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Sunday, November 27, 2011

What’s next for KU football: Coaching candidates

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach directs his team against Texas A&M in this file photo from Oct. 18 in College Station, Texas.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach directs his team against Texas A&M in this file photo from Oct. 18 in College Station, Texas.

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The last time the Kansas University football program pushed a nice-guy head coach out the door after just two seasons, the university followed it up by hiring a hard-nosed disciplinarian to take his place.

That was the story when Bob Valesente — 4-17 overall, 0-13-1 in the Big Eight from 1986-87 — was given his walking papers following the 1987 season and Glen Mason was brought in to replace him.

With history repeating itself on the front end of that equation — Turner Gill was fired on Sunday after going 5-19 overall and 1-16 in Big 12 play during his two seasons in Lawrence — the question on everybody’s mind now is what direction the Jayhawks will take in finding Gill’s replacement.

There are plenty of options, from coast to coast, and the list figures to be full of both nice guys and intense leaders. The following is how KUSports.com sees the search unfolding:

THE FAVORITE

Mike Leach, 50, former head coach at Texas Tech University

Record at school: 84-43 in 10 seasons. (10 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not available. Made $2.7 million at Texas Tech.

Why it makes sense: The biggest name on the block would bring instant on-the-field credibility to the program, restore faith and return excitement to a fan base that has checked out. Offensive guru would inherit a handful of young athletes and, no doubt, bring more with him, perhaps even a big-time quarterback. As for his interest in KU, it seems like the guy would love a shot to stick it to Tech and the rest of the Big 12.

Why it might not happen: Leach would be a great catch for any program, but questions about his character, the way he conducted himself at Texas Tech and whether he learned anything from his uncerimonious fall from grace likely would linger for years no matter how well he did in the win column. In addition, he’s tied up with lawsuits against Tech and ESPN.

THE STRONG CONTENDERS

Jim Leavitt, 54, former head coach at the University of South Florida

Record at school: 94-57 in 13 seasons (5 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not available. Made $1.6 million at USF.

Why it makes sense: A defensive minded coach with Midwest ties who built USF from the ground up and elevated the program to a No. 2 national ranking at one point during the 2007 season. Currently coaching linebackers for the San Francisco 49ers, Leavitt went to five bowl games in 13 seasons at USF and won fewer than six games just twice. Hired KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger to work as his recruiting coordinator at South Florida (1996) and also worked with former KU coach Mark Mangino at K-State (1991-95)

Why it might not happen: Leavitt, like Mangino, was forced to leave South Florida because of allegations about improper treatment of players. Leavitt denied any wrong-doing — which allegedly included physical contact — but still was forced to leave the program he helped build. Is it too soon for Jayhawk Nation to bring in a coach from the Mangino mold?

Larry Fedora, 49, University of Southern Miss head coach

Record at school: 31-19 in 4 seasons (4 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $704,500 per year

Why it makes sense: He’s known as an excellent recruiter — especially in Texas, where he was a high school coach — and has Big 12 ties from his days as an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. Also served as offensive coordinator at Florida from 2002-04.

Why it might not happen: Is his name sexy enough to please the big-time donors who helped facilitate the firing of Gill by coming up with private bucks? Even if it is, Fedora looks like a candidate at Ole Miss, which would probably be an easier transition.

Mark Stoops, 44, Florida State defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: Not Available. Made $283,914 in final year as Arizona DC (2008).

Why it makes sense: Obviously has the right last name to get your attention, but also has the right connections. Zenger and Stoops worked together on Leavitt’s staff at South Florida in 1996 and again from 1997-99 at Wyoming, where Stoops coached defensive backs and Zenger served as recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach. Has served as defensive coordinator at three schools (Houston, Arizona and Florida State).

Why it might not happen: A lack of head coaching experience could hurt Stoops in this case, as the Jayhawks need a proven leader to replace Gill.

THE UP-AND-COMERS

Chris Petersen, 47, Boise State University head coach

Record at school: 70-6 in 6 seasons (6 bowl appearances, 2 BCS)

Current salary: $1.525 million per year.

Why it makes sense: When you throw in his time as an assistant coach, Petersen boasts an unbelievable track record of success. The program did not miss a beat when he took over and it’s a lot easier to envision Petersen knocking down the BCS door at a Big 12 school than at Boise, where anything short of perfection doesn’t get it done.

Why it might not happen: After the way former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins fell on his face at Colorado, it’s easy to see why other schools could be gun-shy about taking another hot name from Idaho.

Kevin Sumlin, 47, University of Houston head coach

Record at school: 34-16 in 4 seasons (3 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $1.2 million per year

Why it makes sense: Has made a huge national splash in just his fourth season at Houston. After going 8-5 in 2008 and 10-4 in 2009, Sumlin has the eighth-ranked Cougars at 12-0 this season. Is an even-tempered disciplinarian who draws praise for getting players to do exactly what he wants of them. Sumlin is another coach who already has experience in the Big 12 Conference and obviously has huge Texas connections. Sumlin coached under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma from 2003-07. He also coached under R.C. Slocum at Texas A&M in 2001 and 2002. Although his name popped up for several openings the last time the Jayhawks were looking, Houston paid to keep him and he had one big reason to return to UH. With record-setting QB Case Keenun set to graduate after this season, could Sumlin be looking to move on, too?

Why it might not happen: He’s very happy at Houston, which will do everything it can to keep him, but could be battling several big-time BCS schools along the way. Maybe Sumlin wants his jump from Houston to be a bigger one?

