Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Timing right for Mike Leach


If a big, fast, hard-hitting cornerback who was known as a handful off the field in high school had instead been an Eagle Scout, he would have played his college football at Texas or Oklahoma.

With other big, fast, hard-hitting cornerbacks as options, Texas and Oklahoma didn’t have to pursue Aqib Talib. Kansas University needed to take a chance on him, and, at least on the football field, it worked out extremely well for the Jayhawks.

Talib’s off-the-field issues continued at Kansas and into the NFL, but the Jayhawks don’t get to the Orange Bowl, never mind win it, without his All-American play.

Similarly, Mike Leach’s off-the-field issues — multiple lawsuits he has filed — don’t necessarily have to scare off Kansas just because they reportedly kept Maryland from pulling the trigger.

But it takes two to tango. Should Leach want the job at Kansas, which in the past five seasons has posted records of 12-1, 8-5, 5-7, 3-9 and 2-10, a gradual decline from national spotlight to local irrelevance? Yes.

The longer a football coach stays out of the game, the more difficult it will become to land a BCS job. This one comes with the bonus of facing Texas Tech every season. He’s only human, and as badly as he’d like to beat the Red Raiders in a court of law, that can’t compare to the satisfaction Leach could get from beating them on the football field.

His candidacy never will get hotter than it is now, so he might as well jump.

It pays to remember that those who do the hiring seem to forget former coaches quickly and put too way much emphasis on a coach’s age. Even Bill Snyder’s return to Kansas State was greeted with a near-universal roll of the eyes. Snyder, 72, has his team ranked 11th in the BCS standings.

Terry Donahue, a remarkably youthful 67, might be open to returning to college coaching if someone picked up the phone and asked the most underrated coach of the 20th century if his time in the broadcast booth has whetted his appetite for a return to the field. Phillip Fulmer, 61, coached Tennessee to a 13-0 season and national championship in 1998 and went 152-52. He wanted the KU job two years ago, didn’t get that offer and somehow remains on the market.

And what in the world is Glen Mason doing broadcasting when he should be coaching? That question so nagged me I decided to tap a connection to get him on the phone.

He wants to coach.

“I’m a coach,” Mason said by phone. “Everybody still calls me ‘coach.’ ‘Coach, when are you going back to coaching?’ People have called me about jobs, but not from a place I’d want to be at this point in my career. But there are a lot, lot, lot of places I’d like to go coach.”

Given his record of resurrecting sinking programs at Kent State, Kansas and Minnesota, why isn’t he mentioned as short-list candidate for a number of BCS jobs?

“Maybe I haven’t gone about it correctly,” Mason said. “I’m 61, but I’m a young 61.”

He has worked for the Big Ten Network the past five years, and that time has done nothing but make him even more convinced he could take another losing program and turn it into a winner.

“Sometimes a coach is too close to the trees and can’t see the forest,” Mason said. “I’ve been able to step back and see what guys have done. I’ve had a chance to evaluate what I did. There are a lot of bad coaches out there, I can tell you that. I’m not trying to act like a typical fan sitting in the stands, but there are times I’m thinking, ‘Geez, what are they doing?’”

And there are other times, Mason said, when he develops deep respect for coaches. He singled out Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

“When he first got the job, I thought he wasn’t ready for it,” Mason said. “I’ve watched him grow as a coach. The limitations he has to work with at Northwestern are unbelievable. The facilities are terrible, and with the academic restrictions he’s under, he’s done a fabulous job.”

It figures Mason would have a particular fondness for a coach who wins at place most don’t. Mason made a habit of it.

I’ve often wondered how much simple research athletic directors do when compiling short lists. I crunched some numbers on Mason’s career and it took all of 15 minutes. Does the average AD invest that much time or does he spend all his energy trying to figure out what coach will win the introductory news conference?

Here’s what the research shows:

At Kent State, Mason’s predecessor, Dick Scesniak, had a .242 winning percentage. Mason’s successor, Dick Crum, did even worse (.212). Mason’s winning percentage was .545.

At Kansas, Mason’s predecessor, Bob Valesente had a .205 success rate. Mason’s successor, Terry Allen, had a .379 winning percentage. Mason’s was .466. (Mark Mangino had a .506 mark at Kansas; his predecessor, Allen, .379; his successor, Turner Gill, a .208 winning percentage.)

