Bill Snyder of Kansas State, the Associated Press' Coach of the Year in the Big 12, is a finalist for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. He is joined as one of the ten finalists for the award by fellow Big 12 coach Mike Gundy of the conference-champion Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Snyder led the Wildcats to an improbable 10-2 season in 2011, and a 7-2 mark in the conference, after being picked by Big 12 coaches in the preseason to finish eighth. The dean of Big 12 football coaches, Snyder, who turned 72 in October, has coached at Kansas State for 20 years. He was the Wildcats' coach from 1989 to 2005, then came out of retirement to take the coaching reins again in the 2009 season. His overall record at Kansas State is 159-82.
In his three seasons back on the sidelines leading the Wildcats, Snyder has taken the program from near obscurity back to national prominence, with a second-place finish in the Big 12 and a No. 8 ranking in the final BCS standings. He is the 11th winningest coach among FBS schools and will lead Kansas State to its 13th bowl game on Jan. 6, when the Cats will face the sixth-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks out of the SEC.
Gundy was a finalist for the Liberty National Coach of the Year award last season. The Oklahoma State alum and former player directed the Cowboys to their first Big 12 Championship this season, finishing with an 11-1 record and a No, 3 national ranking, just missing out playing for the national championship. It was the first outright conference crown for Oklahoma State since winning the title in 1948 when the league was the Missouri Valley Conference. Gundy, 44, has a record of 58-30 in his seven seasons as head coach of the Cowboys. Since 2009, his teams have compiled a record of 20-5 in conference games.
Other coaches around the country being considered for the Coach of the Year award are: Brady Hoke, Michigan; Mark Hudspeth, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Mark London, Virginia; Les Miles, LSU; Bobby Petrino, Arkansas; Mark Richt, Georgia; Nick Saban, Alabama; and Dabo Swinney, Clemson.
The Liberty Mutual award is one of the top national honors recognizing college football coaches. The award criteria includes sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, as well as what they give back to their teams and communities. The winner will be announced the morning of the BCS Championship game on Jan. 9.
For more information:
Big 12 Conference official website