Ad Astra Radio Family Brands

K-State Football Promotes Riley, Hires Wells to Football Staff


MANHATTAN, Kan. ( – Conor Riley, a five-year member of the Kansas State football staff who directed the Wildcat offense during its recent bowl victory, has been promoted to offensive coordinator, while Matt Wells, a great offensive mind and developer of quarterback talent, has been hired as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach/associate head coach, head coach Chris Klieman announced Thursday.

“As I have said before, Conor has been with me for more than a decade, and he is deserving of this opportunity,” Klieman said. “He did a phenomenal job of leading the offensive room during our bowl preparation, and our coaches and players have the utmost respect for him and his ability to lead.

“I have known Matt for a very long time, and he is someone who will bring a lot to the table as a member of our staff – from head coaching experience to developing some of the top quarterbacks in the game. He will be a great addition to our offensive room and system, providing tremendous x’s and o’s experience as well as a recruiting prowess that mirrors our philosophy of identifying and developing talent.”

Riley, one of the top offensive line coaches in the country, will continue to tutor the Wildcat offensive front as he has done the last five seasons where he has produced 15 All-Big 12 honorees, including the 2022 and 2023 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year in Cooper Beebe. Riley was elevated to interim offensive coordinator for K-State’s bowl game, a 28-19 win over No. 18 NC State in the Pop-Tarts Bowl. The Wildcats amassed 257 rushing yards and 435 total yards on a Wolfpack defense that entered bowl season ranking No. 16 and No. 25 in those categories, respectively. The Wildcats’ 257 rushing yards were the fourth most in their bowl history, while their 21 first-half points also tied for fourth.

“I’m very appreciative for this opportunity provided by Gene Taylor and Coach Klieman, two men I’ve been fortunate to be around for quite some time,” Riley said. “This is something I have worked for my entire career, and to be able to have this opportunity at such a great institution such as K-State – one with great tradition – is humbling. I look forward to the addition of Coach Wells, a person I greatly respect as a peer in coaching, but more important is the amount of respect I have for him as a man of character and integrity. I’m looking forward to continuing to build and move this offense forward with the entire staff.”

Wells, who boasts nine years of head coaching experience, comes to Manhattan after spending the last two seasons at Oklahoma as advisor to head coach/offensive analyst. Prior to that, he served as the head coach at his alma mater, Utah State, from 2013 through 2018 and at Texas Tech from 2019 to 2021. In addition to coaching quarterbacks during his 27-year coaching career, he has also spent time tutoring wide receivers and tight ends.

“My family and I are so incredibly grateful for the opportunity that Coach Klieman has presented to us to be a part of the Wildcat staff and team,” Wells said. “This has been a model of a winning program with consistency and stability throughout his tenure at Kansas State. I look forward to us chasing championships together!”

Riley has been an integral part of the offensive coaching staff since his arrival, and just this past year helped the Wildcats rank in the top 10 in school history in 32 game or season categories. Among those was a school-record 30 passing touchdowns, No. 2 rankings in offensive yards per game (445.2) and first downs (310), and No. 3 showings in total yards (5,788), completions (258) and pass attempts (426).

Through bowl season, K-State ranks in the top 30 nationally in 10 offensive categories, including scoring (37.1 points per game), rushing (11th – 204.1 yards per game), third down conversions (11th – 47.9%), first downs (12th – 310) and fewest turnovers lost (14th – 12).

One of the most respected offensive line coaches in the country, Riley tutored Beebe to Consensus All-America honors in 2023, the first Wildcat offensive lineman to earn the distinction. Beebe was also a three-time First Team All-Big 12 performer and was joined on this year’s All-Big 12 team by Hayden GillumKT Leveston and Carver Willis, which marked the fourth time in his five seasons on staff that Riley has coached at least three linemen to all-conference honors.

Under Riley’s guidance, the K-State offensive line has helped the Wildcats eclipse at least 200 rushing yards per game in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so three-straight seasons from 2001 through 2003. Additionally, the Wildcats have surrendered fewer than 2.0 sacks per game in each of Riley’s five years on staff, the Wildcats’ longest streak since sacks became an official NCAA statistic in 1985.

Riley came to Manhattan from North Dakota State where he coached the 2013 through 2018 seasons – including the final five campaigns tutoring the offensive line under Klieman – helping NDSU win five national championships during his tenure. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Omaha, as a student assistant/graduate assistant from 2003 to 2005, and he returned as the offensive line coach/run game coordinator from 2007 to 2010 after serving the 2006 season at Concordia (Minn.). Prior to his time at NDSU, Riley spent two seasons coaching the offensive line at Sacramento State.

A 2003 graduate of the University of Nebraska Omaha, Riley was named the North Central Conference’s outstanding lineman twice in his three-year career. Following his senior year, he earned 2002 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and Daktronics First Team All-America honors. Riley was a Second Team Division II All-American as a junior in 2001.

