Monday, November 28, 2011


Sheahon Zenger has guts to hire Mike Leach


You can’t hire a football coach who is suing the network that holds the rights to some of your conference games and is suing a school in your conference.

Why not? You just can’t. Oh, OK, just like you can’t fire a football coach two years into a five-year, $10 million guaranteed contract.

Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger weeks ago determined adhering to the standard way of doing business and giving a coach at least three years to prove himself didn’t apply in this situation. So why should anyone think that Zenger will put his own convenience ahead of a chance to turn the KU football program from a national laughingstock into a winner? He won’t.

Zenger will pursue controversial former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach unless Leach puts up a hurdle in front of himself that’s just too big to clear. Zenger will pursue him because he knows Leach has the sort of pushy presence that can get recruits to come to Lawrence and has the know-how to develop them into better players once they get here.

The fact Leach isn’t afraid to say anything about anyone at any time makes him all the more appealing to a football program that has fallen so far so fast since winning the Orange Bowl and going 12-1 four years ago. These days, finding the cure to the common cold presents a far easier challenge than trying to sell season tickets to KU football games. Zenger lands Leach and in an instant those tickets become hotter than it was cold Sunday night at the Lawrence Airport.

So strong is the pull of the name Leach that more than just media members who get paid to turn over every stone shivered standing outside the Lawrence Airport terminal, waiting for the landing of an airplane that originated in Key West, Fla., where Leach lives. It turned out to be another Geraldo Rivera vault-opening. No Leach.

Leach’s “Air Raid” offense turned Texas Tech into such a force it had a 47-33 record in the Big 12 in his 10 seasons. And that record was built playing five games against the stronger South and three against North squads. Overall, he went 84-43. The new Big 12 schedule that has every team playing the other nine every year won’t scare Leach.

He had a winning record every year at Texas Tech, peaking in 2008 (11-2, 7-1).

Along the way, he offended many. Imagine that, a football coach saying things that upset people. In a popular YouTube video, Leach in a postgame presser after a loss to Texas A&M, referred three times to the players’ “fat little girlfriends.”

“As coaches, we failed to make our coaching points ... more compelling to them than their fat little girlfriends,” Leach said. “Now, their fat little girlfriends have some obvious advantages. For one thing, their fat little girlfriends tell them what they want to hear, which is how great you are and how easy it’s going to be.”


Texas Tech is located closer to a rich football pool of recruits than is Kansas, but Leach would have a couple of advantages recruiting to KU as well. For one, state-of-the art facilities. Also, recruits who visit Kansas will learn that the Jayhawks’ girlfriends tend to be in much better shape than the Red Raiders’ girlfriends.


Charles Bell 2 years, 4 months ago

The comment has already been made that the program is at rock bottom and will take years to repair. How many? The comment has also been made that a six or seven win year is acceptable at KU. This is going to be fun!!!!!! So just to make sure I understand this, the new coach will definitely not be African American (Kevin Sumlin) and he will be given at least four to five years to rebuild a program Gill left in such horrible shape. This is going to be fun! The chickens will definitely come home to roost like always and I expect Turner Gill will be blamed for everything for the next decade or so because KU will not win in the new big twelve with TCU and West Virginia and I for one can not wait. I mean the first African American coach in our history and he inherits a program that suffered seven straight losses and lost their starting offensive weapons and he was expected to win in arguably the best conference in the nation in two years! I can not wait for the next two years because the excuses will start to roll in . Wait I forgot the new coach who will no doubt be white will be given four or five years like Stoops at Arizona and Neuheisel at UCLA. How about Hawkins at Colorado who took over a bowl team and was still given four or five years. I forgot KU is traditionally a bigger powerhouse in football than those schools and the expectations are greater. I am an ex-KU fan and will be cheering against them in the future. The chickens always come home to roost!


harleyjspoon 2 years, 4 months ago

"By Tom Keegan

You can’t hire a football coach who is suing the network that holds the rights to some of your conference games and is suing a school in your conference.

Why not? You just can’t. Oh, OK, just like you can’t fire a football coach two years into a five-year, $10 million guaranteed contract.



Paul Christiansen 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach is almost a total genius.

In fact, the New York Times once wrote a huge article about him.

