NDSU extends the contract of Klieman two more years
FARGO — Three Division I FCS national titles and his football players getting high marks academically were two big reasons North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman received a two-year contract extension on Thursday, according to athletic director Matt Larsen.
Klieman’s six-year contract was extended through the 2023 season. He’s 54-6 since taking over in the 2014 season leading the Bison to national championships in 2014, ’15 and ’17. NDSU will have a ring presentation for the third crown prior to the annual Spring Game at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
Klieman’s base salary of $300,000 did not change, but he’ll receive a $50,000 “longevity bonus” if he’s still the Bison head coach on Jan. 5, 2019. His media appearance fee also went up by $10,000 so the basic package is $424,480 this year with potential bonuses like $15,000 for a national title that could top the deal out at almost $475,000. That does not include any potential income from summer football camps.
“We put some things more on the back end,” Larsen said. “Our biggest goal for this extension, my goal, is to keep Chris Klieman in Fargo, North Dakota for as long as we can. He’s done an incredible job leading this program and it was important to add two more years and show our commitment.”
The buyout should Klieman be hired by another school, by most Division I standards, is not very hefty at $150,000.
Klieman, a former Bison assistant before being named head coach, has been a part of all six NDSU FCS titles and seven straight Missouri Valley Football Conference titles. NDSU had 60 players attain at least a 3.0 grade point average last semester and had 20 players earn a 4.0 GPA.
“I think the biggest thing you look at is the overall health of the program,” Larsen said. “Our kids do an incredible job in the community and have shown commitment to their academics. Every single area is at a high level.”
The cumulative GPA of the team has been over a 3.0 in each of the last three semesters.
It’s not the first time NDSU has rewarded Klieman, inking him to a six-year deal in the spring of 2016 that at the time increased his base salary to $300,000 with another $90,000 in media and appearance fees.
Klieman’s extension is part of an apparent FCS trend of longer-term contracts. James Madison, the team NDSU beat in the FCS title game last January, signed its head coach Mike Houston to a 10-year contract that takes him through the 2027 season.
JMU is 27-2 in Houston’s two years at the school.
“I still think he’s in the upper echelon of the FCS coaches,” Larsen said of Klieman.