September 1, 2013
By Kelly McHugh
When K-State fans walk into the new West Stadium Center of Bill Snyder Family Stadium they will be greeted by a statue of a man who will forever be remembered in the hearts of so many K-State football fans.
The man is known as the architect of the greatest turnaround in college football history - he's the man who brought Manhattan, Kan., back to life back in 1989.
Though many have tried, it's almost impossible to put in to words how much K-State football coach Bill Snyder means to K-State and Manhattan, but now through the work of Kansas City sculptor Spencer Schubert of E.S. Schubert Commercial Sculpture Studios, a statue of the beloved coach will stand for all to see, cherish and create memories and traditions for years to come.
"Coach Snyder is such a beloved figure - it's always a good thing to make sculptures of people like that," Schubert said. "The only thing I'd rather do, all day long, other than spend time with my family, is move clay around, so when anyone offers me the opportunity to do that it's a great honor, and this, this especially, is a huge honor."
Schubert was joined at the statue unveiling by his wife Ryann, his two daughters and, he said, about 17 other family members all excited to see his work of art presented for the first time.
Schubert began his career in sculpting 13 years ago, but said the statue of Snyder, which took him just over six months to complete, is the most remarkable statue he has sculpted in his career.
"This is the most honorable and rewarding project I have done," Schubert said looking up at the 11.5 foot monument. "It's nice to do something that people are going to absolutely love. K-State fans are the biggest fans of fandom, so this is awesome."
The statue was presented to the Snyder family and all of K-State Family at the West Stadium Center dedication on Friday morning.
Snyder's wife, Sharon, five children, Sean, Shannon, Meredith, Ross and Whitney, grandchildren, Sydney, Katherine, Tate, Matthew, Alexis, Gavin, Kadin and Tylin, and his great-grandson, D.J., were all in attendance of the unveiling.
At the podium, Bill Snyder spoke about the day in 2005, before he first retired, when he was asked about renaming the then KSU Stadium after him.
"I would consent to it if (they) put 'family' on the stadium, and quite obviously that means a lot of things," Snyder said during the ceremony, "first and foremost, to me, it means my immediate family who have their fingerprints all over this, and it's their passion, it's their character, it's their sacrifice. We talked about truly making a family sacrifice - these are the people who have done it. All the children, all the grandchildren, they're just amazing, wonderful young people and I hope that all of your children and grandchildren grow up to be as ours have. We've been very, very blessed and fortunate."
The base of the statue displays the handprints of the entire Snyder family, so today, his family's fingerprints are, quite literally, a part of the stadium.
Schubert said he worked closely with Sharon Snyder to make sure the statue was exactly what the family would want.
"Sharon came out to the studio three or four times, and then for the final approval Sharon and Whitney came down together," Schubert said. "When Whitney saw it she said, 'Every time I see my dad I just want to give him a hug! I just want to give that (statue) a big hug!' and I was like, 'alright!'"
Schubert said working with the Snyder family to complete his work of art was an honor and he can't wait to see the traditions that will be created through the statue in the years to come.
"Sharon's hand is right on the corner," Schubert said as he laid his hand on his artwork, "If you touch bronze repeatedly it polishes it into brass and I'm sure that, 10 years from now, there will be something, his shoe or her hand, and it will be polished and become tradition. I think that's a pretty neat thing."
The statue is located just outside of the main entrance of the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and you can click here to read more about the unveiling.