Originally published December 14, 2009 at 05:57p.m., updated December 14, 2009 at 06:33p.m.

Buffalo player’s letter provides assurance to KU players



Turner Gill: A new era

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Turner Gill is officially the new head coach of KU football.

When University at Buffalo defensive lineman Dane Robinson found out his college football coach, Turner Gill, had officially accepted the head coaching job at Kansas University earlier this week, one of the first things he did was park himself in front of a computer and rattle off an e-mail to current members of the Jayhawks football team.

Among other things, the message — sent directly to the Kansas players who'd recently released a letter of their own voicing their support for KU athletic director Lew Perkins and his ongoing search for a new football coach — detailed the strides the UB program made under Gill over the past four seasons and assured Kansas players that they were getting a talented, high-character head coach.

The letter, which KU offensive lineman Brad Thorson read aloud during a news conference to introduce Gill on Monday, reads as follows:

I just wanted to say to you guys over at KU that you guys are getting a great football coach and should keep your worries minimal. I know that this transition doesnt come off good parting terms with your former coach and I know change can be a scary thing sometimes not knowing what your really getting. But same was the case when I was a freshman back in 2005 and Coach Gill was just as new to me and he is going to be to you. Now I am a senior and he has transformed everything we do here at Buffalo, how we carry ourselves, how we view the game of football, and how we view ourselves as football players. If he has taught us anything here at UB it was to believe, believe in ourselves, believe in this program, and believe in each other. His philosophy and style will always be to treat each one of you guys as people first, players second. He's going you help you use football as a catalyst to better yourself in your life right now and after football. Keep your minds and hearts open to everything that he has to offer you guys. I'll leave you with just one last thought from our mission statement "UB Stands for U BELIEVE" that Coach Gill implemented when he first arrived here, from the acronym B-E-L-I-E-V-E where each letter stood for what this program was going to be all about: B-Believe in each other and the things not yet seen. We did and it has taken us as players, as a team, as a program, and as a community to great things. Good luck to each and every one of you.

Dane Robinson #92


kranny 10 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes, coaching transcends the game itself.

IBRONNIEB 10 years, 2 months ago

Not only showing class, as a student, as an athlete, but mainly as a person. I am very impressed. If this is what our new coach instills in his players, we are on the right track with his hiring. Thank you to this player, but mostly thank you to Lew for picking someone our players can proudly follow into battle.

actorman 10 years, 2 months ago

I look forward to seeing how the ignoramuses that have been criticizing this hire respond to the above.

truefan 10 years, 2 months ago

They will find a way actorman. Even though Gill hasn't had more than a day to prove himself. I don't mind alternate opinions, but for now, the opposers have no basis to support their claims...Gill hasn't had time to do anything at KU yet. At least wait until after next season to voice concerns...complaining now does nothing but make us all look like whiners.

Nigel Dunham 10 years, 2 months ago

Coach Gill seems to be exactly what we need in a coach and representative of the university. It really looks like good things are on the horizon.

MrPilot 10 years, 2 months ago

That is wonderful. What an amazing testament to Coach Gill's character that one of his players would take the time to write something like this and send it to the players on his new team. What a class act.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 2 months ago

As a freshman in 1986, I saw one of the worst display of football I had ever seen. To make it worse, I went to high school in Omaha so the comparison was Gill's Huskers. WE WERE AWFUL!!! In 1988, we hired Glen Mason and I think we were something like 1-10. That sounds awful, but I can tell you that it was not. The team hustled, the team was competitive and the team gave us hope for coming years. Next year's win total will not necessarily tell us what kind of coach Gill is, just as his record at Buffalo doesn't. From the sounds of things, like this letter, I think we will be pleased with the result, regardless of wins...and I'm not saying we won't win, I'm simply saying I think the positives will be evident. I am really energized by this hire!!! If Gill is half as good a coach as he was a player (and I can tell you he was an incredible QB), this is going to be fun!!! Oh yeah, one of the few QBs at that time who may have been better was Chuck Long!!! ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!!!

