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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

KU search may look for current head coach

Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes.

Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes.

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With so many potential candidates and so little information surfacing, it can be difficult to dissect the Kansas University football program’s ongoing coaching search.

As the quest to find Turner Gill’s replacement enters Day 9 and moves forward after one of its quietest days to date, it seems safe to place the remaining candidates into a few different categories.

Former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is off the table and Southern Miss star Larry Fedora — one of the hottest names on the planet — might not be an option for KU much longer. Fedora, whose stock soared following last weekend’s 49-28 pounding of then-No. 6 Houston in the Conference USA championship game, is rumored to be the top candidate at North Carolina, while Arizona State and Texas A&M are also in pursuit.

With Leach signing on at Washington State and the odds of landing Fedora dwindling, KU’s options shift to a couple of other groupings — former head coaches, current head coaches and current assistant coaches.

All three groups include worthy candidates, but sources have indicated that KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger may be inclined to stick to one of the key points in the criteria he outlined last week before hitting the road. If that’s the case, head coaching experience becomes key.

Many of the names kicked around as potential options for Kansas fit the criteria, with Dave Christensen (Wyoming), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), June Jones (SMU), Chris Petersen (Boise State), Sonny Dykes (Louisiana Tech) and Dave Doeren (Northern Illinois) all currently employed in the college ranks.

Gaining access to interview the guys who have jobs already is a little tougher than finding one’s way into a conversation with former head coaches such as Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee) and Houston Nutt (Ole Miss) or Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, who was the head coach at Boise State and Arizona State before jumping to the NFL.

The reason? Common courtesy, according to KU associate athletic director Jim Marchiony, who said ADs often times will ask permission to speak to a coach who is under contract with another school.

“There’s no policy,” Marchiony said. “It’s just what the athletic director feels is in the best interest of his school. Part of that is what the AD feels is in the best interest of any potential candidate, as well.”

Calls Monday, from the Journal-World to more than half a dozen athletic departments that employ coaches believed to be KU candidates, yielded little information about the depth of KU’s search. Most athletic directors either ignored inquiries about whether KU had sought permission to contact their coaches or were unavailable. The only one who was reached, Louisiana Tech’s Bruce Van de Velde, said he had no comment at this time.

While head coaching experience seems to be a major bonus for candidates interested in landing the KU job, a handful of assistant coaches could remain in the hunt should Zenger choose to go away from the guys above.

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, and perhaps even Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables each could rise into the top tier in the coming days. For now, it appears as if their lack of head coaching experience may keep them on the back burner.

As was the case Monday, a lot of what KU is able to do in its search depends on how openings at Texas A&M, North Carolina and Arizona State are filled first.

Comments

Kansashawk 2 years, 4 months ago

It would seem with the way things are going, that whoever we want is in play with other school(s). Mr AD must have strong info to not move on from whoever that someone is. So I don't think it is so much "left-overs" pick as it is someone is leveraging several offers to squeeze.

Fulmer had great assistants before. The true question is if he still has contacts to hire a new staff. Those are the guys that will be doing most of the recruiting. Age doesn't scare me, it's if he can get a good staff

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jasonb0114 2 years, 4 months ago

Why are we waiting on A&M, North Carolina, and Arizona State.....? Why don't we go get who WE want instead of waiting for the leftovers!!!!!!?

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wfzman 2 years, 4 months ago

I have to give Zenger credit for keeping leaks down. Everything out there sounds like guessing.

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741hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe Lugenbil was referring to the old stadium with a track inside it (and a horseshoe end zone).

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oldalum 2 years, 4 months ago

I wish I could get excited about Fulmer, but I can't. I have no grounds for that, other than his three years out of coaching. It's probably something as unreliable as bad vibes.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

Fulmer should be our no. one guy unless Petersen is interested. Fulmer has recent enough experience that he can command a good staff. I would say Fulmer is interested so do it. Pull the trigger. Big name, yet safe choice. Probably reasonable salary as opposed to bidding war with Fedora. That, I think is somewhat of a risk. I am also thinking stability. Give us 8 to 10 years of stability and I would not be surprised if by the end of that stretch Fulmer would be averaging 8 wins a year at KU. Then, if Zenger is still here he makes the big splash hire. And Fulmer could do better than good. He could do great.

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hihawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Venables is out of the question, he doesn't want to come here. He has to much going for him where he is at now. Why risk an Oklahoma job for a job at KU? Fullmer would be the best hire for KU with the mess that they are in at the present time and a real mess it is. He may not bring it completely off the ground but, will advance it enough to get it started on the upward swing. Bring back Mangino would be a great hire but, Mark would want to come back to this mess either. Mark will be on the sidelines later on, back in Kansas!!!!!!!!

