Chris Klieman’s uncommon increase from the FCS to Power 5
Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor still has most of the emails, the ones essentially implicating him of hiring “his drinking friend” when he named Chris Klieman the Wildcats’ head football coach on Dec. 10, 2018.
Taylor and Klieman had actually interacted at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, which wins national championships at the rate many people pay taxes.All Klieman did
in his five seasons as North Dakota State’s head coach was win 4 FCS nationwide titles. However that was barely the story when he made the unusual jump from the FCS ranks to being a Power 5 head coach.It was more,”What the hell are you doing?”Taylor recalls with a laugh.After all, not only did Klieman
show up in Manhattan, Kansas, with no FBS experience as a full-time assistant or head coach, however he was changing a legend in Bill Snyder.”It only takes one guy to believe in you
and state, ‘He can get it done,’whether you’re at North Dakota State, Kansas State or anywhere else, “Klieman stated of Taylor, who had actually been hired a year and a half previously as K-State’s AD. “Gene was that man, and he was not stressed over winning journalism conference. Many people feel like they need to win journalism conference. I guess that’s still a thing, and I do not think I won the press conference. In fact, I know I didn’t win journalism conference.” However in his fourth season, Klieman did win the Huge 12 champion, only the fourth conference title won by the Wildcats going back to 1934, when Pappy Waldorf and Kansas State won the Huge 6 title.”I know there were doubts, but I never ever doubted that our success at North Dakota State might translate to success at the Power 5 level,”said Klieman, whose Wildcats(10-3)will handle Alabama( 10-2) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Dec. 31. Go perfect in your bowl choices and win up to$1 million, plus more prizes! Make Your Picks”Do not get me incorrect. I’ve discovered a heap. It’s simply been nuts for the last 4 years, however there was remarkable recognition with the
win over TCU which what we are doing here is the ideal thing which we’ve been doing it properly.”There were growing pains, especially in 2020 throughout the pandemic. Klieman had to learn to hand over more with a larger assistance staff and analysts. He shifted his recruiting philosophy in regards to the method he evaluated prospects and making sure he was signing players who could match up with Oklahoma and Texas. Even his players’diet plans were different as they ate at a performance-based training table as opposed to consuming at the regular lunchroom with other students, as they did at North Dakota State.”We made some adjustments,”Klieman said.” Shoot, we changed our defense. We changed our offense. But in the same respect, I’ll state what I have actually constantly said.
Football is football, in my mind. “And possibly other Power 5 athletic directors will take notification. Excellent coaches are good coaches despite the level of football.”I sure hope what we did this year opens the
door for [present North Dakota State coach] Matt Entz and a lot of FCS coaches out there,” stated Klieman, whose career training record is 102-32, including his very first head job at Division III Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, in 2005. This employing cycle, 2 FCS coaches made the dive to Power 5– Sacramento State’s Troy Taylor to Stanford and Jackson State’s Deion Sanders to Colorado.At some point, Entz is most likely to appear on someone’s radar. He succeeded Klieman and has actually won 2 nationwide titles; he has a chance for a 3rd Jan. 8 when he leads the Bison against South Dakota State in the FCS championship game.There are other worthy FCS coaches: Holy Cross’Bob Chesney, Florida A&M’s Willie Simmons, Princeton’s Bob Surace, Samford’s Chris Hatcher, Montana State’s Brent Vigen and Idaho’s Jason Eck, among others. South Dakota State’s John Stiegelmeier most likely should have gotten a shot a long period of time ago. Chris Klieman had the ability to raise the Huge 12 champion trophy in his fourth season at Kansas State. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Klieman, 55, is particularly uncommon in that he got a Power 5 head-coaching job after spending virtually his whole career in the FCS or Division III ranks(with the only exception being the 1997 season, when he was a Kansas graduate assistant ). Even Jim Tressel, among the most significant examples of a coach making the FCS-to-FBS relocation, was a long time assistant at Ohio State before going to Youngstown State as head coach and after that going back to Ohio State as head coach. Tressel, now the Youngstown State president, won championship games at both schools.Jim Harbaugh went from the University of San Diego to Stanford in 2007. And before Tressel moved from Youngstown State to Ohio State in 2001, Hal Mumme went from Division II Valdosta State to Kentucky in 1999, and Frank Beamer from Murray State to Virginia Tech in 1987. There were a couple of others along the method, consisting of Sparky Woods going from Appalachian State to South Carolina in 1989, Bobby Johnson from Furman to Vanderbilt in 2002, Paul Wulff from Eastern Washington to Washington State in 2008, and Mike London from Richmond to Virginia in 2010. However spanning the previous 35 years, the group of head coaches going straight from the FCS to a Power 5 school is quite small.Even now, Klieman isn’t sure he would have gotten a shot at Kansas State had it not been for Taylor’s direct knowledge of his coaching abilities. The truth that Taylor had actually been at the FCS level as an athletic director before moving to Iowa as deputy advertisement and after that to K-State also helped. Some athletic directors who
have never worked at a lower level might be less likely to take a chance on a coach from a lower level.
