Originally published December 3, 2009 at 08:41p.m., updated December 3, 2009 at 08:49p.m.

Who’s hot: Sizing up the possibilities for KU’s next football coach

Two of three pundits have chosen Kansas and coach Turner Gill, pictured here coaching Buffalo, to take fourth in the north.

Two of three pundits have chosen Kansas and coach Turner Gill, pictured here coaching Buffalo, to take fourth in the north.


The wait is over and Kansas University can get on with building its football program.

Through a release on the school’s Web site Thursday night, KU athletic department officials announced that former KU head coach Mark Mangino had resigned his post.

Mangino, who spent eight years in charge of the KU program and was the consensus national coach of the year in 2007, came to KU as an up-and-coming assistant and left the program in better shape than he inherited it.

KU athletic director Lew Perkins declined to say how quickly he plans to name a successor.

“I know people will float a number of names out there,” Perkins said. “But I will not comment on any potential candidates. ... I think this is a very attractive job and I wouldn’t be surprised, now that this is out, that all kinds of people will be interested in this job.”

Perkins announced Thursday that current KU assistant coaches David Beaty, Clint Bowen and Bill Miller will share interim head-coaching duties.

Let the name-floating begin:



AP Photo

Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh, Stanford University head coach

Record at school: 17-19 in 3 seasons (46-25 career)

Current salary: Not available.

Why it makes sense: Stanford doesn’t pay as well as Perkins and because of academic restrictions at Stanford, Harbaugh would be able to recruit from a deeper pool of athletes at Kansas. Fit, handsome and a big name because of his days as an NFL quarterback and the coach who has a knack for beating USC, he’s exactly what Perkins desires. Harbaugh’s wife, the former Sarah Feverborn, is from Kansas City, Mo.

Why it might not happen: The Michigan job could come open as soon as 2011, but coaching at KU wouldn’t come with as much pressure as a future possible return to his alma mater, so that concern might be overblown.



AP Photo

Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin


AP Photo

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen


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Southern Mississippi head coach Larry Fedora


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Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly


AP Photo

Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall


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Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald


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East Carolina head coach Skip Holtz


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Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong


Former Jayhawk Nolan Cromwell salutes the crowd after being inducted into the KU Ring of Honor.


Ed Reinke/AP Photo

Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville.


AP Photo/Wade Payne

Former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer.


AP Photo and Special to the Journal-World

Former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick.

Kevin Sumlin, University of Houston head coach

Record at school: 18-7 in 2 seasons

Current salary: $750,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Has made a huge national splash in just his second season at Houston. Is an even-tempered disciplinarian who draws praise for getting players to do exactly what he wants of them.

Why it might not happen: He’s very happy at Houston, which will do everything it can to keep him, but will be battling several big-time BCS schools along the way. Maybe he wants his jump from Houston to be a bigger one?

Chris Petersen, Boise State University head coach

Record at school: 47-4 in 4 seasons

Current salary: $1.1 million per year

Why it makes sense: When you throw in his time as an assistant coach, Petersen boasts an unbelievable track record of success. The program did not miss a beat when he took over.

Why it might not happen: After what has happened to former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins at Colorado (most notably a lack of winning), it’s easy to see why other schools would be gun-shy about taking another hot name from Idaho.

Turner Gill, University of Buffalo head coach

Record at school: 20-30 in 4 seasons

Current salary: $401,300 per year

Why it makes sense: Gill has ties to the Big 12 from his days at Nebraska and is from the Dallas Metroplex, the heart of KU’s recruiting area.

Why it might not happen: After a breakthrough season at Buffalo in 2008, Gill’s team missed out on becoming bowl eligible this season. He also has been very public with his spirituality, which has the potential to make some uncomfortable.

Larry Fedora, University of Southern Mississippi head coach

Record at school: 14-10 in 2 seasons

Current salary: $736,102 per year

Why it makes sense: He’s known as an excellent recruiter — especially in Texas, where he was a high school coach — and has Big 12 ties from his days as an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State.