At Minnesota, Mason’s predecessor, Jim Wacker, had a .291 success rate. Mason’s successor, Tim Brewster, batted .333. Mason’s winning percentage was .529.

Numbers for the three schools combined: Predecessors .259, successors .321, Mason .504.

No wonder he won conference coach-of-the-year honors in three different leagues. Yet Mason, who has a clean compliance record and brings no baggage, hasn’t yet been able to parlay those impressive turnarounds into one more job. Penn State and Illinois ought to bring him in for an interview, and Memphis should do the same with Mangino. They’re too good to be forgotten.

Leach did a terrific job at Texas Tech, but each year he spends away from the game, the less his success will matter to those who do the hiring.


Gregor Southard 8 years, 6 months ago

Forgot about Mason. He would be a great hire

sevenyearhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

He wouldn't be too bad ... if he'd gotten the support from the administration that KU is giving football now (not to mention facilities) he might have never left!

Thanks for putting the spotlight on Coach Mason!!!

hawk316 8 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Keegan, this was astute and perceptive reporting. You're right. Mason should be in the discussion. Good job!

As for Mike Leach, I believe we need to move with extreme caution. Is he a good football coach? Yes. He has proved that. However, character does matter. I personally do not know the man, and in this age, unfounded accusations can abound via the various media outlets. However, from things I've heard and read, I definitely have concerns.

Just because Turner Gill did not produce a winner on the field is no reason to ignore or discard the astonishing positives that he brought to the program. His integrity and positive influence on all those around him (this of course excludes the fan base that did not have the benefit of knowing the man and seeing how he related to others) were tremendous assets both in recruiting and coaching. Our next coach may not be able to duplicate exactly those amazing qualities, but he should bring plenty of them to the table AND have a good shot at being a success on the football field. Such coaches do not grow on trees. Thus, the need for caution and MUCH wisdom!

Chayse Patrick 8 years, 6 months ago

DO NOT I repeat DO NOT hire Mason. He couldn't beat K-State back then and he won't do it now. With TCU and West Va. coming the Big 12 will be tougher than ever. PLEASE I repeat DO NOT hire Mason. That would be as big a mistake as Gill.....

hawk316 8 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Keegan, this was astute and perceptive reporting. You're right. Mason should be in the discussion. Good job!

As for Mike Leach, I believe we need to move with extreme caution. Is he a good football coach? Yes. He has proved that. However, character does matter. I personally do not know the man, and in this age, unfounded accusations can abound via the various media outlets. However, from things I've heard and read, I definitely have concerns.

Just because Turner Gill did not produce a winner on the field is no reason to ignore or discard the astonishing positives that he brought to the program. His integrity and positive influence on all those around him (this of course excludes the fan base that did not have the benefit of knowing the man and seeing how he related to others) were tremendous assets both in recruiting and coaching. Our next coach may not be able to duplicate exactly those amazing qualities, but he should bring plenty of them to the table AND have a good shot at being a success on the football field. Such coaches do not grow on trees. Thus, the need for caution and MUCH wisdom!

hawk316 8 years, 6 months ago

Please forgive the double post. I misplaced my comments the first time!

Kirk 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach may have an off-putting style for some, but I have yet to be convinced there's anything wrong whatsoever with his character. For one thing, his players' graduation rates during his tenure were at an elite level, way above KU's.

Dillon Davis 8 years, 6 months ago

Those stats prove that Mason has been a .500 coach all his life. Maybe being only 19 I'm just too young to know what kind of coaching jobs he did but those numbers just don't jump out to me. I wouldn't mind bringing him in as a possible coordinator or something. I think it would help our new coach out a lot to bring some Jayhawk alums back here like Mason or Cromwell.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

I was on the Hill in 1988 when Glen Mason was hired. In 1987, our Jayhawks were a COMPLETE DISASTER. They were very similar to this year's edition. In 1988, the record didn't improve, but the play on the field was far different. Players played to the whistle, they busted their tails, and the games were instantly more competitive, even though we still lost almost all of them. Mason also did something you would never see today, he scheduled everyone, telling his players he wanted to see where they were headed. I think it was 1990, we played Virginia, Louisville and Miami (FL), all of whom were highly ranked at the time. And you really started to see improvement because of it. His 10-2 team that finished in the Top 10 was every bit as good as the 2007 edition IMHO.

chrishawkins 8 years, 6 months ago

2/3 of the article is spent talking about Glen Mason but it's title is "Timing right for Mike Leach". Come on Keegan.

