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Northern Iowa's assistant coach Chris Klieman walks on the field during a timeout in a game against Indiana State Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, at Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute, Indiana. Northern Iowa won 28-0. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

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Chris Klieman believes that Northern Iowa respects North Dakota State football and watches the Bison carefully

"One thing that Northern Iowa looks at is what NDSU is doing," said Klieman.

When the Panthers look at NDSU now, they'll be see something else - Chris Klieman.

Klieman Wednesday made it official. He's leaving his post as UNI's defensive coordinator to become the defensive secondary coach under Craig Bohl at North Dakota State.

"It was a tough decision," said Klieman, a Waterloo Columbus and UNI graduate. "But (NDSU) is a pretty neat place. I'll run with this and see what happens, but it's hard to leave my family and friends."

As for giving up a coordinator's title to become a position coach, Klieman said, "Obviously, from a professional standpoint, it's something I looked at, giving that up."

He added, "I'm not an ego guy. I want to be a part of this and have some input."

While declining to get into specifics, Klieman indicated he will make more money with the Bison than he did at UNI. But, he said, the challenge of learning a different system at NDSU was attractive to him.

"I see growth potential. That's part of it as well."

Klieman played in the defensive secondary at UNI from 1986 through 1990. He began his first stint as Panther coach as a graduate assistant with then head man Terry Allen from 1991 through 1993. He moved to Western Illinois in 1994 and stayed with the Leathernecks through 1996.

Klieman enjoyed brief stays at Kansas (1997) and Missouri State (1999) before spending five seasons at Loras. He served as the program's head coach in 2005, then joined Mark Farley's staff at UNI in 2006.

Klieman was the Panther secondary coach in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, he shared the defensive coordinator's job with Scott Frost, then had the post to himself in 2009 and 2010 in the wake of Frost's departure.

UNI goes to Fargo to play North Dakota State Oct. 29 during the 2011 season.

"It'll be hard, no question," said Klieman. "Some of my best friends are on that Northern Iowa coaching staff. I recruited a number of those kids. That'll be difficult."

Klieman added, "But, in the same respect, it'll be North Dakota State against Northern Iowa, not Chris Klieman versus anybody. I wouldn't want it to be that way."

It is not known who will replace Klieman at UNI. Farley could not be reached for comment.

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