He built the program from a pile of rat-infested sewage into one of the most reliable and respected programs in college football. He deserves his place in the College Football Hall of Fame. He deserves his place amongst college football's legendary coaches. And he deserves to have his name forever emblazoned on Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Bill Snyder, however, does not deserve to pick his successor as head coach of Kansas State football.
College football reporter Brett McMurphy broke news on Thursday that Kansas State had agreed to hire Jim Leavitt, then-Colorado defensive coordinator and current Oregon defensive coordinator, to their staff in 2017 and have him replace Snyder in 2018.
"Sources said Kansas State’s top officials, including president Richard Myers, and the school’s highest-profile boosters were all on board with Leavitt, then a Colorado assistant, joining KSU's staff and then replacing the legendary Snyder after the 2017 season," McMurphy wrote. "Leavitt and the school had an agreement, guaranteeing Leavitt $3 million if he wasn’t named K-State’s coach by Jan. 1, 2018."
Leavitt was an assistant under Snyder from 1990-95 (linebackers coach, 1990-91; defensive coordinator, 1992-95) before becoming South Florida head coach (1996-2009). After four years as San Francisco 49ers' linebackers coach (2011-15), he became the Colorado defensive coordinator in 2016, during which he reportedly was offered the coach-in-waiting job by Kansas State.
Snyder said no, reports McMurphy.
"However, last December, Snyder pushed back on Leavitt, a former KSU assistant, being named his replacement because Snyder wanted his son Sean, currently KSU’s associate head coach and special teams coordinator, to replace him, sources said."
Snyder has the right to give Kansas State his preference his successor. He has the right to ask if his son Sean Snyder can be considered for the job. His 26 years on the sidelines, however, don't give him the right to direct the course of the program after he retires.
Undoubtedly, K-State strongly values his opinion and will consider his recommendation and opinion for the future. And they should; Snyder has earned the opportunity to be a key stakeholder and decision-maker for Kansas State football, even if he does not have an official position with the university after stepping down as head coach.
Kansas State must do what is right for the student-athletes and the short- and long-term health of the program. They can give Bill Snyder veto power if they wish — which they clearly do (and he obviously has 100-percent power over Leavitt joining his current staff) — but if they believe Sean Snyder is the right man for the job, they cannot bend to Snyder.
Maybe the 48-year-old Sean Snyder, a former Wildcats' player and assistant for the last 23 seasons, is the right person. Maybe he's not. Maybe Jim Leavitt is the right person. Maybe he's not. That's beside the point.
Athletics director Gene Taylor and university president Richard Myers are responsible for selecting Bill Snyder's successor. They must make a decision for the good of the program, not the good of Bill Snyder.