MANHATTAN — Familiarity with the Kansas State football program continues to be a dimension Bill Snyder wants when hiring assistants.
On Tuesday, Snyder announced that two former players, Zach Hanson and Eric Hickson, had been added to the staff. Hanson will coach tight ends and assist with the offensive line. Hickson will coach running backs.
The additions give K-State seven full-time coaches who formerly played for the Wildcats, the most former players coaching at their alma mater among all Bowl Subdivision staffs.
“I am pleased to have Zach and Eric back with us,’’ Snyder said. “Both have proven their capabilities not only as very successful position coaches and teachers, but also in the development of quality and valued young men. … Having also been highly successful student-athletes in our program, they believe in and understand our program.’’
Hanson served as a graduate assistant the past two seasons at North Carolina, working with special teams and tight ends.
For the Wildcats, Hanson arrived as a junior-college transfer and started as a senior left tackle for the 2011 squad that reached the Cotton Bowl and finished 10-3.
Hickson coached running backs the past three seasons at Akron, his first FBS position after coaching at Garden City Community College in 2014, as well as 10 seasons in the Florida and Indiana high school ranks.
As a four-year letterman for the Wildcats, Hickson ranks fifth in K-State history with 2,537 career rushing yards. He played on teams that went 41-8 collectively in 1994, ’95, ’97 and ’98.
The NCAA approved an opening for a 10th full-time assistant going into next season. That opening, along with the vacancy left by Dana Dimel’s hiring as the head coach at UTEP, created the positions filled by Hanson and Hickson.