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Words of Wisdom

Bill Snyder
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When Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder was hired by then-Athletic Director Steve Miller in 1988 he was warned, "Kansas State is flat on its back. You must have heard it's one of the toughest jobs in the country. It's not. It's the toughest." From 1946 until Snyder arrived in 1989, the Wildcats only had four winning seasons. Today, it is considered one of the top college programs in the nation, and no one questions who is reponsibile: Snyder. Here's Snyder on what makes Snyder successful:

"Sure, I'm a stickler for the details. How else can you be sure something won't jump up and bite you?"

"What people across the country have done is look at Kansas State and say if you can do it there, you can do it most anywhere. I don't know if it's true. But the message we want to send is that there's so much out there in life to achieve and you shouldn't place limitations on anything."

"I have learned from a lot of different people. In some ways, I think everyone was my mentor. From some people I learned things I wouldn't want to do ... and from others I learned things that seem good and productive. The learning process consisted of a series of: 'That works, let's do it that way,' and 'That doesn't seem to work so good so let's not do it that way.'"

"I tell the players, 'Be around people who want to make your life better.' Why would you want to spend time with or be focused on an individual who does not have your best interest at heart, who would not want to make your life better?"

"I am not be able to remember very much about a particular ball game five, 10 or 15 years later, but I will see something happen on the field, and I will immediately say, 'Iowa vs. Indiana 1984 - same situation.' Experience guides me in making decisions that are very spontaneous."

"Understanding and appreciating individual differences while treating each person fairly is at the heart of coaching. It is axiomatic that everyone in our program will be treated equally by the coaches and by the other players."

"I take all of the players' concerns seriously. If it's important enough for them to want to talk to me about it, then I pay strict attention."

"There is a pristine honesty about athletics that may be unique. Everything you do is on videotape - everything. ...Just as players are identified and applauded for doing what is right and appropriate, they are also identified when they don't perform as well. Therein lies accepting the responsibility for success as well as failure."

"This is not a football factory. There are other positive things that take place in this building. We foster an attitude of wanting to help each other out. We are a team."

Taken from press clips and Leadership Lessons from Bill Snyder, by Robert J. Shoop and Susan M. Scott.


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