Kansas State has been doing everything it can to win fans over after the hire of Chris Klieman Monday to replace Bill Snyder. The floodgates have been opened on the previously quiet @KStateFB Twitter account, as tweets with pictures, video and new hashtags have poured out of the athletic department.
Klieman answered fan questions through videos on Twitter on his flight from Fargo to Manhattan Tuesday. His speech to the players was filmed and posted to social media shortly after his arrival, causing #WinTheDangDay to go viral.
It’s truly a new era for Kansas State football, and today it was made official with Klieman’s introductory press conference. Klieman said he’s looked up to outgoing coach Bill Snyder since the 1980s, when Klieman, as a high school quarterback in Waterloo, Iowa, attended Iowa football camps when Snyder was still the Hawkeye offensive coordinator.
Klieman was a defensive back on the Northern Iowa team that beat K-State in Bill Snyder’s first ever game as coach in 1989, and he returned to Manhattan in 2013 to beat Snyder again, this time as the defensive coordinator of North Dakota State. Through it all, Klieman said he has looked up to Snyder, and the influence is clear.
Klieman’s #WinTheDangDay philosophy matches Snyder’s famous attention to detail with a souped-up-for-2018 marketing slogan that can appeal to both fans and recruits. And when Klieman was asked about recruiting, he said he already had some people in mind to hire, then showed a refreshing swagger that was absent during Snyder’s tenure.
“The people of Frisco, Texas know what North Dakota State football is about. We’ve set up shop there the past few years,” he said.
Frisco, Texas is, of course, the home of the FCS National Championship game.
Klieman fielded media questions well, but one of the more noteworthy moments came before questions opened, when Klieman addressed Sean Snyder and said “I look forward to working with you.”
While Klieman later clarified that he hasn’t decided to keep Sean on staff or not, the comment did stir speculation among fans and the media. Snyder is an accomplished special teams coach, but the unit was uncharacteristically terrible in 2018 and the optics of retaining Bill Snyder’s son on staff while the elder Snyder remains as an ambassador to the university aren’t great.
Outside of that, though, Klieman’s first press conference went about as well as it could, with Gene Taylor noting afterward that he was surprised with how quickly fan opinion has shifted on Klieman now that fans have had a chance to see him in action.
Hopefully the shifting tides and positive energy can help translate to positive results on the field in 2019.