Sean Snyder received K-State legend Bill Snyder’s blessing before joining KU football

·4 min read

Sean Snyder, son of legendary Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder, didn’t think too hard about joining the KU football coaching staff.

After all, he had his father’s blessing.

Sean was named special assistant to head coach Lance Leipold, Kansas announced on Friday.

“He (Bill) and I talked about it and he wants to see me coaching, doing what I do, and he’s really happy,” Sean Snyder said on Saturday. “He’s looking forward to whatever comes out of it. It’s been really good. He’s been very, very supportive of everything I’ve done from USC to Illinois to here to whatever the next move becomes. The hope is if (I) stay here, great, and if it’s somewhere else, it’s somewhere else.”

Sean Snyder played at football at Kansas State and had a lengthy coaching career there as well. He is in the K-State Ring of Honor and the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame.

On the other hand, Bill Snyder is a College Football Hall of Fame member and widely considered one of the best coaches in Big Eight/Big 12 history, if not college football history. He’s also a former multi-time national coach of the year, multi-time Big Eight and Big 12 Coach of the Year and helped rebuild K-State’s football program in two different coaching stints.

Kansas State even named its stadium — Bill Snyder Family Stadium — after the legendary coach.

Naturally, there’s been some uproar by Wildcat fans on social media — KU is their biggest rival, after all.

“I can tell you, I haven’t looked at social media,” Sean Snyder said. “I just kind of leave that stuff alone.”

Still, Snyder said the overall reaction to this move has been positive. He said he received over 130 congratulatory texts after taking the job.

How exactly did the younger Snyder land in Lawrence?

It all goes back to a connection with Collin Sexton, an associate athletic director at KU. Sexton played on special teams under the Snyder duo at K-State.

KU was interested in Snyder dating back to last season, before he took Illinois’ special teams coaching job.

“I followed the program last year (closer) than I normally would have because there was interest there from Collin and coach Leipold,” Snyder said. “Collin and I talked and I got the opportunity to come over here and visit. My short visits turned to long visits with coach Leipold.”

Sean Snyder has an impressive resume with over two decades of coaching experience. He had a long tenure at K-State, a two-year stint (2020-21) at USC and spent last season at Illinois.

He also has plenty of hardware — he was named the national Special Teams Coordinator of the Year in 2015 by both FootballScoop and Phil Steele. He again received the honor from Phil Steele in 2017.

Kansas State Wildcats associate head coach Sean Snyder (R) talks to head coach Bill Snyder (L) against the Baylor Bears at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on Nov. 5, 2015.
Kansas State Wildcats associate head coach Sean Snyder (R) talks to head coach Bill Snyder (L) against the Baylor Bears at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on Nov. 5, 2015.

Leipold said Snyder’s duties include helping coach special teams and defense, football operations and even in-state high school football recruiting.

“I think it was too good of an opportunity to not to explore this,” Leipold said, “and a chance for us as a program to get better.”

Leipold has only had a personal relationship with Snyder for about three weeks, but he’s already made an impression on Snyder.

“I like a lot of the things he talks about,” Snyder said. “He talks about loyalty and commitment in life and people. Those things are important — having integrity.”

Snyder also likes what he’s seen from KU practices after two days.

“Practices are well organized with a good tempo,” Snyder said. “Kids are engaged. The coaches do a great job and the coaches are really engaged with the players. They do a good job of pushing on the runs. … There’s a lot of good, positive things.”

Ultimately, KU football fits what Snyder has searched for in a program since he started coaching.

“I was dead set on I’m going to work for good people,” Snyder said. “I want to be in a place where everybody’s marching in the same path, in the same direction. Everybody’s got all hands on deck.

“That’s how it worked for us back when Dad and I were back at K-State. I’ve tried to get into positions where I am working with good people.”