MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – Following one of the best offensive outputs in Kansas State bowl history, head coach Chris Klieman announced today that quarterbacks coach Collin Klein has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
“Over the course of the last month, Collin displayed the type of leadership and planning that put us in a position to execute and be successful in the bowl game against LSU,” Klieman said. “He deserves this opportunity, and the constant dialogue and communication that he had with me and with our staff and players throughout the game and the entire bowl preparation period was something that really impressed me. Collin bleeds purple, and I am excited for him to lead our offense.”
Klein, who served as the interim offensive coordinator during the Wildcats’ preparations for the TaxAct Texas Bowl, was one of the most decorated players in school history and has served as the Wildcats’ quarterbacks coach since 2017. Prior to that, he spent the 2016 season as the quarterbacks coach at Northern Iowa, while he was the Wildcats’ assistant director of recruiting/defensive quality control coach in 2014 and an offensive graduate assistant in 2015.
“My family and I are excited to serve in this new role and impact young men through the game of football,” Klein said. “I absolutely love our players, staff and fans. We look forward to this challenge and are so thankful to Coach Klieman and our leadership for entrusting me with this responsibility. K-State is and has been a special part of our family, and we are so blessed the Lord has allowed us to continue to be a part of it. Go Cats!”
Against the Tigers on Tuesday night, the Wildcat offense produced 42 points, its highest output of the season and the third-highest scoring mark in K-State bowl history. Additionally, the Wildcats’ 442 yards of total offense was their second-highest showing of the year and ranked fifth in school bowl history.
Klein tutored Skylar Thompson throughout his career, as the sixth-year senior capped his run as K-State’s quarterback with a win in the Texas Bowl and MVP honors. Thompson had the most career starts (40) and wins (24) among all K-State quarterbacks since 1990, and he finished his Wildcat career as the only player in school history with 6,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards. He ranked in the top 10 in school history in 15 career categories, including ranking second in touchdown passes (42), passing yards (7,134), total offense (8,221) and completions (552).
During the Texas Bowl, Thompson tied for second in K-State bowl history in completions (21) and completion percentage (75.0), while his three passing touchdowns tied for third and his 259 passing yards ranked sixth. Thompson’s 21 completions against the Tigers went to 10 different receivers, which included a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver Malik Knowles and one to running back Deuce Vaughn.
A finalist for the 2012 Heisman Trophy and the winner of the Johnny Unitas Award that year, Klein finished his playing career ranking in the school’s top 10 in 34 different game, season and career record categories. He was the first quarterback from a Power 5 school since 1998 to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for 10 scores in consecutive seasons by doing so in 2011 and 2012.
Klein led the Wildcats to a combined 21-5 record as the starting quarterback in 2011 and 2012, which culminated with a No. 1 national ranking, Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl berth in 2012.
Klein obtained his undergraduate degree from K-State in December 2011 in business financial services and controllership, while he received his master’s degree in academic advising in December 2019. He is married to the former Shalin Spani, a former Wildcat women’s basketball player, and the couple has three sons, Beric, Rhett and Trek.