Matt Bowers 8 years, 6 months ago

This is the same Keegan who said the timing was right for Kansas to join the Big East this time last year! How we are ever surprised by what he writes is beyond me.

Joe Ross 8 years, 6 months ago

When Keegan wrote that, the Big 12 looked like it was going to implode. KU was facing joining another BCS conference or finding itself without one. I would have chosen the Big East too, under those circumstances. I'm not a Keegan apologist, but please temper your rants with a shred of reason!

chezlog 8 years, 6 months ago

Three simple questions: 1) If Leach gets the job does anyone doubt that our program will turn around immediately? 2) If Leach gets the job does anyone doubt that all our opponents will say "Oh Crap!"? 3) If anyone else gets the job doesn't there remain doubt that our program will turn around immediately? Leach is the best choice.

Start the cheer "REACH FOR LEACH!" Everybody "REACH FOR LEACH!"

chrishawkins 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for Mike Leach, but "reach for leach" is just too corny haha

Ben Levy 8 years, 6 months ago

1) Mike Leach has shown 0 capability of improving a bad program, it took him 3 years to make any headway at an already solid Tech program, we have no idea if he can recruit somewhere where Texas kids don't just fall into his lap 2) More like "oh wow! i wonder if we can put up 100 on them" 3) There will always be doubt, there should always be doubt, nothing is guaranteed, not even Meyer at OSU is a sure thing, what is virtually guaranteed if we hire Leach is that we are stuck with Webb in a pass happy offense (shoot me now), our abundance of quality running backs will be wasted, we'll play worse defense than we did this year, and that we'll have the exact wrong type of young player's (Gill's guys) and few veterans

ja3hawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Quote: we'll play worse defense than we did this year,

That is highly unlikely....

texashawk10 8 years, 6 months ago

Did you ever watch a Texas Tech game say, "Wow, they're defense is great?" because I sure didn't.

Thomas Matlock 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach, even with his baggage seems like a better fit than Mason. Mason is considerably older, and while he does a good job of turning programs around, never stays anywhere for long. Do we want to be doing this again in three or four years? I say, "Go for Leach!". He will turn things around, and is more likely to stay awhile. After all, it wasn't his choice to leave Tech.

DrGraydog 8 years, 6 months ago

Got to think that if Phil Fulmer still wants the job, you have to hear him out, see what his plans are....who he would bring with him, who he would keep.....

proven winner

actorman 8 years, 6 months ago

"I’ve often wondered how much simple research athletic directors do when compiling short lists."

Funny, we've often wondered the same thing about your columns.

kumax 8 years, 6 months ago

nothing like a bit of dry humor.. good job actorman

johnnyhrdwd 8 years, 6 months ago

Craig James played for the most corrupt program off all time, SMU. Leach deserves this opportunity to prove he's a good man, read the book.

Mike Skiles 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach in a heartbeat!

And, a pretty decent article by Keegan (for a change). He raised some interesting backup possibilities. That said, Leach should still be the # 1 candidate. This program needs an electric shock to wake it up, and get back onto the right path - Leach can do that. There are some good core talent on the team - Leach would move us posiitvely forward in 2012.

Or, we could find another 'nice guy' who would not yell at players when they didn't work to their full potential. I hear there is a guy named Turner Gill looking for a gig? LOL

minnhawk84 8 years, 6 months ago

Glen Mason was a good coach for KU. His last year here he went 10-1. Problem is, he had "happy feet" the last few years. Accepting and then turning down the Georgia job while the Hawks were getting ready for their bowl game was not very professional. Still, I liked him well enough that when he came to Minnesota, I bought season tickets for a few years because I liked his offense and the positives he brought to the program.

VaJay 8 years, 6 months ago

Umm... Glen Mason went 4-7 his last year here. When we were 10-2 the previous year, he announced he was going to Georgia & then changed his mind. The next year he went to Minn.

kef104 8 years, 6 months ago

VaJay, minnhawk84 was referring to when Mason was at MN. His last year there the football team was 10-1.

VaJay 8 years, 6 months ago

His last year at MN he was 6-7, losing in the Insight Bowl. That's why he was replaced. He never went 10-1 anywhere. What record books do you guys go by??

