Different Coaches, Same Goals
While Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury is on one end of the spectrum as the youngest BCS head coach, on the opposite end of the same spectrum, Bill Snyder is among the oldest college football coaches in the nation.
Kingsbury, the youngest head coach in Big 12 history at age 34, has taken national spotlight this season for his ability to relate with his young players - he was, in fact, in their shoes far more recently than most.
While Kingsbury's relationship with his players is definitely unique, different than most football coaches, perhaps he and Snyder are more alike than one might imagine.
Sure, Snyder's not out on the field using words like, 'swag' and 'crunk' (or is he?) and he's probably not dancing around with his players in the locker room, but when it comes down to it, he knows what's important, and has held the same values in his 22 seasons as the Wildcats' beloved head coach.
"I just try to be open and honest with them," Snyder explained about his relationship with players. "I applaud them for the good things they do, address the things they need to improve on, and try to relate to things other than football. I think you'll find that you're better served to ask that question to players and players who have gone through the program. I think they, in time, really realize that there is great value in the lessons learned on a football field, in the football program and at a practice or game environment. I try to relate those things to my players."
After asking the players who are "better served" to answer the question of the Wildcats' coach-player relationship, the same message was relayed.
"I think everybody has a different relationship with every coach," wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. "I think that Coach Snyder teaches us what it means to be a hard worker. Being able to go through things, through adversity, and I think he's the type of person that wants you to be successful, not only on the football field but also with life in general.
"He teaches us a lot of life lessons with football, and relates it back to life, back to family. So I think that just having that mentor kind of teaching you and guiding you through life, that that's something Coach Snyder stands for."
Open, honest, a teacher.
Other words K-State football players used to describe their coach: great, business, professional, hard working and successful - to name a few.
"If we just want to talk, if something's been bugging us, he just wants to talk to us, he wants to know his team," offensive lineman B.J. Finney said. "He wants to know his players. He'll see you in the hallway for three or four minutes, whatever he has, just to make sure things are going well with you and your family and school. He wants to know his players and it shows what kind of coach he is."
K-State linebacker Charmeachealle Moore said he doesn't look much into other team's relationships with their coaches - each and every one is different - but he does know one thing, and that is that he is glad his coach is Bill Snyder.
"He has a lot of knowledge and we just try to learn from him," Moore explained. "That's the greatest experience of all, having a great coach. I really don't know about (Texas Tech's) coach, but I know about my coach, and my coach is a great coach."
Linebacker Jonathan Truman laughed when asked to compare his relationship with Snyder to Kingsbury's relationship with the Texas Tech players.
"Coach is a great guy, obviously him and Coach Kingsbury aren't too comparable when it comes to age, but that's not a bad thing," Truman smiled. "Coach relates with us really well. I think that with Coach Kingsbury being very young, it's something people just notice more because he is a lot closer to their age, but people underestimate how much Coach Snyder really relates to us. We can go to him and talk to him about anything we want and he's always going to be there to help us out."
The last time the two matched up - Snyder and Kingsbury - was in a completely different fashion.
Kingsbury was Texas Tech's star quarterback from 1998-2002, and during his years as a Red Raider, he went 1-1 against Snyder's Wildcats.
Voted ninth in the 2002 Heisman race and the Associated Press 2002 Offensive Player of the Year, Kingsbury became only the third football player in history to throw for over 10,000 yards and complete over 1,000 passes during his collegiate career. Now in his first season coaching at Texas Tech, he has led the Red Raiders to a 7-2 season (4-2 Big 12) so far, and faces today's matchup coming off of back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The matchup between the long-time legend and the new head coach takes place at 11 a.m., today at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas, and will be aired on ABC.
"His story is one of the best in college football history," Kingsbury said of Snyder this week during a conference call. "What he's accomplished there, not once, but twice, I don't know that anybody's taken college football from those depths and taken it to the level that he has. I have the utmost respect for Coach Snyder, what he's done there, the type of man he is and how he runs his program, so it'll be an honor to be out there on Saturday going against him."
SNYER TALKS WITH SETH DAVIS
Yesterday, Snyder was featured on The Seth Davis Show where he discussed his future with K-State, how hard losing can really be and more personal stories. To check out the exclusive interview, click here.