An 8-5 start to your career with back-to-back wins over the Oklahoma Sooners will get you a new contract as head coach at Kansas State, and Chris Klieman has cashed in.
The new accord reached between Klieman and athletic director Gene Taylor runs through the 2026 season and will pay an average of just under $4 million per year in base salary. Taylor lauded both the job Klieman and his staff have done on the field and his fit within the K-State community. He noted that the sides have been in discussions for a long time, but that sensitivity to the COVID-19 pandemic prompted them to wait until the season was actually underway to finalize the deal.
The old adage is that the buyout is the “real” figure in coaches’ contracts, and in this case, the number is a big one. If Klieman leaves with five or more years remaining on the deal, the buyout is $5 million. The amount drops by a million dollars each year after that, until it reaches $1 million with a year or less remaining.
Klieman’s leadership during a difficult spring and summer and a unique start to the season have helped to stabilize the program at a time when turmoil is affecting sports at all levels. Though a contract extension after only one year was by no means a foregone conclusion, seeing the coach’s name mentioned in connection with other Power-5 openings may have heightened the urgency and accelerated the schedule. In any case, the deal is done, and with a stable coaching situation, we can hope to see more growth over the next five-plus seasons.
Number double-deuce, Deuce Vaughn picked up his second consecutive Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award for his 194-yards-from-srcimmage performance against Texas Tech. How many more do you suppose he’ll claim before the season is over?
Beyond the contract, the biggest story surrounding K-State sports is the health of starting quarterback Skylar Thompson, who left the Texas Tech game in the second quarter and was next seen on the sidelines, with his right arm in a sling. Nevertheless, Klieman says no bones are broken, and there is a chance the starting quarterback may be available for Saturday’s game against Texas Christian. Truth? Coach-speak? Gamesmanship? You be the judge.
Speaking of the TCU match-up, the athletic department posted its usual Tuesday pregame blast of informational tidbits. Meanwhile, our old friend Melissa Triebwasser previewed the game at Frogs O’ War. (Spoiler alert: She says the team in purple will win.)
On the national side, Sports Book Review picked K-State as its dark horse special for the week. Pate Forde, in his “Forde Yard Dash” column at SI, meanwhile, marvels that the Wildcats have navigated three weeks of play and 200 combined offensive and special teams plays without being guilty of a single turnover.
Tyler Lockett was quiet this week, so the review of former Wildcats in the NFL features a giant picture of Dalton Risner in the clashing navy blue and orange getup he’s forced to wear on gamedays.
Since the Cayman Island Classic canceled its fall tournament due to the pandemic, Head Coach Bruce Weber announced that K-State is hoping to host its own November tournament in Bramlage Coliseum. Teams rumored to be on the slate include Colorado, South Dakota State and Drake, each of which won at least 20 games last season.
K-State Sports Extra spotlights cross-country runner Noah Stevenson, who fortuitously missed a meeting that could have forced him to miss competition after several attendees came down with COVID-19. He says a turn for the monastic life is preserving his career.