Sports Extra: Quality Individuals the Key to Snyder's Staff

Charlie Dickey

Oct. 7, 2011

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By Mark Janssen
When Bill Snyder recruits Wildcat football players, speed, size, agility, strength all come into play along with being quality individuals.

But what does Snyder look for when recruiting a coaching staff?

“You want individuals who care about young people,” said Snyder, who is in his 20th season as Kansas State’s head football coach. “You look for people who promote the values that we think are important in our program.

“For the most part, the individuals I hire I’m very familiar with, or, people that come highly recommended from people I’m familiar with,” said Snyder of molding his nine-man coaching staff.

The Wildcat coach went on to detail that he definitely looked for coaches that had a competence level in teaching the game, but also individuals with character.

“They must have the ability to be very receptive to their own value system, but also the ‘16 Goals’ that we stress all the time in our program,” said Snyder.

Those 16 goals include: commitment, unity, toughness, effort, never give up, refuse to allow failing to become a habit, expect to win, leadership, improve every day, self-discipline, eliminate mistakes, no self-limitations, consistency, responsibility, unselfishness, enthusiasm.

No Snyder staff has the experience within this system like this one of 2011. The nine full-time assistants have been with the 72-year-old K-State coach for a total of 90 seasons: Sean Snyder (17), Del Miller (15), Michael Smith (15), Mo Latimore (13), Dana Dimel (11), Joe Bob Clements (10), Chris Cosh (5), Charlie Dickey (3) and Tom Hayes (1).

“Six of the nine have been with me a considerable period of time, but there’s also the other individuals in our program that have experience in our program,” said Snyder in reference to graduate and student assistants, quality control, the video department, strength and conditioning, the medical staff and secretarial staff.

Not only does this staff have experience in the Snyder system and intercollegiate football, but also has a collective 457 years of maturity in everyday life – Hayes (62), Latimore (62), Miller (61), Cosh (53), Dickey (51), Dimel (49), Sean Snyder (42), Smith (41) and Clements (36).

“I don’t look at it as age just for the experience, and youth just in the form of enthusiasm,” said Snyder, whose staff has 111 total appearances in bowl games and 230 years of total coaching experience. “It has to be the full package with all the values that have been mentioned starting with being quality individuals.”

Snyder says he understands why some coaches around the country make hires of assistants primarily to be quality recruiters, but says it’s not his philosophy: “I’m not saying that is inappropriate, but I haven’t done it because I believe in having it only as part of the package.”

Unique to the K-State staff is that five of the nine full-time assistants are graduates of the Wildcat program, with three of those being products of the Snyder-era as players: Clements played in 1995-98 and coached from 2003-05 and 2009-11; Smith played in 1988-91 and coached from 1997-05 and 2009-11; and Sean Snyder played in 1991-92 and served on the K-State administrative/coaching staff from 1996-11.

Today’s Kansas State staff has a mixture in terms of individuals who are coaching the position they played – Joe Bob Clements, d-ends; Michael Smith, receivers; Snyder, special team; Cosh, linebackers; Dickey, offensive line; and Hayes, secondary – while others have switched spots – Latimore from offensive line to defensive line and Dimel from offensive line to running backs.

“I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that,” said Snyder. Smiling, he added, “You have head coaches who have never played, or guys like myself. I played, but was a horrible player. I certainly couldn’t rely on anything I did on the field to help in the area of coaching.”

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