Friday, December 2, 2011

As more coaching jobs open, KU’s search continues


While Thursday turned out to be another quiet day for Kansas University’s search to find a head football coach, plenty of moves that might impact what happens at KU unfolded across the country.

The action was slow and steady for most of the day, but, by the time the sun set, Texas A&M; had an opening, Arizona State was refuting reports of an offer to Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, 47, and KU target Larry Fedora, 49, of Southern Miss, had a little more on his plate than he did when he woke up.

Fedora’s situation is by far the most interesting for Kansas. Although the College Station, Texas, native seemed destined to become a top candidate at A&M;, which fired Mike Sherman on Thursday, reports from the Dallas Morning News indicated that sources listed Sumlin, Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, 35, and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong, 51, as the three lead candidates at A&M.;

Fedora, who also is drawing interest from Ole Miss, still seems to be in the mix for Texas A&M;, but is not without serious competition. That could clear the way for him to climb higher on Kansas’ wish list and increases the odds of Fedora coming to Lawrence, should the Jayhawks be interested.

KU, which saw Mike Leach, 50, snatched out from under its nose by Washington State on Wednesday, actually seems to have a longer list of viable candidates today than it did 24 hours ago.

Former Colorado and Northwestern head coach Gary Barnett, 65, said on a Kansas City sports talk radio show Thursday morning that he was interested in the Kansas job. South Florida’s Skip Holtz, 47, a KU candidate in 2009 and the son of legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, also may be drawing interest. And recently fired Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, 54, reportedly has told some people that he, too, is interested in KU.

These well-known names merely add star-power to KU’s growing list, which also might include Mark Stoops, 44, (Florida State defensive coordinator), Dave Doeren, 39, (Northern Illinois), Sonny Dykes, 42, (Louisiana Tech), Dave Christensen, 50, (Wyoming) and Brent Venables, 40, (Oklahoma defensive coordinator), among others.

While the salaries of KU’s likely targets range anywhere from $370,000 to $2 million per year, KU appears to be ready and willing to pay whatever it takes.

“Money will not be a barrier to attracting the right coach,” KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said. “I’m confident that KU will offer an appropriate salary to attract the quality of coach that we need.”

According to a USA Today database for coaching salaries, Holtz makes $1.7 million at USF and Fedora makes $685,000 at USM.

Nutt made $2.75 million at Mississippi this year, Doeren makes $371,000 at NIU, Dykes makes $450,000 at La. Tech and Christensen makes $843,000 at Wyoming. Salaries for current assistant coaches were not available.

During the past two seasons, KU paid former head coach Turner Gill $2 million per season, and, before that, former KU coach Mark Mangino increased his worth at KU to $2.3 million per year.

As for how high KU would go, a lot of that depends on the resume, experience and current salary of whichever man becomes KU’s next coach.

“That will be something that Sheahon and the chancellor (Bernadette Gray-Little) will decide,” Marchiony said.


manginorh00lz 7 years, 11 months ago

We all know it's going to be Doeren. That being the case, we might as well shut down the program - 13,000 will be the average attendance.

jchief40 7 years, 11 months ago

He likes to prove his wit. I don't really care.

ManginoRevenge 7 years, 11 months ago

Who recruited and hauled in a significant portion the '08 Orange Bowl team?

Who did a bulk of the coaching that year?

Get a freakin clue man

Cmill1221 7 years, 11 months ago

Doeren is still better than Gill. Be happy with that if he is hired.

Displayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Doeren's Northern Illinois team lost on the road to Gill's Kansas team by 3 points with lesser talent and one year less time coaching the players and installing the new system. The guy has been part of rebuilding projects and recruited most of the best players for Kansas when we went to the Orange Bowl, and for Wisconsin, who with the exception of 2 plays this year, would be playing for a NC. Doeren is already far and away a better coach than Gill will ever be!

Bville Hawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, if it is, I hope we don't feel compelled give him a 500% raise to $2 million!

Joseph Kuebel 7 years, 11 months ago

Wit implies intelligence...

Smart a$ (thesaurus: donkey as this site is the most anal site I have ever ever seen).

Joseph Kuebel 7 years, 11 months ago

To clarify: By anal I meant the extirpation of (some) questionable (or less than questionable) posts. But, that clearly is one way to separate us from Mizzou. So, in this sense... Stay classy LJW/!

