MANHATTAN — As a player, one of the last times that Collin Klein stood on the football field at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, his team had defeated Texas by a final score of 42-24 to win the 2012 Big 12 Championship. Last Thursday, Klein met with members of the media as part of K-State Media Day.
“It feels like an eternity ago, but also it feels like yesterday. I struggle to put my finger on that. It depends on the day. It’s a tremendous honor and a pleasure to be back,” Klein said.
Klein is back with the K-State program in a very different role than he had when he first suited up as a Wildcat in 2009. Klein will be serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Wildcats this season. Klein mentioned some of the biggest adjustments he’s had to make in the transition from player to coach.
“You’re not sore on Sunday morning. It’s really tremendous because you’re developing these young guys, helping them compete and achieve their goals and dreams and helping them find that level inside themselves that they didn’t know was there. That’s just as rewarding to me as going out and physically doing it myself. Of course I’d love to go out there, but for the most part helping these guys do it is a tremendous opportunity,” Klein said.
K-State head coach Bill Snyder talked about what it’s been like to have Klein back in the program.
“I’m always pleased to have ex-players back in the program. Six of our coaches were players here at Kansas State. Collin’s a good, good, young man. I enjoyed him so much when we brought him here. I’ve enjoyed him through his career as a player here. I’m enjoying him here as a coach. I think he’ll grow and grow and grow. He’s committed to that. That’s the way he was as a player. He was one of those guys that really bought into the system and the process. Nothing has changed in that respect. As a player, he just got better and better and better. It wasn’t something that came up out of nowhere. That’s the way it’s going to be with coaching for him. He’s just going to get better and better and better,” Snyder said.
Klein mentioned that Snyder had asked him to come back as a coach.
“He called me up when he had the opening. It was a little bit out of the blue. I was honored that he wanted me to be able to do that job. I’m honored to be here and I’m working hard to prepare these guys as best as I can,” Klein said.
One of the guys that Klein has been working with is senior quarterback Jesse Ertz. Ertz talked about the experience of working with Klein.
“It’s been a privilege for sure to have him. It’s just a unique experience having a guy that was in the same position as us. He was just in the same game situations. He’s got the background on all the teams before we even go through film, which is pretty funny. He does a lot of really detail-oriented things. He’s been picky and he’s been pushing us, and it’s been good,” Ertz said.
During his career at K-State, Klein threw for 4,724 yards and 30 touchdowns on a 61.3 percent completion percentage. He ranks No, 7 all-time in the K-State record books in career passing touchdowns, No. 4 all-time in career completion percentage, and No. 7 all-time in career passing yards. Klein also rushed for 2,485 yards and 56 touchdowns in his K-State career. He rushed for a K-State record 27 touchdowns in 2011, and ranks No. 1 all-time with 56 rushing touchdowns. He also ranks No. 6 all-time in career rushing yards.
Despite having so much success on the field as a player, Klein noted that right now he is pursuing a career as a coach.
“This is what I’m pursuing and what I see myself doing for hopefully a very long time. I’ve just got to be the best that I can be. I’ve got to get a little better every day, and see where the road takes me. Sometimes it can be a crazy ride in this world. That’s not in my hands. I’m just going to handle today and tomorrow and every day after that,” Klein said.