Tuesday, November 29, 2011

KU football turns eye to future

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger hangs out with head coach Turner Gill on the sidelines of practice in this Aug. 16 file photo. Zenger announced Gill was fired on Sunday.

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger hangs out with head coach Turner Gill on the sidelines of practice in this Aug. 16 file photo. Zenger announced Gill was fired on Sunday.


As some members of the coaching staff loaded cardboard boxes into vehicles outside of the Anderson Family Football Complex on Monday afternoon, Kansas University athletic director Sheahon Zenger met inside with the KU football team and a few remaining members of the staff.

The meeting began just after 4 p.m., lasted about 20 minutes and, according to sophomore running back James Sims, was about nothing more than getting the program back on track.

“He basically just talked about getting stuff corrected,” Sims said. “That’s pretty much what he was giving to us.”

Sims said Zenger did not share details of the ongoing coaching search to replace former KU coach Turner Gill, who was fired Sunday after going 5-19 in two seasons.

“No, sir,” Sims said. “Not yet. It was just about all the stuff that was going on and how we need to get it corrected and turned around.”

According to Sims, the Jayhawks liked what they heard.

“It was received real well,” said Sims of Zenger’s message. “We all respect the AD and the decision that he made, and we’re just looking forward to whoever’s coming in next.”

While the answer to that question remains up in the air, interim head coach Reggie Mitchell shed some light on the topic while speaking with a small group of reporters on a teleconference Monday morning.

Mitchell, who went through a coaching transition in 1999, when Nick Saban left Michigan State, said the important thing for the coaching staff was to maintain contact with KU’s recruits and keep working.

“Everybody’s professional,” Mitchell said. “We came here to do a job. We would love to be able to do it with coach Gill, but now that’s not possible so we just have to be professional and keep moving forward.”

Mitchell said the recruits who planned official visits for this weekend said they would take those visits and he remained optimistic about KU’s ability to keep the recruiting class of 2012 largely intact. As for attracting a new head coach, Mitchell, who currently is in his second stint with the Jayhawks, said that should not be difficult either. He also said it should be done in 10-15 days.

“Lawrence itself is a great place,” he said. “You’ve got a great academic institution in Kansas. And, when you think about it, there’s only 10 Big 12 schools. So for anybody that wants to coach at this level, Kansas is a great place to coach. I think it’ll sell itself.”

Asked if he hoped to stick around to be a part of the new staff, Mitchell didn’t hide his optimism.

“Yeah, I’d like to be a part of the staff here,” he said. “My wife’s a KU grad, and I spent 11 years of my life here. If it works out, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to find something else to do.”

For the next several days, Mitchell’s to-do list includes maintaining all aspects of the KU football program. He has been in constant contact with Zenger and also has helped coordinate meetings of the players and other staff members. Mitchell said he, wide receivers coach David Beaty and defensive-line coach Buddy Wyatt would be the only three members of the old staff on the road recruiting.

“Any decision that’s made with the football program, I’m gonna make those decisions,” he said. “Right now, we’re getting ready for finals, and then guys will be going home. So hopefully there won’t be anything that I’ll have to deal with that’s gonna be a big issue.”

Rumor mill

KU’s isn’t the only college football coaching job that’s open right now, and what happens elsewhere could go a long way toward determining which direction Kansas goes. Here’s what the Journal-World learned Monday:

There are a few names you can cross off the list: Jim Tressel, Mike Stoops and Jim Leavitt.

Sources told the Journal-World that Tressel would have no interest in the job. He also never was approached about it.

As for Leavitt, who currently coaches linebackers for the San Francisco 49ers, the timing may be the biggest obstacle for him. Although he has ties to Zenger, he would not be able to join the program for at least two more months because of the ongoing NFL season. Furthermore, the mistreatment of players that led to his dismissal at South Florida continues to be an issue.

It appears that Mike Leach remains KU’s top target, with Larry Fedora, of Southern Miss, not far behind. Fedora’s name is gaining steam at Ole Miss, and if the Rebels take him off the board, that could eliminate one of KU’s top options.

In addition, UCLA, which long has been rumored to have interest in Leach, appears to have pegged Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin as its top choices, making a Leach-to-Kansas move more plausible.

That leaves those two, along with Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Oklahoma DC Brent Venables and a host of darkhorse candidates as names worth tracking from here on out.

Gill releases statement

Gill released a statement through the university Monday.

