After a job well done for the Kansas University athletic department, for whom he served as associate athletics director for marketing and revenue development, Andrew Steinberg is leaving to take a big job with the Kansas City Wizards, a Major League Soccer club.
Steinberg’s sense of humor will be missed and his are big shoes to fill, which is why I feel compelled to step up and help his as-yet chosen successor get off to a head start by supplying him or her with a way to market the football team, which ultimately could help recruiting.
As for the revenue development portion of the job, well, I’ve always been better at spending than earning, so we’ll stick with marketing. Now, more than ever, would be a perfect time for Kansas to stick its chest out and do a little bragging on its football team in a couple of big stages in key locations.
Drum roll, please. Thank you, studio musician.
The idea: Pay for a giant billboard in the Dallas Metroplex area picturing three Kansas football players, wearing football jerseys but no helmet, under the heading, “Texas Men Play Kansas Football.” No names, just numbers and faces, better to spark conversation in the Metroplex about the billboard, about Kansas football, about the players.
Many Texans would be able to identify one of the players as bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate Todd Reesing. Fewer could name wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, fewer still center Jeremiah Hatch. The longer the billboard stays up to slap motorists in the face on a daily basis, the more the masses will learn the names of the players. Some of the motorists will grow up to become hot Div. I football prospects and might consider KU, thanks to the billboard they remembered seeing.
Those familiar with the stories of Reesing, Briscoe and Hatch, a senior, junior and sophomore, know they have more in common than Texas roots. All made significant contributions as freshmen, Hatch as a redshirt freshman. Briscoe and Hatch started. As Mark Mangino and staff slowly, steadily upgrade recruiting, the allure of having an opportunity to play instead of sit is starting to motivate top recruits to bypass Big 12 South schools in order to sign on with Kansas.
Just as important to growing the football program as enticing talent from the Metroplex is building a wall around the state of Kansas to keep recruits from heading to Kansas State, Nebraska and Missouri.
Another giant billboard drawing the attention of motorists in Wichita could help that cause. Kerry Meier, Darrell Stuckey and Jake Sharp under the heading “Kansas Men Play Kansas Football” certainly would generate quite a buzz.
Strategically placed billboards cost money, big money. Well, if the athletic department insists on moving the Missouri game to Arrowhead to earn money, big money, why not pour some of that profit back into marketing the football program?
Now’s the time to do it because Mangino’s team has no shortage of star power. Wise decisions made in recruiting combined with a talented coaching staff that knows how to develop bodies and technique means the Jayhawks are on the brink of what should be a remarkably entertaining, successful season, even against a brutal schedule.