Troy Calhoun, 45, Air Force Academy head coach

Record at school: 39-23 in 5 seasons (4 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $889,095 per year

Why it makes sense: Experience all over the board from Ohio and Air Force to Wake Forest and the NFL. Offensive-minded coach who knows how to utilize multiple running backs, a position that should be a strength at Kansas for at least the next few years. Named the Mountain West coach of the year in 2007 and known for creative offensive gameplans.

Why it might not happen: His is not the biggest name of the bunch and he seems to be pretty happy at Air Force, where he starred as a quarterback during his playing days and began his coaching career under the legendary Fisher DeBerry.

Dave Doeren, 39, Northern Illinois University head coach

Record at school: 8-3 in 1 seasons (1 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $371,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Doeren spent time at KU under Mangino and grew up in Kansas City. He knows what it takes to win at Kansas and he understands the culture. Was a huge player in recruiting a good chunk of KU’s 2007 Orange Bowl team and also has been praised by many as one of the bright, young defensive minds in the game based on his highly successful stint as Wisconsin’s co-defensive coordinator.

Why it might not happen: For starters, Gill beat Doeren earlier this season (45-42 in Lawrence) and that probably won’t sit well with KU fans. In addition, he’s still in his first year at NIU and might not be ready to move again.

THE ASSISTANTS

Brent Venables, 40, Oklahoma defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $440,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Long considered one of the top assistant coaches in the college game, the Salina native who played at Kansas State and later coached under Bill Snyder at his alma mater has deep roots in the Midwest. His intelligent, energetic and charismatic qualities make him a master recruiter and the kind of coach players go the extra mile for. Venables has a great eye for talent and has been instrumental in Bob Stoops’ success at OU since 1999. Before that, the two worked together at K-State, as well.

Why it might not happen: Talking him into a rebuilding project at KU could be tough considering some think he’s waiting to take over at either Oklahoma or Kansas State one day.

Kirby Smart, 35, Alabama defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $750,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Smart is the architect behind one of the most dominant defenses of the last decade. For a program like KU, which is in desperate need of a defensive upgrade, adding the one of the best in the business makes perfect sense.

Why it might not happen: For starters, Smart is just 35, which seems a little young to take over this type of situation. In addition, if Smart’s going to leave his cushy spot alongside Nick Saban and the national-title contending Crimson Tide, it’s probably going to be for a bigger job, and is more likely to be one closer to the areas of the south that he’s comfortable recruiting.

THE FORMER HEAD COACHES

Phillip Fulmer, 61, former University of Tennessee head coach

Record at school: 152-52 in 17 seasons at Tennessee (15 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not Available.

Why it makes sense: Fulmer, 61, was forced out at Tennessee after an uncharacteristic 5-7 record in 2008. All he did before that was win 10 games in ’07, nine games in ’06 and 10 in 2002 and 2003, as well. Oh, he also guided the Vols to the 1998 national championship. Although the Tennessee native has spent all but four years of his coaching life in his home state, the four years away were in Kansas at Wichita State. Even though he’s been away from the sidelines for a while, he expressed interest in and interviewed for vacancies at Louisville and UConn in late 2009.

Why it might not happen: Fulmer’s been out of the game for three seasons now and could have trouble adapting to the spread offenses — both offensively and defensively — currently in favor in the Big 12.

Mike Stoops, 49, former Arizona head coach

Record at school: 41-50 in 7-plus seasons (3 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $1.465 million in final season at Arizona.

Why it makes sense: Look at the last name and consider the area he would be recruiting. Stoops, though decent at Arizona, did his best job while working for brother Bob at Oklahoma. Getting back into the Big 12 and having the chance to prove himself against his brother could be appealing. Stoops’ defensive pedigree would be welcomed at KU, which finished the 2011 season ranked near the bottom of the FBS in total defense.

Why it might not happen: Although a head coaching job in the Big 12 might be appealing, Stoops could be more interested in a less stressful role back on Bob’s staff at OU or somewhere else. Don’t count out the idea of him becoming KU’s next defensive coordinator.

Source for salary information: USA Today

Comments

Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

The problem as I see it there is outside interference in the college athletics program aka big time donors.

I say fire the donors and leave a college program to the college. These big time donors represent corruption and reckless spending. Whoaaaaaaa what egotistical nonsense that which must prevail in the family home as well.

How many faces is a coach expected to take advice from?

Will a new coach enjoy KU donors or will they be a pain in the butt?

Why aren't these donors coaching instead of interfering?

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jayhawks71 2 years, 4 months ago

Why does the LJW post a photo of Leach giving someone "the bird"?

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baw99alum 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope Sheahon makes a call to Mike Bellotti.

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dewclw 2 years, 4 months ago

I like Chris Peterson(Boise State) as head coach and Leach as offensive coordinator, and Mark Stoops as defensive coordinator. And for the person who said we don't have the money... who is "we". You aint payin for it. The same private donars that bailed out KU to pay Gill off will fork out as much as it takes to get a winner in here. Trust me. KU fans, especially the big donators to KU athletics want a winning program NOW. I wouldn't be surprised to see a big name accept the job and get a whopping $4 or $5 mil a season. You want a winner you gotta spend the money.

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riverdrifter 2 years, 4 months ago

Like 2 years ago, Venables is still at the top of my list. Offer him $2.5M/yr and see what happens.

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seagull 2 years, 4 months ago

Tom Keagan and the LJWorld are at it again creating (unrealistic?) expectations for who the new coach will be. When we don't get the coach Tom thinks we ought to get everyone is disappointed and the new coach starts off in a PR hole. Tom's been anti-Turner Gill since day one. Turner is certainly responsible for the losses but Tom and enthusiastic PR campaign have not helped KU football one bit. Let Zenger do his job and be surprised and supportive of the outcome.