“I would like to thank the University of Kansas for the opportunity to be its head football coach,” Gill’s statement read. “On behalf of our staff, I want to thank the players for putting their heart and soul into this football program the past two years. I hope nothing but the best for all their future endeavors, both on and off the field.”

Mitchell said his conversations with Gill since Sunday had been largely positive.

“He was disappointed that we didn’t get it done,” Mitchell said. “But he was still the class guy that he is. Upbeat, positive, he said if there was anything he could do to help, he’d be more than willing to do.”

Self talks football

KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self shared his thoughts on the football situation during his regularly scheduled news conference Monday.

“I think yesterday was a sad day,” Self said. “Everybody likes and respects Turner and his staff, without question. A lot of times in business you make decisions that are hard. But I know that we’ll be in good hands moving forward. I have total confidence in the administration to bring in a good guy, the right guy, and I certainly wish the best for Turner and his family.”

Asked for his opinion on where the KU football job ranked nationally, Self did not shy away from saying what he believed.

“I would rank it definitely as a good job,” he said. “I don’t think that the football job at KU is the equivalent of the basketball job at KU, because there’s not as much history and tradition. But I do think this. We’re still selling the same product. We’re selling the school, the education, the conference. I think it’s really a good job. And I think it will definitely attract a lot of people. It’s been proven that you can win big here.”

Self went on to stress the importance of football functioning as a money-maker for the university.

“I don’t know exactly where we’re at,” he said. “But I think basketball is close to maxed out as far as what we can generate. So I think it’s very important for our football program to be successful. We need football to be good also because football brings you an element of enthusiasm and energy to your campus ... There’s no revenue stream that this university can create that’s greater than putting people in the seats over there (Memorial Stadium).”


KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 2 months ago

I sure hope Aphersdfjakldhflexperience likes our new coach.

hawk316 10 years, 2 months ago

I'm concerned that because we have suffered such a "beat down" the past couple of seasons (actually the roller coaster turned south the last seven games under Mangino), there may be tremendous pressure on Zenger to hire a coach who can win and win now...regardless of character.

Character counts a great deal and should not be ignored or disregarded in the selection of the new coach. Ideally, we would hire a man of proven integrity, strong character and values who can positively impact the young men under his care (of course, Turner Gill fit this description to a "t"). In addition, we need a man who has a gifted football mind with a great understanding of the game and able to teach and inspire his players to perform (no question Gill could inspire others, but his weaknesses appeared to be in some of the other areas).

Zenger needs to take his time, ignore outside pressures, exercise caution and do his research. I believe he is a good AD and will do his best to bring in an excellent coach. Much wisdom is needed in this process, for sure.

gardenjay 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, I'm OK if Leach comes to KU. If he had problems with the dedication of his players at TT who can blame him for being upset since he's a professional. Perhaps KU can be good for him, although many KU fans on this site have proven to be awfully judgemental (judge and mental).

If football players want to work under Leach management, and it seems they do, why should we be the judge of it? I know his previous Univ. was upset with him, but so was our university with Mangino. Neither university handled those situations admirably in my view - both coaches could easily have been given more chances and teaching moments (which I think would have been appropriate, because I don't think they are perfect people).

I think most people do not realize that they would fare no better if they found themselves in these high pressure situations, where clearly winning is survival/success and losing is public humiliation. These types of situations must be invariably difficult on their health and well-being.

KU_Alumn_2000 10 years, 2 months ago

Gardenjay - I've spent 12 seasons as a youth baseball coach at the competitive / traveling team level.

Even at this level...the pressure to win from the parents was thick at times. I can't imagine what the pressure is like to succeed when you have a FBS fan base and media network breathing down your neck during every coaching decision made. There's a reason why these guys are paid a lot.

actorman 10 years, 2 months ago

Matt, you mentioned Mike Stoops and said we could take him off the list, then never said anything more about him. Not that I care that much, since I wouldn't want him anyway. But I'm curious why the mention and then no more details.

johnnyhrdwd 10 years, 2 months ago

He just failed as head coach of Arizona Einstein.

Matt Tait 10 years, 2 months ago

Was not given a reason on Mike Stoops being unlikely, just that he is. Could be wrong, could be right, but sometimes sources just tell you something without giving all the details. If you trust those sources, as I do in this case, you just run with it.

Sorry I couldn't share more. Stay tuned...

Norm Jennings 10 years, 2 months ago

Matt, is there a reason Kirby Smart seems to be out of most conversations related to KU's position?

Maybe he's one of the dark horses?

