Kansas State University

K-State spending millions to replace Bill Snyder with Chris Klieman as football coach

Chris Klieman arrives in Frisco Texas for his last game before taking over at K-State

North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman is welcomed by thousands of screaming fans Saturday morning in Frisco, Texas for NCAA National Championship game. Klieman will take over as head coach at K-State after the game Saturday.
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North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman is welcomed by thousands of screaming fans Saturday morning in Frisco, Texas for NCAA National Championship game. Klieman will take over as head coach at K-State after the game Saturday.

The process of Kansas State changing football coaches from Bill Snyder to Chris Klieman will end up costing the university around $5 million.

Snyder retired from his post as K-State football coach last month after 27 transformational seasons in Manhattan that included 210 wins, 19 bowl games and two conference championships. But his decision to step down came with a $3 million incentive that the university will pay him quarterly over the next three years, according to a copy of the retirement agreement obtained by The Eagle through an open records request.

K-State also agreed to pay for Snyder and his wife to attend the National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in New York for the remainder of his life, per the agreement. It was drafted on Dec. 5. His final day of work came two days later.

Athletic director Gene Taylor, speaking on Dec. 12, said he wanted to make the $3 million payment, which was not required under the terms of Snyder’s contract if he retired.

“I think he deserved it for everything he has done,” Taylor said.

The retirement agreement also stipulates Snyder is entitled compensation and benefits included in his contract as football coach, including a $250,000-a-year role with the university as a special ambassador as long as he is “physically and mentally able,” as well as a courtesy automobile, country club membership, a suite at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and men’s and women’s basketball tickets.

The $3 million K-State promised Snyder after he decided to walk away from the final four years of his coaching contract represents the largest expense the Wildcats will spend as a result of the coaching change that ended with Klieman leaving North Dakota State for the job last month.

But the university must also pay buyouts to Snyder’s assistants who weren’t retained by Klieman. Former offensive coordinator Andre Coleman will receive $880,000 over the next two years, offensive line coach Charlie Dickey is owed $480,000 and defensive backs coach Brian Norwood is set to receive $405,000.

Other assistants Zach Hanson, Jon Fabris, Mo Latimore and Eric Hickson are each owed the remainder of their fiscal year salaries.

All of those buyouts will be offset, dollar per dollar, if any former coach accepts a new job.

Collin Klein and Blake Seiler will receive new contracts as members off Klieman’s staff. Former special teams coordinator Sean Snyder will slide into a to-be determined administrative role within the athletic department.

It also cost K-State $40,000 to hire search firm Ventura Partners to assist athletic director Gene Taylor during his football coaching search that led to Klieman. The school hired the firm as a consulting partner in May, paying it a $4,000 monthly retainer while also assisting with K-State’s baseball coaching search.

North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman reflects on his career at North Dakota and his move to K-State. Klieman will coach the Bison in one last game on Saturday against Eastern Washington then take the reins at K-State as the new head coach.

Klieman, who will make $2.3 million next season, has hired nine assistants to his current coaching staff. The Eagle obtained copies of the contracts for six of them.

The richest deal of the bunch belongs to offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham, who received a two-year guaranteed contract with a base salary of $500,000.

That’s $20,000 more than any K-State assistant earned last season. Both Dickey and Snyder made $480,000.

Other two-year deals that feature only one year of guaranteed salary include:

  • $400,000 for offensive line coach Conor Riley.
  • $350,000 for cornerbacks coach Van Malone.
  • $350,000 for defensive backs coach Joe Klanderman.
  • $300,000 for running backs coach Brian Anderson.
  • $300,000 for receivers coach Jason Ray.

It seems K-State has raised the minimum coaching salary for Klieman. The lowest-paid coaches on Snyder’s staff made $210,000.

Every coach on K-State’s staff will have the opportunity to earn up to an extra 32 percent of their base salary annually in performance-based incentives, as well as an additional $20,000 depending on where the team finishes in the final Associated Press Top 25.

The contracts for defensive coordinator Ted Monachino, Klein and Seiler are still being finalized, according to Bruce Shubert, K-State’s executive associate AD for finance and administration.

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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.