On this note, and one of the subjects mentioned above... I'm now retiring my shock jockey position which I have taken regarding MU smack talk. I don't want to sound like a hater, and give any Missourian (Missourite? Mizzite?) the satisfaction of my time anymore. They are no longer worth it and (I put them on the same level as a Dependz)

The reason I felt compelled to give those MU clowns a mention is because I felt that I owed some sort of vindication for my lack of depth and explanation... Very eloquent (I will blame melatonin, and my first post not posting).

In all seriousness, this is my last comment mentioning Mizzery... and with it I suggest a boycott of Mizzou trash talk as acknowledgimg them only makes them look like they are something. Time to act and realize the winners KU alumns are and not act, but be better than this dirty ugly (unjustifiably) pompus institution by treating them what they are... Nothing.

Show your KU pride by being the superior institution /no longer acknowledging Mizzery.

I am done (with this post as well as MU talk), but wanna ask... WHO'S (COMIN) WITH ME?

Nathan Mattison 7 years, 11 months ago

I got to disagree....I would love to have Houston Nutt. Great recruiter, electric offense, and a track record of winning.

kranny 7 years, 11 months ago

I'd say that was a good bet. No way you can fire somebody on Tuesday and have somebody hired on Wednesday without having something cookin beforehand. Leach was never in the picture.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

I think that is probably true because KU, right or wrong, would make the lawsuits the issue. [Personally, I think this is wrong.] And you know Leach will "think about it" for about 5 minutes and come back with, I am not dropping it. So, for all practical purposes he was never in the picture.

rockemchalkemrobots 7 years, 11 months ago

June Jones! June Jones! June Jones! June Jones! June Jones!

Wait, why are we saying June Jones? Is he the new Republican frontrunner?

Geekinout 7 years, 11 months ago

For what he's done with SMU and how much they pay him, this move here would be a lateral career move as almost anyone KU hires...

Jeff Soisson 7 years, 11 months ago

Interview Mike Sherman, I'm not saying hire him yet. A&M was on the verge and now is going backwards.

KU could benefit from Aggie stupidity.

Clarence Haynes 7 years, 11 months ago

It was reported that while visiting a recruit, the recruit's mother told Sherman that she had heard on the news that he had been cammed! That's embarrassing!

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

It seems to me like he was doing a good job. I was also thinking maybe we could get Pinkel in two or three years, but we should go ahead and talk to him now. He has got to know what his future looks like. After going 3-9 for three years running he will be out. Wouldn't that be a hoot, stealing Mizzu's coach and making them go into the SEC having to rebuild. He would be smart to take it.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

I would rather burn down the stadium...than hire a Mizzou coach.

yates33333 7 years, 11 months ago

I think you're right. He and his staff got good recruits and were pretty good with game plans. A little better adjustment at halftime and he'd never have been fired. I wonder if he would come to Lawrence. He is getting about $6 million in settlement of his contract.

Jackster 7 years, 11 months ago

Hire a coach from the SEC....any coach (except Nutt).

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 11 months ago


Where the women are champions...and the men are cheerleaders.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Agree...if anyone is following the Syracuse or PSU stories he is this year's coach to avoid. If anyone thought Leach was a Red Flag...Barnett is 10x more toxic.

rockemchalkemrobots 7 years, 11 months ago

Especially when referring to the drivel drive offense. Good catch!

yates33333 7 years, 11 months ago

How about the cammed for canned a little earlier.

okiedave 7 years, 11 months ago

The search is looking dim. Sounds like we are down to coaches who have been fired from their universities. Let's get practical.

I suggest we hire a quality high school football coach as HC for $150,000 per year and a female porn star as the recuiting coach for $300,000 per year plus free medical and shots and just tell them if we get a Big XII championship they can split $15 million proportionately and, if a national championship, they can split $50 million

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

You know, people, there are a lot of good names out there. For instance, Mike Bellotti, Coach of Oregon for 13 years, most winningest coach there, then was AD for several years, now with ESPN. At Oregon he was 116-55. He came to Oregon from Chico State. A successful up and comer. Thirteen years at one school, a school which is very tight with Phil Knight, NIKE. His time at AD could only help build that relationship. Bellotti stays 13 years at one school instead of moving on after a few stellar seasons. That says something. He is going to be very familier with Oregon's exciting style of play, much like the Leach style, only better. If, and this is a big if, if Bellotti would consider Kansas that could be a real steal. All this to say, though, that there is a lot of coaching talent out there. We should not be disappointed over the Leach thing.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Just curious would he come to an adidas school?

