Collin Klein used to be a star quarterback at Kansas State. He will soon be in charge of developing the next one.
The Wildcats announced Tuesday they had hired Klein as their new quarterbacks coach, a move that has been met with widespread approval since it was reported over the weekend. Klein will replace longtime assistant Del Miller on Bill Snyder’s staff. Miller retired Monday after spending 20 years at K-State.
“I am eager to get to work with and develop the great young talent at K-State,” Klein said in a statement. “I am thankful to Coach Snyder for the opportunity to return to a place that I love while learning and growing under his leadership. I also want to express my thanks to Coach Miller, who helped be grow as both a quarterback and a person, and I want to build upon the success he has enjoyed coaching quarterbacks at K-State. We are thrilled to be back.”
Klein returns to K-State after spending the past season at Northern Iowa, a traditional FCS power.
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Before that, Klein was a star quarterback for multiple seasons under Snyder, guiding the Wildcats to 10 victories as a junior and then an 11-2 record and a Big 12 championship as a senior. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2012. He finished his college career with 4,724 yards and 30 touchdowns passing, on top of 2,485 yards and 56 touchdowns rushing.
“Collin is a great person: caring, loyal, hard working, responsible and disciplined,” Snyder said in a statement. “He will be received well by his peers, players and support staff, as will his lovely wife Shalin. Collin has a love and passion, not only for football, but even more so for guiding youth toward successful lives.
“Our program has always been centered around achieving success in five different areas of a young man’s life: becoming the best they possibly can with their faith, their family, as a person, a student and a football athlete. Collin represents those priorities as well as any player we have ever had.”
After college, Klein tried to make it as a professional, first in the NFL and then in Canada, but returned to K-State as a graduate assistant in 2014.
He helped K-State’s coaching staff for two seasons, serving as an assistant director of recruiting and defensive quality control coach in his first year and then as an offensive graduate assistant in his second.
Regardless of title, Klein spent both seasons on the K-State sidelines advising quarterbacks. With co-offensive coordinators Dana Dimel and Miller coaching from the press box, Klein was often the first face K-State quarterbacks encountered as they exited the field.
Klein helped Jake Waters throw for a school-record 3,501 yards as a senior in 2014. In 2015, he passed his knowledge onto a string of quarterbacks, as the Wildcats battled injuries at the position.
“Collin helped me out a ton my senior year,” Waters told the Eagle. “He is going to be great for all the young guys. He helped me most with film work, letting me know what he was looking for with his pre-snap read. His experience really helped me take the next step.”
Klein will now try to pass them same knowledge onto K-State’s current quarterbacks, including returning starter Jesse Ertz.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett