Kansas hired Illinois special teams coach Sean Snyder as its special assistant to coach Lance Leipold on Friday, pulling the son of legendary Kansas State coach Bill Snyder across the Sunflower Showdown line to join the Wildcats' chief rival.
The Snyder name is synonymous with Kansas State football. Sean Snyder played for the Wildcats as a consensus All-American punter in 1992. The stadium (Bill Snyder Family Stadium) is named for the man who transformed one of the worst programs in college football into a national contender.
When Bill retired for the second and final time in 2018, he championed for his son to succeed him; instead, athletic director Gene Taylor hired North Dakota State coach Chris Klieman. Sean remained on staff for one year as a senior special teams analyst but ultimately left for Clay Helton's staff at USC. He spent the 2022 season working for Bret Bielema at Illinois before rejoining the Big 12.
Kansas has lagged behind the Wildcats in football success since Snyder's arrival in Manhattan, but Leipold took the program to a bowl game for the first time since 2008. Snyder is a known special teams wizard and can help a unit that ranked No. 98 in special teams efficiency, per Football Outsiders.
Klieman has again transformed Kansas State into a national contender. The Wildcats shocked then-undefeated TCU to win their first outright Big 12 championship since 2003, earning a Sugar Bowl berth. Klieman, a four-time national champion at North Dakota State, is 30-20 with Kansas State.
The Jayhawks will host Kansas State this season on Nov. 18 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas. It will be the first time a member of the Snyder family coaches against Kansas State since Sept. 10, 1988, when Bill Snyder was Iowa's offensive coordinator.