Sean Snyder, who worked in a variety of roles in Kansas State’s athletics department and football program between 1994 and 2019, spoke to The Mercury Tuesday afternoon, in his first extended interview in the 14 months since his father’s retirement as the Wildcats’ head football coach.
Included below are some of the topics the younger Snyder, now Southern California’s special teams coordinator, addressed during the interview.
Q: What have the past few weeks been like since joining USC’s coaching staff?
A: “It’s been busy, exciting. (Head) Coach (Clay) Helton is a tremendous person and really everything out here has been phenomenal. All the people have been great. The players have been great. So it’s been a whirlwind.”
Q: Did you know Helton or anyone else on his staff prior to taking the job?
A: “I’ve coached against (defensive coordinator) Coach (Todd) Orlando and (safeties) Coach (Craig) Naivar. They were at Texas, so we crossed paths there.”
Q: What’s been the biggest adjustment so far between Manhattan and Los Angeles?
A: “To me, it’s like anybody: There’s a lot of people here. The overall traffic — not just car traffic, but just traffic of people — takes a little getting used to. Overall, everybody has been great. There hasn’t really been anything that’s been alarmingly shocking. I’ve been out here before and visited, so it’s not like it was completely foreign to (me in terms of) what I was walking into. At the end of the day, it’s just getting used to the time — it takes me a little bit longer than 10 minutes to get to work. It’s not anything that’s earth shattering. I will say that the one that everybody talks about (is true): The weather doesn’t change. It’s pretty darn nice.”
Q: How difficult is the distance factor after being a Manhattan resident for the better part of three decades?
A: “Obviously, we’re a long ways away from our family, but the one thing about this place is they can’t wait to get out here and come see us. So I think we’ll get them out here quite a bit.”
Q: How much does it mean to you that you’re now working at the school where your father began his college coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1966?
A: “It’s an interesting one. I don’t remember my year out here. I was about 6 or 7 (years old) when we wound up moving to Austin College in Texas. But the few pictures that I’ve seen from my time here as a young kid to when we left and now to full-circle back toward the back end of my career and to be out here where he initially started, it’s a pretty cool deal. Obviously, I spent my career underneath dad, which has been tremendous. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve ever done. So to be out here and to circle through a program where he started, it’s pretty awesome.”
Q: How much do you remember about the K-State/USC matchups in 2001 and 2002?
A: “I remember those a little bit. They were good matchups and they were good games.”
Q: You held a plethora of punting-related records at K-State long after your playing career ended. How much does keeping records mean to you, especially after Devin Anctil broke your single-season punting average mark last fall?
A: “Every year I’ve coached punters and kickers, I coached them to break records. That’s the objective. Devin is a wonderful punter. He’s a great person. The way I look at it is, if somebody is going to break my records, I want to be the guy coaching them. So to me, that was an honor for Devin to break the record. I hope, as time goes, that I’m able to coach more guys to do that here at USC. We’ll see.”
Q: What is Anctil like as a player and a person?
A: “Oh shoot, (he’s right) at the top. I’ve been so blessed there at K-State with the punters and the kickers and snappers and return guys I’ve worked with. All of the guys’ positions across the board. The Brock Montys and other guys throughout the course of time. I’ve been extremely blessed. I couldn’t rank them 1 to 100, because they’ve all been great. It’s just been wonderful with the group of guys who have been through there. There’s been a bunch of them every year who have taken ownership in special teams and given their all. And in turn, I’ve tried to do the same thing for them. So I still stay in contact with a bunch of them as they leave and as time goes on down the road.”