Why it might not happen: Hasn’t been a head coach long enough to prove he’s a big-time winner.


Brian Kelly, University of Cincinnati head coach

Record at school: 33-6 in 4 seasons (170-57-2 career)

Current salary: $1.4 million per year

Why it makes sense: Kelly might be the best X’s and O’s coach on the market and he has big-time experience with Cincy being in the Big East and vying for BCS inclusion year after year.

Why it might not happen: Unless the Golden Domers go big and try to make a splash with a guy like Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy, Kelly might be Notre Dame-bound any day now.

Randy Edsall, University of Connecticut head coach

Record at school: 62-28 in 11 seasons

Current salary: $1.45 million per year

Why it makes sense: We’ve seen the UConn connection come through KU before since former UConn AD Lew Perkins took over. Why not see it again? In addition to having ties to Perkins, Edsall has done a masterful job of making the Huskies relevant after their leap to the Div. I level.

Why it might not happen: Perkins would open himself to charges that he had orchestrated Mangino’s dismissal to hire Edsall for the second time.

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern University head coach

Record at school: 27-22 in 4 seasons

Current salary: Not available.

Why it makes sense: Young and fit, his dynamic personality fits the sort of face Perkins wants to put on the football program.

Why it might not happen: Is extremely loyal to Northwestern, where he was a football star and is a darkhorse candidate for the Notre Dame job.

Skip Holtz, East Carolina University head coach

Record at school: 37-26 in 5 seasons (75-48 career)

Current salary: $1.4 million per year

Why it makes sense: Holtz, the son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, coached at Connecticut before heading to East Carolina and has known Perkins for quite some time. Excellent people skills and famous last name make him a natural for reviving the Gridiron Club.

Why it might not happen: Holtz, who turned down Syracuse last year, is more interested in landing the Virginia job, a better fit for his recruiting contacts.


Charlie Strong, University of Florida defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $310,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Would open up the state of Florida for recruiting and would bring a big-time resume to town.

Why it might not happen: Louisville has targeted Strong as its top candidate and the veteran D-coordinator could prefer to remain close to where he’s had success.

Nolan Cromwell, Texas A&M; University offensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $355,729 per year

Why it makes sense: Knows the game — especially offense — and has his name on the ring of honor at KU’s Memorial Stadium. Perkins might like the idea of having Cromwell, Gale Sayers and John Hadl selling the Gridiron Club.

Why it might not happen: Still relatively new to college coaching, Cromwell might not have the experience necessary to lead Kansas to a Big 12 North title.


Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn University head coach

Record at school: 85-40 at Auburn in 10 years

Current salary: N/A

Why it makes sense: Tuberville had success during his time at Auburn and many believe that his could be the biggest name up for grabs right now.

Why it might not happen: Doesn’t have as much sizzle outside of the South.

Phillip Fulmer, former University of Tennessee head coach

Record at school: 152-52 in 17 seasons at Tennessee

Current salary: N/A

Why it makes sense: His 1998 national title would generate a buzz with the fan base and he wants to get back into coaching. Portion of Vols’ supporters believe firing was premature.

Why it might not happen: Fulmer will be 60 in September and he endured the only bowl-less seasons of his career in 2005 and 2008. Also drawing interest for the vacancy at Louisville.


Brian Billick, former Baltimore Ravens head coach and current NFL analyst

Record at school: 80-64 in 9 seasons with Baltimore

Current salary: N/A

Why it makes sense: Already achieved the ultimate prize as a pro coach by winning the Super Bowl in 2000 and may be interested in a different challenge. He and Perkins know and like each other.

Why it might not happen: Billick can get just about any coaching job on the planet and probably would not be interested in this one.

Source for salary information: USA Today


Dan Harris 7 years ago

Billick??? get real! What about B Venables?