Kevin John 10 years, 2 months ago

I don't want letters. I want Big 12 Championships and Wins!! If there was never any doubt Coach Gill is The Man, we wouldn't need any reassurances.

Kusportsshould Notrequirethis 10 years, 2 months ago


The ignoramuses will continue to repeat "20-30" with not an ounce of realization of the great accomplishment that record is considering the shape of the program when he took over.

Then they'll say, "Fire Lew!"

Kevin John 10 years, 2 months ago

Fire Lew! Bring in Arizona's Jim Livengood Before he was lured away to Arizona, he had hired great coaches at WSU that took The Cougs to Rose Bowls and Big Dances. And The Cougs were just know as QB "U", sending all their QB's high in the NFL Draft.

KUPROUD 10 years, 2 months ago

Are we really ready for what appears to be a dramatic culture change? You know you can expect the end of football as we have come to know it. Probably no more fights between football and basketball players, no more players on police blotters, no more displays of rage in the community by coaches, .... Are we really ready for that? I think we can get used to it if we see a the team playing with hustle and good fundamentals on the field. I expect the wins for the next couple of years to be about what they would have been under Mangino, but I also expect the talent to improve and the potential for future success to be much greater.

kranny 10 years, 2 months ago

If coach Gill can bring in the talent, he will also bring the wins. In 8 years with Mangino, we never had one 5 star athlete. For some of you, that may not mean much but there is a definite correlation between the haves and the have nots when it comes to the powerhouse teams with 5 star athletes and those with primarily 3 star athletes. I think Gill will pull those athletes in and the rest will take care of itself. We simply need better athletes with speed and size.

hawksquawk 10 years, 2 months ago

This is an encouraging sign. What could be of more importance in a head coach than character? Well, recruting I suppose, which just so happens to be what Mr. Gill stressed during his press conference this afternoon. Moreover, he stressed recruiting players WITH character, which is itself a reflection of the head coach's character. If Mr. Gill can provide us with nothing more than the recruitment of players with such intangibles, then this hire will be a complete success. Those who think that Mr. Gill is not the man to lead this program into the future have probably never been involved in any kind of group venture. Mr. Gill is a born leader, but he won't be doing it all by himself. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a program to develop a player. The ultimate fate of this program will not rest on any one individual, but rather on the entire symphony playing together. If Mr. Gill can manage to get his players to take on his personality, then every season will be a success, regardless of the Ws and Ls at the end of the season.

Larry Kampa 10 years, 2 months ago

up4par2000, C'mon QB'U???...who do you think you're talking to hear.. The Throw'n Samoan - nice Nickname Mark Rypien - OK 1 Super Bowl Drew Bleadsoe - AFTER he left the Pats they became THE team of the decade... Oppps for got Tim Rossenbach...Forgetable And then there is the the single biggest QB bust in NFL history... More like QB Who U!!

Larry Kampa 10 years, 2 months ago're point could not be made more clear than with Hawk B-ball. 5 Star athletes like Collins and Xavier are ready to play day one. That is why they rank them as 5 star. Coaching "develops" great talent (read 1-4 star) into 5 star players. Sure, grit and determination turns potential into reality, but some guys have already turned that corner and great recruiting ( I hope that is what Gill brings) brings their immediate influence to the floor...our floor! IF he can recruit up there in the "ether" of the 5 stars we will see a bright future ahead...IF?

hailtoku 10 years, 2 months ago

You know when your trying to prove a coaches worthiness through a god damn facebook message that its the wrong hire.

I want his attributes to be obvious (i.e an actual winning record against worthy opponents, bowl wins, conference championships, winning season). The acronym (B-E-L-I-E-V-E in which "B" stands for Belief......GENIUS) I'm not so impressed with.

Show me you're worth $2 million a year. I hope you do. For now, this hire seems political.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago


Will you ask Chuck if any former players of the previous coaches wrote the KU players to tell them how great a coach they were getting? Has that ever happened in the history of college FB?