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

"Accepting and then turning down the Georgia job" This clearly refers to Mason's time at KU.

Texascane 8 years, 6 months ago

Mason lost his job at Minn after getting beat in the largest comeback in Bowl history...Texas Tech was down 31 points to the Gophers with 7 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter...and won the game in OT...I wonder who that TT coach was...

JhawkalumJB 8 years, 6 months ago

Pretty obvious who Keeg wants at KU. I happen to agree with him. Hire Leach. Reading his book made me a believer in him. To all doubters, read his book!!

NebraskaJayhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

It really is hard to imagine why Fulmer didn't get the job if he wanted it like this article clearly stated. It's not like Gill was even a hot commodity at the time. We took a huge chance on a young coach that really hadn't proven anything. No offense to Gill, but that was the worst hire I think I've ever seen at a BCS program when you consider there were guys like Fulmer out there that wanted the job.

Get the right guy in this time guys. This program has a lot of potential.

areyouserious 8 years, 6 months ago

Odd isnt it?? Lew Perkins wanted a coach he could control. Phillip Fulmer interviewed for the job 2 years ago, wanted the job, and was disappointed that he didnt get the job...........and now, he is still interested. Keegan's article makes you wonder if he has been out of the game too long, to come back and be as effective as he was at Tennesse, but 2 years ago would have been the right time. I think Leach will bring alot of excitement and energy to the program. I think Fulmer could do the same, and he is very well respected. I fear that KU will go after another "shot in the dark", but I hope I am wrong.

nuleafjhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm not getting too worked up about who we hire, because i can't do anything about it, but if they asked me to pick a coach right now it would be Sumlin.

I lived in Houston for almost 10 years and didn't even know they HAD a football team. It was just like KU. This was back in the Phi Slamma Jamma era. Awesome basketball. Invisible football.

Sumlin has practically done a football miracle there the past few years. If he can coach Houston, he can coach anyone.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 6 months ago

They had some good years. I remember that they played the Run and Gun long before the Spread became the buzz. It was some kind of veer formation with a run pass option. Put up huge numbers. Cant remember exactly the era or the coach, tho. But I noticed that their schedule seemed to get easier with Sumlin. He is not beating anybody. He makes Boise and TCU's highly-critisized schedules look like all-world.

Jeff Hargate 8 years, 6 months ago

Jack Pardee in Houston in the late 80's and early 90's with Andre Ware and David Klingler. I lived in Houston then and they played in the Astrodome. The SWC was still alive and kicking. That being said, Sumlin did not fare well last year without Keenum and is a risk. I vote: 1) Leach 2) Fedora. The more I read about Fedora the more I like.

Bion Ostrander 8 years, 6 months ago

Wise up guys, before KU would hire Leach a LOT would have to happen, such as Leach would have to drop his lawsuits. NO major program is going to hire a coach that has outstanding lawsuits against ESPN and another Big 12 school, it just won't happen because there is too much legal exposure for KU and KU would be on the hotseat for explaining its treatment of Mangino in light of Leach's actions.

Glen Mason, Bill Young (Young has not been able to resurrect his defensive prowess at Okla. State), and any other 60 + year old coach - - I say no. KU needs a fresh energetic start (Bill Snyder is an anomaly so don't be looking for the next 60 to 70 + year old coach to come to KU and reproduce what Snyder has done at KSU), someone that can grow with the program, not someone close to retirement that will see this as their last coaching job and may just be here to earn a few easy bucks before they pick up a nice settlement package like TG.

There are a number of good coaches potentially available, but KU really needs someone that can immediately attract and bring in recruits, and I think that tends to narrow down the list.

Plus, if that coach is an offensive coach, there must almost be a proven defensive coordinator that they can bring along. Or vice versa. I do believe that good defensive coaches are harder to find than good offensive coaches, but I don't know if many of the defensive coaches have the big time name and recruiting appeal as some of the offensive coaches that may be available.

Mike Nicco 8 years, 6 months ago

No disrespect intended, but everything you mentioned points to the all the reasons Turner Gill was hired. He brought in what were believed to be good coordinators and recruiters. I believe Lew Perkins gave him such a strong contract on the belief he would be propped by these assistants until he grew into the job.
Unfortunately, his main coordinators were also failed head coaches.....

