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Collin Klein


Article by Tyler Jackson

Photography by Provided

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For the next installment of 'Wildcat Legends: Where Are They Now?!' I’m talking to the legendary former Wildcat quarterback, now K-State Offensive Coordinator, Collin Klein. You're originally from Loveland, Colorado. What was your path in coming to Manhattan and K State?

I didn’t really know too much about it until Coach Prince, Coach (James) Franklin and Coach (Ricky) Rahne started recruiting me, and I was able to come out on an unofficial visit and just fell in love with the place. The people were so welcoming, and it had a “down home” atmosphere. You could tell football is important here, and the desire to be excellent was here. There was also the platform to make a difference and be a part of something special, and you could feel it. They ended up offering me a scholarship and I committed the same day. The rest is history.

Were you recruited as quarterback? Were you always going to be quarterback? Was that something that you had done since you were a little kid?

That was the plan, it’s what I played in high school. The first year (here) was solely as quarterback. The second year, when Coach Snyder came in, I was able to kind of do some different things and help the team on special teams and as a tight end/receiver. I played a little bit of everything, but never left quarterback. That was kind of what my passion was, and what was in my heart and what I wanted to do.

I wonder if that experience of getting to play a little bit of everything is lending to what you're doing today.

You know, that's a great point. The Lord has a plan in everything and there’s no doubt it has helped because you get to experience a little bit of everything. More background and just seeing the game from different perspectives is invaluable.

What did you enjoy the most about your K State experience?

Well, I think it's the people and the relationships with my teammates. Being able to step up and help the team as a red shirt sophomore in 2010 and get a little bit of experience. Then, nobody expected us to be any good in 2011 where we started 7-0, got a double-digit win season, and got to the Cotton Bowl. That kind of set that foundation for ‘12. It was just the values that are important to this place, which is what being a K-Stater, and even a K-State football player is all about, the more I felt like it would be a fit. After going through it, and learning exactly what that means and how those things are what was truly important to me, it was a perfect fit. And, I wouldn't trade for the world,

That 2011 Miami game down there, that was when we knew around here - the nation didn't know yet - but around here, that was when we knew we've got something really special with this team. Then for the next two years, that was a ride.

Yeah. It really was. And, and like you said, you just put your head down and you go to work and all of a sudden, you're like, you know what? This is gonna be a heck of a deal!  

What was it like being part of the Heisman hype and being able to go to New York and go through that?

It was a tremendous honor. It is a crazy couple of days moving so fast with a lot of moving pieces. But, it was a tremendous honor. Obviously, the Heisman is a team award, and you don't get there unless you’ve won. So, being able to represent my teammates and K-State on that stage was really cool.

On the other side of the quarter from great experiences, do you have anything that you regret?

You know what, I think that's one thing that I've been so blessed and fortunate to have is a lot of people in my life to make sure that was in your mind. Not that I wouldn't do some things differently, but as far as from a regret standpoint. I would say absolutely not. You know, I think, again, I was very fortunate to be around people that made sure that the messaging and the focus was always doing your dead-level best and giving it every ounce that you have. That’s always going to be enough and whatever that ends up being. And so no, I definitely don’t have any regrets.

What got you started on your coaching path?

I tried to play professionally for about a year and a half. I was in rookie camp with the Texans and then at camp up in Montreal the following summer. When I got done with that, and talking with Shalin and trying to figure out what that next step was going to be, I kept coming back to football. So, I made a couple of phone calls. Coach Snyder had an opportunity, and I was a GA (Graduate Assistant) here for two years, and that's what kind of started it. I haven’t really haven't looked back.

It was really cool watching you finally become the offensive coordinator after being on the staff for all those years, in the Texas Bowl against LSU. That was an awesome debut!

Well, again, it's a tremendous honor and a privilege, but, you never know how things are going to go. The Lord's got a plan and normally in this profession, it doesn't happen the way it's happened for me. Again, it's just a testament to what he's got and what he’s got going on and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Amen. It always goes back to God's plan. Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight”

That's my favorite scripture verse.

You know what's kind of funny? We put that in the bottom of the masthead of every single issue of Manhattan Lifestyle Magazine.

Are you serious everyone?

 Yep. Every issue! Company wide.

That is so cool. Good for you.

Thank you!

I know in the spring there was a lot of big news with your name on it, and I'm sure that had to have been gut wrenching for you, that decision you had to make about staying here at K-State or leaving for a new job.  

It was an honor to go through the process. I've had some opportunities in the past, but being able to have this one, especially as my first year as a coordinator, to have your work respected like that is cool. But again, the Lord made it clear that we still have work to do here, and I still have work to do here. And going back to our players and every one of my QB’s, and obviously the team expanded from that. So, it was a tremendous honor to be considered in two unbelievable places, but I’m so honored and privileged to be able to continue to work for Coach Kleiman.

You're a dude! You're just a dude, my guy, and everybody at K-State is right now. I mean, this is the golden era. The Gene Era is a Golden Era at Kansas State right now. It's so good. And it goes back to the people.

It goes back to the people. And, how we do what we do. I think that’s the thing and the kicker that we just have to keep remembering “why” we keep pushing this forward. Because if we remember that, everything's going to be alright.

Absolutely! Now, here’s my last question. I usually ask everybody, ‘what do you miss the most about Manhattan’? <Laugh> For you, what is it that you love the most about still being in Manhattan?

I think it's just all the family connections. I mean, this is home for Shalin and I, and it’s just all the amazing relationships that we have here in every facet of the life. From the faith side, family side, and, and then obviously the football side. We're just so blessed.

Dude. What a guy. It's an honor. It's an honor to get to chat with you, Collin.

Thank you!  

 Wildcat Legends: Where are they now? is brought to you by Community First National Bank. With two locations in Manhattan to serve you, Community First National Bank is helping to create the legend in you! Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

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