Chris Klieman was introduced in a crowded press conference on Wednesday as the replacement for legendary Hall of Fame head football coach Bill Snyder.
Klieman hails from North Dakota State, where he lead the Bison to three Football Championship Subdivision titles and five Missouri Valley Football Conference titles. His current record is 67-6.
Some might say there is a difference between FCS success and Football Bowl Subdivision success, but Klieman said it is all the same.
“For starters, I think football is football. If you look at what we’ve [North Dakota State] done over the last eight years that I have been there and beating some Power 5 schools,” Klieman said. “You don’t need the five-star kid all the time. You need kids that buy in, you need kids who can be developed, you need kids that have great character, great leadership and hold each other accountable.”
Athletics director Gene Taylor worked with Klieman at North Dakota State, promoting him to head coach in 2014. He said he has seen Klieman’s potential for success.
“He has been a part of six national championships in seven years, three out of the four in his time there,” Taylor said. “I can’t tell you how difficult that is to do. I don’t care about what level you play football. To be able to maintain that success to be able to maintain that championship level to maintain that level of greatness is very difficult. He does it the right way with character.”
Klieman said he will work to further recruitment at K-State. He said he is not afraid to go seek out heavily recruited athletes as well as the competitors who may not get the attention they deserve.
Klieman, who has competed against power five schools, said recruiting is all about relationship.
“That’s all that recruiting is, is building relationships, building trust and I’m excited to move forward and do that.”
The success Klieman brought to North Dakota State ran through the program down to the players as individuals. For example, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz played at North Dakota State when Klieman took over in 2014, won two FCS national championships and was the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.
Klieman traveled back to Fargo, North Dakota after the press conference for an afternoon practice for North Dakota State who are still in the middle of an FCS playoff run. Klieman will continue to coach the Bison through the FCS playoffs before taking full responsibility of K-State.
The Bison will play on Friday against South Dakota State at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.