Kansas State signs Chris Klieman to eight-year, $44 million contract

Kansas State signed football coach Chris Klieman to a new eight-year contract Monday that will pay an average of $5.5 million annually and could keep him tied to the defending Big 12 champion Wildcats through the season 2030

The $44 million deal replaces a contract that will end after the 2026 season that paid Klieman an average of $4 million annually.

“What we’ve been able to accomplish in our first four years here is because of the culture that our players and staff have been able to create,” Klieman said in a statement. “I’m excited to continue to lead this football program and put a product on the field every year that can compete at the highest level.”

Klieman added that Kansas State, which is about two hours from Kansas City and has some geographical drawbacks to overcome when it comes to recruiting, has what it takes to consistently compete for championships.

That includes a new indoor practice facility that just opened next to Bill Snyder Family Stadium, which has undergone millions of renovations over the years, placing it in the upper echelon of major college football stadiums.

“Chris has done an incredible job building a program in four years that has not only won a Big 12 championship, but more importantly, one that the players have taken pride in and helped maintain a championship culture,” he said Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor. , who hired Klieman out of North Dakota State to replace retired Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder.

“We want to continue the momentum that he and his staff have fostered,” Taylor said. “We are excited to have Chris as the leader of the football program for many years to come.”

Klieman, 55, won four national titles in five years at North Dakota State, which plays one step up in the Football Championship Subdivision, but many still wondered if that success would translate to the highest in college football.

Turns out it is.

Klieman went 8-5 and reached the Liberty Bowl in his first season, fell to 4-6 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and returned to 8-5 the following year with a win at Texas Bowl that gave momentum to last season. .

Led by All-American running back Deuce Vaughn and defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah, a first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Wildcats beat TCU in the Big 12 title game, before the Horned Frogs made the playoffs of college football. . It was the first conference title for Kansas State since 2012, when Snyder was in his second term in Manhattan, Kansas.

Klieman is 30-20 in four seasons with the Wildcats, while his overall college coaching record of 102-33 ranks him among the best winning percentages in history. The 30 wins are the most by a Kansas State coach in his first four years.

Kansas State should contend for another Big 12 championship this season.

The Wildcats return quarterback Will Howard, all five starting offensive linemen and several players on defense, including linebacker Daniel Green and safety Kobe Savage. They added Florida State transfer Treshaun Ward to replace Vaughn at running back, Iowa wide receiver Keegan Johnson and one of the best freshman classes in school history.

Kansas State opens the season Sept. 2 against Southeast Missouri State.

Report from The Associated Press.

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