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hawkfarmer87 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why head coach at Butler County doesn't ever get a look from anyone. He has local ties, can recruit, and is a proven winner! Look at the link below to his resume...

http://grizzlies.butlercc.edu/football/morrell.cfm

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RockChalk26 2 years, 4 months ago

I have a feeling Zenger is going big with this hire. Let's face it, the Big 12 is still on shaky ground and might not last much longer. Zenger will go get a big time name who can recruit and compete on a national level.

We have the facilities, we have the cash, and we have a lot of room for improvement. Time to go big or go home.

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cobweb 2 years, 4 months ago

We could get Peterson if we promise a blue field.

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Benjamin Piehler 2 years, 4 months ago

Candidates for interim head coach are Bill Self and the Big Jay mascot

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KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

It's interesting to see some contradicting ideas swirling around here. Nobody believes that a big-time coach like Urban Meyer or Jim Tressel would want to "rebuild" at Kansas, but somehow hot-head Mike Leach would come in and instantly win.

Venerables would sooner take over at Kansas St. because he wouldn't want to coach a re-building school like KU? The stronger logic suggests that without Bill Snyder KState is probably in worse condition than KU. Snyder could switch talent with any school in the nation and kick that school's butt the next day. KSU is not a prime landing strip for a hot coaching candidate. Or at least not for a smart coaching candidate, because The Cats would gradually disintegrate and Snyder would come out of retirement at 90 years old to take over.

For Leach, KU would be his opportunity for revenge and that's it. Do we really want to be used by an immature coach for the possibility of a couple of bowl games?

The dude is 50, and heavily into pirates! That's more embarrassing than losing 100-0 every night of the week! Why don't we just find out which coach is the biggest Harry Potter fan and get him on the horn?

The only real consistency I see here is that KU is a re-building project. Everybody seems to agree with that. Unfortunately we just fired a guy in half the time it takes to do it, so what kind of desperate coach do we really expect to land? What kind of self-respecting individual would throw themselves on the burning coals? What kind of great coaching mind sees KU and thinks, "I could've done that in 2 years. Yeah, give me that recruiting base and let me have a crack at that schedule!"? Other than Snyder of course.

Oh yeah. Leach.

Fine. Hire the nut. I'm just riding on this crazy thing anyway.

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jhwkfan162515 2 years, 4 months ago

Why is SMU coach June Jones not on the list?

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Randy Maxwell 2 years, 4 months ago

It shows the ignorance of our fan base that Sumlin is not at the top of everyones list. He is the number one coaching prospect in the country. Arizona is already planning to hire him, maybe KU can cut in.

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KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

For the writers who supposedly have no real rooting interest in what they are reporting, (unless you count Keegan reporting on Marquette) it seems pretty obvious that they were bent on getting Gill fired because he was a terrible interview and made their jobs hard.

Now they are pushing Leach like pimps because he would make their jobs so easy. Just plug in quotes, it writes itself. Add the almost certain controversy that will be bubbling from the moment he is hired and it's pure sports writer gold!

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beebe1 2 years, 4 months ago

No mention of Callahan, Miami, Fl -- He was fired too, a year or so ago, for the wrong reasons. He has used his down time to learn a lot about head coaching from the Big 10. He is Defensive minded. Could recruit FL and keep the TX guys we've got.

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Stephen Johnson 2 years, 4 months ago

for me it's Leavitt. So. Florida was a much tougher job than TT and Leavitt got it done there.

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Dirk Medema 2 years, 4 months ago

Is Leach flipping off the ref in the photo?

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uni4ku 2 years, 4 months ago

Here's my two cents worth:

Frank Solich, former Nebraska head coach, is out there doing a heck of a job at Ohio. He has Midwest ties and big name appeal. He knows how to play the Big 12 Game!

To my knowledge he has no "investigation on going", no law suits pending and has pleaded guilty to only one DUI, in 2005.

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Pitthawk34 2 years, 4 months ago

Unless they hire some guy that I have never heard of before I will renew my season tickets. Well with the move they are making I will renew my tickets anyway. If it is Leach I may just upgrade my seating.

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Bill Lee 2 years, 4 months ago

I've never liked someone who isn't currently employed. Those out of a job are for a reason. The best talent available are the men coaching somewhere already. They need to be convinced to move to KU as a step up or as a pay increase.

Retired coaches are too old, and fired coaches screwed up somehow, somewhere. For the right person the money can be raised. We've raised it for the wrong people.

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Scott Oswalt 2 years, 4 months ago

Mike Leach is staying at the Oread Hotel tonight. BOOM!

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sad_lawrencian 2 years, 4 months ago

"Uncerimonious"... don't these people own a spell-checking app?

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Layne Pierce 2 years, 4 months ago

Looking back on it for Gill, it was not just wins and losses, so much as disorganization, and inability to get his team to give their all. We did not just lose, we were non-competitive. And that is something that can never be accepted.

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SELFANATIC 2 years, 4 months ago

Supposedly reporters went to check at airport and was just people coming back from Thanksgiving. No Leach on that flight. (Per Twitter, but I'm too lazy to track down a link)

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aviebs51 2 years, 4 months ago

Willie fritz better not get the head coaching job. It will turn into juco university....

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JayHawkFanToo 2 years, 4 months ago

The KU plane made a round trip to Eagle Creek Airpark (Indiana) this afternoon. It was nowhere near Dallas or the Keys. Previous usage was a round trip to Stillwater last Monday. http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N100KU

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squintseugene1 2 years, 4 months ago

Mike Leach is staying at the oread tonight

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hbjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Herman Edwards is in consideration for the job too. Dana Anderson and Herm have big time connections and it is well known Herm owns in KC and stated he is interested in returning to coaching, but NCAA.

