MANHATTAN, Kan. — The last time Kansas State won a conference championship, Bill Snyder was still in his first tenure in Manhattan and nobody had any reason to believe the success would ever end.
After all, that 2003 season marked the sixth time in seven years that the Wildcats won at least 11 games. Snyder had built a program from national laughingstock to perennial contender, his teams seemingly always appearing in the Top 25 and usually in title consideration.
Well, they went 4-7 the following year.
Now in his second stint leading the program, Snyder isn’t about to allow anybody on his team take last year’s success for granted. Kansas State may have won another Big 12 title and played in the Fiesta Bowl, but the sagely coach has eyes only on the future.
“In all honesty, I walk out on the field and wonder how we’re going to get better today. You hear me say it time and time again and I don’t have any other thoughts,” Snyder said. “Part of that is from a leadership role, everybody has to set an example and I need to set the example.”
The Wildcats have followed it, toiling away in the summer heat this offseason with the same kind of focus as their 73-year-old coach. No breaks. No time to relax.
“I don’t think they have collectively given me a particular reason to believe they have taken the upcoming season, or their performance, their preparation, for granted,” Snyder said, “but you know, the best way to define that will be after we have been given a chance on the field.”
That first chance comes Aug. 30 against defending FCS champion North Dakota State.