Straw Returns to Scene of Big Win

Ed. note: This interview with former K-State quarterback, Carl Straw, first appeared in the Sept. 15 edition of the Kansas State Official Sports Report. To subscribe to the Kansas State OSR, please visit

by Mark Janssen, Senior Writer, Kansas State OSR

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The date was Sept. 30, 1989. Kansas State had not won a football game since Oct. 18, 1986, a 29-12 victory over Kansas.

Carl Straw was about to end that hideous string of Ls.

Trailing North Texas State 17-14 with 1:35 remaining, Straw engineered "The Drive" -- nine plays covering 85 yards -- that would result in a 12-yard touchdown zinger to Frank Hernandez in the north end zone of KSU Stadium with 0:00 showing on the clock. Yes, the last play of the game.

Final score: Kansas State 20, North Texas State 17.

While traveling from his New Jersey home to Manhattan for the "Family Reunion" weekend earlier this month, Straw, who still ranks No. 3 in all-time completions (448), No. 4 in yardage (5,223) and No. 9 in touchdowns (22), talked about that first victory for coach Bill Snyder.

Official Sports Report: I'm guessing that's your favorite Kansas State memory, the first win.

Straw:  It was the first. That's the one that got us started. That one started the turnaround to becoming a great Kansas State program.

OSR: You were already a member of the K-State team when coach Bill Snyder arrived. What was your first impression?

Straw: After five minutes of hearing him talk, you knew he was something special. He had a definite vision. He didn't pull any punches. He told us how it would be.

OSR:  Can you explain that a little more?

Straw:  He just said the best players would play. The best quarterback would start, the best receiver would start, the best lineman would start. The stats from every practice would be on paper, and the guy who graded out best would play.

OSR:  Was it quite a change from coach Stan Parrish?

Straw:  Yes, but coach Parrish was a great coach. He's proven a lot during his career. But it took coach Snyder to turn this program around with his vision. It just wasn't coach Parrish's time.  Coach Snyder had the ability to really make you believe in yourself and those around you. You went into the huddle knowing that certain plays were going to work.  He prepared you to the highest degree.

OSR:  You were a part of what coach Snyder calls the "Foundation Years." How much pride do you take in that even though you missed the years when K-State made its bowl run?

Straw:  We were the foundation. Those players in those first couple years really did stick together and develop a belief in the system. It was just going to take time.  But we were part of that foundation of doing things the right way, and then we passed it on.  Because of that, we have felt like we were part of the success the team would realize in the years to come.