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Man, I think Venables is the kind of guy that inspires if you watch his units & how he conducts himself on the sideline. Unfortunately, I see this guy as K-State's next head coach. He would be a great hire in my opinion.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Personally, I would not be at all inspired by watching Venables' unit.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Who's unit would you prefer? You sound like someone that knows a lot about this topic.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Nope - I believe you're the one who brought up the whole "unit" subject.

Your defensiveness (which was better than KU's most of the year) tells me all I need to know.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

huh? Not a Gill supporter here. You think because someone has Nebraska in their name makes them a Gill supporter?

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

I just think it's childish to make a comment like you did that was sexual in content and had nothing to do with my statement. Grow up.

nuleafjhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

Lighten up Francis.

Humor is what I do. It may not always be funny to anyone but me - but that's the only person I'm trying to please.

Hope that last statement isn't too sexual in content for you.

average 10 years, 2 months ago

One rumor around is that Turner Gill might end up back at the U.Buffalo program he left. Give him 5-6 more years there, and maybe he can get his MAC record up to .500

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 2 months ago

Kicking a man while he's down. Classless.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 2 months ago

You didn't read the artile... Turner Gill is positive and upbeat like is that kicking him when he is down?

Additionally, he said if he could do anything for the program to help he would...I would suggest a $4MM payment to upgrade some facilities.

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 2 months ago

Kicking a man while he's still down? Are you being serious? He just got $6 million for doing nothing. And $4 million for winning 5 games in 2 seasons. Gill should be in jail for the robbery he just pulled on KU. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR COACH GILL! Feel sorry for CU's pathetic fooball and basketball teams.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 2 months ago

No Perkins should be in jail for giving it to him. You would have taken the money if offered. I did not disagree with the decision to get rid of him but I am not celebrating his firing. Show some class.

danmoore 10 years, 2 months ago

Can't imagine anyone hiring him as a head coach. The road back to D1 as a head coach would be a long and unlikly journey. I feel sorry for him and wish him nothing but the best.

Bion Ostrander 10 years, 2 months ago

"It appears that Mike Leach remains KU’s top target, with Larry Fedora, of Southern Miss, not far behind." And who is the source for these opinions?

It now appears that Tait and Keegan are the two main cheerleaders for Leach, but they have not cited or referenced any creditable KU sources for these "opinions." I don't believe that KU is significantly focused on Leach as this article implies.

Leach is the easy name to throw out, but I don't think it will happen. If KU was to hire Leach, he would need to resolve or drop his outstanding lawsuits against ESPN and Tech in the next 2 to 3 weeks before he is hired, and I don't see that happening.

KU needs to hire someone ASAP, but then again many of these better coaches will have ties to bowl games, so where does that leave KU? I guess a coach could do the usual "deny any contact or interest" thing and agree behind the scenes to take the KU job after the bowl season is over. But if KU delays a coaching announcement, they potentially lose recruits and if no one is waiting in the wings then the field of available coaches is narrowed with other schools looking for new coaches.

It is a very difficult situation....

Matt Tait 10 years, 2 months ago

We're not banging the drum for anyone, just reporting what we hear... Nothing coming out of KU on this and it's likely to stay that way until the thing is done. Zenger runs a very tight ship.

That said, there are other ways to discern KU's interest in these candidates, and from everyone both Keegan and I have been talking to, Leach seems very much like the top target.

I realize that things are not always what they seem, but that's where we're at here. May be him. May not. Time will tell.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the search!

Marcia Parsons 10 years, 2 months ago

Matt, what about Leach's reported "reluctance" to interact with donors? Wasn't that also one of the big complaints about Mangino?

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

lol are you kidding me? Who cares? A coach is there to win football games, not kiss up to everyone.

Chris Bailey 10 years, 2 months ago


I bet you bite your tongue more times in a day than you hear ROCK CHALK! Sometimes I don't get the people on here calling you out. I guess your skin must be as thick as the Hoover Damn! Thanks for reporting Matt!

jhox 10 years, 2 months ago

Venebles defensive unit at OU has been underwhelming, and we'll never have the kind of talent here, that he has to work with there. If it is a defensive coordinator we go after, I'd prefer it be the guy at Alabama.

danmoore 10 years, 2 months ago

Wasn't Bud Moore a DC from Alabama? Or maybe it was OC.

troutsee 10 years, 2 months ago

Please, please. Anybody but Mike Stoops. When watching Arizona games, old Mikey boy looked confused and baffled on the sidelines. If he could not win at Arizona, he is not going to win at KU.