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

Imagine the Nike brand married to the KU Brand in Bball. New unis every game. We would be the talk of the fashion world.

squawky 7 years, 11 months ago

this is what happens when you fire a coach after only 2 years, crappy coach or not. It will be funny if Turner gets a HC job before KU gets a coach. That would be embarrassing.

AzNHawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Indeed it would!!!

He'd get 6 million dollars PLUS the salary of his new HC position. Kind of like double dipping.

Geekinout 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, if someone needs a good middle school coach.

squawky 7 years, 11 months ago

you can hate Gill if you want but he'll be cashing your checks for the next 3 years. chum

Geekinout 7 years, 11 months ago

Yep and so will the other people on welfare with their hands out... Dumb comment of the day! I'm not the one paying him.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Actually for the next 90 days...check his contract...we are completely severed after 90 days.

JayDocMD 7 years, 11 months ago


If you don't Stoop, you might bump your head on the Doer.

Don't fall for those not so Venerable.

Kanye would do anything for a Blond one, but I'll pass.

There is one Strong candidate, but I won't call it macaroni if you put a feather in your fedora...

Kirk 7 years, 11 months ago

Why do I get the feeling we're going to end up with someone really unimpressive? Why do I get the feeling we're just playing small ball as usual?

Why do I get the feeling that Gray-Little and company are just a little too polite to get us a big hairy football-coachin' sumbitch to turn things around?


Layne Pierce 7 years, 11 months ago

How about Nic Narduzzi the defensive coordinator at Michigan State. But I do think Belloti would be a good hire. Strong football knowledge, good press. High powered spread,

Geekinout 7 years, 11 months ago

You have to be kidding with the Gary Barnett suggestion (player rapes a girl on his football team and he bad mouthed the victim afterwards?). I watched Skippy Holtz pretty much lose to W. Virginia purely on coaching blunders. His staff has looked as bad as Gill's as far as game management. Mike Sherman terribly underachieved with what talent he was able to have down in the heart of Texas.

Venables, Sumlin, Fedora, and Stoops would all be pipe dream hires and a lateral, if not backwards, career move for them. Sadly, I think Doeren sounds like KU's best realistic option. Does have a good Mid-American conference record and even though KU/GIll beat him at the beginning of the season, they still threw up a lot of points. Then again who didn't against KU this year. Anything will be more promising than what's been here for the past few years. Just wish KU athletic department would quite sitting on their heads.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 11 months ago

Exactly how much do you think Venables is making at OU, anyway? I guarantee you that if he would take the job he would more than double his pay, so I don't see how that could be considered a lateral more. You don't sound like you have much regard for KU in my opinion. I also would not call any of those guys pipe dreams. You don't sound like a KU guy at all. I mean do the math. There is more coaching talen out there than there are positions. How would you like to make $200,000 per month? How about $50,000 a week? How many jobs in the country do you think pay that well? Believe me there are a lot of people who have talent and would take that kind of money.

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Venables I saw something that he makes 440k/year. I would imagine he would be happy with 4-5x that and would gladly move.

Geekinout 7 years, 11 months ago

I don't know why you have to question my KU-ness. That's silly! I'm just thinking in terms of what historically, beyond Mangino's era for some, what KU football has done in the past. I'm betting those guys mentioned are holding out for better opportunities. KU is not the only school that can throw money at an up and coming coach. Also, some coaches don't mind sticking around a few more years just to be part of successful programs. There's more to it than your lame comment about finances and my loyalness to the program...