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hiphopsux 2 years, 4 months ago

flight tracker, people who know those who work at the hotel

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Ryan McAtee 2 years, 4 months ago

@ hiphopsux - where are you finding this info...??

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texashawk10 2 years, 4 months ago

What's the ideal coach for KU? In order to build a solid program that can regularly get to bowl games and compete for conference titles once in a while, KU needs a coach that's not the sexiest name out there and has ties to the region to make it more likely that he won't use KU as a stepping stone to a big time program. The HC also needs to be someone who won't command a $2+ million salary right out of gate so that if he does end up failing, it won't cost KU a fortune. Nearly every coach currently making $2+ million is making that amount based either on past/current success or because of tenure at the school. I think Zenger should take a serious look at some less sexier names than the ones that Tait has because these are the kind of hires to could establish long term success at KU and not jump ship for the first big job that comes along. There will be some flaws with all these coaches as there are flaws with every coaching candidate out there. I'm attaching the coaches bios on here so you can read a more detailed account of each coach if you like.

Mark Farley: Currently the head coach at Northern Iowa, 92-38 in 11 years and has made the FCS playoffs in 7 of 11 years including this season. He is a former assistant coach at KU so he has direct ties to the school. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Farley

Willie Fritz: Currently the head coach of the 12-0 Sam Houston St. Bearkats. Played football at Pitt St., coached at Shawnee Mission NW, won 2 JuCo national titles at Blinn in the 90's, winningest coach at Central Missouri. http://www.kbtx.com/sports/headlines/79644202.html

Chuck Heater: Currently the DC at Temple and is an Urban Meyer disciple. Played RB at Michigan under Bo Schembechler and was an assistant at Colorado for 6 years so he has experience within the Big 8/12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_He...

Pat Narduzzi: Currently the DC at Michigan St. and has been a finalist for several BCS conference teams. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Nard...

Tim Beckman, HC at Toledo, back to back 8 win seasons including 7-1 conference records, Toledo is currently 14th nationally in rushing and is a former DC at Oklahoma St. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Beckman

None of these guys are sexy names, but all of them have been winners at whatever level of coaching they've been at and most of them have connections to the Big 12 or the state of Kansas so would be somewhat familiar with KU football in some way. Farley and Fritz have never been FBS head coaches, Heater and Narduzzi have never been HC's at any level, and Toledo's defense gave up 63 points in back to back games this season.

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hiphopsux 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach supposedly staying at the Oread

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hiphopsux 2 years, 4 months ago

apparently a plane machin KUs left dallas earlier, where leach spent thanksgiving, went to the Keys, now approaching Lawrence.

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Kevin Randell 2 years, 4 months ago

I just saw a post of KU's facebook that says KU has just fired the entire strength and conditioning staff. Is there any validity to this? Don't want to state it as fact until Matt tells us.

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JhawkalumJB 2 years, 4 months ago

Just as a side note to all of this, Rich Rod's contract was 5yrs. $9.55 mill. Yea, that's right, less then Gill was making.

With a reasonable offer we land Leach. Do it SZ!!!!

Fill the seats!!!!!

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letourneau41 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach is currently on a plane from his home in the Florida Keys. Plane lands at 9:49.

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CherryCreekHawk 2 years, 4 months ago

One gets the sense that KU is desperate, willing to do almost anything to win at football. But folks, KU is never going to be a winner. And in my mind, it is disgraceful for any university to pay a football coach $2 million a year, or even one tenth of that.

A great university scrambles to be something it never will be. That's sad. And as a KU graduate of some years ago, I find the whole thing unseemly.

It's time for KU to get real and join the Western Athletic Conference or the Missouri Valley in football. They simply cannot compete. And there is no shame to that.

The shame is to continue to hit their head against the wall and expect a different outcome.

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hiphopsux 2 years, 4 months ago

Bring in Leach and you sell 37,000 season tickets the first year alone. Bring in any other name on that list and you only sell 27,000. Contract would have to be similar to Gill's, but the dollars would work, the fan base would be energized and the play should increase at a faster rate (hopefully). By the way, best of luck in the future to Coach Gill, a good man. Wrong position, wrong time and wrong contract though. Rock Chalk!

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Scut Farkus 2 years, 4 months ago

It will not be Leach while the lawsuits are pending. My guess is Stoops at around $750K. Give him a year to see what he can do with the core Gill has left. A good risk at a good price. A history with Zenger doesn't hurt either.

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SELFANATIC 2 years, 4 months ago

Bring on the fire and brimstone of the salty pirate!

I can only imagine what his halftime an postgame speeches would have been like this year.

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Eybea Opiner 2 years, 4 months ago

KU is a graveyard for football coaches. We'll be lucky to get a top-notch assistant or position coach to accept a job here. You inherit crap and have two years to get us to a bowl, or adios.

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irvan moore 2 years, 4 months ago

yep, leach is the dream coach, maybe, we can hope. he's smart enought to fill the gaps with a couple or few juco players and bring back the possibility of winning, i'm going to think/hope zenger can hit a home rin on a hire, i just hope they are smart enough not to insult a name coach with an offer lower than what tg was getting.

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Mike Anderson 2 years, 4 months ago

It is really a telling sign at how short-sighted Sheahon and Gray-Little are ... and this will be their down fall when the dust settles.

First they give Gill really only 1 year. Last year he is just coming in trying to get things setup - new system, new coaches, different philosophy. His players are not even Big 12 caliber players - to be truthful. Not sure there are more than two (not even sure who they are) who could start for OU, OSU, TX ... Yet they (Sheahon and Gray-Little) plus a number of KU supporters feel Gill should have won the Big 12 this year ... okay win 2 or 3 Big 12 games. Nice but frankly unrealistic.

