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Kansas State coach Bill Snyder's notes of appreciation are worth their weight in gold

Win or lose on Saturday, the Kansas State coach is likely to send a note or two to Sooners who impress him.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 20, 2013
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photo - Kansas State coach Bill Snyder takes off his headset to check on an injured player during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Baylor defeated Kansas State 35-25. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder takes off his headset to check on an injured player during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Baylor defeated Kansas State 35-25. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Sometime next week, the letter will arrive in Norman.

The words scrawled in purple felt-tip pen on Kansas State football stationery will be sent to Gabe Ikard. Or Sterling Shepard. Or Aaron Colvin. Or some other Sooner. Someone who's part of the Oklahoma football program will receive a message from Manhattan.

A message from Bill Snyder.

No one is better than the Wildcat coach. Usually, a proclamation like that is a nod to his football acumen. He raised K-State from the depths, then retired, then came back and did it again.

This season is just the latest chapter in his Manhattan Miracle. Despite losing to North Dakota State in the opener and starting the season 2-4, the Wildcats have risen from the ashes, won their last four games and are favored to beat the Sooners on Saturday.

But win or lose, Snyder is still likely to send a note or two to Sooners who impress him.

“I appreciate opponents that prepare well and play well and show quality principles and values,” Snyder said. “The letters that I've sent to players over the years — and coaches for that matter — it's just sharing my appreciation for what they do and how they prepared and how they played.

“Just recognizing what they do.”

The tone in Snyder's voice suggests that he doesn't see this sort of thing as anything special.

And maybe it shouldn't it.

But we all know that it is. Saying thank you is something we don't do enough, and saying it in a handwritten letter? Well, we're too busy for that.

And it's not like Snyder isn't busy. The man has to figure out a way to slow down the likes of Baylor and Oklahoma State while beating the recruiting bushes for the next Collin Klein while keeping a bunch of college guys in line.

Still, writing letters is important enough to him that he makes time to do it.

“It's something that I've always done,” Snyder said.

Sudden thought. Snyder has been at Kansas State for 22 years and he says he writes someone after virtually every game. Wonder how many letters he's written over the years.

Has to be hundreds.

But the college football world wasn't always aware of it. Social media pulled back the curtain earlier this season. North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen got one of Snyder's handwritten notes after the Bisons upended the Wildcats, and a picture of it spread like wildfire around the Internet.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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