Ned Seaton

A buddy of mine, more cynical than I am, thinks of it this way: Why can’t K-State keep these people? I think, instead, that it’s mostly a good sign.

I’m referring at the moment to the hiring of Brent Venables as the head football coach at Oklahoma. Venables, from Salina, is a K-Stater — played here, coached here, then left.

There are lots of those around. Lots.

Bob Stoops left for Florida, then had a Hall of Fame career as the head coach at OU. Jim Leavitt left, started a program from scratch at South Florida, got them to No. 1 in the country. Dana Dimel left, came back, left again, and now has turned an awful UTEP program into a winner. Bret Bielema left, became the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas. Lon Kruger left, won everywhere he ever went. Dana Dimel left, now takes Oregon to the NCAA’s routinely. Frank Martin left, took South Carolina to the Final 4. James Franklin just signed a giant extension at Penn State. Raheem Morris went on to coach the Buccaneers. Scott Frost, although he’s on thin ice, coached here, and now he’s the head coach at Nebraska.

Kirby Hocutt is the AD at Texas Tech. Laird Veatch is the AD at Memphis. Tim Weiser is one of the top people at the Big 12 office. John Currie is the AD at Wake Forest. Chad Weiberg is the AD at Oklahoma State.

On and on. There will be more, many more, as the years go by. Assistant coaches now, support staff people, they’ll get other job opportunities.

That’s as it should be. People move up and out. They move on. This happens in college athletics, in academics — heck, it happens in journalism. We have been fortunate to have many great ones, including several on staff now. But others leave after awhile, and end up winning Pulitzers.

People like that help K-State succeed, and they make Manhattan a better place. It’s not that we should relish their departures, but we have to be realistic – there aren’t enough jobs around to accommodate them. What, are we supposed to think we should have a football staff with Stoops, Leavitt, Venables, Bielema, Franklin, Frost, Dimel and Sean Snyder? Should we pay the coaching staff $100 million a year? And just let them rotate being in charge?

It’s better to have good people who leave than dud people who stay. There will be more good people. There always are. That’s because K-State is a great place, and people want to be here.

It’s worth noting that lots of people tend to come back. Bill Snyder never left. Tex Winter moved back to town. Max Urick is still here. More will come back, too. I always say that people never really leave The Mercury — they just go away for awhile.

That’s sort of a joke, but sort of not. The truth is that Manhattan is not — and never really will be — at the top of all the ladders. It’s a great place, which is why a person like Bill Snyder never left. You can do anything from here.

But when people go off into the wild and succeed, that’s not an indictment. That’s a credit to them, and to our town, and we should celebrate it.

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