Now they fire him and they expect to go out and get a top name coach. The guy who wrote this article listed some nice candidates ... actually very amusing. Does anyone truly believe KU is going to get a top flight coach? If you do - let me know what you are smoking ... I just might try it.

Why KU is not going to get anything resembling a top candidate ...

UCLA - Neuheisel is gone once the season is over AZ State - Erickson is gone Illinois - Zook is gone Memphis - whoever they had is gone TX A&M - rumor has it he is gone UGA - very easily could be looking for a new coach Ol Miss - looking for a new coach Colorado - just might be looking for a new coach

Before January 1 is here there will probably be another 5 to 6 openings. Most of these places would be better than KU from a football point of view. KU has no tradition as a football school. They just fired a guy and really gave him 1 year ... and this is after taking over a guy who had one good year. Otherwise got beat by the Big 12 south.

Sheahon and Gray-Little would have been better off waiting one more year. Shows they will give a guy a chance. They would not have been any worse off - KU's program isn't in great shape. Give them time to get their fiscal house in shape - better shape. Shows they are willing to give a guy a chance. And would not be fighting some good programs to get a good coach.

For all you Gill haters you got what you want. But in the end I believe KU will be worse off.

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manginorh00lz 2 years, 4 months ago

Bring in Leach, and I will buy season tickets for the duration of his contract.

Bring back Mangino, and I will donate $10,000 to the School of Engineering as well.

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JhawkalumJB 2 years, 4 months ago

There has been a Zenger sighting in Key West!!! (I wish)

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 4 months ago

Although I am a huge Leach Hopeful...they mentioned lawsuits with the NCAA and TTU. However, the lawsuit that prevented him from going to Maryland among other schools, is the lawsuit with ESPN. With ESPN holding our Tier 1 rights, that might actually prevent him from being hired.

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JayhawkNatn 2 years, 4 months ago

a little advice for the leaders at KU....go get YOUR GUY, don't settle, this is KANSAS! We are a major university, incredible campus, great leadership and oppurtunity for these young student athletes. This university knows how to compete at a national level, we do it EVERY SINGLE YEAR in basketball. We are 3 years removed from an Orange bowl voctory and 1 possession from competeing for a Nat'l Tiltle that year (man,I hate Missouri) Don't settle for some mid major unproven punk, (Sorry Houston fans)! Chris Peterson has done it consistently and correctly for a long time, you want him, go get him! Kirby Smart, take a lesson from the SEC, THEY WIN, go get the best they have to offer. If the DC at OKlahoma wants a shot a head coaching job then take him from Oklahoma. You screwed up by not getting Harbaugh a 2 years ago, go get the BEST, don't settle. Leach maybe a great fit, but he never won Championships at Tech, find a guy who wins Championships, not just games and the 7Eleven Bowl

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jhawkrulz 2 years, 4 months ago

Put this on the wrong article, but my dream:

Jim Tressel - Head Coach Mike Leach - Offensive Coordinator Stoops - Defensive Coordinator

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JhawkalumJB 2 years, 4 months ago

My vote in order of preference

1) Leach 2) Venables 3) Leavitt 4) Petersen 5) Fedora

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kenshinU 2 years, 4 months ago

Jim Leavitt all the way. I was at the game in 2008 when his USF Bulls beat the defending Orange Bowl Champs, our Jayhawks. Trust me, his players are tough. Also, look at where he has coached. He spent time under Bill Snyder. Interesting, because so did Mangino and Bob Stoops. Listen, the ONLY thing I don't blame Turner Gill for is that he wasn't ready to move into a BCS conference. That is all on Perkins. TG may have charisma and charm, but he went 20-30 in the MAC! 2 things KU must have for a next hire:1. Proven defensive success 2. Experience in the Big 12. It's that simple. Every school's top priority is not winning a national championship. It is winning the conference championship. KU has to bring in someone who understands how the Big 12 plays.

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DallasJayhawk1 2 years, 4 months ago

If we get Leach--you HAVE to have a QB that fits his offense--and that's someone who can light it up on passes--which currently we don't have. But, he would love to come back to the Big 12 again I bet.

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pepper_bar 2 years, 4 months ago

"Why it might not happen" for every one of these candidates: KU has a historically awful football program, and if you don't show results in two years, you're on the hot seat. For any coach that takes this job, there's a strong chance it'll be a career-killer.

Wonder why Tait only acknowledged this in one of these profiles, towards the end of the column?

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kenshinU 2 years, 4 months ago

Am I the only one who thinks it's sad that virtually anyone can figure out who our next coach is? I mean, seriously, we go from bed-wetter to fire-and-brimstone then back to bed-wetter. Why can't KU hire someone who actually wins games, regardless of how it looks? And the other failure of this article is the same reason why TG is such a horrible coach - there is more emphasis put on the offense than the defense. Mark my words, KU will be in the same predicament 2 years from now if they don't hire a defensive-minded coach. 50 PPG allowed?! Come on!

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phi4life940 2 years, 4 months ago

Venables or Peterson is my vote!

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swunruhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach may be looking at UCLA and that means we have another week to wait... Washington State may also be talking to him. Lots of openings this year. Hopefully SZ has most of the phone calling completed weeks ago and can close the deal quickly.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

All the speculation aside (and it''s great fun, I admit) I would bet that SZ already has his hire verbally committed and that he is just waiting for the lawyers and the Chancellor to give their blessing on making his announcement.

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MartyrMangino 2 years, 4 months ago

We're forgetting the man everyone knows is the only one fit for the job.

