MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor announced today that head football coach Chris Klieman, who guided the Wildcats to a Big 12 Championship in 2022, has signed a new eight-year contract that sees him at the helm of the program through the 2030 season.
Klieman, who is entering his fifth year in Manhattan in 2023, will be paid an average base salary of $5.5 million throughout the life of the contract.
“Chris has done an unbelievable job building a program in four years that not only has won a Big 12 Championship, but even more importantly, one that players have taken great pride in and helped sustain a championship culture,” Taylor said. “He is a tremendous fit for K-State and Manhattan, and we want to continue to ride the momentum that he and his staff have fostered. We are excited that Chris will be the leader of our football program for many years to come.”
Klieman holds a 30-20 record at K-State, which includes a 10-4 record last season when the Wildcats won the 2022 Big 12 Championship with a 31-28 overtime victory over No. 3 TCU. It was K-State’s third Big 12 title and first since 2012, while it was the Wildcats’ first 10-win season in 10 years. Additionally, K-State is 5-3 against teams ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll since Klieman took over the reins in 2019, the most victories over top-10 teams by any Big 12 program over the span. A school-record three of those wins came during the 2022 season.
“I am extremely appreciative of Dr. Richard Linton and Gene Taylor for their phenomenal support of our football program,” Klieman said. “What we have been able to accomplish in our first four years here is due to the culture that our players and staff have been able to create. I am excited to continue to lead this football program and put a product on the field each year that can compete at the highest level. We have what we need here at K-State to consistently win at a high level – administrative support, unbelievable facilities and the best fans in the country – and my family and I are grateful to be a part of the Wildcat family.”
K-State concluded the 2022 season ranked No. 9 in the College Football Playoff Top 25, the Wildcats’ second-highest ranking ever in the CFP era and the highest for the final poll. The Wildcats also finished No. 14 in the final Associated Press Top 25 and AFCA Coaches Poll, their highest final ranking in each since 2012.
Under Klieman’s watch, running back Deuce Vaughn became just the second player in school history to earn back-to-back Consensus All-America honors when he picked up the nod again in 2022. Vaughn was one of three Wildcats to earn First Team All-America accolades in 2022 – the most by K-State in a single season since 2003 – and one of five overall All-Americans – the most since 2012.
The other two First Team All-Americans also earned individual awards from the Big 12 coaches as Felix Anudike-Uzomah was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, while Cooper Beebe was the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. In all, Klieman helped produce 17 All-Big 12 performers in 2022, the most by K-State since 2012.
The Wildcats had four players drafted off the 2022 team, including Anudike-Uzomah who was the first-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs to become the first Wildcat selected in the first round since 2009. Cornerback Julius Brents was selected in the second round – No. 44 overall – by the Indianapolis Colts, marking the first time in school history that two Wildcats were selected within the first 44 picks of an NFL Draft. Additionally, Vaughn (Dallas Cowboys) and Josh Hayes (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) were picked in the sixth round of the draft.
A proven winner with a championship history, Klieman was named the 35th head football coach in Kansas State history on December 10, 2018. His 30 wins are the most in school history by a head coach in their first four years and already the fifth most total wins overall in school history. Included in those 30 overall wins, Klieman has kept the Governor’s Cup trophy in Manhattan with four victories over in-state rival KU, has collected 20 Big 12 Conference wins and seen his teams play in three bowl games.
Thanks to his 30 wins in Manhattan, Klieman holds a career head coaching record of 102-33 as his 75.6% winning percentage ranks fourth among current FBS coaches that have led programs for at least 10 seasons, trailing only Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (80.5%), Alabama’s Nick Saban (80.1%) and James Madison’s Curt Cignetti (76.1%).
Not only has Klieman’s tenure produced success on the field, but his mantra of “how you do one thing is how you do everything” has brought success in the classroom. Over Klieman’s first four seasons, K-State has a combined 133 Academic All-Big 12 honors – the second most in the conference during that timeframe – which includes a school record 34 in each of the last two seasons. Additionally, the Wildcats boast a pair of National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athletes under Klieman in Adam Holtorf (2019) and Adrian Martinez (2022).
K-State opens the 2023 season by hosting Southeast Missouri State on September 2 and Troy on September 9. The Wildcats then visit former conference foe Missouri on September 16 before opening Big 12 play by hosting new conference member UCF on September 23.