Football Friday: Bishop Reflects on Wildcat Career

July 17, 2015
By Kelly McHugh

Saturday, September 5, is going to be an emotional day for Michael Bishop, there’s no doubt about it.  

Two months ago, when K-State Athletics announced Bishop as one of four Wildcat legends to be named to the K-State Football Ring of Honor, his mind raced back to his days spent with the Wildcat football program (1997-98). 

“When I first got the call, I just thought about all the good times,” said Bishop last weekend during a quick visit back to Manhattan. “Then there were a lot of memories. I’ve taken some time to reflect, and it’s a great feeling.”

Bishop, one of K-State’s all-time greatest quarterbacks, joins Jordy Nelson (2004-07), Clarence Scott (1968-70) and Darren Sproles (2001-04) as this year’s incoming class to join the Ring of Honor’s current 10 members (listed below).

“It’s big time,” continued Bishop. “It’s an honor to be considered a part of that group. The guys who are already up there (in the Ring of Honor) are outstanding players, outstanding men. So, for me to be in that category, especially with the guys I’m going in with, it’s overwhelming.”

During his two years at K-State Bishop racked up 5,715 yards of total offense – second in school history to only Lynn Dickey (1967-70) – and set a school record of 59 total touchdowns. In his two seasons, he led the Wildcats to a 22-3 record and guided K-State to its first-ever No. 1 ranking after leading the Wildcats to an 11-0 start and back-to-back wins over ranked opponents No. 11 Nebraska and No. 19 Missouri as a senior in 1998. 

Against Nebraska in 1998, Bishop became the first player in Big 12 history to throw for more than 300 yards (19-of-33 for 306 yards with one interception) and rush or 100 yards (25 carries for 140 yards). His outstanding performance on that November evening secured the Wildcats a 40-30 victory – a monumental win in K-State football history. 

It ended a 30-year losing streak to the Cornhuskers, marked K-State football head coach Bill Snyder’s first-ever win over Nebraska and is a memory among Bishop’s fondest from his time at K-State.

“For me, I enjoyed that game, I loved the feeling of the game, but I loved it more for Coach Snyder,” said Bishop. “It was one of his greatest moments. For me, I had to get ready to play the next week, but for him, you could see the sigh of relief on his face. After the game, he hugged me and we were both shedding tears. To be in that moment – words can’t describe that moment in time.”

As a player, Bishop was anything but ordinary. He was passionate about the game, he had a fiery competitive nature and he wouldn’t accept defeat – all character traits perfect for a Bill Snyder football program. So, it should come as no surprise that Bishop clung to Snyder’s 16 Goals for Success and has carried them with him throughout his football career and life. 

“Every person that has come through this system, somewhere down the line, they have used those goals,” explained Bishop. “Those goals are something you can take into the work force, anywhere, and they mean something. If you buy into them, you’ll find success.”

Following his career with the Wildcats, Bishop was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round as the 227th overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. He spent two seasons in the NFL, one with the Patriots and one with the Green Bay Packers, before heading overseas in 2001 where he played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe. He went on to spend the following nine years playing for the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League and the Indoor Football League before settling down just outside of his hometown of Willis, Texas, to coach high school football for The Woodlands Christian Academy.

“I see myself being a leader, leading groups; at the end of the day I want to be a head coach somewhere, college or high school,” said Bishop about what he plans for his future. “I feel like the things I’ve been through in life, my path and everywhere I’ve played, my passion for the game, I think kids can learn from that. If I feel like I’m doing something good for kids, I love it.”

And, though it’s 16 years later, Bishop said a big part of helping kids find success has been passing Snyder’s 16 goals on to the young people he coaches. 

“I have a copy of those 16 goals, and I try to get the kids to buy into the system, to buy into those goals,” he said. 

K-State football is set to open its 2015 campaign on Sept. 5 where, at 6 p.m. in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the Wildcats will face South Dakota State. With the beginning of a new football season and the opening of the new Vanier Family Football Complex, it will be an exciting day for all; however for Bishop, it will be a day unlike any other. 

On Saturday, Sept. 5, he will have memories of his days as a Wildcat football player swirling in his head during the game’s halftime, when he is added to the K-State Football Ring of Honor. 

“I hope I can make it through that day and not break down because it’s going to be emotional,” Bishop grinned. “All the hard work over the years, the teammates you never forget about – hopefully I won’t be too emotional that day, but, then again, I’m pretty sure I will be.”

Lynn Dickey, quarterback (1968-70)
Steve Grogan, quarterback (1972-74)
Jaime Mendez, safety (1990-93)
Sean Snyder, punter (1991-92)
Gary Spani, linebacker (1974-77)
Veryl Switzer, halfback (1951-53)
David Allen, running back (1996-99)
Martin Gramatica, placekicker (1994-98)
Terence Newman, cornerback (1998-2002)
Mark Simoneau, linebacker (1996-99)


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