Kansas State has hired North Dakota State’s Chris Klieman as its next head coach, multiple sources familiar with the decision told ESPN on Monday.
The Athletic first reported that the Wildcats are expected to hire Kleiman, who has gone 67-6 with three Football Championship Subdivision national championships at North Dakota State.
He will succeed Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder, who retired earlier this month. Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor promoted Klieman to head coach at North Dakota State while serving as AD at the school in 2013.
Klieman is expected to agree to a six-year deal, paying him $2.3 million per year with a $200,000 annual raise with the Wildcats, sources told ESPN.
North Dakota State is still playing this season as the top seed in the FCS playoffs, and a source said Klieman is expected to coach at least in Friday’s semifinal against South Dakota State. It’s unknown whether Klieman will continue to be with the Bison if they advance to the national championship on Jan. 5.
Kansas State chose Klieman over Troy coach Neal Brown, whose candidacy gained momentum in recent days. Memphis coach Mike Norvell and Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, a former Kansas State assistant, also spoke with the school about its vacancy.
Klieman, 51, will return to the FBS for the first time since 1997, when he coached defensive backs at Kansas. He spent one season as head coach at Division-III Loras College in 2005 before assistant-coaching stints at Northern Iowa and North Dakota State. He was elevated to head coach in 2014 after Craig Bohl left for the top job at Wyoming.
At North Dakota State, Klieman won FCS national titles in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and reached the national semifinals in 2016.
The Wildcats are following the path of Ohio State and Stanford, which hired coaches from the FCS to run their programs. Jim Harbaugh took the Cardinal to the Orange Bowl in 2010, and Jim Tressel coached the Buckeyes to the 2001 national championship.
Snyder announced his retirement Dec. 2. The 79-year-old went 215-117-1 in two stints at Kansas State, transforming the program into a consistent winner.
Kansas State was the last remaining open head-coaching job in the Power 5 conferences.