Replacing a Legend: K-State Coaching Candidates

Bill Snyder retired on Sunday, leaving open a coaching vacancy that has only been open one other time in the last three decades. Last go around, the hire was short lived, with an unsuccessful run by Ron Prince. Replacing a legend is never easy, but someone has to fill Bill Snyder’s Nike Cortez shoes. Here’s some of the names being bandied about, in no particular order. We’ll update this list as new information comes in.

Mike Norvell

Likelihood: 2/10

Mike Norvell, the head coach of Memphis has a record of 26-13. Three of his 26 wins came against ranked teams. He’s also won his division twice in a row. With Littrell removing his name from consideration, his name has skyrocketed up the charts of candidates quickly.

Update: Norvell took to Twitter to emphatically state he was staying at Memphis. While these types of announcements aren’t exactly binding, it does seem like the pool of finalists has dwindled.

Neal Brown

Likelihood: 7/10

Neal Brown is the head coach at Troy, and has so far amassed a record of 34-16 there. Including upsets of FBS schools like LSU and Nebraska, his coaching prospects are increasing, and some say he could be on Gene Taylor’s short list.

Seth Littrell

Likelihood: 1/10

Litrell is the head coach at North Texas, and has become a bit of a hot coaching prospect this season. His name seems to pop up for every job that becomes available. He got UNT back to winning quickly after his hire after a dismal 1-11 2015 season. His first year, he got the Mean Green to 5-8, and has followed that up with a couple of 9 win season, with an opportunity to get to 10 wins this year, with a bowl game pending.

Update: Littrell has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration.

Brent Venables

Likelihood: 2/10

Currently the Clemson defensive coordinator, Venables has quite a history in Manhattan. He played under Bill Snyder in the early 90s, and served as an assistant coach until 1998. He’s made no secret of his love for his alma mater. That said, he consistently produces top defenses, and is paid incredibly well at Clemson. He may not have any interest in the stress of a head coaching gig, even at his alma mater. The matter is complicated by the fact his son is now at Clemson.

Jim Leavitt

Likelihood: 4/10

Jim Leavitt’s career is defined by two things: building the South Florida program from scratch, and the scandal which caused him to lose his job. As the coach who quite literally started South Florida football, he can obviously build a program, but the scandal in which he allegedly struck a player caused him to lose his job unceremoniously. Currently the defensive coordinator for Oregon, it should be noted that Leavitt has a clause in his contract that exempts K-State specifically from his buyout should they come calling. Put in other words, if we want him, we should be able to get him.

Sean Snyder

Likelihood: 1/10

It’s been no secret the last several years that Bill wants his son to get the job. Rumors abound that he may have been running the show in Manhattan this last season or two. Bill Snyder will certainly still be pushing for this selection, but it seems unlikely to happen.

Chris Klieman

Likelihood: 6/10

Klieman is the head coach at North Dakota State, which is the “Bama” of FCS. He’s won three straight national titles at NDSU. The jump from FCS to FBS is a big one, however, and the leap to a Big XII job is even bigger. Could Klieman recruit Big XII calibre talent? Could his coaching schemes translate to this level? A lot of questions would present themselves. Frankly, this option wouldn’t really be a consideration in this author’s opinion except for the fact that Gene Taylor originally hired Klieman at NDSU when he was the athletic director there.

Since Littrell removed his name from consideration, his name is being reported as a favorite. The biggest criticism against him is his lack of FBS experience. In fact, his only FBS experience at ANY level of coaching was a brief stint as the DB coach at KU under Terry Allen. Furthermore, while he has a great deal of success at his level, it could be argued he merely maintained an existing powerhouse, instead of building it himself.

Craig Bohl

Likelihood: 2/10

For the same reason that Klieman could get consideration, so too could Bohl. Bohl was Klieman’s predecessor at North Dakota State University, and he too, won three national titles at NDSU. Now he’s the head coach at Wyoming, and has achieved moderate success there, reaching the eight win mark a couple of times.

Eric Wolford

Likelihood: 3/10

Eric Wolford is getting a lot of discussion on social media thanks to a movement by former players who are aggressively pushing this option. Currently, Wolford is the OL coach at South Carolina. Prior to that, he assembled a 31-26 record as head coach at Youngstown State University.

The Rest of the Field:

These are other names that (though they are unlikely in this author’s opinion) may be worth keeping an eye on, and may get moved up as this coaching search continues to develop.
  • Bob Stoops
  • Dana Dimel
  • Bret Bielema
  • Josh Heupel
  • Mike Leach
  • Ricky Rahne
  • Gary Patterson
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