Kansas State Wildcats Coaching Staff 2024

    Coming off their third straight 8+ win campaign, the Kansas State Wildcats' coaching staff is aiming for more in 2024, and they have the talent to do so.

    Kansas State has been a consistently formidable conference foe since its final three years in the Big 8 under Bill Snyder. Chris Klieman took the reigns from the longtime head coach in 2019 and has led the Wildcats to four 8+ win campaigns in his five seasons.

    However, the 2024 season could be their best yet, and with the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 teams, Kansas State’s coaching staff is gearing up for a postseason run.

    Kansas State Wildcats Coaching Staff

    Head Coach, Chris Klieman

    Chris Klieman’s rise to stardom was anything but guaranteed, as he had to grind all the way up from FCS graduate assistant to DIII defensive coordinator to one of the winningest head coaches in the FBS. A career defensive mind, Klieman’s first position role came as the DBs coach at Northern Iowa, a role he held at four other programs.

    However, Klieman earned national attention while at North Dakota State. He signed on as the DBs coach under HC Craig Bohl in 2011 and helped the Bison to three straight national championships as an assistant, including an undefeated season in 2013.

    The following year, Bohl left for the lead job at Wyoming, and Klieman was the obvious heir to the throne. He didn’t just ride his predecessor’s coattails either, making his own name by winning four FCS titles over the next five years.

    Klieman left NDSU ranked first in school history in winning percentage (92%) and third in victories (69). He is tied with Jim Tressel (Youngstown State) for the most FCS National Championships as a head coach, and his seven total are the most in FCS history.

    While Klieman was getting his feet wet in coaching, Bill Snyder grew Kansas State to a powerhouse in the Big 8 and then the Big 12. He retired in 2005, but when the program faltered under Ron Prince for three years, Snyder came back and led the Wildcats until he called it a career in 2018.

    Klieman found success immediately, going 8-5 in Year 1 before the pandemic-impacted 2020 campaign that saw the Wildcats go 4-6. But the school has rebounded in a big way in the last three seasons, capturing the Big 12 title in 2022 and posting a 9-4 record with a Pop-Tarts Bowl victory over NC State in 2023. Additionally, he has kept the Governor’s Cup in Manhattan, defeating in-state rival Kansas in each of their last five matchups.

    With 39 wins at K-State, Klieman’s career head coaching record sits at 111-37 (75%), ranking third among active FBS coaches who have led programs for at least 10 seasons — Indiana’s Curt Cignetti (77.3%) and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (79.8%) are the only two ahead of him.

    Yet, Klieman’s tenure has been about more than just on-field success. In his five seasons, K-State players have earned 178 Academic All-Big 12 honors, the second most in the conference.

    • Northern Iowa (GA, 1991-92; DBs, 1993)
    • Western Illinois (DBs, 1994-96)
    • Kansas (GA, 1997)
    • Missouri State (DBs, 1999)
    • Loras College (DC, 2002-04; HC, 2005)
    • Northern Iowa (DBs, 2006-07; Co-DC/DBs, 2008; DC/DBs, 2009-10)
    • North Dakota St. (DBs, 2011; DC/DBs, 2012-13; HC, 2014-18)

    Co-Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach, Conor Riley

    Klieman is on his third (and fourth) offensive coordinator after Collin Klein left for Texas A&M. Conor Riley is a familiar face, both for the head coach and Kansas State fans. He was on North Dakota State’s staff during Klieman’s time there, serving as the OL coach and run game coordinator.

    Riley followed his head coach to Kansas State and has coached two players to NFL Draft selections in guards Cooper Beebe (Round 2, Dallas Cowboys) and KT Leveston (Round 7, Los Angeles Rams). Now, he hasn’t called plays in his career, but his extensive experience as an OL coach and run game coordinator should make the transition easier … as will having a veteran co-OC.

    • Omaha (GA, 2003-05))
    • Concordia [St. Paul] (OL, 2006)
    • Omaha (OL/run game coordinator, 2007-10)
    • Sacramento State (OL, 2011-12)
    • North Dakota State (TEs/FBs, 2013; OL 2014-16; OL/run game coordinator, 2017-18)

    Co-Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks Coach, and Associate Head Coach, Matt Wells

    Matt Wells is no novice. Coaching for nearly three decades, he is one of K-State’s most experienced members of the staff. He’s best known for his success at Utah State, where he posted three 9+ win campaigns with three bowl victories and five appearances in six seasons.