Glenn Mason would be floored by our facilities and commitment to football now!!

doctorWho 8 years, 6 months ago

The fact that any young coach who has success at KU is probably going to leave KU once that success is in the record books makes a 60-ish hire at least worth entertaining IMHO.

troutsee 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach is a proven winner and has the mental toughness and aura to be the guy. Glenn Mason has been succussful at two universities that did not put their hearts and souls into college FB. I think KU has now made that decision. I would favor either one of these hires. They both know what it takes to be a successful head coach. I have always been a Mason fan. His teams were physically and mentally tough. And look at the facilities that he had to work with. Bring in Glenn Mason and you will see an immediate improvement in our defense.

question4u 8 years, 6 months ago

"Similarly, Mike Leach’s off-the-field issues — multiple lawsuits he has filed — don’t necessarily have to scare off Kansas just because they reportedly kept Maryland from pulling the trigger."

KU should think long and hard about that. The university doesn't exist so that there can be a football program.

Ron Franklin 8 years, 6 months ago

Keegan--if you are right and KU is going to hire somebody with a bad reputation, then why don't they go after Jim Tressell. That would be the bold move--not Mike Leach.

JIM TRESSELL--I can see him in his sweater vest now!

Tim Orel 8 years, 6 months ago

There's a difference between Leach's issues, including the lawsuits with the player issues, and Tressel, where he allowed players to violate NCAA rules and covered up those actions, resulting in impending NCAA penalties. Leach can make his go away immediately. Tressel, not so easily, and any program Tressel goes to would be under a microscope forever. With KU's history, I wouldn't want further scrutiny, especially from someone I wouldn't expect to want to remain longer than he had to.

I'd prefer one of the coaches mentioned in the article because I think they would stick around at KU for awhile. Leach made a lot, but he delivered a lot. If KU wants to fork out lots of money so soon after MM and TG, then Leach would probably deliver success. Fulmer, Mason, they probably would and I'd think they'd come at a more bargain price. I also think they'd last longer than Leach.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

I have said this here before, Glen Mason is my favorite KU coach of the last 25 years, and I'd vote him as the best. His 1995 team not only won, they crushed CU in Boulder when CU was a national championship contender. That final year of the Big 8 had 4 teams in the final Top 10 if I'm not mistaken, KSU, CU, NU and KU. And he followed that up by doing a hat dance on a UCLA team with Cad McNown, Jonathon Ogden, Kareem AJ (the RB). But Mason, as minnhawk84 referenced, had happy feet and was never really here for the long haul. He returned a lot of the same players the next year, but his two-step with Georgia lost the team. To me, that's a major factor in this recruiting search. So many of the up-and-comers will simply use KU as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I think a tie to Kansas is a huge plus in a new coach. Or at least a desire to settle down and ride this job out for 10-15 years. We have got to stop being a revolving door of coaches.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

That could be. Bob Frederick was always a basketball guy. If that's the case, that was really a shame.

Geekinout 8 years, 6 months ago

Not to forget that good ole Roy Boy didn't like sharing the spotlight. When Bohl was trying to get KU's football program upgraded it seemed Roy flexed his muscles and pushed him out.

Marcia Parsons 8 years, 6 months ago

I understood that the only reason he didn't stay at Georgia was that his wife (they were getting a divorce at the time) refused to let him take their children out of state. So he canceled Georgia and came back.

KGphoto 8 years, 6 months ago

That UCLA squad had Donnie Edwards too.

What great memories about KU's '95 team though. June Henley, L.T. Levine, Eric Vann, Isaac Byrd, Ashaundai Smith, Mark Williams. That team could really move the ball. How about Mark Williams? Maybe the most underrated KU QB ever.

And that no-name defense led by Dorian Brew. I remember we were an interception machine. In a running league, I think we had 15 on the year, and they were coming from all over the place. Good times.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

Had Mason not burned Williams redshirt the year before, we would have had two years of him as a starter! That was a fun team indeed!

sevenyearhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Dorian Brew went to high school in St. Louis with a gal that I was dating at the time (McCluer North) ...

we're friends on facebook these days, but he's a rapper now or something like that!

JayhawkMafiaFamily 8 years, 6 months ago

The '95 team was definitely a solid group. Wasn't that the year we ended the season in the top 25 and stomped UCLA in the Aloha Bowl? And don't forget to mention Dana Stubblefield and Gilbert Brown who also played for Mason. Oh the good 'ol days.

