Welcome to K-State Sports Extra

K-State Sports Extra will feature stories on the happenings inside Wildcat athletics, including features on administrators, support staff, student-athletes, heroes out of the past, plus commentaries. While K-Staters have seen newspapers scale back in their coverage, we hope K-State Sports Extra can help fill the void with stories that come directly from the administrative and coaching offices in Bramlage Coliseum, the Vanier Complex, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Ahearn Field House or Tointon Stadium.

We are fortunate to have Mark Janssen back as the senior writer for this endeavor. Mark's name might sound familiar as he has covered the Wildcats for the last 39 years. Including years as a student, that's 40 straight K-State vs. KU football games, and to Mark's recollection, 101 consecutive Wildcat-Jayhawk hoop games.

Mark spent 10 years covering K-State on radio before making the transition to the newspaper industry 28 years ago in Manhattan as sports editor and will now aim to humanize K-State Athletics through his features and profiles.

We hope you'll enjoy what you'll find here every day. We would also like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way at klannou@kstatesports.com or mjanssen7@cox.net.

Go Cats!

Kenny LannouDirector of Athletic Communications/SIDKansas State University

'Getting Better' Remains the Theme

By Mark JanssenThe summer season went "reasonably well" in the words of Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder.The Wildcat coach says, "From what I hear, the young people were diligent in their work and a high percentage of them put in great effort during the course of the summer.  I think we're becoming a little tougher football team collectively, and I think mentally we're a stronger football team ... but that remains to be seen. You find out a lot more about how they've worked (during the summer) once things get going in August."Things get going in August today as after checking out gear and meeting physical and academic obligations on Wednesday, the first on-field workout of the 2010 season takes place this afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the expected 105 reporting Wildcats.Snyder estimates that between 120 and 125 Wildcats took part in the summer camp, which included a cast of incoming freshmen candidates. Under the guidance of the training and conditioning staffs, plus the leadership of the team representatives, the players had conditioning drills four days a week, and on-the-field workouts four times a week."From what I hear, we had a number of young men who were really trying to advance their leadership skills within the program," said Snyder, who by NCAA rule could not view the sessions. "That's vital during the summer. It's what the summer is all about."The summer is also about smoothing out the overall workmanship of the Kansas State athletic family, which spans from academics, to scouting 2010 opponents, to facility improvements."Issues on a daily basis," as Snyder calls them. "Like I tell our coaches, if you haven't addressed a problem today, then you're not paying attention or you haven't been here long enough."And as always, in the Snyder system, taking care of details is a rule. There is no tolerance for shortcuts."I'm a firm believer that good things take time," said Snyder. "If you set a tone of a sense of urgency and you take shortcuts to get to a certain goal, it's inappropriate. You don't take shortcuts to get things done faster."With that being said, the program is one of status quo in terms of daily goals. That's being better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today. As the coach has said each and every year since his first season in 1989, "It really is no more complex than that. The bottom line is that phrase."While the mission statement was fully in place during the first Bill Snyder era - 1989-2005 - there's been a rebuilding process starting last year following his three-year absence from the sideline."We're getting more and more people to understand what it takes to get where you want to go," said Snyder. "Understanding and doing it are two different things, but we now have a higher percentage of people who surround our program knowing what it takes."With a number of coaches and former players on staff from the scene of the "Greatest Turn-Around In College Football History," Snyder says that can be a two-headed coin.He explained, "There's a cast that can say, 'It's worked before, let's replicate how it was done and hopefully the result will come.' On the other side of the coin is the concern of taking things for granted. It can be easy, even for coaches, to get into a mode that it happened once, so it automatically will happen again. That's dangerous."Snyder says he's not sure how many of today's players know of K-State's past. "Probably not many," he says, as in 1989 when he arrived as an assistant from the University of Iowa, all but the upper classmen hadn't even been born.It's a past that says K-State had the losingest winning percentage of any school in the history of college football when Snyder was hired prior to the 1989 season. It's a history that had the Cats in only one bowl game in the history of the program. It was a more recent history that had Mr. Snyder inheriting a program that had lost 13 games in a row, and one that had posted a 0-26-1 record in the last 27 games prior to his arrival."I'm not sure how important it is for these players to know all the details, but what is important is for them to know the general story of what it took to reach the success that we enjoyed in the late-1990s and into the 2000s," said Snyder.That success included going to a remarkable 11 straight bowl games, and winning at least nine games in 10 of those seasons. That success included winning, or sharing, four Big 12 North titles and an overall championship in 2003.