Consider Glenn Mason strongly. You build a winning program with DEFENSE and toughness.

danmoore 10 years, 2 months ago

Couldn't beat Nebraska and was getting clobbered by Snyder late in his tenure. Minnesota fired him. Enough said.

jhawkjunkie 10 years, 2 months ago

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio has just been fired. A University of Kansas grad, a defensive coach who likes the running game and a former NFL player and coach. To me, a coach with NFL experience would do a great deal for recruiting. I know it may be the longest of long shots, but why not just pick up the phone and give him a ring. Maybe just get lucky and get a clean version of Pete Carroll.

jhawkjunkie 10 years, 2 months ago

May be a sign from above? Kansas is looking for a new coach, a Kansas grad gets fired. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

patrick_raftery 10 years, 2 months ago

Really interesting option ... but ... he'd have to change the tag line on his Foundation ( "Something Better than Self" would not really play all that well at KU - just sayin.

Joel Hood 10 years, 2 months ago

Somene explain why Leach would have to drop his lawsuits against TTU & ESPN before being hired? If he has legitimate legal cases, why should he be required to drop them? It may be awkward, but it should not prevent him from getting a job if an employer feels he is the right hire. Of course, that means the prospective employer should be allowed to evaluate the merits of the case.

On the plus side for Leach (not that many here care about it), while at TTU his team's performed well academically. Of course, we are talking about TTU standards.

On the down side, Leach was infamous for not playing nice with alums, fund raising, glad handing, etc., All the little things that a great D1 coach (see SELF in Wikipedia) must do to be successful. KUAI is especially dependent on alumni giving. In my opinion, Leach may not want to come to a university with those kind of expectations.

average 10 years, 2 months ago

At least in the spoken part of the story, Leach would be dropping the lawsuits "because they are a distraction to my new job of rebuilding a competitive football program", and neither he nor KU would make any further comment about the legitimacy of his other grievances.

WilburNether 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, one reason Leach would have to drop his lawsuits is that the KU Athletic Department has sold its soul to ESPN, and the devil doesn't like people he owns suing him.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

The biggest concern is you have a President of the University that has demonstrated she has zero sports administration to her resume', coupled with an athletic director from a "small/insignificant" college background, that hasn't demonstrated any modicum of success at Illinois State, and a Search Committee that clearly is responsible for the mess the football program finds itself. Their vision is small and uninformed.

The biggest challenge of a Mike Leach is the lawsuit and bad-blood between ESPN and the ongoing litigation against him. It may be too much of a grass-fire at this point and the four-letter network may have too much influence in the conference to allow him to be hired.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 2 months ago

First of all mustlehustle, there is no President of the University of Kansas. What do you know about what CHANCELLOR Bernadette Gray-Little (formerly the Provost of the University of North Carolina) knows about athletics? Are you some friggin fly on the wall in Strong Hall? There was no Search Committee that hired Turner Gill. That was done by Lew Perkins shortly after the arrival of the current CHANCELLOR. With the Ticket fraud mayhem and other aspect of mismanagement and indiscretions by Lew Perkins (that led to his demise), I think that the CHANCELLOR has done an admirable job in taking us through what can be only characterized by rough times for KU Athletics, which I believe, has affected our recruiting. Moreover, she runs a University, not just KU Athletics and her actions include hiring a new Provost, 2-3 new Deans, and charting the course of the University in tough economic times. She has also instituted reorganization of the University's oversight of KU Athletics and hiring Zenger whose experience by the way, goes well beyond "small/insignificant" college background. Zenger took timely and well thought out action on removing Turner Gill and I am confident that he will make a sound decision regarding the next head football coach. In effect, both the CHANCELLOR and Zenger are taking actions that are in the long term interest of the UNI VERSITY OF KANSAS.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

I stand corrected...."Chancellor" Gray but you reinforce my point by providing her previous position and experience is from a predominate basketball school, who had no trouble poaching Kansas' former basketball coach, and whose football program is equally as hot of mess as Kansas

If you think the ticket scandal has effected recruiting, I am confident you must have been part of the keystone cops appointed to the previous Search Committee. The very same committee that lowered their sights to the Missouri Valley Conference in hope of finding someone experienced to lead the athletic department?

Whereas I appreciate the "academic" side of the University and the duties of "Chancellor" Gray, this is specific to the football program. The amount of television revenue at stake is simply critical to the "long term interest of any University, particularly the Kansas' of the world. If you look around the Conference, Kansas finds themselves "years" behind every other program. They're behind in facilities, behind in recruiting, and behind in having the pieces in place to begin the process of running to catch-up to the others.

