Current Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt had a verbal agreement to replace Bill Snyder at Kansas State in 2018, but the Wildcats' legendary coach struck down the deal, according to a report from college football insider Brett McMurphy.
Snyder, 78, nixed the agreement because he wanted his son Sean to become K-State's next coach, McMurphy reported in a Facebook post. Snyder is currently the oldest active FBS coach.
CBS Sports has previously.
McMurphy said K-State's "top officials," including school president Richard Myers, were on board with Leavitt becoming the next coach. The plan was for Leavitt, then the Colorado defensive coordinator, to become a coach-in-waiting for 2017, then take over in 2018.
Leavitt has a clause in his Oregon contract that allows him to leave for Kansas State without a buyout. He previously told GoPowerCat.com, "I have no desire nor I have ever had a desire to be coach-in-waiting."
It's not clear whether he was asked, but Leavitt did not deny having an agreement in place to become K-State's next full-time coach.
It is believed Snyder clashed with former athletic director John Currie over his preference for the future of the Wildcats' program. Currie is now in the same position at Tennessee. Current AD Gene Taylor is aware of Snyder's wishes to elevate his son.
"I've seen it," Taylor sold CBS Sports earlier this year in reference to a coach-in-waiting arrangement. "I've never had one. I'm not sure it's something I'm a big fan of."
Leavitt, 60, was Snyder's linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator from 1990-96. He is credited for largely creating the South Florida program as coach from 1997-2009 but was fired at USF in January 2010 following a school investigation over allegations he struck a player.
The story on the whole has the look of Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno in their final days. In each case, once-powerful programs had slipped (although Penn State was 7-1 at the time of Paterno's firing in 2011 amidst the Jerry Sandusky scandal). Bowden reluctantly accepted Jimbo Fisher as coach-in-waiting and stepped aside after the 2010 Gator Bowl. At the time, the 80-year-old Bowden was locked in a battle with Paterno to see who would end with the most career victories.
There is no such battle at Kansas State. Snyder is K-State football. The stadium is named after him (or at least his family). A statue of the great coach greets fans entering Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
What the three coaches have in common is stubbornness. They didn't see that it was perhaps time to go for the good of the program. Snyder bravely fought throat cancer, but observers have expressed he looks increasingly frail on the sidelines.
One former Wildcat questioned how K-State recruits to that.
On its best day, K-State exists on a precipice. Because of its remote location in a sparsely populated state, recruiting is difficult. It is believed the program has never landed a five-star player. However, Snyder has coached up lesser talented players perhaps better than anyone ever.
If the Hall of Fame coach loses his final two games, it would mark the Wildcats worst season under Snyder (5-7) since 2004.
Has the time come?