Student and mentor meet Saturday
You see the protégé coach facing off against his old mentor all the time in the National Football League, and that concept heads down to Norman Saturday.
OU head coach Bob Stoops and his team will welcome the Kansas State Wildcats Saturday for the sixth installment of Stoops versus legendary Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder.
Snyder had been out of the Wildcats’ head coach position for three seasons before reclaiming the job he held for 17 seasons. In his first season back, he has led Kansas State to a 5-3 overall record and 3-1 conference record, which is the best record in the Big 12 North.
Stoops worked under Snyder from 1989 to 1995. During that time he held the positions of defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator.
Stoops said he was not surprised when Snyder left Kansas State in 2005, and Stoops is happy that Snyder has found success during his second go-around.
“So when he did, I figured, good for him and he’s onto other things,” Stoops said. “But then life changes. For him he just felt the need to come back and he’s healthy and he’s able to do it. He’s doing a great job as usual. I’m sure he’s enjoying it.”
Stoops said he credits Snyder for what he has been able to achieve during his tenure as the Sooners’ head coach.
“Coach Snyder gave me a break and gave me a full-time job at Kansas State when he came into the program,” Stoops said. “Just being a part of that process for seven years just really grows you as a coach. I don’t know how to quantify how much, but he’s certainly had a major influence.”
Since becoming OU’s head coach, Stoops and Snyder have met up five times. Stoops holds a 4-1 series lead, and all four victories have come during the regular season.
Snyder’s lone victory against his former coordinator was in the 2003 Big 12 Championship game. The Wildcats won 35-7, and broke up the Sooners’ bid for a perfect season.
With the Big 12 North being labeled as the weaker division, the Kansas State has a legitimate shot of facing the Big 12 South champion in Arlington, Texas, for the 2009 Big 12 Championship.
“Here they are back leading the North,” Stoops said. “They’re doing an excellent job. What you’d expect to see from Coach Snyder’s teams is offensively very physical football.”
The Wildcats’ success after being a usual write-off victory for many teams in recent years is not too shocking now that Snyder has reclaimed the reins.
“Those guys are just playing great football,” junior defensive back Dominique Franks said. “I can’t really just say it’s because of culture or anything like that, but all I can say is they are already ahead of the North.”