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boknowssports 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach got railroaded just like Mangino. The "closet" turned out to be a building the size of a gym. James was a punk who did not deserve to start at Texas Tech, so his daddy, who is an ESPN punk, threw his weight around as a dad and an ESPN announcer, and helped get Leach fired. It was all BS and Leach will prevail in his lawsuit. So don't put much into the Leach is an abuser BS. Bottom line, he took Texas Tech to bowls in all of the ten years he was there (I think).

So I would welcome Leach or Sumlin. Sumlin was the guy I personally wanted back when we hired Gill. Let's face it, we need to get someone who can get us the Texas high school recruits.......Todd Reesing ring a bell???,,,,, :)

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Andy Tweedy 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm a little surprise nobody has mentioned Luke Fickel. He did a pretty good job at a place with out of this world expectations and a ton of distractions and I'm almost positive he won't be kept around in Columbus (through not fault of his own). He might come at a decent price.

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hihawk 2 years, 4 months ago

gill shouldn't really feel that he is entitled to the 6 million, he probably will take it, but should feel like a lowlife as he does. That's just plain robbery;, and of course plain stupidity on KU's part. I doubt KU has learned its lesson yet, they seem to be pretty simple minded.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

The idea of Leach excites me...forget the baggage, there are dirty trick, black ops in college football these days. Naive if you don't believe that. Mangino, Leach were both the result of such foul play. As was Leavitt. As was Tressel. Dumbest firing of all. So, forget the idea of baggage. Can he win?

Leach, Tressel should be at the top and other proven winners as well. Venables has earned a look if he would consider it. Fedora too much of a gamble. We need someone who has won in one of the major conferences. No more up and comers, please. Someone who can recruit, someone who is innovative, someone who can manage, both a program and a game. Clearly, Gill could not do the latter. Awful.

If we cannot attract someone proven, hire Mangino back, take out the fire hydrant where he likes to park, and purge the University of Kansas of PC thinkers.

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sportjunky 2 years, 4 months ago

Urban Meyer. Still haven't heard him officially announced as the Ohio State coach. It is a pipe dream (that's putting it mildly, I think...), but he would be my top choice as the new KU coach! :-)

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RockinChalkinLA 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm rooting for Coach Sumlin.

I like the description of no nonsense, gets players to do what he wants done. Seems to have been able to recruit to a smaller school. And a proven winner. I see no down side to this hire.

RCJH

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Dick Sengpiehl 2 years, 4 months ago

Crucial hire. People were surprised when Roy Williams was hired for BB. Have confidence that Zenger will know enough about football to make good selection. Gill just wasn't ready for the Big 12, likewise Terry Allen. Must be good recruiter, particularly out of Texas. Although Perkins built facilities, he did not make one good hire. Was really incompetent and ran a program gone amok. Gill good man. Wish him the best. At least with 2 million a yr he won't be homeless.

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Layne Pierce 2 years, 4 months ago

Besides the coach, the question is how much do we want to pay. Are we all on board for paying the 2 million as established, or do we want to go bargain basement. I think out best bet is look at every top assistant in the country and set a maximum salary of $1.5 million per year.

Nobody likes sloppy seconds. For example is Kirby Smart better than the defensive coordinator at Michigan State, Pat Narduzzi. You want tough defense, watch Michigan State play.

The key for the AD and the committee is to get the right person for the right price. Optimum is a great coach for no more than 2 million. Keep in mind, the next coach is going to get more than 2 years, no matter what.

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Mike Anderson 2 years, 4 months ago

What a list ... only one or two guys on that list worth looking at.

Leach & Leavitt - no way, both bring more baggage than is needed. Fulmer and both Stoop brothers - what a joke Petersen - you got to be kidding me, why go from a power house to KU ... just becuase it is in the Big 12 ... arrogance Sumlin - is nice but why leave Houston whose football pass is as good if not better than KUs. He has something going ... why leave. Calhoun - only reason for him money, Air Force would be an excellent place to work. You go to an Air Force game and you know you have been to a football game .. KU ... no way, nothing like Air Force

Who does make some sense -

Fedora - young and could be here for some time but I sure would not gamble on KU if I were him. I would stay where I am. Doeren - young and again might stay. But he also knows the unrealistic expectations that were placed on Gill, he knows the type of players that Gill had to play with against a Big 12 that was much better than the past. Venables - maybe ... better than Leach or Fulmer or those others who blew it. Smart - another maybe ... coming from the SEC he might attract some talent and his mentor is one if not the best

If KU were lucky ... maybe Fedora, Doeren, Venables or Smart would take the chance. The others - they are in better spots or are not the type you want.

Bottom line - KU made a mistake ... 2 years not enough.

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Ralster Jayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Getting a D-coordinator is focusing too much on 1 aspect of our lackluster team. Players will change, but the head coach you hire will remain and will be bringing all new players in...along with his own offensive philosophy, etc...Go for the all-around competent pick this time, jeez...

And for the easiest question posed above: How will KU outcompete the other coaching vacancies? Money! Lots of it. But this time offer it to a proven winner. Approach $2.5mil+ to a proven guy who gets to bowl games. There's many KU donor alumni that want BigXII football respectability, and regular bowl appearances. A proven pick should be supported by top dollar.

I wonder if the $2mil that Gill got was actually an enticement to Harbaugh or whoever, and it was declined, so Gill got it by default? Sorry for the pointless speculation, but it is such a spectacular fail and piece of fiscal irresponsibility that has me baffled by the usually savvy Lew...

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okiedave 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach? wasn't he fired for being too abusive to his players? Isn't that what got Mangino fired?

