Monday, November 24, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Today Bill Snyder will be announced as the replacement for recently fired Ron Prince at Kansas State University. This might be one of the most bizarre moves in major college football history and it didn't just start with the firing of Prince and the impending glorious return of the Wildcat's legend Bill Snyder and I'll make the case that they are crazy.

The caveat to my post this morning is that to recognize that Bill Snyder presided over the most incredible turnaround in a college program in history. The program was hapless and had gone without a win for at least 2 years if not 3 before he got there. In the course of a few years he took the team on a incredible 10 year run (1993-2003) culminating in a couple legitimate runs at National Championships. That deserves credit. To all of us Jayhawks it was torture to watch but certainly you had to respect it.

I think people forget about the last 2 years of his run at K-State. He had losing seasons in both those years and my recollection is that people were starting to grumble that the game and the rigors of recruiting had passed him. They were saying they needed to move on to keep the program moving up. They said he was tired and old. Also remember this was a team with players. Darren Sproles, who we watched last night play against the Chiefs, was a member of those last two campaigns. Finally, he lost to Kansas in 2004 and barely beat Kansas in Manhattan in 2005. Nope, the bloom had fallen off the flower in Manhattan by then and K-State fans were hungry for a return to the 11 win seasons.

So how did this happen? Of course we all know that absence makes the heart grow fonder. They should remember his legacy for the run from 93-03 and not those past two years.....if he had stayed retired. But now that he is coming back doesn't it make sense to examine what happened to them have two consecutive losing seasons with NFL players on the roster?

The problem lies in that when the man was coaching he didn't have time to talk with fans and boosters and the success insulated him. When he retired he stuck around. They should have told him that he didn't need to come around anymore. It isn't the pressure of the new coach that was the problem it was all the cups of coffee playing armchair head coach with boosters and administrators that was the problem. I can imagine he sat there and told them all what he would do to stop Reesing from beating them and they all nodded in agreement until finally some booster came up with a great idea.

That fondness for the past works both ways too. Over time Snyder probably forgot how the 12-15 hour days made the middle 60 year old tired and how the loses made him worry his legacy would be tarnished. It made him remember the fun and not the grind of replacing coaches who ran off to head coaches by using his resume as a proxy for their own and then promoting guys he was loyal to but weren't near as good only to have that confirmed when nobody else was calling to hire them away from you. He forgot and the fans forgot. Their big mistake was letting him hang around. His staff was horrible in those last couple years and he refused to fire anyone.

This is a bad idea and I might be the only one to call it. It isn't as bad as when he started back in 1988 not even close but the Big 12 North is different too and it won't be as easy to get past a former patsy in Kansas, and new monster in Missouri and a Nebraska that is finally showing signs of life again under Bo Pellini. Back in 1993 they only had to really prove they could beat Nebraska. Today they can't beat Colorado. The South has become a multi team monster as well with few easy wins either.

Rarely do these remarriages work in life nor probably sports. He will not bring this team back to the 11 win days of 1993-2003 and the fans will accept not much less. Can he get them back to 6-6 and bowl eligible? Certainly, these players are good enough that a little better coaching should get them a couple more wins but I don't think the Fort Worth Sisters of Big Hair Bowl will satisfy the faithful.

As a Jayhawk I guess this makes me happy. I was concerned that the guy from TCU was coming up here and that would have been trouble for Jayhawks. Whew....we can rest a little easier that KU won't have to get much better to keep beating K-State. Unlike our purple friends, I am happy with a nice bowl 2 out of 3 years as long as we beat K-State most of the time and Missouri some of the time. marks a milestone in that this is my 150th post since Life in SOJOCO was launched! Rock Chalk Jayhawk.
Here is Ms. November from the Women of KU calendar. This is Stephanie from Newton, Kansas. I would have featured a young lady from the Women of K-State Calendar except....uh....couldn't find one. What's that say? Moooooooove Over K-State girls.
When does the 2009 Calendar come out?????

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