Oklahoma State football: Joe Bob Clements leaves familiarity of Kansas State for Stillwater

Joe Bob Clements earned a scholarship after walking on at Kansas State and had two stints coaching under Bill Snyder. But OSU offers a promotion to defensive line coach and a chance to learn from Mike Gundy and his staff.
by Gina Mizell Published: January 26, 2013

— Joe Bob Clements considers Manhattan, Kan., home.

It's the place he's lived longer than anywhere else. Where he went from a walk-on to a scholarship utility player for Kansas State. Where he coached under legend Bill Snyder during both of his stints leading the Wildcats.

So what prompted Clements to make a career move within the conference and join Oklahoma State's staff? To break away from the Snyder clan? To help fill the void in Stillwater left by former defensive coordinator Bill Young?

A promotion, for starters, from defensive ends coach to defensive line coach. And sometimes leaving familiar surroundings is necessary to continue to develop professionally.

“(OSU is) not a program on the rise, it's a program that kind of has arrived,” Clements said. “They're playing at a very high level and putting themselves in position to compete for championships. It was just intriguing to come be a part of it.

“It's an energetic staff, Mike (Gundy) is a very good coach and it just gives me an opportunity to learn the way he does things.”

Clements realized he wanted to be a coach as he went through his college career in the late 1990s. By the end of it, he had played linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle and tight end for the Wildcats.

“I kind of got an overview of a lot of different positions,” Clements said, “which was good educationally, because I learned how a lot of aspects of team defense worked. Toward the end of college, I felt like (coaching) was something I wanted to do.”

Some of his early influences are prominent college football names, particularly in this state. Bob Stoops. Brent Venables. Mike Stoops.

And, of course, Snyder.

Clements saw Snyder's 16 Goals for Success — which include simple-yet-effective character traits like toughness, self-discipline and leadership — in action every day.

“People often look from the outside and they ask, ‘How does he do it? What's his secret?'” Clements said. “The reality of it is it's not especially complicated ...

“He doesn't waver. And he won't waver. From that, I just think the consistency with how he does things is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”

Clements was offered a student assistant job at K-State after his playing career in 1999. Then he was elevated to a graduate assistant for two seasons. Then to the defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator for three more.

When Snyder retired, Clements coached the defensive line at San Diego State (2006-07) and Kansas (2008). And when Snyder returned to Manhattan, so did Clements.

During that second stint with the Wildcats, Clements also noticed what was building in Stillwater.


by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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