Kansas State University: If You Really Love Someone, You’ve Got to Let Them Go


Sometimes, you just have to let the ones you love go. Kansas State fans never want to talk about it, it’s considered taboo; blasphemy almost, borderline sacrilege. So, who’s going to say it first?

I never went to Kansas State. I never sat in the student section at a football game and rocked back and forth during the Wabash Cannonball. I never sat in a class with a student-athlete. I’m a transplant from nowhere and everywhere.

I’m an Army brat that wound up settling in Manhattan. I’m an active duty member of the Army and an Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran in Maryland. I’ve never set foot in a Kansas State lecture hall.

But since 1993, when we first arrived in Manhattan, we were welcomed in to the fold, as they say, and I consider myself part of the K-State family. My brother graduated from there, my mother works there.

I’m not just a Kansas State fan, but a University of Alabama fan, Atlanta Braves fan, and Oakland (for now) Raiders fan. I attend Arizona State University – Online. I’m a Sun Devil.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I feel I must start this out by offering some sort of context, if I am to continue down the path I have set for myself. Transparency and full disclosure are the crux of what I’m about to say to you.

I’ve learned, that being a fan from different regions of the country, you begin to understand what objectivity looks like. You also see a lot of what extreme bias and subjectivity are, and maybe that’s what made me so objective.

Many of you will not like what I’m about to say. Some might agree. But here are some questions I would like for you to consider prior to reading any further.

I promise you, there is no malicious intent here and I seek not to offend anyone on purpose:

Why, if you’re an alum, fan, supporter, or any other form of the word fanatic, can you not look at things with objectivity? When it comes to YOUR school, YOUR team, do we naturally get defensive?

Can you still have objectivity while still maintaining loyalty, without the fear of feeling guilty for the way you honestly feel?

The vast majority like to think they can. Many can’t. And that’s OK, as a fan, you have the right to be completely and utterly bias towards your Alma mater.

But, irrational reasoning and the dismissal of something that will inevitably happen anyway, is a subjective conclusion.

I ask that you have an open mind. I ask that you set aside your bias for just a few moments. If you feel you can’t do that, then I implore you to stop reading now.

Consider this your final warning, because what I’m about to say isn’t going to go down well.

The University of Alabama didn’t die when Paul “Bear” Bryant left, neither will Kansas State when Bill Snyder does.

OK … Here we go.

Bill Snyder needs to retire. And after he retires, he needs to disenfranchise himself from the program for a while. K-State needs to hire from outside the University to replace him and the next hire shouldn’t be anyone with a marquee type name.

There! I said it.

Again, open mind, objectivity, being un-biased.

There’s a saying we tend to use in relationships when they’ve run their course or one party has matured more than the other, or one just needs something different; lives go in different directions.

“If you really love someone, you’ve got to let them go”.

You can still love someone after they have gone. When relationships end in this manner, you look back and think, “You know what, I really grew as a person from that relationship, I learned things about myself, and we were just heading different places in our life. I really needed to grow some more.”

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s actually quite common and quite natural.

The reality is that sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. Sometimes, you’ve grown in a relationship as much as you possibly can, and you need someone new in your life to push you over the hump to get to the next level.

Stagnation can set in with monotony, lack of growth, or progression and I’m fearful that we may already be there. Doing something a certain way because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is juvenile. It doesn’t elicit change, there’s no motivation to adapt and evolve with the times.

This University flourished because of change and innovation. Now, the innovation and change is shifting so quickly, it gets harder and harder to keep up. Bill Snyder changed the culture, all the way down to the uniforms and introduced the Powercat to the world.

Kansas State has peaked, and the prime years are gone.

Bill Snyder, as much as I love the man for what he has done for the University, players he’s molded into fine young men, and most importantly, grown the community, it’s just … It’s just time to move on.

Bill Snyder is responsible for many, many great things about Manhattan and the University. He alone, in what he has done turning what used to be the laughing-stock of NCAA football, into a respected, consistent winner year in, and year out.

