Coach Klenakis lands new position at FCS school
Chris Klenakis spends his days getting the offensive line back into shape after spending months away from campus because of the pandemic.
His evenings, though, are spent analyzing game footage – for another team.
Since his stint as the co-offensive coordinator at Louisville when he coached Heisman Trophy winner and current Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Klenakis landed an analyst position with the Tulane Green Wave. Earlier this month, Klenakis moved to Tallahassee, Fla., after being named the co-offensive coordinator for Florida A&M University, which competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, formally known as Division I-AA.
“Coaching on the field,” Klenakis said about what he’s most excited about with the new position. “I just miss being out there every day and the every-day grind. The analyst position is funner than heck and it keeps you sharp. You miss game day. If something’s broke, I can’t fix it. I’m just a guy watching games on TV. You miss that part being hands on.”
For the past two years, Klenakis, who coached the Fallon Greenwave in the 1980s before moving up to the college ranks at the University of Nevada, has been analyzing from home opposing defenses and how they attack the Greenwave’s offensive line. With FAMU’s season pushed to the spring because of COVID-19, Klenakis has been able to continue working for the Green Wave, who play in the Football Bowl Subdivision – or Division I.
“That has been cool,” Klenakis said about getting to represent the green and white like his time in Fallon. “They call it the angry wave. It’s the same mascot. They’ve got some cool uniforms. There’s some neat designs. They send me my gear and it’s got the Green Wave on it. It makes me chuckle. I’ve been a Greenwave before. They’re just spelled differently.”
Klenakis will share coordinator duties with James Spady, the associate head coach and tight ends coach, and Kenneth Black, who coaches the quarterbacks. The Rattlers averaged almost 33 points per game last season, which ranked second in the league.
“We are very excited about offensive line coach who has a ton of experience at the highest level coaching Power Five football at Arkansas and Louisville,” FAMU head coach Willie Simmons told HBCU Gameday earlier this month. “We feel like who’s going to be a guy that can take our running game to the next level.”
Klenakis is excited to be back on the field to help an offense that struggled to run the ball, amassing 920 total yards, which was last in the conference. During his time at Nevada, he helped orchestrate the Pistol offense with Chris Ault, which continues to frustrate defenses, on the ground and in the air, across the country.
“We’ve got some explosive players. I can see that already,” Klenakis said. “You have to be good up front to make that happen. We’ve got some work to do.”
Klenakis is also excited about the school’s tradition. In 1978, FAMU won the FCS national championship and has won 37 conference championships.
“It’s got a great, great tradition. The tradition here is fabulous,” he said. “We’ve won a lot of championships here. They won the very first I-AA championship.”