Jan. 12, 2012
By Mark Janssen
Now, and then, there’s been a single constant to the Kansas State football program.
That’s Wildcat coach Bill Snyder from 1989 through 2005, and again from 2009 to the present. But within that constant have come 16 others that have formed the foundation of the K-State football family, and the life beyond those years of eligibility.
Those are the “16 Goals For Success”: 1. Commitment; 2. Unselfishness; 3. Unity; 4. Improvement; 5. Toughness; 6. Self-discipline; 7. Great effort; 8. Enthusiasm; 9. Eliminate mistakes; 10. Never give up; 11. Don't accept losing; 12. No self-limitations; 13. Expect to win; 14. Consistency; 15. Leadership; 16. Responsibility.
Senior Clyde Aufner says, “That’s where our foundation comes from. Ninety-nine percent of the guys have bought in, which wasn’t the case right after Coach Snyder came back. There were some stragglers who didn’t believe in the system, but you can now see the success when the team does buy in.”
In a nutshell, Aufner defined the “16 Goals For Success” as “… just doing things the right way. There’s a work ethic and a discipline that goes with them. I find myself walking through a hotel lobby and picking up a piece of trash on the ground just because it’s the right thing to do.”
Jordan Voelker only spent two years in the K-State system after transferring from Butler County Community College, but on what he will take from the K-State program, he said, “The importance of a solid work ethic. That’s something you will need your entire life. He teaches the importance of pushing on when things are not going your way. I’m a perfect example of how he rewards hard work. It helps reinforce what you’re doing.”
Tysyn Hartman came to K-State as a quarterback five years ago, but shifted to defense where he was a three-year starter at safety, plus earned Academic All-American honors in the classroom.
“Those 16 goals key your success on the football field, and in your life. They develop your character as a person,” said Hartman. “They may sound generic, but they are the foundation to this program. If you learn to dedicate yourself to the little things, your chance for success is all the greater. We have kids who come from all backgrounds, but these are our single set of core values.”
Emmanuel Lamur, a fourth K-State senior, simplifies Snyder’s ways by saying, “If you listen, everything Coach says makes sense. If he says it, you should believe it.”
That goes for the players from today’s team, but also for the players of yesteryear who have now experienced those “16 Goals For Success” in everyday life.
Russ Stange played offensive line for the Wildcats in 1987 and 1988, which were the years prior to Snyder’s arrival, but he heard about them, heard Snyder talk about them, and now uses them daily.
“I was a southern California beach kid who had a pretty nice life. I heard about them when I was 23 or 24, but I understand them today at 44,” said Stange, who lives in the Dallas area and sells organic food and protein bars in multiple states. “I have them in my office at work and my 11-year-old son has them taped to his mirror in his room. I teach them to my youth football team: get better daily, don’t give up, expect to win.”
Chuckling at Snyder’s success with under-starred players, Stange said, “It’s all about how hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work.”
Former wide receiver Frank Hernandez now lives in Houston where he works for Johnson & Johnson.
“When I played there were only 12 goals, but they are the same whether you’re building a football program or a business,” said Hernendez. “In the real world, you use those goals daily. You want to be meticulous and build team unity even if that means putting others in front of you for the ultimate buy-in. Those goals are the foundation for my professional career.”
Michael Bishop is now back in his home of Willis, Texas, where he coaches a high school football team.
Of Snyder, he admits, “We had our times against each other, but it was in those one-on-one conversations that I learned the lessons of life. The things that you put to use in the locker room and on the field are the same ones that you need to live your life by.
“As a parent, you understand that,” said Bishop. “You always go back to those core values.”