Jeff Coffman 7 years, 11 months ago

Doeren or whatever his name, remings me of Turner "The worst coach in Kansas Football History" Gill, and didn't we just fire him.

hawksince51 7 years, 11 months ago

Barnett had some good years at Northwestern and a few at CU but went down in flames in the end. My CU friends were quite happy to get rid of him but then decided he didn't look so bad a few years later. (sound familiar?) But my gut says pass on him. I was hoping Sherman would not get the axe because I do not feel we can compete with aTm for any coach they decide they want. It is a more attractive job and they can pay whatever it takes. My personal choice is Venables because he has a long history at winning programs and for the past several years recruiting in TX. Having a D oriented head coach would be a welcome change in my opinion. For that reason I was not sad to see us miss out on Leach. All that said, I am willing to give Sheahon the benefit of the doubt in making his first big hire and will gladly support his final choice.

BalKUrog 7 years, 11 months ago

Be assured KU football fans! The search is in the capable hands of our AD. Leach was never a candidate because of his baggage. Zenger wants to find a football equivalent of Bill Self. Armed with our donor's cash, and with the recent upgrade of facilities, Zenger will find the perfect fit. He has a lineage as a football coach and academic PhD. If I am the business owner of KU football, I would put my choice in the hands of our current AD. Just buy season tickets once the selection is made. If you really want to support KU; buy football tickets.

Hammertoe 7 years, 11 months ago

KU football is Irrelevant. 1 - 24 in the last 25 Big 12 conference games. Mangino was 1- 7 in the conference his last year. KU has paid $9 Million in the last 3 years for 2 coaches to "just go away". How many students could benefit from $9 million in academic scholorships?

Compared to: K-State went 15 -1 against KU in all sports last year and is off to a 3- 0 start this year.

If it weren't for one sport (Men's basketball) at KU.....

gardenjay 7 years, 11 months ago

You speak the cold hard truth - the era of wasting money was gone a while back, so should we send our children to KU? Be more careful with your administration, KU.

scraptown 7 years, 11 months ago

Ku is a black hole for up and comers right now. The top prospect coordinators will hold out for better opportunities.

Bion Ostrander 7 years, 11 months ago

Matt, fantastic job on the Q&A's from fans the other day, great insight, sorry I could not attend.

I know its late to post, so I don't know if you will see this. Just wondering, do you think Mark Dantonio is on KU's radar?

I know most Hawk fans are saying who the hell is he. Well, he is the very successful coach of the Michigan State Spartans and he worked for Glen Mason in 1991 as defensive secondary coach, he has a fantastic pedigree! I am betting that KU does not even have him on their list, which is an indication of poor research.

Can you light a fire under Zenger to look at this guy, ha! Quite truthfully, I don't think there is anyone on KU's radar that can compare with this guy. He is only paid $1.83 million, and that is after a $300,000 increase this past October...KU can pay him much better. But then again, he is coming to a terrible football program.

Here is information from Wicki about Dantonio: Dantonio began his coaching career at Ohio University as a graduate assistant. In 1981, he made his first stop in the Big Ten when he moved on to Purdue as a graduate assistant. He spent two years in Columbus as a graduate assistant for Ohio State in 1983 and 1984 under then head coach Earle Bruce. In 1986, he began a five-year stint on Jim Tressel’s staff at Youngstown State as a defensive secondary coach. In 1990, Dantonio led the Penguins' defense to an 11–0 record and a #2 ranking nationally. Glen Mason hired Dantonio in 1991 to be the defensive secondary coach for the Kansas Jayhawks. When Nick Saban was hired at Michigan State in 1995, he hired Dantonio to join his staff in East Lansing where he remained even after Saban left for LSU. After Bobby Williams was named head coach in 1999 following Saban's departure, Dantonio was promoted to associate head coach where he remained through the 2000 season. Following the 2000 season, Dantonio was hired by new Ohio State University head coach Jim Tressel.

Michigan State beat Wisconsin earlier this year and plays them this Saturday for the conference championship.

Bion Ostrander 7 years, 11 months ago

I am officially beginning my one man campaign for Mark Dantonio as KU's next head football coach, anyone else joining me? I would be interested in your comments....

johnnyhrdwd 7 years, 11 months ago

I would bet Venables total package at OU is worth almost a million a year. He's worth it, the Snyder system wins games at Kansas schools.

Gregor Southard 7 years, 11 months ago

For third time in the last 15 years, high profile, proven winners, have expressed interest in Kansas. Will we snub them again?

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