DCLawHawk 8 years, 6 months ago

That was a solid team, including Don Davis who went on to play in Super Bowls for the Rams and Pats.

Mike Nicco 8 years, 6 months ago

rockchalk1990, what harm is there in being a revolving door for succesful coaches? Right now, we are only a revolving door for loosing coaches. I believe, if we had the facilities and commitment in the 90s we have now, Coach Mason wouldn't have left.
Outsiders don't understand the appeal of KU/Lawrence until they spend a few years there and call it home.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

I agree with your last statement, but if you look at the most successful programs, they rarely go through coaching changes. Now, I suppose a revolving door of successful coaches would be fine, but I'm not sure there are many examples where that's worked out. Either way, we're both looking for long standing success, so I hope that's what we matter how we get there!

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 6 months ago

He is definitely one of my top two, either Mangino or him. Seems like Mason's teams could always battle with the big boys. I don't remember them getting blown out. As far as Mason having happy feet, not sure I would agree. He is a Big10 guy and that is where he was always headed. Minnesota probably would have kept him a very long time if not for one game which was a miraculous loss, like 35 points in the last quarter. Their mistake. Look at them now. They are not going anywhere for a long time. If they are smart, they will give Paul Rhoads a few more years and attract him. Would they be smart enough to take Mason back? Good question.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

I thought the media was supposed to be unbiased. At any rate, I think we all know who the media prefers and why. Despite all the accolades given to Mason in this article never was Mason mentioned as a possible option for KU. The media wants what's best for them. Having a controversial figure like Leach is exactly what the media hounds are barking for. Mason is too nice a guy and too boring for the local media. The media clearly wants what sells!

BTW, it would have been nice to see the numbers on how Mason and Leach performed in their first two years at their different stints. I am almost positive they were given more than two years to turn their respective programs around. Hypocrite.

Let's hope the KU administration make the best possible hire.


Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

I can tell you one thing about Mason when he was at KU (I was on the Hill when he was hired). Unlike the last two years, Mason's teams showed immediate improvement in the competitive category. The losses kept coming for another year or two, but the play on the field was instantly tougher and more competitive. He took the same players and made them tougher. I knew a couple of the key players at the time, and they never said a bad word about him either. AND they were always in class (although that surely wasn't a problem under Gill either).

Bville Hawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Wasn't it Mason who had the players out at 6AM for sprints up the 14th street hill?

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

That certainly could be, he was a tough nosed dude! I used to walk that hill to campus, and that would most certainly get the team in shape!!!

middleoftheroader 8 years, 6 months ago

+1 about the jerseys, but... What would you doooeeoooo for a Klondike bar?

jayhawk02 8 years, 6 months ago

Yes, because we all know that it's the uniform that makes the team. Sorry if I'm being too sarcastic, but I'm growing very tired of hearing about the jerseys/helmets. What does the uniform have to do with the competitiveness of our team?

jayhawk02 8 years, 6 months ago

Seriously?! The numbers are like 5 times larger than the names. If you can't see the numbers, how in the heck do you expect to see their names? Or maybe it's just you aren't really a true fan and don't know the numbers of our players.

James McGuire 8 years, 6 months ago

I too am getting tired of the names on the jersey talk. Each player has a number, which should be bigger and easier to read than the name.

But you can't say the uniforms have nothing to do with the competitiveness of the team. Look at what Nike has done for Oregon. Oregon and Nike have marketed the uniforms to kids and because of that were able to get recruits they might not have had any chance at (LaMichael James, Daron Thomas, Deanthony Thoms, etc.). The uniforms do not dictate how good a player will be, but they can have a major influence on which players actually don them.

Geekinout 8 years, 6 months ago

Finally someone who gets it! Shouldn't be, but some players are influenced by things like this... I wish are color and pattern scheme for our football uniforms were the same as the basketballs. That'd be awesome!

pepper_bar 8 years, 6 months ago

Surprise surprise, another hire-Leach column from Keegan, who has a vested interest in KU making a Big Drama hire.

