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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Stevenson: K-State coach's legend continues to grow

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  • Kansas State’s iconic football coach, Bill Snyder, turns 75 on Oct. 7. That’s old for a college football coach, but Snyder’s coaching ability is as sound as it was in 1989.
    Snyder’s winning records, championships, bowl games and coaching awards have already been well-chronicled.
    What he has done at Kansas State University will become an enduring legend long after Snyder finally calls it a day. He has altered K-State’s image within Kansas and the college football world from downtrodden to a well-established, elite program.
    Kansas State isn’t an easy place to create and maintain teams that have not only been competitive in the Big 12, but teams that have won conference championships and contended for national championship on more than one occasion.
    Snyder is not a flashy guy.
    But, he’s idolized by K-State fans from coast to coast. His total domination of KU over the years is his most outstanding achievement for most Wildcat fans.  Snyder has won 18 and lost 4 in 22 games he’s coached against the Jayhawks. That’s an incredible and improbable feat.
    This fall, Snyder will coach his 23rd season at Kansas State and there hasn’t been even a hint of cheating; that code of conduct has made his record even more impressive.
    Coach Snyder has a unique ability to judge talent before those players are recruited.
    As an example, K-State has two established players from Abilene who weren’t touted recruits in high school.
    Senior wide receiver Curry Sexton (5-11, 180) and junior offensive lineman Cody Whitehair (6-4, 309) will be valuable players on this year’s team. That type of recruiting by Snyder has been typical in and out of the state of Kansas for years.
    At 74, it’s been widely assumed Snyder wouldn’t be able to communicate with players who are five decades younger than he is. Those assumptions are way off.
    Snyder has always been respected by his players, and awe has to be added to that respect.
    Kansas State and Bill Snyder rule the football roost in Kansas and that isn’t likely to change this fall. The Wildcats are cocked and primed to have another big-time season.
    Turning to Major League Baseball …
    As of Sunday, Kansas City’s baseball team had a 45-42 record and the Royals were four games back of the Detroit Tigers. There’s no question General Manager Dayton Moore has developed an outstanding pitching staff and an impressive defensive team.
    The issue is hitting.
    Page 2 of 2 - KC is counting heavily on designated hitter Billy Butler, left fielder Alex Gordon, and third baseman Mike Moustakas.
    Butler and Moustakas have been flops. Gordon is fighting a slump, but his overall season hasn’t been that bad. And, Moustakas is showing signs of coming to life at the plate.
    Butler isn’t getting it done. He’s a liability on the base paths because he’s so slow and he uses poor judgment running the bases.
    In addition, when there’s a runner on first, it’s even money Butler will hit into a double play. Butler’s attitude also leaves plenty to be desired; he often loafs when running out ground balls.
    Another solvable problem is that manager Ned Yost refuses to bunt with runners on first and second and no outs, regardless of the situation. This often ends up in rally-killing double plays.
    With the excellence of KC’s pitching, one or two runs can often make the difference in close games. But, Yost isn’t going to change.
    The seven games before the all star break — three at Tampa Bay and four at home against Detroit — are crucial for the Royals.
    It’s getting close to make-or-break time. KC wouldn’t qualify for a wild card spot with its current record, and the Royals best chance is to overtake Detroit in the American League Central.
    That won’t be easy. In fact, it will be impossible if Butler, Gordon, and Moustakas don’t hit with consistency and power during the second half of the season.
    The four-game series with Detroit would be the perfect time for KC to make a move. If it goes the other way, kiss the playoffs goodbye.
    The person responsible for the decisions on which Royals baseball games are not going to be televised needs some assistance.
    KC is in the thick of the pennant race and Fox Midwest decided to pass on televising Saturday’s game at Cleveland.
    If that isn’t enough, Fox Midwest is not going to televise the July 12 game against Detroit during the most important series of the season. This is a classic example of poor planning and a lack of common sense, and it’s short-changing KC’s loyal viewers.

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