Every single University with a formidable Football program, is immersed in making certain their University has every available resource on a booster, endowment, and state government level to assure their "football" program is operating at its very highest level.

The football program is the "front porch" of every University fielding a team. In a time where athletic programs are being cut due to the recession and disposable income of its boosters, the television revenue is critical to the life of any athletic department.

Its an antiquated argument that a University can survive as a basketball school, and too much focus is on Athletics instead of Academics. Its a successful football program that creates revenue for both entities and excels them though "tough economic times."

Sam Constance 10 years, 2 months ago

"They're behind in facilities, behind in recruiting, and behind in having the pieces in place to begin the process of running to catch-up to the others."

Not sure what you are basing this information on. KU has recently undergone quite a few facilities upgrades.

As far as being behind on recruiting and the "pieces", that is going to be a given at any school that is in the midst of coaching change. Nothing to be done about that, unfortunately.

Furthermore, as long as KU is in the Big 12, football revenue will not be a problem. The matter of whether the Big 12 will exist in 6 years is another issue entirely, however. I personally think it will be, but I can understand doubts on that front.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

Compare the "multi-purpose" facility the football team plays at, to Oklahoma State, or Texas, or Oklahoma and you'll quickly see my point.

My comments are to challenge Kansas not be average, not to pick the "lowest hanging fruit" when it comes to replacements and have an attitude to "be the best, you have to hire the best

Based solely on the fact the Jayhawks play on a "multi-purpose" field and Texas high school players from the Class 4A and 5A programs, are playing in "football stadiums" during their regular season, some of those schools, have million dollar indoor practice facilities on their high school campuses. You're simply not going to attract the tier 2-3 players and hopefully in-time the tier 1 players on a field and facility that looks like a "Missouri Valley Conference" facility.

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 2 months ago

Stadium does need upgrading and a new track facility needs to be developed elsewhere. We also might want to build an indoor practice facility for football. That is a lot of bucks however. Otherwise, we are competitive.

Sam Constance 10 years, 2 months ago

Okay, but you just cited arguably the three most successful (and therefore well-financed) football programs in the conference. And of those three, only Texas has the kind of financial dedication to basketball that Kansas does.

I love the enthusiasm and the idea of striving to be as good as we can be, but don't you think those particular benchmarks are a bit unrealistic for KU?

And is the track around the field really that big of a deal? I ask because any change to the stadium that involves removing that track is an extremely expensive project. We're talking about ripping out the track and lowering the new field that was installed not long ago or completely re-building the stadium from scratch. I'm not sure the negatives of the "multi-purpose" label (i.e., a track around the field) outweigh the cost of change.

Now, if we had T-Boone writing the checks, maybe it becomes more realistic...

Clarence Haynes 10 years, 2 months ago

Again, there was no search committee for Gill. UNC's situation does have similarities to KU's program. Notwithstanding, to say that the Chancellor has no experience is false. Also, I have not asserted that KU can survive on B-Ball alone. What is more important is to have the proper organization, personnel, controls, and gameplan in place to make the footbal and overall athletic program successful and profitable.In my opinion, actions taken by the Chancellor and Zenger are consistent with achieving that objective.

Sam Constance 10 years, 2 months ago

A mere 5-10 years ago, athletic directors were not the kind of pseudo-celebrities that they have become in the 24/7 news cycle of sports.

The arrival of Perkins, combined with the fact that sports coverage now just blankets every available piece of information has led to an increase in the profile of ADs, and increased scrutiny with their "background".

The fact that KU is Zenger's first "BCS level" AD job is irrelevant. He has experience at big-time programs, having been around the KSU program in the late 80s, when Snyder was transforming that program from being the laughingstock of college football. The fact that he wasn't the AD himself at KSU isn't necessarily relevant, especially since he did have a run being the decision-maker at Illinois State.

He has an enormous network of colleagues and connections within the college athletics world and is a Kansan to the bone. Unlike with Perkins, we know Zenger will make decisions because he feels it is the best thing for Kansas, and not because of some piece of exercise equipment.

He's a "football" guy and a smart one to boot, having a PhD

He has already demonstrated the ability to be a stabilizing force in tumultuous times, through the conference realignment and Turner Gill situation.