This reminds me of the series of columns a couple months ago when Keegan pushed for KU to move to the Big East. Fortunately, KU ignored his ill-informed advice back then. Let's hope that holds true again.

speckleddog 8 years, 6 months ago

We don't want Mason back. Here is why: Jayhawks are down by one to Nebraska, who they have not beaten in thirty years. They are going for a two point conversion to win the game. June Henley, who has run for over two hundred yards, is not on the field for the play. Jayhawks lose again.

Or, two and a half minutes left in the game. KU has the lead over KState in Manhattan. KU has the ball. KU runs three pass plays and runs 16 seconds off the clock. KState gets the ball back, scores a touchdown. KU loses.

These are examples of bad field coaching that cost KU big wins.

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

Mason did have game day issues, most notably a snow game in Boulder where Mason punted from the 30 something on 4th and 1 and got a full 10 yards of field position. But I heard an interview with Tom Osborne regarding the play to which you refer. Osborne said that play was brilliant and confused the defense so badly that the guy who broke up the pass was only there because he was so badly out of position. It was weird that Henley wasn't in the game, but the play call was deemed solid by a pretty awesome play caller himself!

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

I think you both are right. BTW, great memory.


Mike Nicco 8 years, 6 months ago

I was there with you rockchalk1990. I loved how hard his teams played. I also remember the media coming down hard on Coach Mason the first year because he demanded so much of his players that several transfered and he even grabbed a player by the facemask.
Unfortunately, I also remember him repeatedly getting out-coached by Bill Snyder. He even tanked a game at Mizzou one year. I sill have the batteries to prove I was at the

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

For a second there I thought you were talking about Mangino and mizzoo.

Pat Sullivan 8 years, 6 months ago

If Brock B. is ever going to suit up at KU, Mike Leach would be the perfect coach to prep him for success. Otherwise, Leach will recruit 6'5 QBs and receivers. Any QB who is told they will have a chance to throw the ball 50 times per game, would jump at the opportunity. Tx Tech was one of the most prolific offenses in the country under Leach. If he can recruit kids to Lubbock, he can recruit them to Lawrence.

justinryman 8 years, 6 months ago

Lets not recycle Mike Leach, Glenn Mason or any other coach that has failed or been fired under a cloud of issues.

Doing a cannon ball in the pool will get you noticed for a brief moment, not all of it good.

With the list given so far by I am for Fedora, but I'd like to see the rest of Zengers list and just see what his thoughts are being such a great football mind and all.

squawkhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

You know the KU football program has sunk into oblivion when everyone is clammering to hire Mike Leach. While Leach proved to be a decent FB coach at Texas Tech, he exudes all of the character flaws that has helped to put KU in the predicament that it is currently in. Be careful what you wish for because when you sell your soul to the devil, well, you know what you get.

David Meredith 8 years, 6 months ago

If the hire Leach, I will support him and root for his success.... but I would rather go with someone else... No more spreading the field and trying to win 60-40.... Kansas tried to dothat with Reesing, Briscoe,and Meier and had some success, but I would love to see a competent defense for once........ and not try for this guy Leach to come in and try to score 100 points while totally ignoring his defense.

Nick Cole 8 years, 6 months ago

You know KU won the Orange Bowl b/c of the defense, right? Just b/c we have an offensive minded coach doesn't mean we can't have a good defense. If Leach is the guy, he needs to show, IMO, that he has a good DC to bring along with him (same goes for any coach really).

David Meredith 8 years, 6 months ago

You are right, they had a solid defense that year, but were fortunate not to have to face many spread offenses, including a mediocre offensive team in the Orange Bowl... the only spread offense they played that year was basically Missouri... largely though in the Mangino years, the defense was exposed when teams spread them out, which is what happens a lot in today's game... you are right though, if it is Leach, he has to try to fix up the D as well as the O.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

I'm not one of those clamoring for Leach. However, if he is the next HFC at KU I will line up and support him. I'm not sure everyone can say they did the same for TG. Regardless, I find it interesting that none of the articles from the geniuses in the media point out that Leach actually did marginally better than his predecessor at TT, with all that talent in Texas. In fact, Leach did worse than his predecessor in his first two years at TT relative to the last two years of said predecessor. Another fact, Leach also did worse in conference than his predecessor. So, is Leach a program builder? Did he build at TT? With the talent that WILL come to KU, can he build at KU? Consider the facts and evaluate what he's done at TT relative to his predecessor. Baggage aside, tell me Mr. Media whether Leach is the guy for Ole KU?


justinryman 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach made Tech into a media highlight reel. He spoke his mind and got put on TV acted zany and got on TV. His high powered offensive stats got them on Sportscenter.