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RockChalk26 2 years, 4 months ago

Sign Leach already! Let's end this search ;)

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shinanigins 2 years, 4 months ago

Tier 1: 1)Fedora 2)Malzahn 3)Fullmer

Tier 2: Peterson Jones Dykes Stoops Koetter Venables

Tier 3: Calhoun Doreon Nutt Christensen

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gripp42 2 years, 4 months ago

The field cant be turned blue. Boise was grandfathered in, it is now a rule that fields have to be green.

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jbro769 2 years, 4 months ago

All for the Petersen hire!!! Get it done Zenger!!! Chris Petersen announced as KU's new football HC at halftime of OSU vs KU. Now that would be awesome.

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bjejayhawk69 2 years, 4 months ago

If Fedora goes elsewhere I agree - get Peterson. The only draw back would be his recruiting ties are more out west vs. Texas but he can obviously see talent and develop it. He would need to keep some of the staff for recruiting purposes alone. He is young too.

Just don't change our turf to blue. The only thing it would do would be to create more media coverage for KU's program - which is never a bad thing as long as it is positive.

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Eybea Opiner 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure KU isn't "waiting" for other teams to fill their positions. More likely, coaches are looking for the best set-up and KU isn't it. We'll be the last choice. It takes two to tango.

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thomc6 2 years, 4 months ago

Fulmer ultimately could not get it done at Tennessee which has a huge football investment and tradition. Maybe he could manage a moderate upgrade at KU like Bobby Knight did at TTU, but cannot see him pullling off another Snyder. Although moderate improvement may be good enough for KU at the moment, I'd favor taking a gamble on someone else in hopes of a bigger pay off. Should not let the results of the Gill experiment force an overly conservative choice (i.e. one perceived as "safe") this go around.

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Randy Glenn 2 years, 4 months ago

Mr.Zenger is a football guy with plenty experience-he WILL find the right guy and we all need to let him do his job.The Jayhawk Nation needs to put our trust in him to getr done

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hawkster007 2 years, 4 months ago

"As was the case Monday, a lot of what KU is able to do in its search depends on how openings at Texas A&M, North Carolina and Arizona State are filled first."

Matt, this appears to be the whole point and problem with the KU hiring process. Why is KU waiting for these teams to fill their coaching positions "first."

While KU procrastinates and Zenger conducts his 2011 coaching tour by air, the best coaches are getting hired away by more efficient ADs who are using those new-fangled toys called cellphones and the internet to conduct their interviews before Zenger's airplane ever lands.

I have visions of Zenger's plane landing, he collects his bags, has lunch, takes care of some other matters, grabs a limo, gets lost, finally arrives at the interview only to find out the coach was hired by another school several hours ago via a cellphone/internet interview.....

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optichawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Why not Chris Peterson... Did anyone see that is less than happy to put forth all that effort only to be snubbed again because of a couple missed Kicks the past 2 years. If the guy can get it done in the middle of nowhere, then why not at a BCS School where he can make a differrence rather than an asterisk every year? Another thing to think about, this "conference realignment" issue is not over.. KU has to build its Football program into a winner or else (no matter how much of a hoops school we are). And, our facilities are on par with other Football schools. I'm not Dane Anderson but I gave my money to make this happen, hope it was spent wisely. Screw Tom Luganbil (ESPN) who said our facilities are outdated and KU is not a good place to coach.

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Kansashawk 2 years, 4 months ago

And one of those harbored a pedophile. Good one!

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jayhawkinATL 2 years, 4 months ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall that Koetter was canned by ASU.

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Dee Shaw 2 years, 4 months ago

If Larry Fedora is going to UNC you might want to check with Roy Williams and get his approval before hiring Fedora. We all know how Roy wants his football coach a little less seen than himself. Ego.

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Roy Scherff 2 years, 4 months ago

a lot of what KU is able to do in its search depends on how openings at Texas A&M, North Carolina and Arizona State are filled first.

.What am I missing here. Why is it that KU has to wait for these other schools to fill their HC positions.

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johnnyhrdwd 2 years, 4 months ago

Dykes is too squirrelly, Venables has that double top secret rumor that nobody has any proof of. Would OU employ Venables as their top assistant if the super secret is true? Venables has a lot of upside, Fulmer has presence.

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kusportsdotcom 2 years, 4 months ago

I'd rather have a top coordinator from a BCS school than a head coach at a small market school. Bring on Venables or Stoops.

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Andy Hess 2 years, 4 months ago

I swear to Christ if we pass on Malzahn and Venables AND Fulmer for someone like that schmuck from Louisiana Tech, I am going to have a fit. I want a proven winner from a BCS conference. That's not too much to ask.

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