He's shown the ability to make difficult decisions based on what's best for his university, rather than what is "fair" under "conventional practice" (aka, the supposed three-year minimum rule for new coaches)

And honestly, for those of us that are excited about the prospect of Mike Leach, he seems to give us as good a chance to land him as any AD would, given his personal ties to him.

I will agree with you, however, that the Leach vs. ESPN issue makes me nervous. ESPN is too large for their own good, and even though it's probably not an issue, you never want to potentially be on the wrong side of someone (or something) that wields so much power.

My only hope is that ESPN can look back in hindsight and recognize that their behavior in relation to the Leach/James situation was, at best, grossly unprofessional and at worst, journalistic negligence and slander. How anyone at that organization thought it would be acceptable to have someone who was directly involved in a legal/employment issue make an uninterrupted, 2-3 minute editorial commentary about said issue is beyond me. Even if Craig James' had a shed of professionalism and could give an objective, balanced account of the matter, it's a bad idea. And as it turns out, Craig James has no integrity and is just a football version of a pageant mother and used his 2-3 minutes to lambast Leach and put undue pressure on Texas Tech to take disciplinary action when there was no evidence that any was warranted.

I guess that shows just how bad Gill was--he's brought me to such a point of low expectations for football that I would gladly take a proven winner, even if he might have some troubles with The Worldwide Leader.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

You're dead-on about the hypocrite dog that is Craig James, who was at the epicenter of SMU scandal. I have nothing against Zenger, my comments are simply directed at a time when television revenue, booster dollars, and recruiting are at a sophisticated level, the sights for an athletic director were from the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Kansas football program finds itself behind every single football program in the Conference, and in every category. There is a very unexpected window of opportunity that has been presented to Kansas, to capture some of the Texas high school football player market, with Missouri and A&M leaving the Conference. However, the addition of TCU, will begin to close that window.

There are approximately 400 Division 1 football players each year available in the State of Texas and "if" Kansas hires a football coach that already has a long-standing relationship with the high school coaches and programs in the State, that will escalate their program. If it isn't Leach, I continue to effort "Chad Morris" as a viable candidate. Both have years and years of credible and respectable reputations in the high schools in the State of Texas.

Sam Constance 10 years, 2 months ago

Something worth noting:

Wasn't one of the feathers in Gill's meager cap the fact that he had Texas HS recruiting ties and would be able to recruit Texas with ease? I seem to remember that being one of the positives when he was hired, in spite of

I heard that he wasn't recruiting Texas at all, let alone well.

I bring that up just to point out that ties to Texas aren't necessarily a sure thing...

Scott Murphy 10 years, 2 months ago

Matt, do we not have any interest in Chris Peterson or is it that he would have no interest in us? I personally think Zenger needs to go all in for Sumlin which is who I thought they should have hired back when they hired Gill.

Matt Tait 10 years, 2 months ago

Petersen's a longshot at best... He's an attractive candidate and I'm sure KU at least checked in to gauge his interest. But he's very happy at Boise, has passed up a ton of great offers in the past couple of years and may have more intriguing offers this year.

Don't expect him to be in the mix. Looks like he may be the front-runner at UCLA, though.... If he wants it.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

Matt....ask the Longhorns how that "gadget" offense of Petersen is translating on a bigger stage. "Bryan Harsin" the OC at Texas who was Petersens' OC at Boise, hasn't been able to make it work. In order to compete with the SEC, the Big 12 teams are re-tooling to a more run-oriented offense.

Chad Morris at Clemson has the pelts on the proverbial wall in Texas high schools to immediately make Kansas a legitimate alternative for recruits from that State. Look at what Morris has done at Tulsa and now at Clemson to understand that he's a player's coach. Rest assure, he'll bring the defensive personnel required for Kansas, and also the player talent from Texas.

KGphoto 10 years, 2 months ago

How about Manny Diaz? I would love to snatch him from under Mack Brown after just one year. He is going to be a head coach somewhere before long. I'd have to put him right there with Kirby Smart.

justinryman 10 years, 2 months ago


...and Chryst at Wisconsin will be coveted soon too.

FreddyinLA 10 years, 2 months ago

Seems as though the last search for a FB coach was by a committee, which included members, in reading their bios, who knew very little about football.

Looks as though Ziggy is flying solo or keeping it in house on this one, which is the way it should be.

Jim Pendleton 10 years, 2 months ago

Jhawkjunkie - I don't know where you got your info, but Jack Del Rio is not a KU grad. Played football & baseball at USC. Played for several NFL teams, including the Chiefs for a couple years.

