Three of my favorite topics in life are hunting, politics, and Kansas State University football. Mitt Romney, if elected, will do for America what Bill Snyder has done for KSU football.
Bill Snyder is the head coach of the Kansas State University Wildcats, the greatest turn-around team in collegiate football history. When he arrived on campus in 1989, I was a sophomore and the KSU football program was the undisputed worst team in the nation by nearly every measure, prompting Sports Illustrated to feature them on the cover, deeming them “Futility U”. They were horrible with a win loss record of 299-510 in almost a century of playing the game.
I remember the excitement when they won their first game in three years and went 7-4 in 1991, the year I graduated, their first winning season since 1970. I witnessed the goal posts being torn down at almost every game and recall Snyder offering to pay for them himself like he did with the new weight room. They went on to compete in eleven consecutive bowl games from 1993-2003 and were one of the most competitive teams in NCAA Division 1.
Not once did Bill Snyder blame his predecessor for what he inherited. He did not whine to the university because of a lack of funds or promise that if he was given four more years and more money it would get better. He did not blame the players or the fans or the university administration for his situation. Day one, he went to work. He insisted that his current players improve and immediately began implementing a program of success. Mitt Romney will do the same.
Snyder’s list of accomplishments is long and impressive. Column space does not allow me to do them justice. He retired in 2005 and after a three year absence, was asked to return for the 2009 season. In a few short years, he has taken the team from low expectations and non-rankings to a current number two ranking in the BCS poll.
I do not know either man personally. I have never met Snyder or Romney. I do not know Snyder’s religion or his politics, nor do I care about either’s personal beliefs. What interests me is a record of accomplishment and a demonstrated ability to make a bad situation better. Snyder brings out the best in his players and his staff and Romney has demonstrated the same. Case in point is KSU’s current quarterback and Heisman contender, Collin Klein, who was a mere unknown a couple of years ago. Romney has built countless business successes, turned around a failing Olympics, and had many successes as Governor of Massachusetts.
In the days of end zone dancing, team and player scandals and individual player media hype, the KSU Wildcats set the standard for class. They take and leave the field as a team, dress up for games and exude sportsmanship. Are they perfect? No, but Snyder expects improvement every day and takes painstaking effort to do so. A Romney administration would be the same in a sense. He seldom uses the word “I” but rather elevates those around him and gives others the credit. Count the “I’s” in the next Obama speech and your head will spin.
I believe that both Mitt Romney and Bill Snyder are two of the same kind. They do not seek their own rewards for self, but rather elevate those around them and, as a result, enjoy the benefits and rewards of their leadership. The proof of their success is in the changed lives of those around them.
Like Snyder, you will never hear of private good deeds from Romney himself. Snyder has been known to visit nursing homes in the wee hours of the night and showed up in a sand truck helping fill sandbags during flooding in Manhattan, KS. Similarly, Romney shut down his business and flew thirty people to New York to help an employee whose daughter had disappeared and who was summarily rescued. Too bad the media doesn’t report that. Imagine if Barack Obama had done the same.
Mitt Romney is not scandal ridden. He has raised five boys and if there were any skeletons in their closets the media would have skewered him by now. Like Snyder, Romney is a man of extreme humility and good moral character. Isn’t that what we want in our leaders?
Neither will woo crowds with his charisma or rock star appeal, but they know how to roll up their sleeves, take responsibility, and get the job done.
America has lost its competitive edge and been getting its collective butt kicked. The team is in shambles and we’ve forgotten how to win. We’ve been fighting amongst ourselves over how to play the game and amassed several losing seasons as a result. Under the last coach we took some bad hits and he made some bad play calls. The current coach talked a big game, made some good pre-game speeches, but now we’re doing worse. All the stats show it.
It’s time for a new coach America.
Go Wildcats and vote Romney!
Image: Kansas State Wildcats’ Coach Bill Snyder; author Alex; Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.