WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) spoke on the Senate floor to celebrate Coach Bill Snyder’s career as Kansas State University’s head football coach, and honored his impact on K-State, the city of Manhattan and Kansas. Coach Snyder recently announced his retirement after 27 seasons at the helm of K-State’s football program.
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Sen. Moran’s full remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Last Sunday, Kansas State University Head Football Coach Bill Snyder announced his retirement, marking the end of his 56 year career coaching football and 27 year tenure in Manhattan, Kansas.
“Coach Snyder made his debut with the K-State football program in 1989. He took the helm of a program that was known as ‘Futility U’ and ‘America’s most hapless team.’ When he arrived, the Wildcats hadn’t won a single game in the previous two seasons, and had the most losses of any Division One football team. During the now-famous press conference at the early stages of his tenure at K-State, Coach Snyder remarked that, ‘I think the opportunity for the greatest turnaround in college football exists here today, and it’s not one to be taken lightly.’
“Kansans know well today that Coach Snyder lived up to those words.
“Coach Snyder boasts a great deal of accolades in his storied career: 215 career wins, 19 bowl game appearances and two Big 12 championships – which seems especially remarkable, given the state of the program when he took over as head coach.
“Deeply engrained in Coach Snyder’s legacy is the work he’s done off the field developing young men, contributing to the community, giving back and inspiring so many. Coach Snyder’s ‘16 Goals for Success’ have served as guidelines for his players on and off the field. Snyder said that if his players followed these goals – goals such as: ‘Never Give Up,’ ‘Don’t Accept Losing,’ and ‘Eliminate Mistakes . . . then success would come.’
“His ‘16 goals’ represent his own legendary paradigm – that our work is never over and the journey to success is never really finished.
“His impact at the University and in Manhattan have reached far beyond the field, where he’s helped to increase student enrollment, boost the local economy, and fund major renovation projects across K-State’s campus that have allowed for groundbreaking work at the university. Coach Snyder’s involvement, support and close work with the Johnson Cancer Center at K-State has helped to advance the groundbreaking, scientific research being done there that will one day save lives.
“His work in the community to mentor young men and women, develop community leaders and inspire philanthropy has changed lives across our state. His focus on ‘family’ has created and contributed to a remarkable culture in Manhattan.
“Coach Snyder has had to overcome numerous challenges during his tenure as a coach, but he’s faced those with the same grit and mental toughness that he’s instilled in his players. Even while battling cancer, coach still hit the road to travel Kansas on Catbacker tours – he didn’t let anyone or anything get in the way of him meeting with the program’s most loyal fans – a large number of them rural Kansans.
“Coach’s love for traveling the state and meeting with rural Kansans is something we both share, but I think often times Kansans might be more excited to talk about football than politics. Coach Snyder repeatedly says he came to Kansas State University because of the people, stayed because of the people, and returned because of the people.
“To get to Manhattan, Kansas, you take Bill Snyder Family Highway. To go to a K-State football game, you go to Bill Snyder Family Stadium. And on your way into the stadium, you walk by a larger-than-life statue of Coach Bill Snyder. His legacy is permanently sealed in the K-State and Manhattan community.
“History will remember Coach Snyder as an incredibly successful football coach and developer of young men . . . someone with an extraordinary work ethic and a high level of integrity. I appreciate the impact Coach Bill Snyder has had at Kansas State University – his legacy will be forever enshrined there. Robba and I wish all the best for Coach, Sharon, and the entire Snyder family in this new chapter of their lives.”