Melissa Holovach, a former high school all-American softball and soccer player, can't decide which was a bigger thrill: meeting Bill Snyder or Donald Trump. The Kansas State football coach -- the person she most wanted to meet on a personal level -- greeted Holovach and her husband after a game with Texas A&M last month. And the real estate mogul -- the person she most wanted to meet on a professional level -- fired Holovach in the first episode of season four of "The Apprentice."

Why Kansas State?

My husband went to school there and he's from Kansas. He's obsessed. The poor kid, he should be a football coach. My fall literally revolves around Snyder and the team.

Really, around Kansas State football?

Are you kidding me? Do you know how much time Snyder's team takes up of my fall? . . . We have to have daily discussions, literally DAILY discussions about the team, the roster, what's going on, who's injured, who I think is going to start, what I think the point spread's going to be, why I think the point spread's going to be that, learning the offensive and defensive formations.

What was meeting Snyder like?

We didn't have a lot of time with him, but I was actually able to watch the game on the field for a while, which was really, really, really cool. . . . And then after the press conference we got to have some pictures and some private time with him alone, me and my husband.

Are those guys intimidating, Snyder and Trump?

Noooo, they're so approachable. Snyder is the sweetest, kindest, most sincere man. . . . And Trump is just so funny and warm and laid back, he really is when you meet him.

People have sometimes criticized Snyder for scheduling weaker competition. What do you think about that?

I think that it's smart. If you want to give your team a warmup game, you're not going to schedule the hardest team in the country. You need them to get their confidence up so they can perform against the Nebraskas and the Oklahomas. My husband always says [Snyder] and I are so similar in our thought processes. Everything [Snyder] does is so logical to me. Why would you disclose your injuries? Why would you want to give the other team any advantage?

You should be a football coach.

I've learned so much that I probably could. I know all the formations, the plays; I even know the play calling now. It's ridiculous. I should be Coach Snyder's assistant.

Did your sports career help you on 'The Apprentice?'

It helped me in the sense that I was able to be very independent. . . . It didn't prepare me in the sense that in competitive sports, when you compete on a team as an athlete, you're never jealous of each other, you encourage each other and move on. So I expected the same thing on the show. We'll compete for the same position with Trump, but I still expected there to be a high level of truth and class, and that just wasn't the case. . . .Unfortunately, the show in my season was more about personalities and good television. That's fine, it's a television show. It was less about professional competition than it was good television, so in that way . . . [sports] are not going to prepare me for good television, because I'm used to competing on a clean slate.

-- Dan Steinberg

HOLOVACH