Bill Snyder and Sean Snyder vs. South Dakota 2018

Then-Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder (right) talks with his son and associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder (left) before a game against South Dakota on Sept. 1, 2018. The elder Snyder said Wednesday that Southern California head coach Clay Helton made Sean feel “wanted.” Sean now is USC’s special teams coordinator.

As Sean Snyder looked around for his next job following 26 years in various roles within Kansas State’s athletics department, his father, legendary head football coach Bill Snyder, felt that one factor superseded all others.

He hoped his son’s next employer would make him feel valued.

“You want him to be wanted,” Bill said during a Zoom video conference Wednesday. “I didn’t want him out there because he was a Snyder; I wanted him out there because of who he was.”

USC repeatedly showed the elder Snyder how much it wanted Sean to join its coaching staff. Clay Helton, the Trojans’ head coach, called Bill multiple times. As Bill put it, Helton was “calling me to help recruit” Sean to the West Coast. But Helton didn’t stop there.

He went a step further when Sean flew out to California.

“When he got off the plane, Clay Helton was standing there,” Bill said. “And Clay Helton said to him, ‘This isn’t an interview. You have the job.’ Clay Helton and his wife spent the next three days, from sun up to bedtime, with Sean.”

At 80 years old, Bill has seen nearly everything. He’s rarely surprised anymore. Yet even he admitted he was taken aback by Helton’s commitment to snagging Sean.

“That doesn’t happen in our sport in this day and age. That told me a lot about what Clay Helton felt about Sean himself and his capacity as a special teams coordinator,” Bill said. “So I’m awful pleased so far.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bill said his son hadn’t “been able to do all the things he would like to” with USC’s special teams. The Trojans held their first practice of the spring March 11; one day later, they suspended spring practice indefinitely in the wake of the virus reaching the U.S. and effectively putting all sports on hold. USC never resumed spring practices, which were scheduled to wrap up April 18.

Sean recently returned to Kansas, Bill said, to be with his son, former K-State football player Tate Snyder, who was part of the program from 2010 to 2013.

“(Tate) just moved from Overland Park to Omaha with his business,” Bill said. “(He) took ill, and I got him into KU Med Center. He was in there for a week. They couldn’t find out what was wrong with him, and he had to go through a week full of testing before they finally identified it. But he’s doing well now. He’s out. He’s back in Omaha and back to work.”

Though it wasn’t the circumstances under which Bill would have liked to visit with his son, they did get to catch up in person for the first time in months.

“Sean and his wife, Wanda, came in from (Los Angeles) and spent time there with Tate,” he said. “So I got to see (Sean) as well.”

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