    Wells parlayed that success into the leading role at Texas Tech. He didn’t hit the ground running, going 8-14 in his first two years. But he had the Red Raiders on the right track before being fired midseason in 2021. The program was 5-3 at the time, and the move surprised many, including Wells himself.

    Most recently, Wells served as an analyst under Brent Venables at Oklahoma, but he jumped back into a named coaching role with the Wildcats. It’s not a pressure-free- position, as it will be up to Wells to ensure the young but talented Avery Johnson is prepared to lead the offensive onslaught under center.

    • Navy (QBs/FBs/WRs, 1997-2001)
    • Tulsa (TEs/recruiting coordinator, 2002-06)
    • New Mexico (WRs/recruiting coordinator, 2007-08)
    • Louisville (QBs/passing game coordinator, 2009)
    • New Mexico (WRs, 2010)
    • Utah State (QBs/recruiting coordinator, 2011; OC, 2012; HC, 2013-18)
    • Texas Tech (HC, 2019-21)
    • Oklahoma (offensive analyst and advisor to HC, 2022-23)

    Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach, Joe Klanderman

    Joe Klanderman’s résumé reads like few other coaches in the nation, as across 22 years, he has coached at just three programs. He spent his first decade in the profession helping turn DII Minnesota State into a powerhouse before joining the NDSU dynasty.

    MORE: 2024 Big 12 Weekly Football Schedule

    Like Klieman, Klanderman is a DBs coach at heart and led the safeties in 2019. Yet, in 2020, he added defensive coordinator to his title and hasn’t looked back. Over the last two seasons, K-State has generated 47 turnovers, which ranks first among returning Big 12 schools. And in 2023, the Wildcats finished in the top 30 in eight categories nationally.

    • Minnesota State (DL, 2002-04; DBs, 2005-06; DC/LBs, 2007-13)
    • North Dakota State (DBs, 2014-18)

    Defensive Pass Game Coordinator, Cornerbacks Coach, and Assistant Head Coach, Van Malone

    The Wildcats defense has ranked in the top four among Big 12 programs in both total yards and points allowed in each of the last three seasons. Are large reason for that success rests on the shoulder of Van Malone. He began his K-State tenure as a CBs coach in 2019, then added assistant head coach and defensive pass game coordinator in 2020.

    Malone has coached six all-conference CBs in his five seasons, and as SMU’s defensive coordinator in 2017, he earned the American Football Coaches Association’s (AFCA) National FBS Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

    • North Dakota State (WRs, 2003)
    • Western Michigan (CBs/ST, 2004)
    • North Texas (DBs/ST, 2005)
    • Texas A&M (CBs/SAFs, 2006-09)
    • Tulsa (DBs, 2010-11)
    • Oklahoma State (SAFs, 2012)
    • Oklahoma State (CBs, 2013-14)
    • SMU (DC, 2015-17)
    • Mississippi State (Defensive quality control, 2018)

    Running Backs Coach, Brian Anderson

    Entering his 30th year of coaching, Brian Anderson has more knowledge in his pinky toe than most have in their whole bodies. Since joining Kansas State in 2019, he has produced an All-Big 12 running back each year.

    Of course, having talents such as Deuce Vaughn and DJ Giddens makes the job easier, but that shouldn’t discount the work he’s done to prepare his backfield. And with Giddens back in 2024 and joined by Colorado transfer Dylan Edwards, the Wildcats could have two all-conference RBs this season.

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    • 1994 Western Illinois (GA, 1994)
    •  Western Illinois (WRs, 1995-96)
    • Highland CC (WRs/Pass game coordinator, 1996-97)
    • Coffeyville CC (WRs, 1997-2000)
    • Southern Illinois (WRs, 2001-07)
    • Northern Illinois (TEs, 2008-10)
    • Minnesota (RBs, 2011-13; WRs, 2014-16)
    • Illinois State (WRs, 2018)

    Tight Ends Coach, Brian Lepak

    Brian Lepak kicked off his K-State career as a senior offensive quality control coach in 2021. He took over the TEs in 2022, and with Ben Sinnott in the room, he quickly notched two first-team All-Big 12 honors to his résumé.

    The Washington Commanders selected Sinnott 53rd overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, making him the highest-drafted TE in school history. The cupboard isn’t bare either, as redshirt sophomore Garrett Oakley took his 11 receptions for 154 yards and two TDs last season.