Because of the football program’s success, new facilities have opened for not just football. Basketball, baseball, rowing, tennis, and golf just to name a few. Progression is the product of innovation, adapting to shifting and varying degrees of change, and overcoming challenges. All of these have been realized, but never simultaneously.

The University of Alabama didn’t die when Paul “Bear” Bryant left, neither will Kansas State when Bill Snyder does.

Yes, he’s still effective, to an extent. But for how much longer will it be enough? The program is consistent every year. The coaches he’s mentored have gone on to be successful. But what stings the most, is that they’ve got more to show for it.

That’s not Snyder’s fault, I guess it’s just the nature of the beast. I’m not suggesting that it’s his fault. What I am suggesting, is that if Kansas State and its loyal fans truly love Bill Snyder, then they need to let him go.

Let me elaborate on why I feel he needs to stay away from the program.

I like to think of it as the “Ron Prince Effect”. Kansas State football is Bill Snyder’s baby, it’s his legacy. I fully appreciate him not wanting to see it go the way of the Dodo. Ron Prince lost control of what Snyder had created, the spiraling downward was crushing him, so he came back, only to rise from the ashes once more. He was also fairly young enough to do so. I don’t see a third stint in the cards if it happens again.

More from Jug of Snyder

I look at it like raising a child. We strive to raise our children to be successful, provide the guidance, tools and encouragement needed to succeed. However, if we’re always there to catch them before they fall, then how will they ever learn from the falls? Sometimes, you have to skin a knee or break an arm to learn from a trip. That’s when the real growth can begin.

But I promise, his legacy will never die. No one, I mean NO ONE will ever do what Bill Snyder has done. EVER. As such, no one can ever take that away from him. But therein lies the problem. The bar has been set so incredibly high, that whoever comes in afterwards, is almost destined to fail.

Why? Because they won’t be Bill Snyder. We’ve been spoiled. If you’re a fan of sport, then you understand rebuilds, turnover, things of that nature. It happens. But his legacy won’t be lost, because his legacy isn’t intangible. It’s all around us. We, yes we the fans … family, of Bill Snyder and Kansas State University are his legacy.

Not a stadium, not a road, not a dormitory, or anything else you put his name on. No, we are his legacy, that’s always been his legacy. The fans, the players, the families, Wildcat Nation is his legacy.

We won’t ever allow anyone to forget what he did. But that doesn’t mean we can’t grow as a family and add to the legacy. Bill Snyder has given this University a tremendous foundation upon which to build from.

However, I feel if Bill Snyder remains close to the nest, he’ll want the program ran a certain way, as Gene Wilder says at the end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “A grown up would want to do everything his own way, not mine”. That’s the biggest reason why Kansas State will need to go out of house.

The fact of the matter is, that the Kansas State fan base isn’t going to know what to do when that time does in fact come, again. But I promise you it will come. He can’t do this forever. It may not be next year, it may not be in five years, but it will happen. Not everything lasts forever.

Bill Snyder’s mark will forever be emblazoned on the walls, roadways, and stadium to remind us all of the past, but it’s us who will keep the legacy alive, not another monument.

I admire and respect Bill Snyder tremendously, and I’ve never physically even met the man. In 15, 20, 35 years from now, the story of Bill Snyder and Kansas State football will be told to generation, after generation. People all over the country already know about it. But for us, for the Kansas State faithful, the one thing those people won’t have, is the ability to say that he was OUR coach.

Bill Snyder will surely and sorely be missed. But in a way, from my perspective at least, Bill Snyder will be more than just the man who brought Kansas State back from the dead, he will be the man who brought together a team, the program, and a community.

Next: Wesley Iwundu'rful'

That community, this family, will eventually have to let him go, not because we want to, but because we have to. No one says it won’t be difficult, because it most certainly will be. Bill Snyder put Manhattan, KS on the map.

Bill Snyder’s legacy is family … An we’re from everywhere and nowhere.