Bob Stoops dropped a golden nugget on us early in the week. In his first full-time coaching gig, at Kent State in 1988, one of Stoops’ fellow staff members was Doug Klein, whose son you might have heard of. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
It’s a small world.
Doug Klein now is a financial consultant in Colorado. His son is one of college football’s best players, a throwback quarterback who can hurt you with the pass and hurt you with the run. Twenty-four years ago, Doug Klein and Stoops were together on Dick Crum’s first Kent State staff. Kent State went 5-6 that year, then Stoops got a job offer from Bill Snyder, who was leaving Iowa as offensive coordinator to take over at Kansas State. The same Bill Snyder who still coaches the ‘Cats and has turned Collin Klein into one of America’s most productive quarterbacks.
“Been a long time ago,” Doug Klein said this week. “Bob has always been very gracious in staying in touch.”
What does Klein remember about Stoops, who in 1988 was a 28-year-old defensive backfield coach who had spent the previous 10 years playing or helping coach at Iowa.
“I just remember him being a total class act,” Klein said. “Someone you knew was going to go on to do great things. He had a great mind for the game, had an excellent eye for players. Just a great guy. He and Carol are wonderful people.”
What does Stoops remember about Klein? “I was just at a Toby Keith concert with him in Manhattan this summer for a night,” Stoops said. “He’s a great guy. Detailed coach. Good coach. He was smart, unlike the rest of us, got out, made good money in business. Now he’s got better hours.”
Klein stayed on Crum’s staff the next two years. Crum was fired after the 1990 season, and Klein left coaching. Returned to Colorado, went into business and raised a family that includes Collin Klein.
Stoops said OU did not recruit Collin Klein. Klein is not an OU-style quarterback. Stoops rarely recruits a quarterback who can run a lick. Blake Bell is sort of the accidental running QB. But Klein has flourished at K-State.
“They just showed a lot of interest in him,” Doug Klein said. “He loved the campus and the excitement there in Manhattan. Football and basketball, that school is very important to that area. And they certainly show it in their support. I know he liked the energy, the campus, the academics. He knew he could accomplish some of his goals in what he wanted to do. That’s where he chose. Honestly, the Lord has him right where he wants him.”
The way lives intersect is interesting. Doug Klein grew up in Boulder, Colo., where he went to Fairview High School with the sons of then-Colorado coach Bill Mallory (but not Doug Mallory, Bill’s younger son who later coached for Les Miles at OSU). Doug Klein played high school football but did not play in college. He graduated from Colorado State and eventually was hired as a graduate assistant at Indiana, under Mallory, who had been fired at Colorado.
Klein spent two years at Indiana, then was offensive coordinator at Ferris State in 1987. When North Carolina fired Dick Crum after 10 mostly-successful seasons, Crum was hired as head coach at Kent State. Crum and Mallory go back a long way. Crum was on Mallory’s staff during a great four-year run at Miami-Ohio in the early 1970s. When Mallory left for the Colorado job, Crum took over at Miami and eventually moved on to Carolina.
When Crum got the Kent State job, he hired not only Klein, but Bill Mallory’s son, Mike. And a young guy from Iowa named Stoops.
Crum had extensive Ohio ties. He went to college at two Ohio schools, Muskingum and Mount Union, then began coaching in Ohio high schools, including a stop at Boardman, in Youngstown, where Ron Stoops Jr. later coached, too.