paid DC with a handshake agreement that he is next in line? There was also no vacancy on the coaching staff last December. How did they plan to make room for Leavitt? And if Currie or Richard Myers wanted to do all this, did they keep Snyder in the loop or try to spring it on him all at once? How did they present it to Snyder? Was it forced on him? Was it a proposal? Was it mentioned as a possibility in an informal conversation and Snyder expressed doubts? If someone presented it to him out of the blue, that could explain why he may have shot down the plan.
Here’s what I know to be true: Leavitt wants the job, Currie wanted Leavitt to get the job, Sean Snyder wants the job, Bill Snyder wants his son to get the job and Bill Snyder wants to pick his replacement. There are a lot of politics involved in this situation.
Everything else remains up for speculation.
Bill Snyder has as much influence as K-State’s athletic director and president allow him to have.
The last time Currie negotiated a contract with Snyder, coach wanted athletic director to give him final say on the next football hire and to put it in writing. The two sides eventually settled on Snyder getting “appropriate input” on his replacement. That’s a vague description. What does it mean?
For Currie, it probably didn’t mean all that much. But if Gene Taylor wants to put that decision in Snyder’s hands, it means he can. If Taylor feels like consulting with him on the decision is enough, but the final decision is his, that’s where Snyder’s input will end.
My twitter mentions exploded with fans wondering if Snyder has the power to veto the athletic director on this decision. He doesn’t.
How much say should Snyder have in the next football coach? That’s a question that could be debated forever. But the answer lies with his superiors.
Bill Snyder was not a fan of John Currie.
Bill Snyder is a big fan of Gene Taylor.
That’s a major difference. The entirety of this report occurred well before Taylor arrived in Manhattan. Since his arrival, Snyder has said nothing but good things about Taylor and they seem to have a great working relationship. No matter what happens, Taylor respects Snyder and will make him feel heard on this topic.
Question is: could that change if Taylor puts his foot down and tries to hire someone other than Sean.
Surely there is a compromise out there that could make both sides happy.
Here is what I envision: Bill Snyder and Gene Taylor sitting down and talking about the candidates. If Snyder remains adamant his son is the ideal choice, then Taylor grants him a formal interview for the position and hears him out. But if Taylor has other candidates in mind, Snyder legitimately considers those names.
Deep down, Snyder has to know there are many more qualified coaches than his son. If Taylor feels the same way, he needs to be like one of the nice judges on American Idol and explain that reality to him in a way he can accept. He can’t go all Simon Cowell. Or maybe Taylor likes Sean and hires him on the spot.
I feel like K-State should consult Snyder, but make its own decision.
It could be that he only trusts his son. It could be that he feels like his son would allow him to remain involved, even in retirement. It could be something else entirely.
Do we know Sean Snyder would run the program exactly how his father has? Given complete control today, I suspect Sean would change at least a few things about how the program was run.
More than anything, I feel like Snyder was kept out of the loop last time K-State hired a football coach. He asked to come out of retirement and keep his job almost immediately after the 2005 season, something many have speculated made it difficult for the Wildcats to pursue Leavitt back then. K-State ultimately hired a dud and Snyder came back and got things going. He probably thinks he is best qualified to name his replacement.
Based on the radio interviews I listened to from Brett McMurphy yesterday, I don’t know that anyone “leaked” the story to him. He is currently between jobs, posting stories to his Facebook page. If someone is going to go out of their way to “leak” a story, there are bigger platforms to “leak” that story to.
He is a veteran reporter and he was curious about why Jim Leavitt had a K-State loophole in his contract and he went digging for information. He has covered Currie and Leavitt before, so that probably helped. Long story short: I don’t know who his sources are and it would be unfair of me to speculate.
That would really be something.
The folks out in Phoenix know how to treat the media, and Jim Leavitt would be available for interviews at least one day leading up to the game. Again, that would really be something.
Brent Venables is the name I hear most from K-State fans dreaming of Bill Snyder’s replacement, but I can’t say I have heard anything about K-State administrators actually meeting with him. Even two years ago when the rumor mill went wild over claims that Venables was being considered for the exact same DC/HCIW role, people in the know said there was nothing to it and mentioned Leavitt as a more realistic possibility.
There has also long been a belief in K-State circles that Snyder would be hesitant to bless Venables as his successor, because of the way he left for Oklahoma in 1998. Times change, and I think Venables will be a great head coach. So maybe that’s no longer the case. But it could be an issue.
I doubt Gene Taylor has looked ahead that far. He seems more focused on supporting Bill Snyder and dealing with hiring a coach whenever that day comes.
Enough hypothetical questions! Let’s get to the stuff that really matters, like this.
I just bought a turkey fryer, so I am much more focused on eating the most delicious turkey of all time than sides, but here we go:
1. Stuffing: This is the only time of year you get to eat it, and it’s so good.
2. Mashed potatoes: Throw on some gravy and you’ve got one heck of a side.
3. Rolls: I don’t eat rolls with many meals, so I always load up on them at Thanksgiving.
4. Green bean casserole: I like the stuff, but I eat it throughout the year. Not that special.
5. Creamed corn: I will take a spoonful.
6. Yams: My parents always forced yams on me, and they were never my favorite. Sorry mom and dad. I’ve graduated to mashed potatoes.
7. Cranberry sauce: Get off my plate.
K-State has been eliminated from the Big 12 championship mix. The title game will be Oklahoma vs. TCU/Oklahoma State/West Virginia.
You could come back in late December and maybe see K-State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, though.
Not the best day to announce that news, if you are hoping to draw any kind of attention to it.
I guess Kansas State and Missouri will be cool in five years. It’s an easy trip for both fan bases. Personally, I wish they made it a three-year deal, with a game at Arrowhead Stadium on top of the ones in Columbia and Manhattan.
I blame the schedule.
Basketball attendance is bad virtually everywhere this time of year, and the awful games don’t help. Who wants to watch Kansas State pummel UMKC on a Tuesday night in November?
The crowd was decent for the opener against American, but that was the opener. And it was Friday night with a football game the next day. There was reason to be around.
Bruce Weber needs to find a way to get better opponents inside Bramlage Coliseum if he wants bigger crowds for nonconference games.
That’s K-State twitter for you. The only thing it dislikes more than Bruce Weber might be Dana Dimel ... and a bombshell report that Snyder blocked a plan for Leavitt to become HCIW.
I’m with you, though. The basketball product has been good so far. Granted, it’s come against overmatched competition, but the Wildcats look like they should have a good team this year.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett