PHOENIX, Ariz. - They say it comes straight from the coach. Kansas State fans, alumni, and school officials all agree the family atmosphere surrounding the Kansas State football program comes from the tone set by head coach Bill Snyder.
A raucous crowd of 20,000 K-State supporters gathered at Chase Field, home of baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, for a pep rally to celebrate the Wildcats football success and prime the team for Thursday's Fiesta Bowl showdown with Oregon. Throughout the event, the topic of family kept coming up.
The families of K-State players and coaches stood up and received a warm ovation. Speaker after speaker, from the school's alumni president, to the players, to Snyder himself talked about the K-State family.
Referring to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Snyder told the crowd, "You know when the players go to the field and see the sign that says family, you know that means you."
At one point Snyder quipped he had been at the school too long. He was immediately drowned out by thousands of screams of "No!".
The family theme extended to the pep rally crowd. Many in attendance were making a family outing of the bowl trip. Moms, dads, kids, and grandparents from all over Kansas made the trek together to root on the Wildcats
If the pep rallies are any indication K-State should have the advantage at the game. In contrast to the 20,000 estimated at the K-State rally, Oregon's pep rally was held at a minor league baseball field where an estimated 2,000 fans showed up.
The Fiesta Bowl will air on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. CT.