MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder was named the 2017 Special Teams Coach of the Year by Phil Steele.
It marks the second time Snyder has earned the distinction after doing so in 2015, a year he was also named the Special Teams Coordinator of the Year by FootballScoop.
The Wildcats ranked in the top 25 nationally during the 2017 season in kickoff-return defense (2nd), punt returns (10th) and kickoff returns (14th). K-State surrendered only 16.6 yards on kickoff returns – its best mark since 2000 – while Kansas State is the only Power 5 team in the country to finish in the top 15 in kickoff-return average each of the last three seasons.
D.J. Reed ranked in the top 20 in five return categories – including second-place marks in both punt (14.9 yds/return) and kickoff (34.2 yds/return) returns – en route to Second Team All-America honors and First Team All-Big 12 accolades. Reed became Snyder’s fifth All-American in just seven years coordinating the special teams, including the third to earn first- or second-team citations.
Reed wasn’t Snyder’s only All-Big 12 performer in 2017 as place kicker Matthew McCrane earned first-team honors and was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, punterNick Walsh was a second-team honoree and Byron Pringle picked up honorable mention honors as a returner.
McCrane left K-State as the first kicker in school history with three all-conference honors in a career as he became K-State’s all-time leader in career field goals made (57). He also set the record for career field goal percentage (86.4), extra point percentage (99.3), career consecutive field goals made (16) and career consecutive extra points made (105). His career field goal percentage ranked second in Big 12 history and sixth in NCAA history, while his 304 career points ranked third overall in K-State history and second among kickers.
As a senior in 2017, McCrane connected on 21 field goals to rank third in school history, including three of 50 or more yards to tie the school record. He finished 15th in the nation in field goals per game (1.62), while he was 25th in the nation in scoring.
Walsh left his mark on the record book as well, finishing third in career punting average (42.34) and fourth in both career attempts (217) and yards (9,187). As a senior, the former walk-on booted to a 43.6-yard mark to finish fifth in school history and second in the Big 12.