One of Wells’ success stories tutoring quarterbacks was Jordan Love at Utah State, who accounted for 9,003 yards of total offense in his career – including a 2018 campaign in which he threw for 3,567 yards and 32 touchdowns – before declaring for the NFL Draft following his junior season of 2019. In addition to snapping five single-season school records in 2018, Love also ranked second in school history with 8,600 career passing yards and tied for second with 60 touchdown passes. He went on to be selected 26th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft, becoming the first Aggie to hear his name called in the first round since 1970.

With the duo of Wells and Love, Utah State went 11-2 in 2018 to match the school record for victories as the Aggies finished with a No. 21 ranking in the Amway Coaches’ poll and a No. 22 mark in the Associated Press Top 25. It marked only the fourth time in school history the Aggies – who climbed as high as No. 13 during the regular season – ended a year ranked in the final AP poll. The No. 13 ranking was Utah State’s highest at any point in a season since the 1961 campaign. Additionally, the school’s only two rankings in the College Football Playoff Top 25 came under Wells in 2018.

Utah State boasted one of the most dynamic offenses in the country in 2018, ranking second by averaging 47.5 points per game. The Aggies, who also ranked among the national leaders for fewest sacks allowed (fourth), total offense (11th), passing efficiency (14th) and passing offense (17th), lit up scoreboards to the tune of 618 points, snapping the Mountain West and Utah State single-season records in the process.

Wells, who was hired as the head coach following two seasons as an assistant, guided Utah State to its best stretch in history as the Aggies won 44 games and played in five bowl games under his guidance. He left the school being the only coach to lead the Aggies to at least three bowl games as well as multiple bowl victories.

Wells closed his tenure in Logan as the second-winningest coach in program history with 44 victories thanks in part to a 10-4 record in only his second season of 2014 and then an 11-2 mark in 2018. Utah State was also 9-5 during Wells’ debut season in 2013, which marked the most wins for a first-year head coach in program history.

Wells was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year in both 2013 and 2018, making him just the fifth Mountain West coach to receive the honor twice in a career to join the likes of Sonny Lubick (Colorado State), Rocky Long (New Mexico), Urban Meyer (Utah) and Gary Patterson (TCU).

A native of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Wells began his career coaching the quarterbacks, fullbacks and wide receivers at Navy from 1997 through 2001 in addition to serving as the head coach for the Midshipmen junior varsity team. He then spent five seasons back in his home state as he was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa from 2002 to 2006.

Wells spent the 2007, 2008 and 2010 seasons at New Mexico as the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. During the 2009 season, he was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Louisville.

Wells’ tenure at Utah State began as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator in 2011 before being promoted to offensive coordinator a year later. As offensive coordinator, Wells helped Utah State claim the 2012 WAC title, its first outright conference championship since 1936 and just its third in school history. That season, Wells directed an Aggie offense that set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108), completions (285) and total yards per game (469.8), while ranking second in points per game (34.9) and total passing yards (3,445).

Wells was instrumental in the development of quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who earned First Team All-WAC honors in 2012 after setting single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completion percentage (67.6%), completions (275) and total offense (3,992).

Wells, a quarterback for the Aggies from 1994 to 1996, was a member of two conference championship teams, which came as a redshirt freshman in 1993 and as a senior in 1996 when Utah State was a member of the Big West Conference. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Utah State in 1996, graduating cum laude.

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
College: University of Nebraska Omaha – Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice; Minor in Political Science (2003)
Family: Wife: Christy; Children: Cate, Claire
Playing Career: Omaha (Offensive Line), 1999-02

2003-05, Omaha (student assistant/graduate assistant)
2006, Concordia [Minn.] (offensive line)
2007-10, Omaha (offensive line/run game coordinator)
2011-12, Sacramento State (offensive line)
2013, North Dakota State (tight ends/fullbacks)
2014-16, North Dakota State (offensive line)
2017-18, North Dakota State (offensive line/run game coordinator)
2019-23, Kansas State (offensive line)
2024, Kansas State (offensive coordinator/offensive line)

Hometown: Sallisaw, Oklahoma
College: Utah State – Bachelor’s in Business Marketing (1996)
Family: Wife: Jen; Children: Jadyn, Ella, Wyatt
Playing Career: Utah State (Quarterback), 1992-96

1997-2001, Navy (quarterbacks/fullbacks/wide receivers/junior varsity head coach)
2002-06, Tulsa (tight ends/recruiting coordinator)
2007-08, New Mexico (wide receivers/recruiting coordinator)
2009, Louisville (passing game coordinator/quarterbacks)
2010, New Mexico (wide receivers)
2011, Utah State (quarterbacks/recruiting coordinator)
2012, Utah State (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2013-18, Utah State (head coach)
2019-21, Texas Tech (head coach)
2022-23, Oklahoma (advisor to head coach/offensive analyst)
2024, Kansas State (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/associate head coach)