My guess is that it says something to the person #92 was before he ever went to UB, but I'm guessing that Coach Gill had a lot to do with developing his character to the point that he would write the letter. Since #92 is a senior, maybe he could come as a grad assist, or somethng like that.

Rock Chalk

actorman 10 years, 2 months ago

I understand your cynicism, hail, but for TG to do what he did with the "talent" at Buffalo--and inspire players enough so that one of them writes a letter like that after he's left them--speaks volumes about his ability. He's never had the chance as a head coach to work with top players, but he has a tremendous record as both a player and assistant coach. Does it impress you at all that he was a part of three national championships and that he coached a Heisman winner?

KUFan90 10 years, 2 months ago

For some reason I don't think any of the current players will be writing a similar letter to the team where (if?) Mangino lands..

ShazzyD 10 years, 2 months ago

Kranny wrote "If coach Gill can bring in the talent, he will also bring the wins. In 8 years with Mangino, we never had one 5 star athlete. For some of you, that may not mean much but there is a definite correlation between the haves and the have nots when it comes to the powerhouse teams with 5 star athletes and those with primarily 3 star athletes. I think Gill will pull those athletes in and the rest will take care of itself. We simply need better athletes with speed and size."

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you Kranny. I don't know why you are assuming Gil can pull in 5 star athletes to a non-football school like Kansas, but if it is going to happen it will happen after we get lots of wins on a consistent basis. Mangino just started pulling in 4 star recruits these past two years, but that was after winning the Orange Bowl. That's not the reason I disagree with you, though. The reason I disagree is that star ratings don't matter. We had some of the best players in the conference these past couple of years with Briscoe, Reesing, Meier, Stuckey, etc. We have players in the NFL right now in Talib Aqib, Charles Gordon, and Anthony Collins. Look up what all those player's star ratings were coming out of highschool and you will see just how stupid those ratings are. Some of the programs like Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma gets tons of 5-star athletes every year and only a handful of them turn out to be any good. I'll take Briscoe over any one of the hundreds of "5 star" receivers playing in division 1 football right now.

Don't put too much stock in the star ratings. If you do your research you'll find out they are wrong most of the time, and most of the time the players are rated based on what schools are recruiting them rather than based on actual talent evaluations.

actorman 10 years, 2 months ago

I can see your point, Shazzy, but my guess is that you're just using anecdotal evidence. Of course some "lesser-rated" players will turn out to be gems, but I would lay odds that the great majority of the time, 5-star players turn out to be significantly better than 3-star players. It would be interesting to see an actual study using the numbers, to see how accurate the ratings turn out to be.

100 10 years, 2 months ago

Love this Buffalo kid -- I think I'll root for Buffalo for now on due to this young man....

By the way I posted this earlier, but just in case no one saw it, it follows:

Anybody like Dynasties?

Well, Tom Osbourne has some knowledge on this topic. Why not get a quote from Tom Osbourne, Chuck... when asked if he (Osbourne) "made" those mid 1990's dynasties happen (3 NCAA championships), here's what he said. This is a story from 1999:

"Without Turner Gill recruiting for us & coaching the quarterbacks his little instinctual tricks, we would not have won any of those national titles in the mid '90s. None. I firmly believe that with all of my heart. We would have been good, but no national championships. Turner Gill made it happen with his heart, his recruiting, his belief & his help with the quarterbacks. Turner's gift to us, in tandem with our unified team belief, coupled with the hard work of our units in practice, magnified by the undying devotion of our walk ons giving our first two teams double the repetitions, not to mention the ceaseless support of our assistant coaching staff those years, made those teams the focused & talented group that they were. We believed. And we were good, partially thanks to all the hard work. But, more than anyone, if I was to single out one person, it wouldn't be me. It was Turner Gill... his recruiting & leadership made all the difference."

actorman 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow, 100, of all the praise I've seen for TG, that's the best yet! As psyched as I am for basketball right now, I wish football was starting tomorrow. I can't wait to see what he can do!

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