MANHATTAN, Kan. -- New Kansas State coach Ron Prince
acknowledged the significance of his hiring but said he hoped to be
remembered for his achievements.
"People ask what it's like to be a black coach. I've never been
any other kind," Prince said at a news conference Monday. "I'm
completely aware of the significance of this right now -- but
hopefully, someday, it won't be significant. Hopefully, the only
color they'll be talking about from this day forward is purple."
The 36-year-old Prince was named Sunday to follow Bill Snyder's
successful 17-year-run in Manhattan after spending the last five
years at Virginia, including the last three years as offensive
"I started thinking about this job when I was 3 or 4," said
Prince, who grew up just 20 miles away in Junction City. "This was
something that had obviously been on my mind a long time -- but I
didn't think this would happen this year, this soon."
Prince becomes Kansas State's first black head coach, the Big 12
Conference's only black head coach and the fourth active black
coach in NCAA Division I-A -- joining UCLA's Karl Dorrell,
Washington's Tyrone Willingham and Mississippi State's Sylvester
He's also the youngest active coach in Division I-A, although
Wisconsin's Bret Bielema, the designate to replace Barry Alvarez,
will be the youngest when he takes over.
Although Prince grew up close by, his hiring surprised those who
had expected someone with ties to Kansas State's program to be
selected. The closest Prince got to being associated with Kansas
State was an unofficial visit in 1989, when Snyder earned his first
head coaching victory against North Texas.
Then again, Kansas State has had success with an unexpected hire
"In 1989, Bill Snyder was not on our radar screen," university
president Jon Wefald said. "There were four or five coaches on the
list. Bill Snyder was not on the list. But somehow, some way --
probably serendipity -- we came across the offensive coordinator at
the University of Iowa and appointed him to be head coach.
"And guess what? He was pretty good."
Snyder, who had not met Prince before the coaching search
started, said he was impressed by the young coach's values.
"What I've seen is a man of humility, a man who has a mission,
a man who is caring, someone who genuinely believes in the good in
people, in young people," Snyder said. "He's someone who has a
plan, a gentleman who truly understands the values this program has
embodied the last 17 years."
Prince's vision for the Wildcats is of a return to the
national-powerhouse status they enjoyed for much of Snyder's
tenure, before falling to losing records in each of the past two
"It's the mission of this organization to become a fast, tough
and disciplined team that consistently competes for
championships," he said. "It is our goal to be relentless in our
pursuit of the Big 12 North title, to educate our people and to be
recognized as the best organization in college football."
Prince also indicated he might stick with Snyder's strategy of
scheduling nonconference games largely against teams from non-BCS
"The challenges you have in this league, this division, are
very acute, very serious," he said. "Hopefully, we will put
together a schedule that helps us move forward."
Prince, who said he would begin announcing his staff in a few
days, met with Kansas State's players before Monday's news
"It wasn't a very detailed meeting, but he definitely
established a feeling right off the bat," linebacker Brandon
Archer said. "He thinks integrity's a real big thing. He praised
the people that are positive about the program, and who want to
uphold its achievements."