K-State finally filled their head coaching vacancy Monday night. Athletics director Gene Taylor hired North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman to take over Bill Snyder’s old post.
Klieman is 67-6 with three national titles at the Football Championship Subdivision level. He took over a successful program built by current Wyoming coach Craig Bohl and took them to new heights as a head coach.
Despite his record and rings at North Dakota State, this is an underwhelming hire for K-State. Klieman does not seem to be qualified to take over the head coaching job of a Power 5 conference institution.
First, take a look at Klieman’s coaching history. He has not worked at the Football Bowl Subdivision level since a one-year stint as the defensive backs coach at Kansas in 1997. He was 3-7 as a head coach at Loras College before joining Bohl’s staff at NDSU.
Klieman’s former boss, Bohl, has been mediocre at G5 program Wyoming since departing Fargo. Bohl had extensive experience at the FBS level before taking over at North Dakota State.
Bohl won three straight national championships before departing to Wyoming and turning over control of his dynasty to Klieman. Klieman has managed to not crash the Ferrari.
He also seems to lack recruiting ties in the key areas that K-State typically pulls their top players from. His current roster has no players from Texas and just two players from California, for instance.
K-State has suffered massive roster attrition over the last couple seasons. I am concerned that Klieman is not going to be able to overcome that hurdle.
Manhattan is also just a harder place to recruit to than Fargo, ND. That’s not a statement about the towns, but rather what can be offered by a coach of NDSU—namely, rings—vs what can be offered to a recruit at K-State.
He also is going to finish out the season in Fargo before taking over at K-State. With the early signing period looming and a very underwhelming recruiting class at this point in the cycle, that decision will set K-State back even further
Another reason for concern with Klieman is that he does not provide a lot of excitement for K-State fans. He’s not a young, exciting personality with a next-generation offense to sell to recruits and younger fans.
Klieman’s style of football is also a concern. It does not fit the current roster at all, and may be hard to sustain at K-State.
Klieman relies on having bigger, stronger players than his opponents. That’s all fine and good when you are the best program in your subdivision by miles, by not so great when you are a middle of the pack program that struggles to compete on the recruiting trail as is.
Of course, that does not mean that I will not be in the student section supporting Klieman’s Wildcats. There is an opportunity for this to be a wildly successful hire. If Klieman can copy what has been done at Wisconsin, for instance, K-State can absolutely win with him at the helm.
K-State will need to hope that is the case, because K-State has six seasons to turn their program into a power before the Big 12 Grant of Rights expires in 2025. When that happens, the Big 12 may collapse and leave K-State out in the cold. A winning football program would not hurt that situation.
Nathan Enserro is a junior in public relations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.