After decades of preaching his 16 goals for success to Kansas State football players, Bill Snyder is ready to share that same wisdom with a younger audience.
Snyder is the co-author of a soon-to-be-released children’s book that focuses on his famous goals, entitled “Take it From Me.” The 32-page book explains the importance of every goal with rhyming text and cartoon illustrations of Snyder coaching kittens in K-State uniforms.
The 16 goals are going from the locker room to the play room.
“I hope that this will be a part of his legacy,” said Jefferson Knapp, who helped Snyder write the book. “It was a no-brainer for us. His 16 goals always will be preached at Kansas State. It was really easy to translate them into a children’s book that entire families can enjoy.”
The idea for the book came from a simple place. Not long after teaming up with former Wichita State basketball star Ron Baker on the children’s book “Too Big to Dream Small,” Knapp wondered aloud if there was anyone at K-State with a good story to tell.
When a family member suggested Snyder, Knapp took a look at the souvenir cups he kept from his last trip to Snyder Family Stadium. The 16 goals were plastered all over them. In a matter of moments, Knapp could already see a finished book in his mind.
“It was the most obvious thing ever,” Knapp said.
Snyder’s 16 goals have long been popular among K-State football players and fans. They are: commitment, unselfishness, unity, improve, be tough, self-discipline, great effort, enthusiasm, eliminate mistakes, never give up, don’t accept losing, no self-limitations, expect to win, consistency, leadership, and responsibility.
Those goals have helped Snyder turn K-State’s once moribund football team into a consistent winner. Since arriving in Manhattan in 1989, Snyder has 202 victories, 18 bowl appearances and two Big 12 championships.
When Knapp approached Snyder about the idea of a children’s book, he wasn’t sure if the 77-year old football coach would go for it, especially once news spread that he was battling throat cancer. But after months of exchanging hand-written notes by mail, they agreed to partner on the project.
Snyder provided plenty of input on the book. Then Knapp made his words rhyme and Tim Ladwig, of Wichita, provided illustrations.
For Knapp, the most fulfilling part of the process was watching Snyder smile as he read the finished product.
“Coach Snyder is an overall presence in the book,” Knapp said before comparing it to Star Wars. “Picture Obi-Wan Kenobi telling Luke Skywalker what to do, except Luke Skywalker is these kittens dressed up in K-State outfits.”
Kraken Books, an El Dorado publishing company, is currently taking pre-orders for the book on its website. All pre-orders will ship in early October. Plans for the book were first announced last month to positive fanfare. Knapp said early pre-orders have also been strong. He expects to sell out of first-edition copies before they hit stores.
It’s the type of book that crosses genres.
“It is really more of a family book,” Knapp said. “That is appropriate to say, because family is what K-State stands for. People of all ages will appreciate it. The message is for everybody, not just little kids.”