Kennesaw State football head coach Brian Bohannon has announced the hiring of Chris Klenakis, a former Churchill County High School and University of Nevada coach, as the team's new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Klenakis, a college football coaching veteran, brings over 30 years of experience to KSU.
"Chris is a veteran coach whose résumé speaks for itself," said Bohannon. "He has a record of helping student-athletes reach their top potential both on and off the field. His knowledge and experience will be instrumental to our football program as we transition into FBS and Conference USA."
The ability to develop quarterbacks is prevalent throughout Klenakis' resume. The offensive coordinator helped guide current Baltimore Raven and then University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson to the 2016 Heisman Trophy. During that season, Jackson secured the first Heisman Trophy for Louisville with one of the most statistically impressive performances in the award's history.
Klenakis also coached quarterback Colin Kaepernick while at Nevada. Under Klenakis' leadership, Kaepernick became the only player in FBS history to rush for 4,000 yards and throw for 10,000 in a career.
Jackson and Kaepernick are two of only three players in FBS history to rush for 50 touchdowns and pass for 50 touchdowns in a career.
The veteran coach owns a distinction as the only offensive coordinator in FBS history to have led the nation in rushing offense (2009) and passing offense (1997) in a career. He was also the offensive coordinator for the only offense in FBS history to have three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season (2009).
Prior to Kennesaw State, Klenakis was the offensive line coach at Liberty in 2022. During that season, the Flames collected a fourth-straight bowl game appearance and were ranked No. 19 in the nation after week 10. Klenakis guided LU to eight wins, including two over BYU and Arkansas in consecutive weeks.
The veteran coach made stops at seven college football programs before Liberty. These include South Alabama (2021), Tulane (2019-2020), Louisville (2013-18), Iowa State (2013), Arkansas (2010-12), Central Missouri (2003), Southern Mississippi (2000-02) and Nevada (1990-99; 2004-09).
While at Louisville, Klenakis served as the co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach from 2013-16.
2016 saw the Cardinals claim a share of the ACC regular season title with eventual national champion Clemson. Klenakis' offense also set program records in both rushing yardage (3,148) and rushing touchdowns (37). Louisville ended the year ranked first in the ACC in both total offense and scoring offense, while placing third and fifth nationally in those respective categories.
Over the course of his coaching career, Klenakis has shown the ability to develop talent, tutoring 24 offensive linemen who have advanced to the NFL.
As offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, he has tutored 18 all-conference selections. Klenakis has also coached in 16 bowl games and in two NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
Prior to his time in Louisville, Klenakis was the offensive line coach at Iowa State in 2013. The Cyclones finished the 2013 season as one of the most efficient teams in the red zone, ranking No. 17 nationally. The offense also scored the 10th-most points in program history.
From 2010-12, Klenakis spent three seasons at the University of Arkansas as the offensive line coach.
In his first season, the Razorbacks led the SEC in passing offense, scoring offense, and total offense en route to the school's first-ever BCS appearance with a 10-2 overall record. The offense set records for passing yards (4,061), touchdown passes (34), and total yards (5,871) in the 2010 campaign.
The next season, Klenakis' offensive line helped Arkansas set 16 program records and finished 11-2 to tie the most wins in school history. The Razorbacks led the conference in passing offense (300.7), total offense (438.1), and scoring offense (36.8) to become just the fifth different school to lead the SEC in all three categories in the same season and the first since the University of Florida in 2001.
Arkansas went on to secure the Cotton Bowl and finished the 2011 season ranked No. 5 in the nation. This was the highest-ranked finish for the Razorbacks since 1979.
Before Arkansas, Klenakis served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Nevada, where he was at the helm of the "Pistol" offense from 2004-09. While running the offense, Nevada went to a program-record five straight bowl games.
In 2009, Nevada became the first team in NCAA Division I history to have three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season with Kaepernick, Vai Taua and Luke Lippincott. The offense averaged 7.4 yards per carry that year, which ranked second all-time behind 1941 Navy.
From 2004-09, the Wolf Pack averaged 451.2 yards of total offense per game. The team scored at least 30 points in 11 games of the 2008 season and nine games of the 2009 season.
In 2005, Klenakis led Nevada to its first Western Athletic Conference Championship in school history. The team also secured the 2005 Hawaii Bowl that season, defeating UCF, 49-48.
During his stint with the Wolf Pack, Klenakis coached 26 All-WAC offensive players from 2004-09. He had 13 first team and 13 second-team selections. Klenakis coached 14 offensive lineman who went on to the NFL during this time.
The 2003 season saw Klenakis as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Central Missouri State University. The Mules went on to earn a share of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championship for the first time since 1988.
From 2000-02, Klenakis served as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Eagles set eight offensive records and advanced to two bowl games in three seasons with Klenakis running the offense.
At Southern Miss, Klenakis developed quarterback Jeff Kelly who set the school record for pass completions, surpassing NFL Hall of Famer, Brett Favre. He coached five student-athletes who received All-Conference USA honors.
Klenakis got his start in college football in 1990 at Nevada. He spent nine seasons in Reno as an offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and run game coordinator for the Wolf Pack. He went on to coach eight all-Americans and 21 all-conference players until his departure in 1999.
Prior to his college football coaching career, Klenakis was a two-time Nevada Coach of the Year at Fallon in 1988 and 1989. He also coached the 1986 season at Gabbs High School.
Klenakis graduated from Carroll College where he was a four-year letterwinner as an outside linebacker.
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