Thanks, Bill Snyder
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder singled me out Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days. In a good way.
The K-State coach legend – legend might be the wrong word; mythic or messiah might be more fitting — has returned to the job after three years retired. It was good to see him back. He’s not the most interesting coach around or the most quotable or the gregarious. But he has accomplished the most.
Anyway, back in 2001, The Oklahoman produced a project in which we debated the greatest college coaches of all time. Several staff members made their case for a candidate. I made the case for Snyder, and we played it up big. I think it was a Mount Rushmore look, with Snyder’s face front and center.
Anyway, I called him the greatest coach of all time, and in January 2003 — about 16 months later — I helped introduce him at OKC’s Thorpe Award banquet, after Kansas State’s Terence Newman won the trophy. Snyder took the podium and, before presenting Newman, said I was his favorite sportswriter of all time, that he had seen the story and couldn’t believe an Oklahoman would give him that kind of honor and credit.
Anyway, he was back Wednesday, and I asked him a question from the floor along the lines of how he might do in a second go-round, considering most coaches who had tried such a plan had generally failed.
Snyder started to answer, then said, “Berry, by the way, I don’t know if I ever told you face to face. You wrote one of my most famous articles ever that I really appreciate. It’s the only one I’ve ever given to my children. I appreciate that a great deal. A long time ago.”
I appreciated Snyder saying so, and what makes it even more flabbergasting is how rare is such a public statement. When you think about it, most of the stuff written about coaches and athletes is positive. Overwhelmingly positive. Most of it flattering, some of it glorification and occasionally very well done.
And we never hear about it. We hear the complaints and the bitching and we don’t even think twice about it. That’s just the way it goes.
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