We desperately need a miracle coach (the likes of Bill Snyder) to turn this program Around and reinstate the University of Kansas' credibility.

Credit the chancellor and the Athletic Director for coming to their senses and making a change at Head Coach.


BillSelf4Prez 2 years, 4 months ago

Chalmers wants Mangino back!!! Im on board!!!


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

Okay Keegan, I am going with this. don't make me change my Avatar. Supposed to Say the Crimson Raider.


mikehawk 2 years, 4 months ago

For the life of me I can't figure out why the KU faithful (maybe it is because they look at things from inside or around Lawrence and not from my vantage point living in Oklahoma) believe top flight coaches want to come to a basketball school with a terrible (one good team per decade) history in their football program that gives their coaches two years to make good. Chris Petersen wants to leave Boise and come to Kansas? Sumlin who is red hot wants to leave Houston and come to Kansas? Really! Please people. Lighten up on the crack. We are either landing an up and comer who is desperate for a head job with his eyes on bigger fish down the road, a retread who has been a head coach and has been fired from a much better program (take Tressel off of that list because we have no chance to get him), or a coach with a tarnished reputation like Leach. Can anyone name me one KU head coach since Pepper Rogers who has left KU for a better job? Glen Mason to Minnesota? Not really! Let's get real here. We have to hire the best we can and for the love of the Lord, let's get behind him instead of imagining you wave a magic wand and turn KU into a year and year out football powerhouse. Somehow people seem to think we do it in basketball, so that means we can do it in football. How many and how often is Kentucky, Duke, Indiana, and North Carolina a powerhouse in football? How often is OU, USC, Alabama, LSU a powerhouse in basketball? Sometimes. How about Texas you say? My brother lives in Houston and has always reported you read very little about Texas basketball in the papers even when they have a good team. No one really cares about basketball there unless they have a super winner going late into the tournament. Oh, yea! Speaking of Kentucky football, I think the last time they had a good team Mike Leach was the offensive coordinator.


WilburNether 2 years, 4 months ago

What kind of moron would rush out to the airport to see if Leach was on that airplane?


RatherBGolfin 2 years, 4 months ago

I can only hope the biggest yacht in the KU nation is currently pulling into Key West port, flying the Jolly Roger.


okiedave 2 years, 4 months ago

Top 8 reasons Zenger will not hire Leach:

  1. He will run over Zenger and Gray-Litttle (who are "nice") with his spikes.
  2. He has the propensity to say what is on his mind and will embarrass the University at least once every year in a losing year and once each month in a winning year.
  3. He won't want to coach Football at a tradition rich basketball school in a traditional basketball state.
  4. He will most likely produce a winning team and his up-line supervisors will not be able to fire him without incurring the rath of the Jayhawk Nation.
  5. Everybody will think he is honestly halarious, except his supervisors.
  6. If he is ever fired, tradition says he is likely to sue..
  7. Zenger will realize the true reason Keegan is pushing Leach is because it will give Keegan better and juicier writing material.
  8. The only persons likely to be invited over to Leach's home will be local barristers and judges and Keegan.

Top reason Leach takes the job: 1. He needs the money to finance his lawsuits.

**Note to Leach: the above represent merely the rambling opinions of the author and are, more or less, based on satirical thought processes.


Jay_Hawkeye 2 years, 4 months ago

I hope we can win a coach like Leach. Having been a Tech fan before starting @ KU, I followed the whole Leach story. Its amazing what happened and how many people are ignorant of the facts. To bad it doesn't stop them from spouting off though. Sucks in TX you can break any contract for any reason and stomp on workers rights as long as you are the government.

Leach is a system coach. Other than Crabtree, name a player of his in the NFL. His record setting QBs? They were all told they sucked and were just a part of the great Mike Leach's system. If he is really as good as all the "experts" claim he is (by word of mouth, TTUs history and by the comments about his players) then who else could fix Kansas football up better?

The only drawback? Just make sure you say NO! to any more James' kids. No need to recruit students who lie to the press to make headlines, then quietly tell the truth in a courtroom.


Robert Brock 2 years, 4 months ago

Does Leach have the guts to accept the Kansas job?


