Prince will leave KSU at season's end

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 | 8:34 p.m. CST; updated 11:12 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Kansas State football coach Ron Prince will not return for the 2009 season, stepping aside after failing to rebuild the Wildcats into a Big 12 contender. KSU Athletic director Bob Krause announced Prince's resignation Wednesday.

COLUMBIA - The Ron Prince era will soon end at Kansas State.

He announced his resignation Wednesday afternoon, effective at season's end. Kansas State athletic director Bob Krause said Prince would coach the Wildcats' last three games, including Saturday evening's contest against Missouri in Columbia.

Saturday's game

Kansas State (4-5, 1-4 )
at No. 13 Missouri (7-2, 3-2)

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Memorial Stadium




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"We ran out of time to accomplish the things we wanted to accomplish," Prince said in a teleconference. "We didn't win the (Big 12) North, and that's where we felt the bar was for our program."

Prince holds a 16-18 career record. He struggled to turn Kansas State (4-5, 1-4 Big 12 Conference) into a consistent Big 12 North contender. During his tenure, the Wildcats never finished higher than third place in the division. He failed to keep pace with the rise of regional rivals Kansas and Missouri.

Prince represented an unorthodox choice to replace former coach Bill Snyder, the program's legendary architect who transformed Kansas State from one of the nation's worst programs into a consistent contender by the late 1990s. Before he was introduced as coach in December 2005, Prince had no ties to Manhattan.

He spent the five previous seasons as an assistant at Virginia under coach Al Groh, including three as the offensive coordinator. He became the first black coach in Kansas State football history and the first coach to lead the Wildcats to a postseason appearance in his first year.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Kansas State athletic department made the announcement official.

"We are in a performance-based profession and have made this decision in the best long-term interest of both the university and its football program," Krause said in a release. "Our goal remains the same: to build a winning program that is positioned to consistently compete for championships."

Kansas State hasn't done so for a while. Since playing in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl, the Wildcats have appeared in one bowl game (a loss to Rutgers in the 2006 Texas Bowl). Before then, Kansas State earned 11 consecutive postseason appearances from 1993 to 2003.

Should Kansas State lose Saturday, Prince will finish without a victory over Missouri. In 2006, the Wildcats lost 41-21 in Columbia. Last year, they fell 49-32; the victory marked the Tigers' first triumph in Manhattan since 1989.

"We'll start out on a consulting basis and move forward," Krause said of the coaching search in a teleconference.

Last Saturday, Prince became heavily scrutinized. Kansas State lost to archrival Kansas for the third consecutive year in embarrassing fashion, 52-21. Previously, some within the program were critical of his decision to implement a 3-4 defensive scheme before the 2007 season. Last year, Kansas State ranked No. 69 in total defense and allowed averages of 400.6 yards per game and 30.8 points. This year, the Wildcats have been worse; they rank No. 108 in total defense (444.67 yards per game) and surrender a 33.7 points per game average.

"We're not playing well enough," defensive end Ian Campbell said. "This is definitely the best year for Big 12 offenses, without question. A combination of Big 12 offenses playing well and us not playing well, it's not a good thing."

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