Michael Bishop told the crowd at Sunday's enshrinement into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame to "… never give up on your dream. You're going to have struggles, but endure, and at the end of the day great things can still happen."
There were detours along the way, but Bishop's dream-ride traveled through Blinn Community College before landing at Kansas State for the 1997 and 1998 seasons when the Wildcats won a total of 22 football games.
Bishop, who finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1998, finished his K-State career ranked No. 1 in career passing touchdowns (36), No. 2 in career total offense (5,715) and No. 4 in career passing yards (4,401). Today, he ranks No. 3, No. 4 and No. 7 in those respective categories.
While there were big moments aplenty, none was bigger than on the afternoon of Nov. 14, 1998, when K-State out-scored Nebraska, 40-30. It was the Wildcats first win against the Big Red since 1968.
"I can see that last touchdown as clear today as it was then," said Bishop during his visit to Bill Snyder Family Stadium this past week accompanied by his 4-year-old daughter, Madison.
"I can see the snap coming back, and I remember looking at the safety and rolling to my right. I can see (Darnell) McDonald in the back of the end zone and can even feel me throwing the ball and waiting for him to catch it. That's when all the excitement took over. For me, personally, it was excitement for coach (Bill) Snyder because we had finally defeated Nebraska."
But there was one more aspect of that play. "I was a guy who could throw it 100 miles per hour, but it seemed like that pass was in slow motion," laughed Bishop, who accounted for 446 yards – 140 rushing with two touchdowns, 306 passing with two touchdowns – in the game.
"Darnell said the same thing. He said it was the slowest pass that I've ever thrown. He was wide open, but he didn't think the ball would ever get there."
Bishop's heroics at K-State didn't transfer into a glossy NFL career after being a seventh-round draft choice by New England, but he says, "I have no regrets."
"I was in the wrong system at the wrong time," said Bishop, who had also been a 28th Round draft pick of the baseball Cleveland Indians out of high school. "I wish it had worked out differently, but I like to look at the big picture, and there were lessons learned."
Bishop's professional career from 1999 through the mid-2000s was little more than racking up frequent flyer miles.
He had stops with New England in the NFL and the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe; he played for the Grand Rapids Rampage, Chicago Rush and Kansas City Brigade in the Arena Football League; in Canada, he played for Calgary, Toronto, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg; and, in the Indoor Football League and Southern Indoor Football League, for the Corpus Christi Hammerheads and Texas Hurricanes. Bishop now lives in Woodland, Texas, where he has coached the last three years at The Woodlands Christian Academy.
"I've enjoyed it, but I'm ready to run a program of my own," said Bishop. "I'd really like to run by own program."
Asked if his prep players of today know what he was all about as a Wildcat, Bishop laughed as he said, "I tell them, but I don't think they believe it until they go do the research on the internet and find some video clips."
Overall, Bishop said of coaching, "The kids really do listen. There is no second guessing in what I tell them about football and about life.
I tell the kids I've been around the world and back because I was able to play football."