#3: Chris Klieman, Kansas State
Keeping with the consistency theme, we have Kansas State’s Chris Klieman. In five seasons at the KSU helm, Klieman has hit eight wins or more in four of them, with 2022 seeing his Wildcats hit 10 for the first time since 2012 and win the Big 12 over eventual national title runner-up TCU.
Most recently, the Cats went 8-4 with a slate that included two successful rivals in Missouri (11 wins) and Kansas (nine), along with both Big 12 title game representatives (one of which, Texas, made the CFP). They concluded their year with a bowl win over nine-win NC State to get a ninth win of their own—and while that isn’t bad, that should be just the beginning.
Once Oklahoma and Texas leave for the SEC in the summer, the odds of Klieman’s Wildcats shining as annual Big 12 contenders are quite strong. Knowing this could have some of the more prominent schools glancing his way before he stands out even more than he already is.
With that said, I have no doubt that there are eyes locked on him as we speak, but if K-State takes control of its conference like I believe it can, Klieman will have bigger and better schools lining up like he won’t believe.