The guest of honor received a standing ovation.
Kansas State’s football coach Bill Snyder, a living legend, delighted a Central Kansas Catbackers crowd Friday at The Club at StoneRidge with memories from last year’s 31-14 Buffalo Wild Wings bowl victory over Michigan. Wes Essmiller serves as local president for the Central Kansas Catbackers.
Snyder said he’s always kept a simple philosophy — get better today and tomorrow than you were yesterday. He credits end-of-the-season preparation and focus on detail for K-State’s success against Michigan. Quarterback Jake Waters threw for 271 yards with Tyler Lockett getting 10 catches for 116 yards.
“It was about the preparation prior to the bowl game,” he said. “We’ve been to 15 bowl games and I cannot tell you that we ever prepared better for a bowl game other than maybe our first one in the Copper Bowl. It’s all about attitude and how you commit yourself and how you achieve success.”
Snyder said nothing really changes day-by-day.
“Our goals never change — we try and get better every day,” Snyder said. “Our players have to provide leadership. Our players execute those drills about the same as they do during the season. It takes discipline and hard work. We give them what they need to improve upon.”
Last year’s slow start was attributed to a lack of focus and attention to detail, according to Snyder, starting with a 24-21 loss to North Dakota State.
“It had a lot to do with how we prepared for the season coming off a decent season. We had a lot of guys who took our performance for granted,” Snyder said. “We got embarrassed in our very first ballgame against a very good football team. It set our players back and we didn’t know where to go.”
It took a while to turn the momentum around when K-State won six of its final seven games.
“I shared with them that it wasn’t anything that would turn around on a dime,” he said. “We had to be more committed with what we were doing. We had to care more and become reinvested in our values and our 16 Wildcat goals for success. Eventually, we got on the right track.”
Snyder said he appreciates the K-State fans in Barton County.
“You have wonderful people in the community,” Snyder said. “K-State is about people who care about people. You are people who care about others, Kansas State and our football program.”
Snyder said Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion coach Pete Carroll, a former Southern California coach, made the most striking comment Snyder has heard about Kansas State’s home crowd. K-State beat Southern Cal in back-to-back years, including a historic 27-20 victory Sept. 21, 2002 in Manhattan.
“Coach Carroll remarked on ESPN that ‘Kansas State has the most intimidating crowd that we ever played against,’ ” Snyder said. “They are better than any student crowd I’ve been around. They are amazing.”
Former K-State baseball coach Mike Clark, K-State director of development, credits Snyder for creating momentum for all Wildcat sports in the early ‘90s. Clark said when he arrived at K-State, the baseball field and facilities were sub-standard.
“Because of the success of the football program, it affects every program and athlete at Kansas State University,” Clark said. “After coach Snyder came in the ‘90s, everybody’s budget, pay and experience got a little better. There isn’t anyone that has affected things more over the 28 years since I’ve been there than coach Bill Snyder. He’s a great coach, but he’s changed the lives of all the student athletes.”
Single-game Kansas State football and basketball tickets and parking, autographed portraits, footballs and basketballs and K-State specialty items were auctioned Friday. The auction and golf event produced $27,000.
A Kansas City Royals package was auctioned for $2,400. A men’s basketball package brought $1,800. Bill Snyder portraits brought $1,600 and $1,500. A football package for KU and K-State brought $1,100 and Auburn and K-State brought $900.
Catbacker clubs throughout the state promote K-State athletics and assist in fundraising efforts for the Ahearn Fund. Each year, the Catbackers make a significant contribution to the Ahearn Fund, which provides scholarships for more than 440 Wildcat athletes. Each Catbacker Club is a direct link to the K-State Athletic Department and provides a great opportunity to meet other K-Staters.
The foursome of Sean Thayer, Ralph Terry, Rick Pumford and Richard Myers shot 17-under-par 54 to capture the championship golf flight keyed by a trio of eagles and 11 birdies. The runner-up team carded an eagle and 12 birdies for a 14-under-par 57. The players enjoyed perfect weather on receptive greens with cloudy skies accompanied by light winds.
1st—Sean Thayer, Ralph Terry, Rick Pumford, Richard Myers, 54
2nd—Walter Bouse, Jarrod Bouse, Jerod Manning, Chris Schartz, 57
3rd—Rick Krause, Mac Krause, Mark Guthrie, Mike Huddelson, 58
4th—Craig Smith, Cole Smith, Roger Sell, Colin Becker, 58
1st—Larry Kutina, Andrew Kutina, Steve Dellinger, Jason Wondra, 62
2nd—Jason Mayers, Kyle Schartz, Jeff Ruble, Derek Ringer, 62
3rd—Randy Rein, Mike Harwood, Dave Owen, K. Johnson, 62
4th—Terry Resner, Mike Boys, Dean Akings, Dennis Call, 63
No. 4, Closest to pin—Brian Haddon; No. 6, Closest to pin—Rick Krause; No. 10, Longest drive—Travis Tannehill; No. 16, Closest to pin—Sean Thayer; No. 18, Closest to pin—Mike Vernon