November 28, 2013
By Mark Janssen
On this Turkey Day in the Wildcat Nation the list could go on, and on, and on, and on with what K-Staters are thankful for. But for most, the name Bill Snyder would be among the top three, or two ... or one ... on your Thanksgiving Bucket List.
It's easy to be thankful for the Big 12 championships, or olden days Big 12 North crowns, or, just burying all those former losing streaks with single wins here and there.
As an athletic department, Kansas State has expressed its appreciation with a stadium that carries his name - Bill Snyder Family Stadium - and now a life-sized statue that stands with pride in front of that football home.
While all of that has been well documented and enthusiastically cheered, here's a tidbit that some of you might have missed that tells more of the type of person we have guiding the Wildcat football team.
It made news earlier in the year after a loss to North Dakota State ... still an unbeaten team, by the way ... that Snyder penned a letter to Bison quarterback Brock Jensen:
Congratulations Brock. I was truly impressed with you and your
teammates. You played so very well and virtually error-free
with such poise. I wish you a great year and hope you achieve all you
desire. Please share my thoughts with your teammates.
Then earlier this month when Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro was injured in a loss to Baylor, Snyder again took time out of his schedule for a hand-written note to the player who had nine catches for 67 yards against K-State the week before.
You've had a great year Jace, Admire how
hard you play and the innate toughness you display
to help your team. Hope you weren't hurt badly on
Saturday. Wishing you and your teammates continued
success, good fortune and health.
Taking time to write the notes demonstrated the class in a football coach that we can all be thankful for. This isn't to say it's the first time that a head football coach took time to jot a note to a rival player, but here's guessing that the list is a short one.
What you might not know is that Bill Snyder has done this since day-one of his stay at Kansas State.
Upon accepting the K-State job in 1989 a former high school buddy from St. Joseph, Mo., dropped Snyder a congratulatory note.
Snyder was quick to send a reply:
Nothing is more important to me than hearing from friends like yourself,
who care enough to write or call. It was great to hear from you.
This is certainly a monumental task here. The opportunity is unique and challenging,
and one that I am enthused about. I hope all is well with you and that you
enjoy a pleasant holiday season. Thanks for being special
Warm personal regards,
In part, these small, but so meaningful gestures of kindness, is what makes Bill Snyder, Bill Snyder, and Bill Snyder the coach that he is ... and who we are so thankful for.
Today Snyder lives by a 10-word passage that was emphasized by coach Norris Patterson, who he played for at William Jewell College. It was a passage that originally came from Michelangelo:
Little things are trifles;
Trifles make perfection;
Perfection's no trifle
Twenty-five some years later, the wordage is a focal point of the Kansas State playbook.