Dan Harris 7 years ago

I think he would be a good choice.

Jeff Hargate 7 years ago

Why do we want Venables? His defenses rarely play up to their potential and he cut from the "Mangino cloth" as far as temperment. The KSU job will also be open in 2-3 years so I doubt if he would even consider us.

I have a personal friend who is related to Harbaugh and he says no way he comes to Lawrence.

I like Edsall, but can he recruit Texas?

Cromwell is a feel-good scenario, but we would be taking a huge risk.

Didn't Skip Holtz have some NCAA troubles at South Carolina when he was an assistant with his dad?

CrimsonPhoenix 7 years ago

We really need to look into someone who can coach some ballin' defense, like maybe a defensive coordinator out of the Big 10 or the SEC (like Charlie Strong). This program's got enough offense as it is, let's get two defensive guys leading our team.

djhawk75 7 years ago

Whomever KU hires, I hope he has some star power. And I hope he brings Bill Young back. Just because.

Steve Gantz 7 years ago

I hear Charlie Weiss might be available!

Omari Miller 7 years ago

"Holtz, who turned down Syracuse last year, is more interested in landing the Virginia job, a better fit for his recruiting contacts."

Didn't Virginia just hire the Richmond head coach?

Omari Miller 7 years ago

Yes, Charlie Strong would stay closer to SEC country by going to Louisville and could more easily compete for conference championships there... but come on coach, wouldn't you rather be a head coach in a real conference at a program that's dumping serious money into the program?

Omegatron 7 years ago

Just want a coach who can beat Mizzou...

Jason Hines 7 years ago

Turner Gill's spirituality an issue?

jcsmith 7 years ago

Mark Mangino is available. Why not him?

Why not Santa Clause?

Why not Bill Parcel?

Why not Rudolph?

Why not Colt McCoy?

Why not Bill Self?

Why not Skip Foose?

Why not Cal Ripken Jr?

I hear Tiger Woods might be out of a job....

Why not Tiger Woods?

Why not Lebron James?

Why not Tuff Hedaman?

Why not Oliver Stone?

Why not George Bush?

Why not me?

Why not Hugo Chavez?

Why not Terry Hogan?

Why not Dog the Bounty Hunter?

Why not White Al?

djgratt59 7 years ago

I vote for Dog, I love it when he prays "In the Name of Jesus" and then goes out to KA.

K_Nut 7 years ago

Two coaches are mentioned as fit, I hope LJ World isn't hinting toward a reason why KU got rid of Mangino...

jdavidholt 7 years ago

Why not June Jones? Former NFL Head Coach. Took school located three time zones west of the West Coast (with terrible facilities) to a BCS Sugar Bowl game. Has SMU, which hasn't been bowling since 1987, bowl-eligible in his second season. 58-years-old. This would be BCS-destination school for Coach Jones.

sayers48 7 years ago

Better yet...why not Franchione?

finestack 7 years ago

K_Nut you're so right. WTHeck is with that. Especially the unfortunate string of sentences about Harbaugh: "Fit, handsome and a big name because of his days as an NFL quarterback ....he’s exactly what Perkins desires." C'mon now!

Fitzgerald is not only fit but YOUNG, too. Meanwhile, Fulmer is 60 and too old? Eh hem, did we not notice what occurred this season up I-70?

You have derailed today, LJ World.

Lance Hobson 7 years ago

Dog is pretty happy here in Hawaii, so that might be a tough sell. I think it's arrogant of us to think these other coaches would be upgrading from their current positions to come to Kansas. We'll get some coordinator or small time program coach, hopefully he'll be better than Terry Allen. We'll regret running Mangino out of town.

Maybe Lew will hire Lori Williams since she's apparently such an expert on football.

jcsmith 7 years ago

I'm here to kick a$$ and chew bubble gum. AND I'M ALL OUT OF BUBBLE GUM.........

LAJayhawk 7 years ago


Except it'll never happen...

