Jim Leavitt, a former Kansas State assistant and current Oregon defensive coordinator, has been discussed as a potential successor to Bill Snyder.
According to a report, Snyder shot down a chance for that to happen.
After coaching at Kansas State as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1990-95, Leavitt was a highly successful head coach at USF from 1997-2009. He was fired after allegedly striking a player in the locker room and interfering in the investigation into the incident. He never admitted guilt after his firing from South Florida.
With recent successful stints as defensive coordinator at Colorado during the Buffaloes' surprising 2016 turnaround, and now Oregon, Leavitt seems like a potential head coaching candidate. Given his background as a head coach, and at Kansas State which has very specific recruiting challenges, taking over for Snyder once the legendary 78-year old head coach retires makes sense.
It makes sense to people at Kansas State not named Bill Snyder, anyway.
According to college football insider, KSU had agreed to a $3 million deal to make Leavitt the head coach-in-waiting for the Wildcats, but Snyder effectively nixed it. His wish is for his son Sean Snyder, Kansas State's assistant head coach and special teams coach, to replace him.
From McMurphy's story:
However, last December, Snyder pushed back on Leavitt, a former KSU assistant, being named his replacement because Snyder wanted his son Sean, currently KSU’s associate head coach and special teams coordinator, to replace him, sources said.
Snyder’s K-State contract stipulates when he’s done coaching at KSU he will be a “special assistant to the athletic director” and “shall also have appropriate input … regarding the selection of the next head football coach.”
Snyder has previously given his public support to Sean becoming the next head coach of the Wildcats.
“I have a strong belief, and my preference is Sean,” Snyder said. “He knows more about our football program than anyone. He runs our program. I have great confidence in him.
“It's easy to say, ‘He's your son,’ but I don't wish coaching on anyone,” he said, adding he would support his son “if that's what he wants to do.”
The Snyder situation is extremely tricky for a number of reasons. Snyder is very likely to retire in the next few years, and is the single most revered figure in program history. Kansas State named its football stadium after he and his family in 2005.
The school has also seen what happens in a post-Snyder world. After Snyder's first retirement, Ron Prince took over the program and went 17-20 (9-15) in three seasons. Snyder returned in 2009, and has gone 71-42 since. He is riding a seven-year bowl streak, and won the Big 12 in 2012. Still, Leavitt seems like the more qualified candidate than the younger Snyder, which makes this an extremely tricky situation for the Kansas State administration.