“I’m fortunate and blessed since I had a guy that knew me. He saw me do this,”Klieman stated.” It’s still about relationships with kids. It’s still about believing in kids. It’s still about inspiring guys. It’s all of that anywhere you’re coaching, and I believe Gene stated, ‘I want Chris in front of these kids because I think he and his staff can get the most out of them. ‘” Never ever was that more evident than this season. Kansas State suffered an
early-season loss to Tulane at home and dropped a set of close conference games to TCU and Texas. Needing to triumph to make the Huge 12 championship game, the Wildcats won their last 3 regular-season games, then beat TCU 31-28 in overtime to win the Big 12 title.2 Associated”The guys played their tails off and kept rising when individuals questioned them,”Klieman stated. “It was an enjoyable season, and finishing it off with
the Huge 12 championship was substantial. I’m pleased TCU still got a chance to play in the playoff because I believed they were damn good.” Taylor jokes that the Wildcats ‘benefit is getting to play Alabama at full strength with quarterback Bryce Young and outdoors linebacker Will Anderson Jr., two of the top potential customers in the 2023 NFL draft who decided to play in the Sugar Bowl.” And going up against a pissed-off Nick Saban since they didn’t make the playoff,”Taylor said laughing.” But our players want to bet the best, which’s the way it ought to be. It’s the culture Chris has produced and one that’s just going to grow.”All Klieman understands is a gaining culture. He took control of for Craig Bohl at North Dakota State when Bohl left for Wyoming on the heels of an unbeaten season and the Bison’s third straight FCS national title.Taylor keeps in mind meeting in his basement with Klieman after the quarterfinal win
that season up until 3 o’clock in the early morning to discuss the head-coaching position. Bohl had actually currently announced that he was leaving.Klieman’s presentation during the conference was thorough and detailed, and he strolled Taylor through the whole thing. The Bison were losing 25 elders the
list below season, and Klieman asked what the expectations would be in Year 1. Taylor stated his expectation was for Klieman to get North Dakota State back into the playoffs and make as deep a run as possible.But there was
a caveat.”That’s my expectation. Now, the expectation here by the fans is that you get in the playoffs and win the entire thing,”Taylor informed Klieman throughout that conference.”That might not be fair, but that’s what is expected of
you from the fan base.”Klieman never ever flinched.” He heads out his first year and wins a national championship,”Taylor stated. “That’s who he is.”And the only season Klieman didn’t declare the crown at North Dakota State, in 2016, the Bison beat No. 13 Iowa on the road and lost in the FCS semifinals to ultimate national champion James Madison.
“It was unpleasant
that whole offseason, “Klieman joked.” So even stepping up a level when I got to Kansas State, I understood everything about pressure and understood I might get the job done.”Although he wasn’t part of the Power 5 training fraternity when he came to Kansas State, Klieman had been to numerous schools to speak at centers,
including Clemson, Georgia and Notre Dame. He stated Dabo Swinney was especially supportive.”
We remained in touch, and he was a huge aid, just bouncing things off him, “Klieman stated. “He ‘d text me after we won the championship game, and I ‘d text him when they won.
“One of the very first individuals Klieman saw in Las Vegas earlier this month at the National Football Structure awards dinner was Swinney. “He provided me the most significant hug and told me how happy he was,”
Klieman said.”He knew all about the journey I ‘d been on and what I had gone through to get where I am. It was cool to share that minute with him. He was really pleased for me, and I value what all he’s done for me along my course.
“It’s a path Klieman hopes more of his FCS brethren get the opportunity to follow.