VIDEO: NDSU's noted strength coach Kramer will remain with program
FARGO - The increased pay at Kansas State was enticing, Jim Kramer said. But in the end, his decision to remain the head strength and conditioning coach at North Dakota State came down to his childhood.
He grew up on a farm near Platteville, Wis. always helping his father.
“It still came down to my kids and just the way I was raised,” Kramer said. “On the farm, I was always out there with my dad every day. If I was not in school, I was right by dad’s side working on the farm. Even if I was sick, I was working with dad on the farm.”
Kramer’s two children would remain in Fargo if he were to take the Kansas State job. The move became a possibility when Bison head coach Chris Klieman accepted the head position with the Wildcats.
Klieman will coach NDSU through the NCAA Division I FCS national title game Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas. Kramer, meanwhile, will return to Fargo and start the winter conditioning circuit with the NDSU football program.
For the former and current Bison players who have formed a god-like bond with Kramer, it was probably a sense of relief in that it’s the second head coaching change where they’ve kept their strength coach.
Kramer stayed at NDSU when former Bison head coach Craig Bohl took the University of Wyoming job. Kramer said he looked at the Kansas State position harder than he did the Wyoming one.
“I’ve never been raised on money, money is not a big deal to me,” he said. “But I had to look at that amount, it was a significant increase.”
Moreover, Kramer said he has connections at Kansas State outside of Klieman, who is also taking four Bison assistant coaches with him. Kramer said he figures Klieman will maintain the physical style of play with the West Coast offense and the Tampa 2 defense, which seems to fit the way he teaches his players in the weight room.
Still, there are differences.
“To be a strength coach in this program; we’re not FBS and we don’t get those ready-made guys,” he said. “We get them at 250 and make them 300. You get kids coming in here with a burning desire. I’m sure kids come to Kansas State like that but I think I’m a good fit here with the program, I guess.”
NDSU has made significant upgrades in its training facilities since Kramer first arrived in 2004. The latest is the weight room conglomeration in the Sanford Health Athletic Complex, which includes a fueling station. NDSU added a sports nutritionist in the past couple of years.
Hardly a week goes by during the season where a Bison player doesn’t give some sort of credit to Kramer and his off-season conditioning.
“Yeah, it’s gratifying,” Kramer said. “Not only the importance of the strength coach but just the way we play football here.”
He pointed to the 44-21 win over South Dakota State in the FCS semifinals.
“I guess if there were a game where I was to leave here, it would have been that game,” he said. “Just because the way we wore them down against with the physicality of it.”