Bill Snyder is the Sports Spectacular speaker

Bill Snyder

Award-winning Coach

The winningest coach in the history of K-State football with a 215-117-1 record, Bill Snyder left K-State as the 20th winningest coach in FBS history and currently ranks second among active FBS coaches in wins. Under Snyder, K-State was the third-winningest program in the Big 12 with 104 total league wins since the league was formed in 1996.

In all, Snyder led K-State to 19 of the school’s 21 all-time bowl appearances, won two conference titles, achieved two No. 1 national rankings, coached players who received a total of 214 All-America honors, 13 Academic All-Americans, was a five-time national coach of the year, seven-time conference coach of the year, and also became just the fourth active coach to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (2015).

Snyder’s impact at K-State reached far beyond the football field. In addition to rekindling an overwhelming sense of pride in K-State alumni and supporters from coast to coast, the winning culture he ushered in helped spark a University and community-wide revitalization as K-State’s enrollment blossomed from 18,120 when he was hired to a record of more than 24,000.

Following a three-year retirement from 2006-2008, Snyder returned to the sidelines in 2009 with hopes of revitalizing a program that he once built, piece by piece, into a national force. And, after nine seasons back in charge, he did just that — and then some.

 Over the past 10 years under Snyder, K-State has totaled 79 victories, advanced to eight bowl games, won a conference championship in 2012, and finished third or better in the ultra-competitive Big 12 Conference in four of the last seven seasons.

Act Two of his renowned career started in 2009 when the Wildcats played for a berth in the Big 12 Championship on the last week of the season and went 6-6 prior to a 7-5 campaign in 2010 and a berth in the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl.

 K-State’s climb back into the national picture continued in 2011 as the Cats went 10-3, finished No. 8 in the BCS standings, and earned their first Cotton Bowl invitation in 10 years. 

The bar was raised again in 2012 as Snyder led the Cats to their third conference championship in school history and first since 2003. Kansas State, which won its first 10 games of the season and finished the regular season at 11-1 with an 8-1 mark in Big 12 play, tied the school record for overall wins and conference victories while also ascending to No. 1 in the BCS rankings following its 10-0 start.

Snyder went on to win the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award as well as top Big 12 coach honors for the second straight season following the Cats’ memorable 2012 season that culminated with a berth in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and quarterback Collin Klein being named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.

From 2013-2018, K-State won an average of almost eight games a year and included a 2014 season that saw the Cats ranked once again in the Top 10 and compete for a Big 12 Championship in the final week of the season.

When Snyder was named the Wildcats’ head football coach in 1988, he inherited a team that had just suffered through its second consecutive winless season and was on a current 0-26-1 stretch. It was a program that had been through 14 different head coaches and won just 24 percent of its games — going 137-455-18 — between Lynn “Pappy” Waldorf’s 1934 Big Six championship team and his hiring.

But it did not take long for Snyder to change the entire culture of the program. In just his third year, he guided the 1991 Wildcats to a 7-4 record to give K-State just its second winning season since 1970. For his efforts, Snyder was named ESPN’s National Coach of the Year.

Just two seasons later, Snyder guided Kansas State to a 9-2-1 record and a berth in the 1993 Copper Bowl, marking just the second bowl appearance ever by the Wildcats.

The trip to Tucson was the first of 11-straight postseason appearances for Snyder’s Wildcats, who quickly became a fixture on the Big 8/12 bowl circuit.

Along the way, Kansas State would become just the second team in the history of college football to win 11 games in six of seven seasons from 1997 and 2003.

The 11-win campaign in 2003 brought more firsts for Kansas State as Snyder guided the Wildcats to an unforgettable upset of No. 1 Oklahoma in the 2003 Big 12 Championship game that not only gave the Wildcats their first Big 12 title and BCS bowl berth but captivated the imagination of the nation’s college football fans.

In his first tenure, Snyder guided Kansas State to 11 winning seasons, four Big 12 North Division titles and three Big 12 Championship games, as the Wildcats recorded the eighth-most wins in Division I-A from 1993-2004.

In addition to the team accomplishments, Snyder’s players were also some of the most decorated in the country. In his first 16 years, he produced three national award winners, 45 All-America selections and 68 first team all-conference honorees.

The rebuilding effort and subsequent success engineered at Kansas State by Snyder clearly stands as one of the most amazing in all of college football.

Wyatt Thompson is the Sports Spectacular speaker

Wyatt Thompson

Award-winning Sportscaster

Wyatt Thompson, who is in his 17th year as the play-by-play voice of the Wildcats, is a four-time winner of the Kansas Sportscaster of the Year at the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, including in 2018.

In addition to his play-by-play duties for Wildcat football and men’s basketball, Thompson can be seen regularly each summer at each Catbacker event across the state, in addition to hosting various radio programs, events and programs at K-State and in the Manhattan community.

He started his broadcasting career in 1976 as a sportscaster for various high schools, colleges, and universities in Kansas, spending time at stations in Great Bend and Abilene.

Thompson started worked for KAYS radio and television in Hays in 1985, until in 1989 where he was the play-by-play voice at Fort Hays State. While in Kansas, he was recognized with the Kansas Association of Broadcasters (KAB) Play-by-Play Award in 1982 and the Oscar Stauffer Sportscaster of the Year Award in 1989.

Thompson, also the 2011 recipient of the KAB Hod Humiston Award, came to Kansas State in 2002 after leaving Colorado State, where he was the play-by-play voice for CSU's football and men's basketball teams for five years.

An accomplished professional, Thompson won the Colorado Broadcasting Association award for best play-by-play in 2000. In addition to his duties at CSU, Thompson was also a sports reporter for Clear Channel Denver, the Countdown to Kickoff host for the Denver Broncos on KOA Radio, and hosted the Zone Sports Insiders show on 760 The Zone in Denver.

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