Randy Bombardier 2 years, 4 months ago

If this is the way it is going to be then KU better learn to accept him the way he is and not try to mold him into something he is not.


hawkster007 2 years, 4 months ago

What is Keegan's obsession with Leach!!

This will be the most important coaching hire that KU has made, and will make, for a long long time. Zenger cannot let emotions or a prior working relationship with Leach affect the final decision, because Zenger will be the next person gone if he makes a bad hire. Let the chips fall where they may, if Leach is the best guy then so be it, but a very objective and detailed evaluation needs to be made instead of the kind of the spare no expense gut calls that Lew made during his tenure.

For all the supposed good that Lew Perkins did in increasing KU's athletic budget, his legacy will be the string of terrible decisions and actions his last few years on the job and out the door! It is hard to calculate the dollar impact, but I'm guessing the negative goodwill and long-term implications of his bad decisions (TG hiring, Bonnie hiring, ticket scandal, exercise equipment ethics issue, the $2 m phantom payment to Bonnie, signing most of KU's coaches for other sports to long-term contracts at significant pay increases as he was walking out the door (and many of these coaches should not have been rewarded and should have been on the firing block) are now offsetting the gains in the athletic budget.

And the coup de grace, giving TG a contract that actually rewards him for inferior performance. Lets see, should a contract require dedicated hard work for 3 more years to incent the earning of $6 m, or should a contract incent incompetence by guaranteeing the payment of $6 m within 90 days after termination - - not hard to figure this one out!

Lets just hope a much better process is in place for making this next football coach hire.


hihawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Good article, Tom, see how you inflamed all the stupid bloggers on here. HAHA, love it. Throw out a name and listen to all the jaw jackers flap that think they know what is best. Seems, that a lot of them were for gill when they hired him. I said form the start that he was not a coach and never was one to start with. Well, KU found that out after a laughing stock sign has now been place on its head and after a 6 million by out plus more for assistence coaches that it has one hell of a lot of work to get this mess cleaned up. Bring out the check books again for a new coaching staff. This has cost KU dearly, money wise and a reputation in sports that has completely distroyed.

Keep up the good work Tom, we need more people like you, good article.


FLJHK 2 years, 4 months ago

While many are addressing the trivial matter of who our next football coach will be, I'm taking on the headier task of proposing needed changes to the KU Fight Song.

I proposed a similar version to the below a year or so ago. It retains our historical base and keeps the same syncopation of the current song. I propose it only as an interim solution. Eventually we need a song that doesn't acknowledge MU or NU.

"Got a bill so powerful it made the Tigers wail Husked their corn and watched those sorry Cornhuskers bail" Cuz I'm a Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay Jayhawk...

(Just something to lighten up the discussion a bit).


Randy Maxwell 2 years, 4 months ago

Yeah Lubbock is about 100 miles closer to Dallas than Lawrence and in the middle of nowhere. If you can recruit there you can sure as hell recruit to Lawrence


Jayhawker111 2 years, 4 months ago

Please go talk to the KU players off the record.

Gill and other Coaches were not tough enough.

You have to say more that Okay --let's get them next week.

Sometimes helmets have to fly around the locker room to get the players attention.

As in business, you cannot treat every player / employee the same.

Some you have to kick in the butt and others you have to talk to softly - it all depends.

Gill is a good man, but Coaching staff needed to be more forceful with the players.


Displayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Hawkfan, if we had shown improvement over the course of the season, I would agree with you, but that didn't happen. There were some that were calling for KU to get rid of Gill before the season started, but I wasn't one of them. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but there had to be improvement, or a tiny spark or glimmer to get excited about ....... and that didn't happen.


hawkfan30 2 years, 4 months ago

It did not take "GUTS" for Sheahon Zenger to fire coach Gill it would have taken "GUTS" to keep him and do the right thing by giving him time to prove himself. However Zenger lacks the leadership to do what is right but instead caves into the media & fan pressure. Zenger didn't stop once to think of the players who came to play for Gill, continue to support Gill and those that have already "started over" when Gill came to Kansas. But we all know that athletic$ isn't about the college athlete anymore or doing right by them. It's about them making universities $$$. Congrats you all got what you wanted good luck getting a coach to come in now after demonstrating that KU football fans & media run the program.


Displayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

We need someone who can still recruit as well as coach! It's not the X's and the O's, but the Jimmy's and the Joe's! - Barry Switzer. I still say Dave Doeren would not be a bad hire for the reasons in my post above. Supposedly, June Jones is being well paid at SMU. But I will agree that we need to move fast if we want to get our #1 option.


CardHawkFan 2 years, 4 months ago

Well, if we plan on hiring any of the top names available, we better move fast. The Illinois job is now available and there is also a vacancy out in Tempe. Not sure what KU has to offer over those two, but I would guess that it is about the same. Make the move before we find ourselves scrambling forward. No Doeren or June Jones. Remember, Doeren lost to us and Jones' teams tend to under perform when up against top-level talent (run-and-shoot will not work consistently in the Big 12). I think both are great coaches, but if we can't get Leach, we need to go after a top coordinator that has proven he can put together a game plan to defeat top tier teams.


RaiderPower 2 years, 4 months ago

You would be very lucky to have Leach at KU. I know you think KU is some type of Stanford, but everybody else realizes you are just a state school in Kansas. Leach was run off because TT is run by a bunch of Good Old Boy's (GOB's) and Leach doesn't play that game. KU has sucked at football forever, with the exception of the Fat Boy, and Leach will win. How can you seriously think a high profile coach would want to come to Lawrence to compete every year against UT and OU?


Ethan Berger 2 years, 4 months ago

"Texas Tech is located closer to a rich football pool of recruits than is Kansas, but Leach would have a couple of advantages recruiting to KU as well. For one, state-of-the art facilities. Also, recruits who visit Kansas will learn that the Jayhawks’ girlfriends tend to be in much better shape than the Red Raiders’ girlfriends."

Keegan Deserves a pay raise just for this statement. As a Texan, this comment made my heart giddy.


DueFan 2 years, 4 months ago

Leach will NOT come to KU.

He will have better offers, better programs to coach.

We should pray that we land some up and comer who will not cost us much and will keep us going 6-6 every now and then.


Brak 2 years, 4 months ago

So basically if you want to come coach at the football powerhouse known as KU then you got 2 years to get us to a bowl game or you are OUT


MartyrMangino 2 years, 4 months ago

No way is Mike Leach the man for the job:

Enough said.


jhwkfan162515 2 years, 4 months ago

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


Displayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

I am liking Dave Doeren as the new coach for the following points. He is a Kansas guy - he went to Bishop Miege in Kansas City, so he should have some ties there. It's also unlikely that he will want to go anywhere else if he does turn the program around. He was an assistant on Mangino's staff, so he knows how to rebuild a program, and he was the lead recruiter for most of the players on KU's Orange Bowl team. He was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, AND he recruited most of their current players. (Note: Wisconsin is 2 plays away from being undefeated and potentially playing for a NC.) He almost beat KU this year with players he did not recruit, and players that were not as athletic as those at KU. (according to recruiting sites.) He has done a good job and has a winning record this year at Northern Illinois with those same players mentioned above. It's a pretty good resume' if you ask me.


troutsee 2 years, 4 months ago

We need a guy who is well grounded on how to build a strong defensive unit.


newmedia 2 years, 4 months ago

KU is too PC to hire Leach. Boy do I hope I am wrong!


bootlegger 2 years, 4 months ago

How about Marty Shottenheimer............


Dyrk Dugan 2 years, 4 months ago

memo to memhawk: the taxpayers will pay zero. it's all donors.

Leach is not the right fit. i will be stunned if we hire him. for us to hire him, he'd have to get the lawsuits settled....or drop them completely. You can't have that hanging overhead. Plus, what new lawsuits could emerge here? Just think if he has a struggle season.....(high probability, especially year one)...what reservation would he leap to then? some high volume tirade at the student union? on the sidelines? at his secretary in the office?

KU is a good school, with good traditions...a lot to offer. we need a head coach who treats people the right way, and is only thinking of one thing: how to win football games. He's out there.....SZ, go find him.


Martin Rosenblum 2 years, 4 months ago

Why don't these contracts have some sort of performance criteria built in? If the W/L numbers are not within a prescribed ratio in year one and two, then the buyout amount is substantially reduced. To structure a contract that can bring such profit to an under-performing coach is ridiculous. Buyout amounts should be for issues other than wins vs. losses.

