Around Manhattan I doubt there are many that fondly look upon the Ron Prince era at Kansas State. None-the-less after spending the last three seasons coaching in the NFL, Prince is returning to the ranks of college coaches as the offensive coordinator of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
For those of you who have erased Prince from your memories, lets quickly recap what he did and where he’s been.
He “led” Kansas State to a 17-20 record in his three seasons (2006-2008) at the helm. His first year on the job, after taking over for Bill Snyder, the Wildcats went 7-6, upset #4 Texas and made the Texas Bowl. A game that is noteworthy in the course of this news as they would go on to lose 37-10 to Rutgers.
Things unraveled from there as K-State went 5-7 the following two seasons as the program slowly wilted. This despite having an NFL caliber QB in Josh Freeman under center all three seasons. The regression was plain to see in the conference record:
- 2006: 4-4
- 2007: 3-5
- 2008: 2-6
Fortunately the powers that be were wise enough to cut the cord before he could do any more damage. Prince was fired on November 5th, 2008 and paid a $1.2 million buyout to no longer coach the Wildcats. Due to a bizarre secret agreement between Prince’s attorney and former Athletic Director Bob Krause – an agreement that others were allegedly unaware of – the university wound up having to pay an additional $1.65 million in a settlement to In Pursuit of Perfection, LLC, a company that Prince had started.
Getting rid of Ron Prince wound up being more costly than expected but there is no escaping the fact that it was a move that needed to be made. Under his guidance, Kansas State was 2-0 against the Longhorns but a combined 0-9 against the Missouri Tigers, Kansas Jayhawks and Nebraska Cornhuskers. That’s hardly a recipe for success, especially in this area of the country.
After leaving Manhattan, Prince has had multiple stops, but it’s hard to say he’s been padding his resume. He spent 2009 serving as a special teams coach at the University of Virginia and then was with the Indianapolis Colts as an assistant line coach for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Last season he held the same position he had with the Colts, but did so with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last, and only, time he held a coordinator position at any level was with Virginia from 2001-2005.
As the new OC for Rutgers, Prince will be working under head coach Kyle Flood who replaced Greg Schiano 13 months ago. This past year Flood led the Scarlet Knights to a 9-4 record, a 5-2 finish in conference and was named co-Big East coach of the year. His team did lose 13-10 in the Russell Athletic Bowl to a very pedestrian Virginia Tech team however so there is certainly work to be done.
Ron Prince’s time as the head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. But his time with the team can’t be viewed as entirely negative. After all he put things in such disarray that Bill Snyder returned to the sidelines for a second stint as the team’s head coach. In the four seasons since Prince was dumped, the Wildcats have gone 34-17 including the sixth 11-win season on Snyder’s resume in 2012.
It was tough to sit through the 2006-2008 seasons, but things have worked out rather well in Manhattan despite the bump in the road. I wish no ill will upon Rutgers or coach Flood, but it’s hard for me to believe that having Prince on their staff as offensive coordinator will wind up being a positive for their program.