    • Indiana (Offensive GA, 2014-16)
    • Oklahoma (Offensive GA, 2017-19)
    • Southern (OL/Run game coordinator, 2020)

    Wide Receivers Coach, Matthew Middleton

    Matthew Middleton and Conor Riley coached on the same side of the ball while at Omaha in 2009 and 2010, and they reunited last season. He spent the previous five seasons as the WRs coach at Kent State, where he guided six all-conference selections, including four first-teamers. One of those players was Dante Cephas, who left for Penn State but will now work with his former coach with the Wildcats.

    If Middleton can help Cephas reach his prior form and unlock true sophomore Jayce Brown’s potential, K-State will produce fireworks through the air in 2024.

    • Ottawa (WRs, 2008)
    • Omaha (WRs, 2009-10)
    • Chadron State (WRs, 2011)
    • Kansas (GA, 2012)
    • South Dakota (WRs/Recruiting coordinator, 2013-17)
    • Kent State (WRs, 2018-22)

    Linebackers Coach, Steve Sanard

    With eight All-Big 12 LBs across the last four seasons, Steve Sanard has cemented his place as a top second-level coach in the conference. The Wildcats had three all-conference LBs in 2023 alone, including second-teamer Austin Moore, who received several votes for Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

    Desmond Purnell and Austin Romaine also received honorable mention honors, and with all three returning this season, Sanard should continue his streak of having two or more All-Big 12 members in his room.

    • Nebraska (SA, 1988; GA, 1989-90)
    • Nebraska Wesleyan (DC, 1991-93; HC/DC, 1994-95)
    • South Dakota (DC, 1996)
    • New Mexico State (DEs/OLBs, 1997-99; DC/LBs, 2000-02)
    • Colorado State (DC/LBs, 2003-07)
    • Ohio (DL, 2008)
    • Tulane (DC/LBs, 2009-11)
    • North Dakota State (LBs, 2012-13)
    • Wyoming (DC/LBs, 2014-16)
    • Syracuse (DEs, 2017-19)

    Defensive Tackles Coach, Mike Tuiasosopo

    Yet another coach with 30+ years of experience, Mike Tuiasosopo has spent most of his career on the West Coast, including stops at former Pac-12 members Utah, Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, and USC. Klieman hired him as the DTs coach in 2019, and under his tutelage, the unit has generated an all-conference performer in each of the last four years, with 2023’s member, Uso Seumalo, back for another season.

    • Montclair Academy (DL/ST, 1990-91)
    • Pacific (GA, 1991-93)
    • Utah State (DL, 1996-99)
    • Nevada (DL, 2000-02)
    • Utah (DTs, 2003)
    • Arizona (DLs, 2004-10)
    • Colorado (DL, 2011-12)
    • UCLA (OLBs/ST, 2014)
    • USC (Volunteer analyst, 2015; offensive consultant, 2016; ST assistant, 2017)
    • UTEP (DL, 2018)

    Defensive Ends Coach, Buddy Wyatt

    Last but not least is another 30+ year coach who has been on staff since Klieman arrived. Buddy Wyatt served under Van Malone at SMU, and it’s likely the latter recommended the defensive ends coach upon his hiring. With talents such as Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Wyatt Hubert, it’s no surprise Wyatt’s element has churned out seven All-Big 12 accolades.

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    And while 2023 second-teamer Khalid Duke is gone, honorable mention pick Brendan Mott is back and primed for a breakout campaign.

    • TCU (GA, 1991)
    • Minnesota (DL, 1992-95)
    • Oklahoma State (DL, 1996)
    • Northwestern (DL, 1997-98)
    • Colorado (DL, 1999)
    • Texas A&M (DL, 2000-02)
    • Alabama (DL, 2003-06)
    • Nebraska (DL, 2007)
    • Texas A&M (DL, 2008-09)
    • Kansas (DL, 2010-14)
    • SMU (DL, 2015-17)
    • Kansas (Senior analyst, 2018)

    Quality Control Coaches

    • Nate Kaczor (special teams)
    • Matt Kardulis (defensive)


    • Drew Liddle (offensive)
    • Sean Maguire (offensive)
    • David Orloff (defensive)

    Graduate Assistants

    • Mikael Bradford (defensive)
    • Vincent Johnson (offensive)
    • Parker Schrater (defensive)
    • Alex Wallace (offensive)

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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