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Andy Tweedy 2 years, 4 months ago

The two things I would really like to see, above all else, is that the coach has two qualifications. First, they need to be young enough to be in the coaching game for a while, and second, they should have some sort of ties to the area so they aren't here simply to get a better job. Other than that, I'll trust the AD to pick the guy with the best credentials. Of course, I think I did that two years ago, and look where that got us!!!

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unklemonkey 2 years, 4 months ago

The SEC is head and shoulders above the rest of the nation and has been for almost 10 years. Why shouldn't KU try their hardest to get Smart, the two-time champion defensive coordinator of the best defense in the best conference?

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Granitestatah 2 years, 4 months ago

Agree with the above posters but no mention of Charlie Weiss? Great offensive mind and was also a top notch recuiter at Notre Dame. Was pretty popular around KC this time last year..............

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Robert Brock 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHH.

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Robert Brown 2 years, 4 months ago

Certainly Leach would be the homerun pick. But Leach's name comes up with almost every coaching vacancy. And Leach knows exactly what the obstacles are at KU. None of the other coaches listed really excite me. Remember, these guys will also be candidates for other coaching vacancies.

It seems like Venebles has been a candidate for a head coach for ten years. I think he was a finalist when KU picked Mangino. Why has he not made a move? Stoops is relatively young and will be at OU for several years.

I would like someone who can put together a defense that can slow down Big 12 offenses. After the Orange Bowl season, Mangino teams never stopped anyone. It is very frustrating to watch. Of course, Mangino's last two years did not compare to the frustration of the last two years under Gill.

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TheGiftedOne 2 years, 4 months ago

A&M is about to fire Mike Sherman IMO. They are going to want a fresh start going into SEC play next year. A&M is going to have first choice from this list of available coaches. Just a thought.

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chalky 2 years, 4 months ago

Hire Venables, and tell him to bring Geneo Grissom, and Blake Bell, back to Kansas where they belong.

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bville_hawk 2 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

Petersen would get to play Paterson every year. Either would do well at KU. Like Kirby Smart. I disagree that he would be waiting for a bigger ship. Lots of good candidates but please, no unknown this time. Would not compare Petersen to Hawkins either. Also like Leavitt. Why not Mangino? Bring him back just like we did Fam. KU, the school of second chances.

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stravinsky 2 years, 4 months ago

My top five candidates:

  1. Urban Meyer / Jim Tressel. Both are out of coaching, and have some flaws that might dissuade major programs from being as interested (Meyer's health problems, Tressel's massive NCAA infractions). Both could be value buys and have BCS bowl wins on their resumes.
  2. Joe Paterno: history of winning, only living NCAA coach to have coached alongside Moses in the first Tostitos Sinai Bowl, and might be interested in coaching for the school he beat in his first BCS appearance, of which he is the only surviving witness.
  3. Nick Saban: seems to like moving teams every once in a while, and I doubt he could resist a good fix-me-upper. Besides, blowing out top 5 teams at 'Bama has got to be getting boring.
  4. Quadruple Stoops: while many of them already have good coaching jobs, how could Bob, Mike, Mark, and Ron Jr. turn down an opportunity for a family reunion? Hire all four!
  5. Zombie "Bear" Bryant: our med school has been getting better and better, and at this point, it's probably worth taking the lid off of that test study in reanimation. You risk that he might cause a stir by physically assaulting a player (he coached in a different era with different expectations, and now has a hunger for brains) but would likely bring success if that could be contained.
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Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Stop it with the negative waves man.

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hammerhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Come on, Zenger, now it's time for YOU to earn your huge salary. And you better hire a WINNER or you are next.

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Ed Fox 2 years, 4 months ago

Outside of Kansas the Orange Bowl year was a scheduling fluke (and likely a result of that hated AD's connections more than merit). No short memory, just question its value in this coaching search. What big name coaches do we think were interested before the last two years? You think AD alone will change that? Besides facilities, something a lot of schools can claim, what makes KU in 2011 terribly attractive? Add Big XII issues and there are a lot of schools ahead of KU on the coaching vacancy list.

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Dan Pawlowski 2 years, 4 months ago

Challenges are avoided by people not wanting to succeed.

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Jayhawk1958 2 years, 4 months ago

Would love to see how Mangino would do under Z.

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Kyle Sybesma 2 years, 4 months ago

All good candidates. I'm concerned about how many would be interested in the job. No way Peterson leaves Boise St for the KU job. Leach would be a great hire for any program so why would he choose KU? I like Fedora but as Matt mentioned he may take the 'Ole Miss job. Mark Stoops and Smart I'd imagine are waiting for bigger jobs. We didn't see Houston Nutt's name. I think he should have been listed on here. Leavitt has strong ties to SZ and the midwest which makes me think he's the leader.

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Geekinout 2 years, 4 months ago

All the names mentioned sound great to me! Can't wait for next year already...

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rockwall 2 years, 4 months ago

Was it Matt that mentioned Pat Fitzgerald from Northwestern? Might be a good visit. Leavett and Z are buddies, watch him.

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Ryan Lee 2 years, 4 months ago

Peterson is a dream. I'd go after Fedora. Leach is overrated.

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bjejayhawk69 2 years, 4 months ago

  1. Leach
  2. Venables
  3. Mark stoops - only if he brings Mike as DC
  4. Leavitt - see above
  5. Sumlin
  6. Doeren

Don't care much for the rest - Calhoun-no name coach. Smart - is their defense good because of him or the fact he gets some the best athletes on the planet. Fedora would be a maybe because of his Texas recruiting ties. Fulmer - never.

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Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 4 months ago

I would say Sumlin, Mark Stoops and Venables would be my top three. And Dave Doeren fourth.

