December 7, 2018 – Executive recruitment firm Ventura Partners has been chosen to lead the search for Kansas State University’s next football coach. This week, Bill Snyder, the winningest coach in the school’s history, announced his retirement after 27 seasons, and one previous retirement. Partner Chad Chatlos will spearhead the nationwide search for Ventura Partners.
Mr. Snyder, 79, leaves a big void with his departure, and Kansas State faces a weighty decision in choosing his successor. “Our priority will be to identify the absolute best individual to lead our football program and we will do so in a timely yet exhaustive manner,” said Gene Taylor, Kansas State’s director of athletics. “This is a program with rich tradition, a passionate fan base and a facility infrastructure that is second to none, and we want to find a successful coach who best fits and understands our culture here at K-State.”
“We will attract some of the nation’s top coaches, and I look forward to introducing the K-State Nation to its next coach in the near future,” said Mr. Taylor.
Among those frequently named as the school’s next coach are: North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt.
“Taylor has quietly told K-State staffers that he will hire a new coach within the next two weeks,” wrote Kellis Robinett, Kansas State beat writer for the Wichita Eagle. “I don’t know that he will need that much time, but he will do his due diligence. His legacy will forever be tied to this football hire, and he wants to get it right.”
Mr. Snyder’s contract reportedly includes a clause that will give him input into the school’s choice of a successor. He is also exercising a clause in his contract to become a special ambassador to Kansas State at an annual salary of $250,000 for “as long as he is physically and mentally able,” said Mr. Taylor.
A Winning Legacy
Mr. Snyder’s record was 215-117-1. He leaves Kansas State as the 20th winningest coach in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history and ranks second among active FBS coaches in wins. Under Mr. Snyder, Kansas State is the third-winningest program in the Big 12 with 104 total league wins since the league was formed in 1996. He led the school to 19 bowl appearances, won two conference titles and achieved two No. 1 national rankings.
Sports and Entertainment Expansion Elevating Search Business
Over the last 25 years, the sports sector has grown into a formidable global industry. Historically, professional sports teams operated on a relatively modest level, with league officials, team owners, managers, and coaches surrounding themselves with people they knew and trusted from their own small worlds. College sports teams relied on in-house search committees and word-of-mouth recommendations. Familiarity, however, can also breed contempt.
Teams with huge followings like the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid and Manchester United have seen their valuations soar into the billions of dollars. That’s attracted search firms – big time. Seasoned recruiters now provide strategic planning advice, in addition to talent identification services, with the capability of applying their findings to speed along the process in the hunt for talent. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.
Notably, he also transformed a moribund football program into a perennial winner. “This university, this community and this state are deeply indebted to coach Bill Snyder,” said Richard Myers, Kansas State University president. “Since arriving on campus in 1989, coach has delivered on all his promises — and more. He brought Kansas State University football to the national stage and built a program on the bedrock of integrity, honor and his famed 16 goals for success.”
Ventura Partners is one of a growing cadre of search firms dedicated to the explosive growth sector of sports – focused on finding preeminent leaders in college and professional sports recruitment, and leading searches for college athletic directors, commissioners, premier coaches and senior executives across all sports. Ventura recently completed searches for Ole Miss, Clemson, Penn State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Iowa, Utah, Kansas State, Nebraska and Purdue.
A Top Recruiter
With offices in Beverly Hills, Chicago and Atlanta, the firm also serves an array of other clients, including top-performing private equity funds, well-known and industry-disrupting brands, and leading industrials. Ventura Partners’ practice groups include: consumer products & services, industrial, private equity, CFO services, board services, sports & entertainment and senior leadership assessment.
Mr. Chatlos specializes in senior executive searches across the sports industry with a focus on diverse roles in the intercollegiate athletics landscape. His clients include major sports leagues, teams, conferences and leading colleges and universities. He has completed Power Five athletic director and commissioner searches as well as head coaching searches for football, basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, strength and conditioning, and more with marquee programs. In addition, he has led innovative searches in marketing, revenue-generating roles, eSports and player personnel positions.
Prior to joining Ventura Partners in 2016, he worked for Korn Ferry. He completed searches for the NFL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NCAA, multiple national governing bodies, brands and universities. He has held senior leadership positions with the PGA Tour, Carey International and various sports marketing agencies. He has significant business development, marketing, sales and operational management experience across major sports and entertainment sectors.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media