Q: Kansas State football Coach Bill Snyder is headed to another bowl game. His Wildcats take on Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl on December 28. In sharp contrast to the success of Coach Snyder, there's another K-State coach who didn't fare so well. Who’s the only K-State football coach to lose every single game he managed for the Wildcats?
A: Sam Francis (or Harrison Samuel Francis)… in 1947
Harrison Samuel "Sam" Francis was an American football player, college coach, Olympic shot putter and Army officer. Born in Nebraska in 1913, Francis graduated from high school in Oberlin, Kansas. He played college football in Nebraska and was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1936. He was also a track and field athlete who competed in the shot put at the 1936 Summer Olympics (where he placed fourth). Francis was the first overall pick in the 1937 NFL Draft. He spent four years in the NFL before pursuing a master's degree at the University of Iowa. He also served as an officer in the U.S. Army, serving in World War II (and later serving in Korea and Vietnam).
Francis was hired as the head coach at Kansas State University for the 1947 season. But after compiling a losing record of 0-and-10, he didn't last long. Francis served as the school’s 21st head football coach, leading the team for just one season. He's the only K-State football coach to lose every game he coached. His 1947 squad was outscored 283 to 71 and was shut out three times (back in the day of the Big Six conference). His most lopsided defeat was a 55–0 rout by the Kansas Jayhawks. (My how times have changed.) Despite his struggles, Francis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He died in 2002.
Francis may have lost 10 straight football games at K-State, but he was no loser. After all, Sam Francis was an Olympic athlete and a professional football player. He also retired from the U.S. military as a Lt. Colonel, after successfully serving his country in three different wars. This makes him a hero and a man worth remembering.