Kansas State University

Chris Klieman will be busy recruiting, hiring assistants this week at K-State

K-State coach Chris Klieman walks off the field at North Dakota State for the final time

K-State coach Chris Klieman walks off the field at North Dakota State for the final time
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K-State coach Chris Klieman walks off the field at North Dakota State for the final time

Shortly after Chris Klieman guided North Dakota State to a victory in the FCS playoffs Friday night, his focus shifted south.

“We are rolling,” Klieman said. “I am all Kansas State this week.”

Klieman, who was hired to replace Bill Snyder as the Wildcats’ football coach last Monday, followed through on that statement by throwing on a purple windbreaker and flying across the country to visit with six K-State football recruits over the weekend.

A trip that began in Fargo, N.D. took him to Kansas City, where he joined up with several members of K-State’s coaching staff for an in-home visit with North Kansas City linebacker Clyde Price.

Klieman also made a stop in Lawrence to check in on Free State standouts Keenan Garber and Jax Dineen. Then he flew to Louisiana and met with defensive back Tyrone Lewis, running back Tyjae Spears and cornerback Gregory Brooks.

It’s been a long time since K-State’s head coach logged that many miles in a single day.

Klieman is serving double duty at the moment, finishing out the season with North Dakota State while also recruiting for his new job at K-State.

It’s a busy schedule, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him.

The Bison won’t play again until the FCS national championship game against Eastern Washington on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas. That gives him several days to devote to the Wildcats.

He will be in Manhattan through early signing day on Wednesday, working the phones to improve K-State’s 2019 recruiting class and finalize his coaching staff.

On Friday, he said he hopes to have most, if not all, his assistants in place this week.

You can already count on at least two current K-State coaches remaining on staff. Defensive coordinator Blake Seiler and quarterbacks coach Collin Klein were both out recruiting with Klieman on Saturday. That’s a good sign they aren’t going anywhere.

Klieman has said recruiting coordinator Taylor Braet will stay on in a similar role. North Dakota State director of football operations Hank Jacobs has also indicated he will follow Klieman to K-State.

The rest of his staff will likely be comprised of NDSU assistants, coaches he has worked with in the past and, potentially, one or two more holdovers from Snyder’s staff.

At his introductory news conference, Klieman said he looked forward to working with special teams coordinator Sean Snyder but later said they would need to talk more before any decision could be made on his future with Wildcats.

North Dakota State promoted defensive coordinator Matt Entz to head coach last week, so he’s staying put. But offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham could be a good fit in Manhattan. He has 12 years experience as a play-caller and was once the offensive coordinator at Iowa State.

Other NDSU assistants who could make the move to Manhattan include Randy Hedberg (quarterbacks), Conor Riley (offensive line), Joe Kladerman (safeties) and Jason Ray (receivers).

Tim Polasek, the offensive line coach at Iowa, also has history working under Klieman and is worth keeping an eye on. Though he told local media on Monday that he has not spoken with Klieman about a position on his staff.

Late this week, Klieman will return to Fargo and “flip the page a little bit” with North Dakota State as he works to help the Bison win their seventh national championship in eight years.

Until then, he has a busy week at K-State.

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Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.
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