By DAVE SKRETTA, Associated Press
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Bill Snyder turned 73 in October, so it was only natural that folks across college football would start wondering just how long the maestro of Manhattan would remain on the sidelines.
Kansas State delivered its answer Thursday: As long as he wants.
Snyder signed a new five-year contract that includes an increase in base compensation to $14.75 million over the life of the contract. The deal replaces one signed in 2009 that did not specify his compensation past the fifth year, and like that contract, it will roll over annually.
"As I have stated so often we came to Kansas State because of the people, stayed because of the people and returned because of the people, and that remains unchanged," Snyder said in a statement.
Snyder, who was voted AP's Big 12 coach of the year after going 11-2 this season, will make $2.75 million for the 2013 season, with annual increases of $100,000 through the 2017 season. The contract also includes several bonus and benefit provisions.
"We have continued to make daily improvement as a football program," Snyder said, "and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue and will do so as long as I feel I am having a positive impact on our university, community and football program and the young men that are involved."
Athletic director John Currie told The Associated Press that he wanted to reward Snyder after winning the school's second Big 12 title this past season, but he also acknowledged that rumors and questions that always seem to circle around the most successful coach in school history.
Some recruits have begun to question whether Snyder would be around for their entire career, and two assistants have departed the staff this offseason — one for Arkansas, another for Big 12 rival Oklahoma State — and generated more questions about the program's long-term stability.
"This is really recognition of his leadership," Currie said in a phone interview, "and it also sends a signal: How long he's going to coach, whenever he's going to retire, all that stuff, however long it is we're happy to have him here."
Even when Snyder's coaching career is finished, he'll still have a place at Kansas State. His contract calls for him to become a special assistant to the AD at an annual salary of $250,000.
"The nature of his re-engagement four years ago led to some of those questions," Currie said. "I never had those questions (about how long he'll coach). My interaction with him is always inspiring, because he's always so diligent, working hard and thinking only about those matters at hand."
Snyder arrived at Kansas State in 1989 and quickly set about turning around one of the worst programs in major college football, one that had gone winless in 27 consecutive games.
Within three years, the Wildcats were a winning team. Within five, they were headed to their second ever bowl game. Within seven, they were producing double-digit victory totals.
The Wildcats finally won the Big 12 title in 2003, but they quickly slipped into a period of mediocrity, and Snyder abruptly retired after two more seasons. But he always remained close to the program, and when it slipped further under Ron Prince, he returned to the sidelines.
He went 6-6 his first year back, took his team to the Pinstripe Bowl in Year 2, and then went 10-3 and landed in the Cotton Bowl to set the stage for this season.
Led by Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, the Wildcats made a mockery of preseason polls that had them sixth in the conference. They won their first 10 games and reached No. 1 in the BCS standings before a loss to Baylor dashed their national title hopes.
Kansas State rebounded to beat Texas and win the Big 12 title, and then lost to Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl to finish with 11 wins for the seventh time in Snyder's 21 seasons.
Snyder's career record of 170-85-1, all with the Wildcats, places him seventh among active head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision in victories.
"Bill Snyder is one of college football's most respected legends," Kansas State president Kirk Schulz said. "We are so fortunate to have one of the very best coaches in college football history who also fully embraces and understands the value and mission of our university."