MANHATTAN, KS. (KSNT)- K-State head football coach Chris Klieman and the Wildcats are gearing up for the 2023 season. It’ll be Klieman’s fifth in Manhattan, Kansas.
Klieman sat down with 27 Sports Director Glenn Kinley last week for a one-on-one interview which aired on K-Nation. It’s the second-straight year Klieman has sat down with K-Nation for an exclusive interview before the season.
Klieman says as the Wildcats look to build off a successful 2021 season, he hasn’t lost sight of the past players who helped them build something special at K-State.
“So many of the guys that were seniors on that 2021 that enabled us to have a really good season. They set the foundation in the locker room, as well as in the weight room,” Klieman said.
He says many of the current players learned from that 2021 class.
K-State got an offseason win by keeping offensive coordinator Collin Klein, even after Notre Dame and other schools showed interest in the ‘Cats OC.
“It came down to the fact that he wasn’t done. There’s a lot of things that wanted to accomplish here,” Klieman said. “He is what Kansas State is all about. He epitomizes our core values of discipline, commitment, toughness and to be selfless. I think we’re just scratching the surface of what [Collin Klein] can do here.”
He says key returners and talented newcomers, like Will Howard and Avery Johnson, were huge reasons for Klein to want to stay. Klieman also heaped high praise for Hayden graduate Desmond Purnell and Junction City product DJ Giddens.
After entering the season as the backup for three seasons in a row, Will Howard is the ‘Cats starting quarterback now. Klieman says his loyalty and relentlessness are clear.
“I know that a lot of his success is due to some of the setbacks he had, you learn and grow from those things,” Klieman said.
In May, Klieman signed a contract extension that keeps him at K-State through the 2030 season.
“What a great opportunity to stay here at K-State,” Klieman said. “I’ve really enjoyed our four years here… my family enjoys it. All my kids and my wife are close.”
His loyalty to the Wildcats starts with athletic director Gene Taylor.
“Gene Taylor is the best AD in the country to work for,” Klieman said. “…We have a really good thing going.”
He says the relationships with coaches from other programs and the ‘great’ fan base are two of many reasons he loves K-State.