All have considerable recruiting experience in this area...all four have either coached in the Big 12, or are directly connected to people who have or do. I would be happy with any of them.

Leach? Only if he drops the lawsuits....or guarantees that they will be settled....or something in his contract that says they will be settled by July 2012...something to that effect. You can't have that hanging over the program.....EVERYONE will negatively recruit against this guy.....his legacy in college football is set...he's damaged goods. He's a screwball anyway.......he'd say something that would offend someone....who knows what other lawsuits would await.

look at TTech. after he leaves, in two years they're 5-7. He did not leave that program well. what would he do at Kansas?

Fedora? the Ole Miss job is probably his...if he wants it. i think he would always be looking for the next gig.

Fullmer, no. too old. Calhoun, no. we need to pass the ball some.

Mr. Smart from Alabama...an interesting nugget. I would at least put out the feelers to see if he's interested. we'd play defense for sure.....he's not too young. as long as you can coach, you're good. and it sounds like he's learned how to do that.

Let's just get someone in here who prepares the program every day to win football games....whether it's on March 15, Aug. 15 or Nov. 15. Every day is looked at and the question is asked, "how do we win a football game today?" that question, I KNOW, was not asked by the previous staff.

Go Jayhawks!

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rcaltrider 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach. And word is Mike Stoops is headed to Columbus as defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer.

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Lance Hobson 2 years, 4 months ago

Venables - great but he really is probably waiting for Snyder to retire. Calhoun - awesome but is faithul to AF, like his mentor Fisher DeBerry Leavitt - I like it Leach - If we can get him. Ego might be too big to have around. Mark Stoops with his brother as D coordinator - that would work

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Warren 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm on the Urban Meyer bandwagon.

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Ed Fox 2 years, 4 months ago

People. This is Kansas football. Coming off of firing a coach after only two years. And when he was himself was supposed to be rebuilding. Without scandal. There are going to be a lot of good jobs out there and people are seriously overestimating how this place is almostly certainly looked at as career suicide. The big names aren't coming unless for a mmuch bigger package than many of you are complaining about Gill having. MUCH bigger. Either prep to bankrupt KUAD or hope a low profile, but great fit, can turn this around because KUFB is in serious trouble and, even if today's decision was correct, it won't make getting a big name coach any easier.

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Jayhawk1958 2 years, 4 months ago

My no. 1 choice is Venables and then he hires Mike Stoops as DC. 2nd choice is Mark Stoops. DC at a national power program. I don't think we will have a difficult time in getting a big name because all they have to do is see the success Mangino had here, and a top 10 school in facilities.

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FreddyinLA 2 years, 4 months ago

Nolan Cromwell Kansas High School Athlete of the Decade Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year at QB NFL All-Decade Team as a DB Played in 1 Super Bowl, coached in 3. Special Teams coach in NFL for Super Bowl winning Packers. Offensive Coordinator at A&M for 2 years.

Matty's list Big Yes - Calhoun Yes - Leach, Fedora, Petersen, Sumlin, Venables If all else fails - Doeren No - Leavitt, Stoops(both of them), Smart Are you kidding - Fulmer

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CHEEZIT 2 years, 4 months ago

Where's the guy that said Urban Meyer. Give him 4 mil a year!

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Dillon Davis 2 years, 4 months ago

I think we have an advantage with Leach because I think he'd welcome a return to his old conference and a chance to take on his former Tech team. Plus he can recruit in Texas and he knows the area.

I like the fact that Reggie Mitchell is our interim coach, I think that shows that Zenger wants to keep him here. If anyone is retained it absolutely needs to be Mitchell, and maybe David Beaty but I wouldn't be heartbroken if he left.

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Kent Wells 2 years, 4 months ago

Come on Matt. We need the odds!

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levicircle2 2 years, 4 months ago

You've listed some great possibilities, but KU will be up against some other big names for these folks. Penn State, Illinois, probably Arizona State, UCLA, Washington State, Mississippi...plus numerous "smaller" openings like Tulane, Akron, etc - there are only so many Leach/Stoops/Sumlin's to go around. Add to that the perception (okay, the reality) that KU is a "basketball school", with football #2 in fan support...well, good luck to AD Zenger - he has his work cut out for him.

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Marc Frey 2 years, 4 months ago

There are other programs looking for head coaches. Where does KU stand in that line?

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Ed Noyes 2 years, 4 months ago

Has Nolan Cromwell ever showed any interest in moving to college coaching from being an exceptional NFL coach?

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sevenyearhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

If you're going to trot out Phillip Fulmer (not a bad idea, by the way) then why not GLEN MASON?!?!?

I know that one of his former assitants Golden Pat Ruel is currently living in Iowa or Nebraska ... what his number? ;)

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jhawkjunkie 2 years, 4 months ago

Please, oh please, OH PLEASE get Brent Venables!

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Jeremy Bolinger 2 years, 4 months ago

Several of these names don't make sense..... Chris Peterson? Mark Stoops? Hell even Mike Leach? Wow. I hope to GOD we can land one of these guys, but I highly doubt it!

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Tribehawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I keep hearing Leach's name mentioned, but is there any hard evidence that he is interested in the position or that KU would be interested in even tendering an offer? He hasn't exactly been quiet about his interest in other open positions, but I haven't heard him say a single thing about Kansas.

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TXBBall55 2 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Gill, thank you for your time in Kansas. Unfortunately (for all involved), I don't think you were the right fit for Kansas. You're a classy human being, and I'm sure all of KU nation wishes you the best.

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kesmithstl1 2 years, 4 months ago

Matt, how long have you had this story typed, and ready to hit upload? That was fast!

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