K-State Family Applauds Snyder's Return

Ed. Note: This article first appeared in the Kansas State Official Sports Report on Sept. 6, 2009. To subscribe to the Kansas State Official Sports Report, visit www.officialsportsreport.com.

by Mark Janssen, Senior Writer, Kansas State Official Sports Report

MANHATTAN, Kan. - They came from the 1940s to the current generation of Wildcats. Some strolled in from Manhattan, while others flew from as far away as California and Georgia.

Billed a "Family Reunion" weekend at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, the largest ever gathering of former Kansas State athletes took place this weekend to celebrate the return of coach Snyder, and the opening to the 2009 season.

"Does this say what we think of coach?" said Gary Glatz (1972), who made the trip from Chicago. "This program has always been about people and coach Snyder is the right person to get this turned around again. There are over 300 of us here who all agree on that."

The guest list for the KSU football reunion numbered 335, with the numbers well over 1,000 including family members. They were treated to a social gathering Friday night, a tour of the facility on Saturday and welcomed the 2009 Wildcats onto the field prior to the opener with Massachusetts.

Dick Towers (1952) was a dual football-track athlete for the Wildcats, and later served as athletics director. He noticed a significant change in the Wildcats with Snyder's return.

"You could tell this past spring the difference in the team in the way it looked and how they carried themselves," said Towers of the Snyder influence. "They looked like a big-time football program again."

Jim Colbert (1964), another dual-athlete in football and golf, said of the return of one of his best friends.

"His (Snyder's) return was needed to help preserve what he created. This program will always be fragile. We're never going to be an Oklahoma, or even a Nebraska, so it's a harder job that you have to work at every day. Bill knows what it takes because he's done it."

Reggie Blackwell (1992) was a member of Snyder's first recruiting class in 1989. Like the others, he said, "Coach gives us stability. He's the rock this program needs. He has the respect of everyone in the family."

And, the most recent Wildcats were agreeing.

"He built this place," said Marcus Watts (2007).  "He knows how to get it back to what it was in the late-1990s and early-2000s because he's done it before."

Ekwensi Griffith (1992) said he wasn't pointing blame on how the program took a southward turn the last few years, but he was aiming his words at Snyder when he said, "He's the one to bring this program back to the basics and restart what he had going."