A native of Stoughton, Kleven was a member of the first team at Stoughton High School to compete on the interscholastic level. Following his career at Stoughton, Kleven went on to the University of Wisconsin to wrestle from 1957 to 1960. Upon completing his college education, Kleven coached at Wisconsin High for one year and had a State Champion in Elmer Beale. 1962 through 1967 Kleven coached a U.S. Army team in Korea. In 1964 Duane became the Head Wrestling Coach at Racine Park and during this tenure there, Park won the State Championship in 1967 and 1969. He also had four individual State Champions while at Racine. From 1967 to 1968 Kleven served as Vice President of the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association.
During the summer of 1969 Duane Kleven became the Head Wrestling Coach at Oshkosh State. One year later he was chose to become the 2nd Head Wrestling Coach in the history of the sport at the University of Wisconsin. In four years he coached Rick Lawinger to an individual National Championship, the first in wrestling at the University. Since that time he has coached seven National Champions, the highlight being in 1976 when 3 Wisconsin Wrestlers earned the honor at the same time. One year later Kleven was named N.C.A.A. Coach of the Year.
In 16 years of coaching, Kleven's teams have won 150 matches, lost 50 and tied 7.