Kansas State’s pride gets in way of splashy coach hire

Bill Snyder’s retirement opened the door for Kansas State to refresh the football program, but pride is keeping the program from making the best possible move and hiring Seth Littrell.

According to Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the North Texas coach withdrew his name from consideration and will remain in Denton.

But a later report spells out the real issue. Tom Martin of KCTV cited a source who said contract negotiations fell through when Littrell said he wanted to clean house.

Martin adds that buyout terms may also have played a role, but that’s nothing more than a secondary reason. The university’s loyalty to the Snyder family prevented Kansas State from making the right hire.

In other words, K-State wants to keep Sean Snyder on staff.

Sean, who is Bill’s son, has served as an assistant for 25 seasons. Bill wanted to make Sean the coach-in-waiting, but the school preferred Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. That tension has quietly hovered around the program.

The younger Snyder is undeniably an important figure at Kansas State right now. For the Wildcats to move into Big 12 contention, though, they must be willing to look outside of the Snyder family.

Littrell is worth the risk.

While rising the coaching ranks, he was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina in 2015. The Tar Heels led the nation in yards per play and won 11 games, and Littrell parlayed that success into his job at North Texas.

In the two years prior to his arrival, UNT ranked 119th and 113th in yards per snap. After installing his system and reshaping the roster in 2016, Littrell has guided the Mean Green to top-40 finishes. This year, they enter bowl season at No. 20.

When that caliber of coach says he wants to bring his staff, you let him. It’s exactly what Nebraska allowed from Scott Frost when pulling him from UCF.

Littrell is worth the risk.

The unnecessary loyalty of Kansas State, however, isn’t ready to allow it.