On Nov. 24, 1988, Bill Snyder's remarks at his introductory press conference were heard 'round the world.
Kidding; no one heard them because more people cared about the Cocoon sequel released a day earlier than the Kansas State football program. Heck, more people cared about a hang nail than the Wildcats.
Kansas State went winless in 1986 and 1987. Between 1946-88, they went winless six times, meaning an astonishing 14 percent of those 43 seasons ended without a single victory. Snyder, a 49-year-old respected offensive coordinator at Iowa under longtime head coach Hayden Fry, took over the worst program in college football.
Voluntarily. Like he wanted to do it. Like no one forced him to do it. He did it vol – un – tar – i – ly.
"It's a tremendous challenge here," a giddy Snyder said at the November 1988 press conference. "And I think [that] the opportunity for the greatest turnaround for college football exists here today. And it's not one to be taken lightly."
Open mic at the student union was likely canceled that night. They just replayed those remarks over and over.
He led the Wildcats to a win in 1989 — win, singular. They beat North Texas on Sept. 30, 1989 — their first victory in 1,077 days — and you would've thought they won the national championship. Fans stormed the KSU Stadium field (now Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium) and tore down the goal posts to celebrate the end of a 31-game losing streak.
Kansas State won five games in 1990, eclipsing their total of the last five years combined. They beat Oklahoma State on Oct. 13, 1990 — their first Big 8 win in nearly four years (Kansas, Oct. 18, 1986) — and Iowa State on Nov. 9, 1991, their first road win (and first Big 8 road win) in five years (Missouri, Oct. 26, 1985).
Some folks were ready to rename the stadium in 1991. Heck, rename the entire city of Manhattan after Snyder.
The turnaround was only getting started. By 1993 Snyder had crafted a nine-win team that was a legitimate Big 8 contender, appeared in the AP top 25 for the first time since 'Nam (literally, 1970) and reached a bowl game for the first time since 1982.
Snyder was wrong in November 1988; the challenge was not tremendous. It was impossible, at least to outsiders. To him, the opportunity was real. That's why he took the job. That's why he gave up a comfortable position at Iowa — where in all likelihood could've replaced Hayden Fry had he waited another decade — for a miserable job.
Now 77 years old and entering his 26th season — the eighth of his second tenure after retiring in 2005 and returning in 2009 — Snyder has 202 career victories (22nd among FBS coaches), two conference titles, four division titles and a billion coach of the year awards. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
The "turnaround" was completed many years ago, arguably in 1993. Everything else is just icing on a cake that Bill Snyder baked 28 years ago and no one wanted a piece of.