MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State coach Bill Snyder remains undecided about his future leading the Wildcats, preferring instead to focus on preparing to play UCLA in the Cactus Bowl.
There have been reports that have indicated Snyder has already decided to return for his 27th season, but he said Wednesday that “I’m in the process” of deciding on next season.
“It will be a little bit because of bowl preparation,” he said.
The 78-year-old Snyder has a contract that rolls over annually, which means that is not part of the equation. But a big part of it is Snyder’s family, which he cited as the reason for stepping away in 2005 for a retirement that lasted three years and saw the program quickly decline.
“I’ve had some dialogue and I need to have some more dialogue with my family, and more dialogue with our administration,” Snyder said. “I have to assess — which I haven’t — you know, just going over the impact of decisions, whether they be positive or negative. Same things I’ve always said. Just needing to be more thorough with it. Because you know for me it’s a big decision.”
Many assumed that this would be Snyder’s final season after a difficult year away from the field.
He revealed in January that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, and the chemotherapy treatment in Kansas City lasted into the summer. And while Snyder never missed a crucial practice and was deemed to be cancer-free this fall, the treatments had clearly taken a toll on him.
The Hall of Fame coach also proved he still has what it takes to win, leading a team ravaged by injuries to a 7-5 finish. The Wildcats won four of their last five games, beating then-No. 13 Oklahoma State on the road, to earn a bowl date with the Bruins on Dec. 26 in Phoenix.
Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor, who took over earlier this year, said he’s spoken to Snyder a few times about his future and that he expects an answer “sooner rather than later.”
“He really wants to thoroughly discuss it with his family,” Taylor said. “He has told me that, ‘Gene, I want to give you an answer as soon as I can.’ I think he would like to give it soon after the bowl game. We really haven’t gone into a lot of specifics. He said, ‘Gene, I want to do a long evaluation of this with my family,’ and he’s really said nothing more than what I’ve heard.”
The program’s future has been a hot topic in recent months after a report citing anonymous sources suggested Snyder had nixed a plan to hire Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt — one of his early assistants at Kansas State — in a coach-in-waiting role. Snyder and Leavitt both disputed parts of the report.
Taylor refused to say which way Snyder might be leaning, mostly because he doesn’t want to guess.
“He could be a great poker player and win a lot of money because he does not give you a sense of what he’s thinking,” Taylor said. “I mean, I go back and forth on this, but I couldn’t give you a sense one way or another of what he’s thinking.”
The longer Snyder waits the more precarious Taylor’s situation. Some of the hot names on the annual coaching carousel have already been snapped up, limiting his options for a replacement.
“There are still potential guys out there that I’ve had my eye,” Taylor said. “Until he walks in saying that he retires, then I plan on him being here next year.”