The first football coach to win both an ncaa div-I championship and a super bowl was Bill Snyder. He coached the Kansas State Wildcats and lead them to a national title in 1988. The Wildcats went on to qualify for the big game that year as well. In fact, they were undefeated at 12-0, defeating Miami of Ohio 45-21 in the title game before trouncing defending champion Penn State by a score of 37-7 in Super Bowl XXII.
It’s not like he had never won before either; Snyder had been coaching college football for thirty years at this point and had compiled an impressive Football record during that time. In his first full decade in charge, he led the Wildcats to a 78-39-1 record (.642 winning percentage) including six bowl berths (one of which was the 1978 Gator Bowl). He also established himself as one of the most sought after football coaches in all of college football. He had no problem attracting good recruits; more than half of his players who came to Kansas State between 1977 and 1987 were drafted into the National Football League.
In addition to his on court coaching prowess, Snyder also served as Kansas State’s athletic director during that time period. He did everything from hiring College Basketball coaches and Football coaches to getting involved with Olympic Athletes. He was the only athletic director to win a national championship in his first three years on the job .
Amongst all of the accolades, Snyder’s most notable accomplishment came in a Saturday victory over Penn State in 1988. It was during that contest that he went on to become something of an innovator. In previous years, the team’s defensive coordinator Al Groh had used a “Concavity” defense against his best opponent’s offenses. And even when he hadn’t, opponents had been able to exploit it because of their mastery of the system. However, under Snyder, this concept was made obsolete and it never resurfaced again even after Groh returned as head coach in 1990.
What’s a “Concavity” defense? In its simplest form, it was a 3-4 scheme that featured a secondary player (usually the free safety) who was charged with filling the offensive passer’s blind spot when he dropped back. This allowed the other defensive players to apply pressure in two directions: away from the quarterback and toward their own man. However, Snyder’s philosophy had him employing at least 10 players on each side of the ball during games that were more like standard 4-3 fronts .
By now people should know that before Bill Snyder took over as Kansas State head coach in 1977, KSU finished no better than sixth place in either their division or conference any time he was in charge. His teams qualified for a bowl game in each of his first ten years, though, and by the time Snyder was finished there he had taken the Wildcats to 12 bowls in 15 seasons. He also won at least eight games in nine out of those ten years.
His greatest accomplishment? In 18 seasons as head coach of Kansas State, Snyder won 143 games and only lost 56 in his tenure. He claimed 9 conference championships: 7 outright (1987, 1988, 1990–1993 and 1996) and 2 shared (1981 and 1995). The 7 outright titles are more than any other head football coach has ever had with another school .