In a move that will no doubt be applauded by the vast majority of Kansas State football fans, Chris Klieman has decided to make a few changes to his coaching staff.
Courtney Messingham will not return as offensive coordinator next season, the Wildcats announced on Friday. Jason Ray, an assistant coach who coaches fullbacks and tight ends, will also not be retained.
“We appreciate the efforts of Courtney and Jason during their time in Manhattan and wish them well in the future,” Klieman said in a news release. “These were very difficult decisions to make as both are great coaches and friends — Jason since our time at North Dakota State, and Courtney, who I have known since we were young. However, I feel like this is in the best interest of our program moving forward.”
Quarterbacks coach Collin Klein will serve as K-State’s interim offensive coordinator at its bowl game, most likely the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 29 or the Texas Bowl in Houston on Jan. 4.
Bowl practices begin on Saturday, which will give players an opportunity to start working more closely with Klein.
K-State fans have been clamoring for a change at offensive coordinator since their 7-5 regular season came to an end.
Though the Wildcats ranked sixth in the Big 12 in yards per rush (4.8) and fourth in yards per pass (8.3) this past season, they often struggled to find the end zone and failed to score more than 38 points in a single game. Their offense also dragged them down in closing losses against Baylor and Texas.
K-State held the Bears to 20 points and the Longhorns to 22 points, but the Wildcats still couldn’t keep up and lost both games while scoring a combined total of 27 points in those games.
Fans seemed to turn on Messingham once and for all when K-State went 1 for 9 on third downs and 0 for 2 on fourth downs against Texas.
Messingham previously served as Klieman’s offensive coordinator at North Dakota State and was making a salary of $625,000. His contract is set to expire in February.
Ray also coached under Klieman at North Dakota State and started out as a receivers coach with the Wildcats, but he was moved to fullbacks and tight ends this year.
His contract, which paid him $325,000 is also set to expire in February.
Wyoming offensive coordinator Tom Polasek and former Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells could be potential replacements in Manhattan. But several other candidates are expected to be considered.