Jaminrawk 7 years ago

I certainly hope Lew makes a huge splash with a great coach, but at this point, with the way this year has gone, I don't expect much. Getting a Jim Harbaugh seems like a fantasy.

jcsmith 7 years ago

Why does noone say they want Chris Peterson?

Not that I think we would have a chance in hell to land him, but everyone else is speculating right?

How could you not go after a coach that is undefeated on the year?

Layne Pierce 7 years ago

I will take anyone who genuinely wants the job, and has enough football sense, and belief in hardwork and fundamentals. I like MM, but I saw this year that we cannot go forward with him. I want KU to be a factor in the Big 12, in the middle to say the least, and not bottom feeding like we are once again.

I compare this to Ted Owens in basketball. The man was not terrible, he was a good coach, but it became apparent that a change had to be made, and so it is now.

I disagree with anybody who believes that with the improvement in facilities made and coming, and a salary of at least $2 million dollars a year, that we cannot get someone who will make people notice, and more importantly who genuinely combines, football, PR, and managerial skills. A great head coach is a master of all 3.

1-7 in the Big 12 North weak sister division. How much worse is there to do?

Hawk1969 7 years ago

Never underestimate Perkins...who saw an Orange Bowl bid coming in '07 and who orchestrated 24 million to keep Self who was wooed by Boone and his money? I believe he'll get a top notch coach to Lawrence, just don't know who yet.

I like Charlie Strong, Harbaugh, or possibly Venables. I'd like to see a defensive-minded head coach.

Alan Halvorsen 7 years ago

Defensive minded, head coaching experience, SEC guy, (cause that's where real football is played) who can RECRUIT. Tommy Tubs, Phil Fulmer. Unless of course you can get any better than that.

Alan Halvorsen 7 years ago

That's the only way I can forgive Lew for this mess.

Chad Sandwell 7 years ago

I agree with others who have said we need an SEC Defensive Connection.

The only 3 names that should be talked about: Phil Fullmer Tommy Tuberville Charlie Strong.

And if you want to sell the Gridiron Club woo Cromwell to come back as OC.

I think the way we improve our stock in the North is going to be through the Defensive Side of the ball. Speed, Speed, Speed....Which is why I think and SEC tie would be greatly needed.

JayDocMD 7 years ago

Tommy Tuberville would be nice - but he still works with Auburn and is too loyal to leave. Phil Fulmer = please no Gus Malzahn = please yes

Gordon Penny 7 years ago

Now that Mangino got railroaded out we do have to move on. I think I am going to scream if KU goes after someone who is a head coach at another school with a mediocre record. Screw the Stanford guy, screw the Houston guy. The Cincy guy, maybe. I think the best bet is an assistant coach from somewhere. Just my opinion.

Dan Pawlowski 7 years ago

They left off Stuart Smalley. He might be warm and fuzzy enough and darn it people like him.

milehighhawk 7 years ago

Two guys are qualified because they are "fit" ?

I guess Parcells is out.

I also like it how the "fit" Northwestern coach has a massive double-chin going on in the selected photo.

marvinhawk 7 years ago

Tiger Woods seems to have multiple talents. He brings star power.

areyouserious 7 years ago

How about going with the only one on the list with a National Championship under his belt??? Really anybody from the SEC would be good. But there is star power in the one guy listed above who knows how and has won at the highest level of college football. No other coach above can say that. Phillip Fulmer!!!!

OCJHAWK 7 years ago

Dare to dream

Harbough Head coach Cromwell D coord/coach in waiting for when Harbough gets a pro spot or Mich opens up.

I remember not only Cromwell as a KU quarterback, but a stud safety when my family had season tix for the LA Rams in the 80's.

OCJHAWK 7 years ago

I know Cromwell is o-coord at the atm but Harbough will probably want to much control on the o-side.

yed 7 years ago

I like the posts that dare to dream, because that's what times like this are all about!

