Saturday, December 29, 2012

Portrait of Bill Snyder - Colored Pencil Drawing

"A Coaching Moment" Colored Pencil

Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder barks the game plan to his quarterback before the next series of plays. It's a road game for the Wildcats, at night, in a hostile environment. Colorful words are sometimes exchanged in the heat of battle. It's a coaching moment. The silver helmet gleams from the stadium lights creating interesting shadows across the player's face. A violet and yellow color scheme is complimented by sharp contrasts of dark and light. The focus of this simplified drawing is on the unmistakable man in charge.

Bill Snyder has silver hair and wire rimmed glasses but don't let his understated appearance fool you. In reality, this guy is a cold-blooded competitor dishing out defeats, one after the other, to some of the nations best college football teams. Snyder arrived at Manhattan, Kansas in 1989 and took control of college football's losingest program. The meticulous, workaholic demanded consistency and attention to detail. With a defined goal to get a little better each day, the team started winning immediately. Kansas State was transformed into a national power. It was one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the history of college football.

Coach Snyder's incredible drive and painstaking commitment to excellence propelled him to the pinnacle of his profession but to be the best at something requires extreme sacrifice, especially in the ultra-competitive world of Division I College Football. There are reports of the coach eating only one meal per day, laboring 120 hours a week and conducting three hour practices on Sunday mornings. During the obsessive quest for perfection, the cost can be expensive. A normal life is impossible and relationships with faith, family and friends may become strained.

After a short three year retirement, Bill Snyder is back on the sidelines coaching in the stadium that bears his namesake. Using the vigilant philosophy to replicate his first rebuilding miracle, he's teaching impressionable young men hard lessons once again. The Wildcats are back on top but I wonder if there are any regrets. Is it worth it? Is he happy? Only the stoic Coach Snyder knows the answers to those questions.

Note: I created this colored pencil drawing of Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder on commission for a Wildcat alumnus and fan.

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