Back to the 'Cats: Klein to coach at KSU in fall

7/16/2014

By BRETT MARSHALL

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

Collin Klein's summer plans of competing for the quarterback job with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes took an about face two weeks ago when he accepted an offer to return to Kansas State University, where he led the Wildcats to the 2012 Big 12 Conference title and a No. 1 national ranking and the Fiesta Bowl.

That's apparently when KSU head coach Bill Snyder offered Klein, a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2012, the opportunity to come back to his alma mater.

"I'm gonna be helping K-State and pursuing opportunities in coaching," said Klein, who was in Garden City on Tuesday to conduct his second Collin Klein Passing Academy and Skills Camp at Buffalo Stadium. "We'll finish this week of camps and go from there."

It will be a busy week for Klein and his camp staff as they began on Monday in Norton, were in Garden on Tuesday, will head to Dodge City on Wednesday, Wichita on Thursday and Olathe on Friday and Saturday to complete a whirlwind tour of the Sunflower State.

"Our camp philosophy, for me, the idea was proposed to get out and go around the state of Kansas and go to different communities that weren't Manhattan or Kansas City," Klein said on Tuesday during a mid-day break between the two, 3-hour camps. "We want to provide the kids with a couple of tools and character tools for life. Also, we want to provide them tools that will help in their upcoming season."

Klein said the camp has three specific themes that they want to instill into the attendees — sacrifice, integrity and priorities.

"We want to encourage these kids that you're never too young to think what is important to you," Klein said. "We want them to think about sacrificing for what's most important to them. We want them to do that all the time regardless of who's watching, and we want them to a man of integrity in that way. That's really my message to these young men."

Klein said he has been blessed to have been mentored and coached by people with those intrinsic qualities.

"I was blessed to have coaches and parents that shared those qualities with me when I was younger," Klein said. "I really appreciate the opportunity to share these things."

Klein had high praise for his college coach, and said Snyder was one of the great influences in his life.

"From coach Snyder, I'll tell you what, it's a lot of what I share with the kids out here," Klein said. "He's one of those coaches who's just invested in you. I've just picked up on a lot of what he's shared with me. We've got the 16 goals — it's a life model, and not just football. Yes, he's really steady. There's no question about that."

Klein said that in developing the camp, there were specific goals established — develop fundamental skills to be a great football player; develop a basic understanding of passing game concepts; encourage high character, work ethic and competitiveness; and to educate camp attendees on specific leadership and inner game concepts.

In June, Klein had played briefly in the third quarter of the Alouettes preseason opener, but came in late in the third quarter, and led the team to a field goal, but his performance wasn't enough for the team to keep him as Tanner Marsh and Alex Brink played the entire first half. All along, Klein had indicated that he wanted to play quarterback at the professional level, and not be moved to another position despite an unorthodox passing style that kept him from being drafted in 2013 by the NFL. Klein and his wife, Shalin, will celebrate their second anniversary on Monday.

"It will be a good day," he said with a smile.

He said there were many favorite moments, playing in big games, but said his experiences with his teammates would be the thing he remembers most.

"Just being with those guys is my favorite memory," Klein said.

And for his return to Manhattan where memories are many, Klein said it was still uncertain as to his specific coaching assignment.

"It's a tremendous opportunity and I couldn't be more thankful," Klein said of his coaching debut. "I can't wait to get after it."

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