His time with the Chiefs was probably best remembered for an incident during the '87 strike where he and Bill Maas were standing in the back of a pick up with shotguns riding thru the stadium parking lots taunting replacement players.

Doesn't sound like the kind of guy I want as our next coach. Not to mention that he hasn't done much with the Jags.

KGphoto 10 years, 2 months ago

He did get a poli-sci degree from KU while he was playing for the Chiefs, and actually seems more like a college coach than a pro coach. I'm not advocating the hire, but junkie is not unfounded.

RockChalk26 10 years, 2 months ago

While he was with the Chiefs, Del Rio earned a undergraduate degree in political science from KU in 1990.

He doesn't have deep ties to Kansas but they are ties none the less.

Nick Cole 10 years, 2 months ago

Del Rio got his undergrad degree in political science from KU while he played for the Chiefs. He is a USC guy, but a KU grad b/c it's where his degree is from.

Nick Cole 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow! w/in 20 minutes you got three people who have proved you wrong. Do a little better research next time.

Jim Pendleton 10 years, 2 months ago

My bad, I apologize. However, for the record and since I am being accused of not having researched this, I did do a little research, and none of the three sites I looked at said anything about him getting a degree at KU. Obviously I didn't remember him doing that during his time with the Chiefs.

That being said, his activities during the '87 strike that I mentioned earlier would be a huge negative for me in bringing him here. It was amazing to me he ever got any kind of coaching job, let alone NFL head coach, after being involved in that fiasco. Let's just pass here, and move on!

jhawkjunkie 10 years, 2 months ago

Not to beat a dead, but the Jacksonville Jaguars website states he got his political science degree while playing for the Chiefs.

Spencer Goff 10 years, 2 months ago

I have to tell you, wins-losses-whatever, comparing Roy Williams' attitude towards the rest of the athletic department and Bill Self's are night and freaking day.

At one point I worried that sinking money into football would pi$$ him off (like it did Roy), but I have no worry about that now, Bill gets it. He just freaking gets it.

Sam Constance 10 years, 2 months ago

"Bill gets it. He just freaking gets it."


Self is one of the most endearing sports personalities in the world today. He combines personal likability and big-picture comprehension with professional success, which is a deadly combo.

I loved Ol' Roy and his heart-on-sleeve ways (and hold absolutely no ill-will for 2003), but Self has built the kind of goodwill that makes me want to fight for him if he ever does get to a place where he's struggling to achieve results (and no, to the recruiting snipers, his recent recruiting lull does not count as "struggling to achieve results"). I can't think of a sports personality in my relatively short lifetime that I would be more distraught to see leave my team.

justinryman 10 years, 2 months ago


The football program brings in more money than the basketball program. And the basketball program at KU does very well for itself.

They already have updated facilities for basketball, the coaches that Self has are loyal and not money hungry. So how else would this money be used by Bill Self and the basketball program? What to pay players? We are not Kentucky and Calapari.

KGphoto 10 years, 2 months ago

Thanks. I was going to but didn't want to waste the effort.

justinryman 10 years, 2 months ago

Football revenue is $17,676,175 Basketball revenue is $15,737,145

That's a difference of 1,939,303 in favor of the football program. Easy internet search.

I have actually met Roy Williams and it was after he left Kansas, a very nice guy and I have nothing against him. He went home and I will never fault a coach for going home to coach. As far as UNC, classy program nothing against it either.

Calapari has only 1 Final 4 appearance that is in the record books and that was from last year. All his others have been taken away by the NCAA because of his illegal doings.

justinryman 10 years, 2 months ago

Calapari also had Memphis in the Final Four, 2008, but he had to vacate that all due to his wrong doings at both UMass and and Memphis. The NCAA took those banners away from him so, he may have gotten teams there, but per the NCAA he didn't. That is a fact!!!! Look it up.

His time at UMass was a little more than just a few years ago, speaking of facts. Try he was there from 1988 to 1996.

I used 2 different web sites to get my numbers, I did look them up and did not lie about them.

And you brought up Roy Williams, not I. Look above!!!

And I didn't even have to resort to name calling in my post.

nwhawk 10 years, 2 months ago

hihawk - you're swimming the intellectual deep end when you should be in the kiddie pool with arm floats on. Give it up, man.

texashawk10 10 years, 2 months ago

hihawk doesn't even belong in the kiddie pool. I have a feeling he would still figure out a way to drown even with floaties on.