How about this: Charlie Strong HC Nolan Cromwell OC Bill Young DC

(We keep Clint Bowen, the true program guy, as DB coach...I know it's a demotion, but he seems best suited as a position coach)

Steve Brown 7 years ago

Art Shell, past oakland coach, the chair would fit.

In Big 12 you must recruit texas or you don't have a chance. Mommy will drive to see some of your games when you play the south division teams. No one will out recruit in SEC geography to come west of Saint Louis & play for us.

The new coach needs or must develop fast, relationships with the Texas high school coaches if we intend to grow out of the north division cellar.

Nolan welcome back.

milwaukeeJAYHAWK 7 years ago

I say we bring back Terry Allen. He was a class act and was just turning the corner with KU, making them into a top-notch team.

Sincerely, Terry Allen

Eric Schneider 7 years ago

Forget what the perception would be. Randy Edsall makes sense. He's used to the "Basketball school" environment. He's made UConn relevant. And they had a lot further to go then we did. He can hire assistants familiar with recruiting in Texas to build the relationships down there.

His teams run the ball, play defense and excel on special teams. Throw in the Texas pipeline for QB's and receivers, and I think Edsall could build a perennial contender in Lawrence.

The only thing better would be if the LSU athletic department did the unthinkable and listened to the fans. Les Miles back in the Big XII sounds great to me. Too bad it's not going to happen

yates33333 7 years ago

Two-thirds of those mentioned in the article won't even be interested. Let's dream. I vote for Tommy Tuberville. You've as much chance as getting Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

Laura Watkins 7 years ago

I don't think we'll get Tubbs, but I love him. And he does have "sizzle" outside of the south-- he was a DC for aTm.

KURocksChalk 7 years ago

If KU does the pc thing and hire turner gill, I will be upset. I am sure that he is not a repeat of TA, but not having experience coaching a major program should be a lesson learned.

areyouserious 7 years ago

rochchalkjayhawk81- you owe me a new monitor because i just spewed soda all over my screen............lmao..........i vote for u !

jhokfan 7 years ago


I agree, recruiting Texas is essential. I'm not sure if it requires someone with existing ties but it doesn't hurt.


I hope Bowen can some how find a job with KU. It's easy to criticize Clint because the defense wasn’t there but consider what he had to work with. He made adjustments and kept KU in the game. It was the offense that struggled the most. Dumping on him is like complaining about the dam that failed when it was made with mud and clay.

Brandon Avey 7 years ago

I think Lew should consider former Minnesota State Head Coach Hayden Fox. He would make a great fit in Kansas!

kcgridiron 7 years ago

JON GRUDEN!!!!!!...He wants to coach...Lew for the love of G^D...Make it happen!

kcgridiron 7 years ago

Set your sights higher folks...What's the worst he could say "NO"...Take a shot...Jon Gruden. I'd love to see that face on our football program!

KURocksChalk 7 years ago

I am worn out over this whole thing. There are a lot of good names out there but coaching style is going to be paramount. We need someone who can make the most out of their players. The importance of recruiting is overstated. Building programs and young men is the most important. I like Bill Snyder a lot. I hope we get someone of his type. I also think we need someone who has taken a DivI program to new heights. I think the Cincinatti, Boise St., TCU, Utah to name a few. I do not envy the decision makers cause they are going to look really bad if two or three years from now we are in the cellar.

familytruxster 7 years ago

Strikewso (anonymous) says...We'll regret running Mangino out of town.

Are you freakin' serious? Do you honestly think Mangino is the only coach that can get results at Kansas? The team still has plenty of talent. 50-48 doesn't keep you a job in Division I football. It's people like you that build statues to Grant Teaff. I am not sold on Turner Gill's 20-30 record at Buffalo either but there are others out there. Trust me, Lawrence is better than a lot of places. I really like Elsard or Sumlin, but Sumlin's defense this year was less than stellar. I think Charlie Strong would be great as well.

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