Former K-State lineman and current interior defensive line coach Mo Latimore is the longest tenured assistant coach in the Big 12 Conference - and second longest in the country - entering his 31st season at K-State
August 24, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
It's no secret that K-State football embraces a rich family tradition.
However, did you know that K-State football is at the top of the national list with five coaches on its coaching staff who are also graduates and former players?
The only school with that high of a number of former players on staff is Big 12 opponent Texas Tech. However, while the Red Raiders, led by former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, also have five coaches who played in their program, none of the five have coached at their alma mater for more than two years.
K-State's coaching staff? The group combined has coached through 38 years of Wildcat football. From Mo Latimore, who began as a graduate assistant at K-State in 1976, to the most recent Blake Seiler, who began his full-time coaching career at K-State in 2013, there is no doubt this group embraces the K-State family tradition.
They did, in fact, each play an important role in building it.
"I think it's unique, and I think the thing that's really good about it is we've all been in the system and we understand Kansas State," explained associate head coach and special teams coordinator Sean Snyder, a 1994 graduate of Kansas State. "We all understand what it takes to be successful here and then there's the camaraderie within that as well. The one thing we all have is, we have a deep passion for Kansas State. We have a passion for what has happened here in the past and what will happen here in the future. That's really important to all of us."
With five successful former players coaching this generation of K-State football players, there is no doubt the current staff's collective knowledge of the program runs deep.
K-State Sports Extra had the opportunity to speak with each about coaching alongside guys who have all been through the program as well. Here is a bit about each of them and what they had to say.
MO LATIMORE - Interior Defensive Line Coach
A former All-American lineman for the Wildcats in the early 1970s, Latimore is the longest tenured assistant coach in the Big 12 Conference - and second longest in the country - entering his 31st season at K-State. He has helped the Wildcats to 11 seasons of nine or more wins and 15 bowl games.
During his time as a player at K-State, Latimore became one of the Wildcats' top linemen and remains among the top linemen in K-State history. In 1971, Latimore played in the Senior Bowl and the North-South Bowl before being drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets.
Latimore cherishes his time coaching at K-State and said there's no where else he would rather be.
"I tell you what, it's really, really nice and really neat that when you get to come back and coach at a place that you played at," said Latimore with a smile. "The people have been unbelievably spectacular. We've had some great teams here and great followings from our fans over the years, so everything has been really top notch. I'm really, really pleased with it.
"All these guys that I coach with, they're great guys, great individuals, fathers and husbands, all that kind of stuff, and that's what this business is all about: surrounding yourself with good people."
DANA DIMEL - Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs/Tight Ends
Dimel graduated from K-State in 1986 after lettering two seasons (1985-86) with the Wildcats as an offensive lineman. Starting as a graduate assistant, Dimel climbed the ranks of the K-State coaching staff and spent 10 years (1986-96) coaching for the Wildcats before taking over as head coach at Wyoming in 1997. After three seasons at Wyoming, Dimel went on to become the head coach at Houston (2000-02) and an assistant at Arizona (2006-08) before returning to K-State in 2009.
"Kansas State is a great place, and it's a little bit different because you really have to understand the history of it," explained Dimel. "We talk about how you have to learn how to coach the guys, teach them and how to do well here and have success. So having a lot of the guys who played in the system now coaching, there's a lot of camaraderie and that true family feeling that we talk about.
"I think really to understand where we are, you have to understand where we've been, the low lows before coach even got here. My first three years of coaching we were 1-31-1, how about that? So I saw where the deficiencies were and I saw the disappointments that the program went through. I saw the turnaround and what it took to get it done. It's been a great process to be a part of."
SEAN SNYDER - Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/Director of Football Operations
Snyder graduated from K-State in 1994 and has spent the past two decades as a member of the staff. A former All-American punter, Snyder became a member of K-State's Inaugural Ring of Honor Class in 2002 for his successful playing career. Along with his First Team All-America honors, Snyder was tabbed the Big Eight Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 1991 and was named to the First Team All-Big Eight squad in 1992.
Proud of the K-State tradition, Snyder has watched firsthand as his father, K-State head coach Bill Snyder, turned around the K-State football program.
"I just think it speaks a lot for my dad," he said about Bill Snyder hiring five former Wildcats to coach with. "He's always been loyal to everybody, and that loyalty is something that is a very strong asset to have in a program. You just don't see that very much anymore. I think that we are, and there's a handful of places, but I think we're one of those places that has been able to carry our loyalty even with all the changing things that are taking place in our environment nowadays."
Not everyone has the opportunity to coach alongside a parent, and even fewer have that opportunity at the highest level of collegiate football, so coaching with his dad for the past 20 years has been something Sean cherishes.
"It's been great. The things I've been able to learn, the things I've been able to gain over the course of time and the changes that have taken place have been great," explained Sean. "Our relationship has grown each and every year. The opportunity to do it has been tremendous, and I wouldn't trade it for anything."
ANDRE COLEMAN - Wide Receiver Coach
Andre Coleman was a K-State standout wide receiver under Bill Snyder from 1990-93 before being drafted in the third round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Putting together a solid five-year NFL career, Coleman was a two-time Pro Bowler and a member of the 1994 All-Rookie squad. He helped lead the Chargers to Super Bowl XXIX and became the first Wildcat to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl after a then-Super Bowl record 98-yard kickoff return touchdown.
From 2010-12, Coleman coached both tight ends and wide receivers at Youngstown State under former Wildcat offensive lineman Eric Wolford before returning to his alma mater to take over the wide receiver corps in 2013.
"It's very special," said Coleman about coaching at K-State. "Having gone through Coach Snyder's program and having been through this K-State program, having seen how this program has grown the time, it's a special thing. When you speak to these young men about it and they know that you've sat through those exact same meetings and you've gone through exactly what they're going through, it gives you credibility and they listen to you. That's important."
BLAKE SEILER - Defensive Ends Coach
Seiler, the youngest member of the K-State coaching staff, walked on to the K-State football program in 2003 and is a true testament of the Wildcat walk-on tradition. After two successful seasons at the defensive end position, he was named team captain his senior year (2006).
Though Seiler is heading into his second season as the K-State defensive ends coach, he returned to K-State in 2009 as a quality control assistant for the Wildcat defense for two years followed by two years of serving as a defensive graduate assistant.
"I love it," Seiler said about coaching at K-State. "If I had my choice, this is the place that I'd want to coach. There's nothing better than coaching at your alma mater. Playing for Coach Snyder and now coaching with Coach Snyder, that's so special. You know how the program works, you know the campus and it's a lot easier to transition. I think everything is more important to you, and it's more special to you coaching in it."
As a former player and walk-on himself, Seiler said having worn the same shoes as each and every one of his players helps him each and every day on the job.
"Having played the position that I coach, you've been through it with them," explained Seiler. "You can always relate to them and talk about how you can help out here or there. You can help them when things get tough because you've been there too."