Geekinout 10 years, 2 months ago

Wrong! I have nothing against Roy for going home either, but North Carolina and Dean Smith approaching Roy while KU was in the Final 4 was beyond classless.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 2 months ago

I bleed Crimson and Blue but, let's be honest, what makes the Kansas Football Coaching position such a prime spot?

1] Kansas football will always play second fiddle to Kansas basketball. [If you held Late Night in Memorial Stadium, it might outdraw a football game]

2] Kansas will always be second fiddle to Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.....why??....because of money, that's why. The more you spend, the more you win.

3] Our state of the art facilities?? You all count the number of Division One football programs that still have a track around the field.

4] Huge attendence pool? The state of Kansas is not exactly wall-to-wall people, especially when half of the state cheers for Kansas State. That disadvantage is there even including the Kansas City alumni.

I want Kansas to win as much as anybody, but we need to all have a reality check when viewing potential candidiates.

The one advantage about Leach is he is desperate to get back into the game and a blank check from Kansas just may be the ticket.

As a late, great football philosopher once said. " Win, Baby, just win!!"

kellerman411 10 years, 2 months ago

You forgot something. To Leach, Kansas is the only school offering the chance to beat Texas Tech who he absolutely despises. Also, Kansas is closer to Leach's old recruiting grounds in Texas. Geography does still matter when recruiting.

JHawkfan90 10 years, 2 months ago

Along the lines of Del Rio, Brian Schottenheimer might be an interesting long shot. He has ties to KU and the area, has the pedigree and could get his father to help him build a staff if not coach with him (think Lane Kiffin). He is currently surrounded by some of the best defensive minds in football. Recruiting would be a concern but the remaining staff covers that area well. Just a wild thought.

David Atchley 10 years, 2 months ago

Mike Leach, will have a choice between Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon State, and possibly the Ole' Miss, or Mississippi State job. He's a west coast guy, educated at Pepperdine, and is a quirky type of personality. It would be a windfall for Kansas to somehow lure him over the other teams searching for a coach. He does have the offensive scheme that would jump-start the Jayhawk program and he has deep-rooted relationships in the Texas high school coaching ranks.

He also has beaten the likes of Bob Stoops and Mack Brown enough to make for a nervous week of planning for both of them. If you've ever traveled to Lubbock, you'll understand how remote and desolate of place to recruit. He mastered it and would do the same at Kansas. The logical choice is Kansas...the sexy choice is UCLA or Arizona State... I have a feeling the "Ol' Pirate" will option the west coast.

danmoore 10 years, 2 months ago

Can we afford Leach? He made $2.7m at Tech.

UmbertoConforti 10 years, 2 months ago

If reports are correct, Gill made $5m per year at KU and won 5 games.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 2 months ago

Where do you read these reports? Gil had a 5 year, $10M guaranteed contract (plus some performance incentives), which translates to $2M per year. He coached 2 years and had 3 years left in his contract, hence the $6M buyout.

kellerman411 10 years, 2 months ago

If KU brings in Mike Leach, the football players aren't going to be able to listen to their "fat little girlfriends". Coach Leach doesn't allow it. #GetLeach

texashawk10 10 years, 2 months ago

I hope KU isn't paying an OC or DC $750k as a base salary because there's not too many making that much right now and I highly doubt KU will have someone the caliber of Kirby Smart as a coordinator with the track record to justify that much money.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 2 months ago

OC/DC to become HC 4 $750k

or do you need everything spelled out?

JayhawkNatn 10 years, 2 months ago

Why is Chris Peterson not our top candidate? And why didn't this article say anything about Kirby Smart? I understand Leach can put points on the board, bring in a top QB but he could not win championships in the Big 12, was never consitently ranked in the top 5-10. Peterson has done this over and over and over again! Smart has been a key factor in Bama's run the last several years..........go get someone used to winning championships, expects to win championships. I'm not saying Leach doesn't expect to win, but he hasn't done it. Peterson #1 Smart #2 Leach, Mark Stoops, Venables choices 3-5 not in any specific order. Don't forget about Gruden, has a nice little ring to it.

texashawk10 10 years, 2 months ago

Kirby Smart is not interested in KU and is the front runner at Ole Miss right now. Chirs Peterson is the top choice at UCLA and has no interest in KU as well.

danmoore 10 years, 2 months ago

...he said if there was anything he could do to help, he’d be more than willing to do.”

We're already paying him 2 mil a year for the next 3 years. Make him a recruiting coordinator.

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