The Snyder Soldiers: Final players of the Bill Snyder era have officially moved on

Bill Snyder's legacy lives on even though none of his former players are still playing on the field.
Central Arkansas v Kansas State
Central Arkansas v Kansas State / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

If you aren't early you are late. Ties will be worn on game days. When you step into the building, no hats or earrings will be worn. Sit upright in meetings with your feet on the floor and your eyes on the person speaking. Be accountable for yourself and for your brothers around you.

These are just some of the things Bill Snyder taught his players throughout his almost 30 years of coaching at Kansas State. Snyder is a College Football Hall of Fame Coach who coached numerous teams, and hundreds of players, and had many coaches who worked for him.

At least when it comes to players, that number is now zero.

Snyder retired for the second and final time from Kansas State back in 2018 and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some players who were freshmen during Snyder's final season as a head coach were granted extra years of eligibility.

Well, those players have now used all of their eligibility and an era is ending at Kansas State.

Eight players during the 2023 season had the privilege of saying Snyder had coached them, and they even had a name for themselves.

Snyder's Soldiers

Snyder's Soldiers were not just these final eight guys, it started back in 2019 when Chris Klieman had taken over the program and the seniors had dubbed anyone who played under Snyder a "Snyder's Soldier."

For Seth Porter, one of the players a part of that last group of Snyder's Soldiers, playing under Snyder meant something greater than just playing football.

"It's really special, I'm glad that I at least got the opportunity to have at least one year under him," Porter said. "It's cool to grow up a K-State fan and then have that opportunity, and then see where K-State football head ed after coach Snyder."

Porter was a wide receiver at K-State who joined the team as a walk-on under Snyder. His dad Mark Porter was a part of that final team that played before Snyder took the head coaching position in 1989. So the purple roots run deep in the Porter family with his younger brother Shane Porter also playing for K-State.

The eight players that were the last of the Snyder era were Porter, Hayden Gillum, KT Leveston, Christian Duffie, Phillip Brooks, Jake Blumer, Randen Plattner, and Daniel Green.

Green was another player we spoke to about his time going to Kansas State. Green had originally committed to play football somewhere else, but after he opened his recruitment back up, he took a trip to K-State and from meeting Snyder and seeing the kind of program he ran, he knew K-State was the right fit for him.

"I got to meet him (Snyder) when I came up here with my family and the type of things he was telling us, it sounded like he was a guy who meant what he said, he was going to stand by his words, hold me to a standard where he is going to try to get the best out of me," Green said.

To all his players, Snyder was a guy who kept to himself but noticed anything and everything whether it was wrong hand placement, missing a tackle, catching the ball a certain way, all the way down to wearing the wrong socks at practice.

Snyder was known for many things, his coaching style, his presence with the team, his hard work ethic, and his rules in the facility. However, there is one thing that Snyder was most famous for and that was handwritten notes.

Whether it was to a player, coach, referee, or even someone from opposing teams, Bill Snyder would take the time to handwrite personal notes or letters. He was even known for writing them to teams after a game to congratulate them on a win or even something as small as a great trick play.

Green said he has gotten a number of hand written notes from Snyder, some as recently as this past season.

"I got a couple this year too, one of them this year was him congratulating me on being a captain and just sharing how far I have come," Green said. "That really meant a lot to me because he meant a lot to me and the community at K-State."

Porter shared that even though he has not personally gotten any notes from Snyder, his father, a player who never even played for the legendary coach, but worked for him as a Graduate Assistant got lots of letters from Snyder and even has a couple of them framed and displayed in the family home.

Bill Snyder will continue to live on in Kansas State football history for years to come. He is commemorated every season when the team plays in the stadium named after him. He is a legend and always will be at Kansas State, even without any former players playing on the field.