The end is always painful … especially in defeat.
But the memories, as Kansas State All-American linebacker Arthur Brown said, “I have memories that will last a lifetime.”
And wide receiver Chris Harper said, “I wasn’t here the full four or five years, but I have my best friends here.”
In the case of quarterback Collin Klein, his lasting relationship with the Bill Snyder-coached Wildcats started on day-one: “I remember the first team meeting and we had those “16 Goals For Success” in front of us. The message of that meeting was, ‘All I ask is to be better today than we were yesterday. If we do that, we’ll be ok.’ “
“I had a foundation in place when I arrived through my parents and my faith,” Klein said.
“But to be coached by coach Snyder the last few years, and to see how he uses the “16 Goals For Success” in his daily life, and our daily lives as a team, has allowed me to grow tremendously.”
But it wasn’t only the lives of the K-State captains that Snyder has touched the last two to five years. That hands-on forming of boys to men went team-wide with this year’s senior class.
Meshak Williams, a transfer from Hutchinson Community College, said the end of his K-State playing days was a “bitter sweet” moment.
“We really are a family. We take care of one another and make sure each other is doing things right. I’ve had two great years.”
He added, “Much is made of the ’16 Goals’ and it’s those goals that I will take with me the rest of my life. My favorites are ‘commitment’ and ‘unselfishness.’ Those can be taken in any walk in life.”
Also from the community college ranks is Nigel Malone: “I thought I came here as a pretty good and well-mannered guy who knew how to interact with people, but I’m a much better person today than when I arrived. I care more about people.”
Laughing, he added, “And I’m never late to anything anymore. I’m on ‘Cat Time’ (five minutes early) for everything I do. I even find myself arriving at classes early.”
Kicker Anthony Cantele also mentioned the “life lessons” that he learned at K-State after his transfer from Missouri State where he was a soccer player.
“What coach stresses really do relate to life,” said Cantele. “Football is stressed, but the things stressed in football can also help you in life. Coach has his ‘life lessons’ that are truly about life, but also used in football.”
Punter Ryan Doerr came to K-State after transferring from South Carolina and is most appreciative of “… the values and coach has engrained in each of us. He really does his best to make you a man. If there’s one thing that I will take from my days at K-State is about time management.”
Braden Wilson said Snyder pounded home “… the importance of doing the little things right. The man cares about you. If you listen to his teachings, there is no way that you will not be successful in life.”
To tight end Travis Tannahill, he said of his days under Snyder, “It comes down to the very simple rule that hard work pays off. The harder you work, the more payoff there is at the end.”
Laughing, Tannahill said of his K-State experience, “You always know that no matter how early you arrive, or how late you leave, there’s one vehicle always here (football office). Coach is always here working before you come to work; coach is always here working after you go home. It leaves you with the thought, ‘If he can do it, why can’t I.’ ”
In talking with friends at other schools, Tannahill said, “You hear them say they don’t have to work that hard, and they don’t have to do this or that. But at the end of the year, they also don’t win as many games as us.”