Would any corporation expose themselves to such a financial threat for a leader who failed in his first two years of service? I hope the State of Kansas can justify such a scenario to it's taxpayers that makes the six million dollars seem more palatable in a payment to Turner Gill than for essential services in the multitude of areas that struggle to get budgeting for their programs and to maintain projects of a socially conscious nature.


jayhawkintexas 2 years, 4 months ago

Hire Erin Andrews for head football coach!! No problem getting recruits then!!! Lee Corso could be the offensive coordinator. He could wear Big Jay's head while calling the offensive plays!!!


Andy Tweedy 2 years, 4 months ago

Personally, I'd rather have a defensive guy, but if SZ were to get someone like Leach, I would be hard-pressed to be disappointed! We could put a cannon in the end zone like the Bucs, fly a pirate flag over Memorial stadium and maybe flood out the track and have little pirate ships floating around the field. Anything to get rid of that damn track, now that we've wasted $6 million that might have gotten it done!


Shawn Otrimble 2 years, 4 months ago

Any of you that talk bad about Leech and not remember watching Texas Tech games are fools. That was some of the most exciting football I have ever seen. I would love to see KU have the "Air Attack". If you want to build a Competitive football program and sell tickets to games, he would be the best hire. (if we can get him)


Ben Kane 2 years, 4 months ago

Looks like we can scratch Urban Meyer off of our list...


Eybea Opiner 2 years, 4 months ago

Keegan's so damned smart he ought to quit sports writing (I use the term loosely) and start coaching KU football. Maybe then he could be fired.


Ben Kane 2 years, 4 months ago

I really like Leach and thought he got hosed at TT.

at least our pressers will be nationally entertaining.


LogicMan 2 years, 4 months ago

It could work. If Leach (or Mangino) really wants to get back to the Big 12 as a head coach, he'd be wise to offer the following:

$1 per year salary, plus $100,000 per regular season win. Plus $200,000 for a minor bowl win, etc.

Drop the lawsuits.

Agree to routine anger management counseling and observation -- basically KU hires a psych to follow him around.


blackhawkjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Not sure why Leach is such a clear favorite over Leavitt or Sumlin. The ASU job just opened and I wouldn't be surprised to see that Leach might prefer the warmer climate and easier conference. The single-division format of the Big 12 will make it more difficult to hire a coach.


AcesWild 2 years, 4 months ago

well the talk our ad would hire leach is a joke he would check withbig 12 then ksu to make sure he do what they want after all there problem at ku when you recruits something not write my self i thing self

will move on kansas baskball will go threw floor kan will say what happen our ad use car sellman from ksu.


hitme 2 years, 4 months ago

Was that Urban Meyer having a beer in the Bird Dog Sunday night?

Naw, it was Mike Leach.

I'm kidding, right?


Kenny Nall 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm all for giving people second chances, but after the dubious Perkins racket, the Mangino incident and an ineffective Turner Gill, you would think they would want to go with a fresh start. Not someone who already has a poor reputation.


cobweb 2 years, 4 months ago

So you run off Mangino for being an abusive bully and hire a guy who was run off from Texas Tech for allegedly being an abusive bully? Interesting.


fatlittlegirlfriends 2 years, 4 months ago

Fat little girl friends is nice. But I suggest you YouTube "Mike Leach Profane Locker Room Rant"

And can we stop with all the "plane is flying in" and "staying at the oread" stuff. I already know he's coming to Lawrence because the Black Pearl was sighted at Clinton Lake.


Max Ledom 2 years, 4 months ago

Keegan shut up already. Turner is fired we get it you win. Second, hiring Leach would be the worst move for this program. The guy is a weirdo, more people dislike him then like him, and got chased out of his job the same way Mangino did.

Zenger will not hire Leach because he is not an idiot like you and knows what this program needs. A solid, fresh for the picking coach. With a solid image and the football pedigree to back it up. No softy though. He will be a "the ol ball coach" type of coach.

Stop posting articles on people who aren't our head coach yet in the city paper. I used to stick up for you, you now just make me sick to read your articles.

Do not hire Leach.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 4 months ago

If sheahoRn hires Leach then the theme song from the godfather will be played where ever he goes.


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