LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas football head coach Lance Leipold on Friday announced the addition of coaching veteran Sean Snyder to the staff as special Assistant to the Head Coach.
Snyder, an experienced college football coach for more than 20 years spent the 2022 season as the special teams coordinator/specialists coach at Illinois. Snyder spent the previous two seasons as the special teams coordinator at USC.
Snyder spent more than two decades at Kansas State, where he served as special teams coordinator/associate head coach from 2011-18 and special teams analyst in 2019 before moving to USC.
Snyder began his career at Kansas State as a part-time assistant coach in 1994 and 1995, then served as director of football operations from 1996 to 1998, assistant athletic director for football operations in 1999 and 2000, associate athletic director in 2001 and senior associate athletic director from 2002 to 2010. He then moved into his role working with the program’s special teams.
During his tenure, Kansas State ranked in the Top 15 of the ESPN Special Teams Efficiency rating five times, including first in 2017, second in 2015 and third in 2012. The Wildcats also were in the Top 25 of the Football Outsiders Special Teams Rating six times since 2011, including first in 2017, third in 2014 and 2019 and sixth in 2012. Snyder was named the national Special Teams Coordinator of the Year in 2015 by FootballScoop and Phil Steele and in 2017 by Phil Steele.
In 2020, USC’s special teams were ranked No. 1 nationally by Football Outsider and the Trojans were in the national Top 25 in NCAA statistics in kickoff return defense (10th at 17.0) and net punting (25th at 40.8). True freshman Parker Lewis was 20th nationally in field goals (1.6), Gary Bryant Jr. (also a true freshman) was 22nd in kickoff returns (26.2), Ben Griffith’s 46.4 punting average was the highest by a Trojan since 2003 and snapper Damon Johnson was a Mannelly Award finalist.
Under Snyder, Kansas State’s special teams units set or tied eight team records and 20 individual marks. He coached four Big 12 Special Teams Players of the Year, including three consecutive (returners Tyler Lockett in 2013 and 2014, Morgan Burns in 2015 and Joshua Youngblood in 2019). Lockett, who now plays for the Seattle Seahawks, was an All-American first team kickoff returner in 2011 and punt returner in 2014. Burns earned All-American first team honors in 2015 as a kick returner when he led the country in kickoff return touchdowns (4). Youngblood was a Freshman All-American first teamer in 2019 when he ran back 3 kickoffs for TDs and helped Kansas State top the nation in kickoff return average (29.5).
Placekicker Matthew McCrane was a Freshman All-American first teamer in 2014 and All-Big 12 first team pick in 2017, while kicker Jack Cantele made the All-Big 12 first team in 2015. Kick returner Byron Pringle was All-Big 12 first team in 2016 and returner D.J. Reed was so honored in 2017.
Snyder was a consensus All-American and All-Big Eight first team punter under his father, Bill Snyder, at Kansas State as a senior in 1992, averaging 44.7 yards per punt. He was the Big Eight Defensive Newcomer of the Year as a 1991 junior, with a 40.5 punting average. His 43.0 career punting average was a school record. He played in the 1992 Blue-Gray Game. He was inducted into Kansas State’s inaugural Ring of Honor Class in 2002 and into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.
Snyder redshirted at Iowa in 1988, then saw action in two games for the Hawkeyes as a redshirt freshman in 1989 before transferring to Kansas State. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State in money and banking in 1994.
Snyder signed as a free agent with the Phoenix Cardinals in 1993 and the San Diego Chargers in 1994. He and his wife Wanda raised a daughter Katherine and sons Tate and Matthew. They have five grandchildren: Katherine and her husband Colton have three kids, DJ, Declan, and Murphy, and Tate and his wife Nikki have two children, Pearce and Presley.