FARGO, N.D. (WIBW) -- Five straight conference championships. Three FCS national championships in four years. An undefeated season this season that has North Dakota State two wins away from a fourth championship.
That’s a look at the resume for Chris Klieman, the man who will lead Kansas State into its post-Bill Snyder future.
"This is an absolute dream job," Klieman said. "I'm so happy and thrilled to follow a legend in Coach Snyder... The opportunity to follow in an icon's footsteps is something I don't take for granted and don't take lightly.”
K-State made it official Monday night, announcing Klieman will be the Wildcats’ 35th head coach. The university will introduce him on Wednesday at noon in a news conference.
“He’s a winner… all he does is win”
That’s how KSU athletics director Gene Taylor described Klieman and it certainly describes his team this year. His Bison are undefeated so far and are taking a 13-0 record into Friday night’s FCS semi-final against South Dakota State.
The team has never lost more than twice under Klieman and has gone 67-6 record over that span. Including a season leading Loras College, he holds an 80-13 record overall as a head coach, giving him the third-highest winning percentage of any NCAA head coach.
"I'm very excited to have Chris Klieman lead our program," Taylor said. "He is a perfect fit for us, both from a personal standpoint and as a head coach.”
“This is a great time to be a Wildcat!"
Kansas State President Richard Myers says the university is “looking forward to introducing Coach Klieman to the K-State family and know he will receive the tremendous support for which we have become nationally known.”
Despite being ready to make the move to Manhattan, Klieman is probably hoping not to move for a couple more weeks. The University says he will continue to coach the Bison in the FCS tournament and will be given a chance to win one more championship.
According to the team, Klieman signed a six-year deal that will pay him $2.3 million next season (a healthy bump from the $300,000 he made last year in Fargo). He will get a $200,000 raise every year after that.
The new Wildcat football leader will be making a challenging jump from the FCS to FBS level. But he told North Dakota State radio on Monday night that he's confident in his success translating to the Power Five tier.
"Football is football," Klieman said in the radio interview. "And I know there's a difference between Power Five and FCS. I know there's a difference between Group of Five and FCS.
"But in the same respect, football is football. We've done really well against those schools. But more importantly, from a recruiting aspect, we recruit against Power Fives not on a yearly basis, but on a daily basis."
Klieman said he will meet with the current coaching staff remaining from Bill Snyder's tenure. He is unsure of a timeline for his final staff, but described his vision for his version of Kansas State football.
"We will have great discipline, just like a Bill Snyder-coached team," Klieman said. "We'll have great fundamentals. We'll do all the little things to the best of our ability until we can make everybody in Wildcat nation proud."