One of the greatest quarterbacks to ever don a Kansas State uniform, Collin Klein has been hired as the Wildcats’ new quarterbacks coach, head coach Bill Snyder announced Tuesday. Klein replaces Del Miller, who announced his retirement on Monday following a 45-year coaching career with 20 years of service at K-State.
A 2012 Heisman Trophy finalist who guided the Wildcats to the Big 12 Championship, Klein returns to Manhattan after serving one year as the quarterbacks coach on Mark Farley’s staff at Northern Iowa.
“Shalin and I are very excited to come back home,” said Klein. “I’m very grateful to Coach Farley and UNI for the experience and opportunity they provided me this past year. Looking ahead, I am eager to get to work with and develop the great young talent at K-State. 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 as a part of the Manhattan community and Wildcat Family.”
Klein was an assistant director of recruiting operations and quality control coach under Snyder in 2014 before taking over as an offensive graduate assistant the following year.
“Following Del will not be the easiest thing for one to do, but Collin – having been tutored under Del’s guidance – will do well,” Snyder said. “Fortunately, Del will remain with us through the spring to continue to mentor Collin during the out-of-season program and in spring practices. Collin will serve as the quarterback coach and Andre Coleman will coordinate the passing game along with Dana Dimel.
“Collin is a great person: caring, loyal, hard working, responsible and disciplined,” Snyder continued. “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.”
“I feel very fortunate and thankful that this position is going to a young man that I mentored in Collin Klein,” Miller added. “He holds the same values that I do and I appreciate. He’s a good person. He will be a good teacher, motivator and recruiter. I think our players will be in good hands.”
During his lone season in Cedar Falls, Klein tutored a pair of quarterbacks that split reps in Eli Dunne and Aaron Bailey. Dunne finished the year throwing for 1,175 yards and seven touchdowns, which was highlighted by a 418-yard, two-touchdown outing against Missouri State en route to FCS National Performer of the Week honors. Bailey totaled 882 yards and six touchdowns through the air, while he rushed for six scores.
During his previous two seasons on staff at K-State, Klein helped guide Jake Waters to a school-record 3,501 passing yards in 2014 and assisted Joe Hubener and Kody Cook in leading the Wildcats to a bowl in 2015 by splitting time at quarterback.
The 2012 Johnny Unitas Award winner, Klein finished his Wildcat career ranking in the school’s top 10 in 34 different game, season and career record categories. He was the first quarterback from a Power 5 school since 1998 to rush for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for 10 scores in consecutive seasons after doing so in 2011 and 2012. Klein led the Wildcats to a combined 21-5 record as the starting quarterback in 2011 and 2012, which culminated with a No. 1 national ranking, Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl berth in 2012.
Klein obtained his undergraduate degree from K-State in December 2011 in business financial services and controllership. He is married to the former Shalin Spani, a former Wildcat women’s basketball player and the daughter of Kansas State and College Football Hall of Famer Gary Spani.