During my first tour of the Kansas State athletic offices yesterday, I got the chance to talk at length with the Wildcats’ new top dog John Currie.
We had a nice conversation and you can read about most of what he told me in today’s Eagle or Star. But there were some interesting notes I couldn’t squeeze into the print edition, like how long he expects Bill Snyder to coach this time around.
The answer: “He’ll be around as long as he wants to be.”
Currie went on to say, “he is a terrific ambassador for the university. He is the epitome of a loyal football coach. He is very loyal to his university. Certainly there were a number of times in the 90s when he could have left and made a lot more money but he always stayed loyal to the program that gave him his first opportunity.”
Currie only hopes he can follow that example.
“I feel the same kind of loyalty to Kansas State,” Currie said. “This is where I got my opportunity. I hope I can build a tenure like he’s had.”
Snyder and Currie seem to have a good relationship so far. Currie said the living legend even asked him to give the football team an inspirational speech a few weeks back. He said he knew exactly what to tell the players.
“I came from Wake Forest, and when I was there Wake Forest was the second losing-est football program in America,” Currie said. “Kansas State was the worst. Bill Snyder has rectified that in the last 20 years. What I talked about was how I experienced the Cotton Bowl when they played there in 2001 against Tennessee. I was at Tennessee and certainly there was an unbelievable passion and energy from K-State fans that day. It was cold and snowy and icy, and then the way the team played …
“Tennessee had a lot of great players and a lot of first-round draft picks on that team, but the way Kansas State played on that particular day was so focused and disciplined and organized and tough. It was tough as nails. I’ll never forget how that K-State team played that day. One of the things coach Snyder is intending to do, and will do, here is to rebuild that sense of toughness and pride and discipline that he instilled previously. It’s what led K-State to the previous heights it enjoyed.”
One other thing I asked him: Will he follow the lead of so many others and consider naming a “coach in waiting” while Snyder is still on the job?
“We’ll make sure we consider all our options,” he said. “As athletic director, one of your main priorities is to make sure that you have good transitions. It’s hard to have good transitions. Especially when you have a person like coach Snyder who has set such high standards. Right now I’m just focusing on enjoying the program and supporting him (Snyder)in anyway that I can. I’m going to do that for as long as he feels he is productive as our football coach, and I feel that will be a long time.”