K-State parts with assistant coaches Messingham, Ray
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By DAVE SKRETTA
Kansas State dumped offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham and tights ends coach Jason Ray on Friday.
Wildcats coach Chris Klieman said the two assistant coaches, whose contracts were due to expire in February, would not be retained for the bowl season. Kansas State finished 7-5 and should learn its bowl destination on Sunday.
Former Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, who had been working with Kansas State quarterbacks, will serve as the interim offensive coordinator for the bowl game. It's unclear whether he will be considered for the full-time job.
"These were very difficult decisions to make as both are great coaches and friends - Jason since our time at North Dakota State, and Courtney, who I have known since we were young," Klieman said in a statement. "However, I feel like this is in the best interest of our program moving forward."
The Wildcats started 3-0 and briefly reached the Top 25 before an injury to quarterback Skylar Thompson began a four-game skid. But fueled by a defense that emerged as one of the best in the Big 12, the Wildcats proceeded to rip off four more wins to qualify for a bowl game, only for their offense to go haywire in two more losses.
The offense has been a problem point for Kansas State since Klieman arrived from North Dakota State two years ago. He brought along Messingham, who was his offensive coordinator there and had once been the coordinator at Iowa State, but his run-heavy scheme that dominated the lower-level Missouri Valley Conference didn't translate well to the Big 12.
The Wildcats also have struggled to develop players on the offensive side of the ball. Thompson will be lost to graduation after playing his sixth season, and understudies Will Howard and Jaren Lewis have been underwhelming.
"We appreciate the efforts of Courtney and Jason during their time in Manhattan and wish them well," Klieman said.
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Updated December 3, 2021