Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman turned to familiar ground Saturday in naming four assistant coaches from his North Dakota State staff to join him in Manhattan.
Courtney Messingham, a 29-year coaching veteran and NDSU’s offensive coordinator the past two years, will carry the same title for the Wildcats while also working with the tight ends. He’ll be joined by offensive line coach Conor Riley, wide receivers coach Jason Ray and on defense by safeties coach Joe Klanderman.
“I am thrilled that Courtney, Conor, Jason and Joe will be joining our staff at K-State,” Klieman said. “Our offensive philosophy at NDSU is similar in schematics to what K-State has been so successful at doing under Coach (Bill) Snyder, which is a balanced attack built around a power run game and getting our playmakers the ball. Courtney and Jason bring Big 12 experience to the staff, while Conor is one of the top offensive line coaches in the country.
“On defense, I have worked alongside Joe for a long time and have so much respect for him as a coach — he is one of the best secondary coaches in our profession.”
Messingham has served as a coordinator at multiple stops in addition to coaching virtually every offensive position. In the past two seasons, his NDSU offenses have ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring both years.
Messingham, like Klieman, is a native of Waterloo, Iowa, and was a teammate of Klieman’s at Northern Iowa. He has worked at Truman State (1995-98), Missouri State (1999-2002, 2008) and Iowa State (2009-13).
He was Iowa State’s offensive coordinator in 2012-13, leading the Cyclones to a school record in touchdown passes the first year. They also set top-five single-season marks in five different categories.
Much of NDSU’s offense under Messingham came in the ground game behind offensive lines coached by Riley, who is finishing his sixth season in Fargo, N.D. The Bison have averaged at least 235 yards per game in each of Riley’s six years, including a current 285.9 yards per game this season.
Ray brings Big 12 experience to the staff after playing wide receiver at Missouri (2003-07) and coaching receivers and kick returners at Oklahoma State in 2013-14. The 2018 season was his only one at North Dakota State.
Ray began his career at Wyoming, coaching the Cowboys’ running backs from 2009-12.
Klanderman has spent five years on Klieman’s staff at North Dakota State, where his defensive backs have helped the Bison rank in the top five in interceptions four times, including a No. 3 ranking last season and a No. 2 mark in this season.
Klanderman went to NDSU after spending 12 years on staff at Minnesota State, his alma mater. He took over as defensive coordinator and worked with the linebackers from 2007-13 before heading to NDSU.
“These guys are all winners, and I am excited for them to be Wildcats,” Klieman said.