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.


Gregor Southard 2 years, 4 months ago

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


johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 4 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.


hawkster007 2 years, 4 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....


hawkster007 2 years, 4 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.


scraptown 2 years, 4 months ago

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


Hammertoe 2 years, 4 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.....


BalKUrog 2 years, 4 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.


hawksince51 2 years, 4 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.


jhawkrulz 2 years, 4 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.


Geekinout 2 years, 4 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.


Layne Pierce 2 years, 4 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,


Kirk 2 years, 4 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?



JayDocMD 2 years, 4 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...


squawky 2 years, 4 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.


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 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.


okiedave 2 years, 4 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


Displayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I say bring back Don Fambrough! ;-)


pigballin 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach was not snatched from KU..KU wasn't going to hire a guy with pending lawsuits against a league member and ESPN . The only way that was or night have been considered was if Leach drops the suits,,which he is not going to do.

Stop the dribble,Tait.


ku_foaf 2 years, 4 months ago

Gary Barnett is trouble. Forget him.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 4 months ago


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


Jackster 2 years, 4 months ago

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


Jeff Soisson 2 years, 4 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.


jhwkfan162515 2 years, 4 months ago

Everyone repeat after me: June Jones! June Jones! June Jones! June Jones! June Jones!

And if we can't get Jones, perhaps we can call Bobby Collins out of retirement...


Eybea Opiner 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach was not "snatched from under the nose" of KU. He wasn't coming to Kansas from the git-go.


Joseph Kuebel 2 years, 4 months ago

Wit implies intelligence...

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


manginorh00lz 2 years, 4 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.


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