There’s big K-State coaching news today, first reported by Tim Fitzgerald at GoPowercat last night (behind the paywall), and confirmed this morning by Kellis Robinett of the Star/Eagle. Wildcat co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Del Miller is reportedly retiring, and he’ll be replaced in the latter role by former K-State quarterback and current Northern Iowa assistant coach Collin Klein.
In a coaching environment where Bill Snyder has reportedly fought hard to keep his staff together, the move is both surprising and not very much so. Yet one wonders if this has been a long-term plan agreed to by all parties, with Klein’s sojourn to Cedar Falls simply being a means of getting some outside experience before returning to the fold.
The unspoken implication of this report, if wholly accurate, is that Dana Dimel will take over the sole coordinator duties. Some signs of that transition may already have been in evidence last season, both on the field and in statements made by various parties; there was a sense last season that Dimel was handling most of the playcalling himself.
Klein was the key piece of the K-State juggernaut which ascended to the top spot in the BCS rankings in 2012 before losing at Baylor in the penultimate game of the regular season. For his efforts that year, Klein won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the Kellen Moore Award, and was named Big 12 Player of the Year; he was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Receiving praise from all corners for his ability to absorb K-State’s complex offense, there was never any question that he would someday find his way onto a coaching staff. After about one calendar year of trying to earn a substantial job on a professional roster after graduation, Klein returned to Manhattan to work as a graduate assistant for two years. While in that role, Klein was the assistant director of recruiting and a quality-control coach for the defense.
Last year, he left to take the quarterbacks coach position at Northern Iowa. The Panthers suffered through a rough season, going 5-6. There should not be a great deal read into that, however, as five of the six losses were to FCS playoff teams. The highlight of Northern Iowa’s year was their season-opening win over Iowa State, which propelled them to the #3 ranking in the FCS poll before consecutive non-conference losses to playoff-bound Montana and Eastern Washington, both one-score affairs. Indeed, only the season finale against 8th-ranked South Dakota State was lost by more than six points.
Fitzgerald has also reported that this may not be the final shakeup on the staff, so stay tuned for further developments.