FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Kansas State replaced Bill Snyder with North Dakota State’s Chris Klieman.
Klieman was 69-6 in five years at North Dakota State winning four FCS National Championships. The lone year he didn’t lead his team to the national title was in 2016 when they went 12-2 and finished third losing in the semifinals.
He is 6-3 at Kansas State. Among the six wins for Klieman and the Wildcats are at Mississippi State 31-24, downed TCU 24-17 and blasted Kansas and first-year coach Les Miles 38-10. But the biggest win was on Oct. 26 when they beat Oklahoma 48-41 in Manhattan.
Among the losses are to Texas 27-24 in Austin last Saturday, fell to Oklahoma State 26-13 in Stillwater and at home to Baylor 31-12.
The Wildcats host West Virginia today. Next week they will be at Texas Tech and then finish up the regular season by hosting Iowa State and their head coach Matt Campbell, who is also considered a target of Arkansas.
Klieman turned 52 on Sept. 27. He’s making $2.3 million with the Wildcats. He was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and played defensive back at Northern Iowa from 1986-90.
Prior to becoming a head coach, Klieman’s background was in coaching defensive backs and serving as a defensive coordinator. He has had other coaching stops, but he coached the defensive backs and then defensive coordinator at both Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.
His overall coaching record entering today’s game against West Virginia is 78-16 which includes a 3-7 mark at Loras in 2005. That is easily his worst record as a head coach. North Dakota State promoted him to head coach nine years after that and he had one undefeated season, a pair of one-loss seasons and then a couple of two-loss seasons.
Other than the Loras job, this is the first time that Klieman’s teams have experienced as many as three losses in a season.
One thing many Arkansas fans are wanting in the next head coach is a defensive background that is certainly Klieman possesses. His contract with the Wildcats was for six years worth $16.8 million. His contract is filled with performance bonuses, but he reportedly only has a $3 million buyout if he leads before 2021. His salary is the lowest among private institutions in the Big 12.
Would Klieman leave after only one year in Manhattan if Arkansas offered him the job? Some of the most successful coaches in the past several years have left for the Hogs after one year on the job. Frank Broyles was at Missouri one year, Houston Nutt coached Boise State for a single season, Bobby Petrino left the Atlanta Falcons before his initial season was completed while Lou Holtz departed from the New York Jets after a single campaign.
Arkansas’ Hunter Yurachek fired Chad Morris this past Sunday following a one-sided loss to Western Kentucky. Barry Lunney Jr. is serving as the interim head coach. Arkansas will be at LSU next Saturday and then finish up with Missouri in Little Rock on Nov. 29.