It wasn't what he did in winning that made Tech a name brand, but what he did just to do it that made Tech a name.

That's what his predecessor didn't do.

I agree I don't think Leach is the right guy to turn this program around in the right way and keep it there without issues in the very near future.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

Agreed. I guess at a place like TT they'll take that, up to a point. However my argument is that Leach is not a program builder. There is no evidence to support that. A program builder and patience is what KU need.


Kirk 8 years, 6 months ago

Leach made Tech into a consistent winning program with elite graduate rates.

That's good enough program building for me.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

TT was a consistent winning program before Leach got there. Check the record books. As for the graduation rates, I cant speak to that. However, at KU I'm not sure if "elite" graduation rates will be enough.

Leach may be the right guy for the job but his resume doesnt indicate he's a builder. Remember, he was at TT a football school with better recruits, yet he wasnt able to get TT to that next level. In my view he only maintained the TT program at its previous status.

I dont envy the task that Zenger and the powers that be ahve at this point in KU's history. Athletic performance seem to be down accross the board. I just hope the powers that be have the patience to see this all through.

As for Zenger, if he doesnt turn things around in two years does he also get the can?


142466 8 years, 6 months ago

Good article.

I didn't know that Mason wanted to return to coaching. I'll now put Mason second to Leach.

It would be interesting to see the the record of Div 1 college FB coaches who have returned to a job they formerly held. Probably haven't been very many.

Robert Brock 8 years, 6 months ago

I am not convinced that Leach could recruit as well at KU as he did at Tech.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 6 months ago

Buzz is necessary. Get Leach. If not available, get someone who wants to stay for awhile and is a proven quality like Fulmer. Mason did a good job at KU and Minnesota. He had the Gophers on the edge of of getting to the next level, just like he did at KU. But, if we can just get back to that level and sustain it for a decade, that would be good. We need someone who wants to put in a decade here, not three and move on. We need to win 7-8 games a year and be satisfied with that. Easily doable.

Another thing about Mason. Would love to see what he could do with our current stable of running backs. He retains Mr. Miller and watch out. The toss sweep was a great play for us. If he could put together a good power run game, it is the antidote to the Spread. So, to me it appears we either join em or beat em. I can go either way. But, Leach first. Then I'd say someone like Mason or Fulmer. No Sumlin, No Fedora. If we want an up and comer, how about Rhoads?

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 6 months ago

One thing to think about, if Conference realignment were going to happen today, would Tech or KU get into the power conference? Yes, I hear you that Tech would be pushed in by their big brother, but remember there were rumors KU and UT in a couple of spots as well. If KU had any reasonable football program, conferences would have KU near the top of their list. Look again at OSU, same theory, and no one can tell me that OSU is actually a big time school. They don't have the following that even KU has, but were mentioned quite often because they have a good football program right now.

KU needs to have a decent football program, and a coach that can keep it going for about 6 years.

bjejayhawk69 8 years, 6 months ago

The one thing about KU football history is nice guys don't win here ( or much of any where else - if they are nice they have someone doing the dirty work for them). Mason and Mangino were not everyones cup of tea but they did what it takes to succeed in football and especially at KU. So no more nice guys.

I like Leach and think he would be about as good of hire as KU could get. I am a little intrigued by Mark Stoops at FSU only if he brings his brother in as DC. Heck maybe Mangino would come back at OC ( I know it won't happen). For some reason though I think Leavitt is still in play as well because of his prior relationship with Zenger. I would be OK with that but not neccesarily my first choice.

I am still excited Gill is no longer coach. Been to every home game for the last 15 years except one and it was getting real hard to get excited or to find any one who wanted to go to a KU home game. Another year with Gill would have been awful.

Jim Stauffer 8 years, 6 months ago

I have all the respect in the world for Coach Gill as a man, but some coaches just have the ability to control their players. By that, I mean they get their message across to them and get results. I don't believe Turner was successful in this on or off the field from some things we hear.

Mason and Leach are the type of guys who get their point across to their players and get results on the field and at least a modicum of control off the field. Every coach and team will have some bad apples.

Dyrk Dugan 8 years, 6 months ago

let's nip this in the bud right now: Glen Mason, will NOT be KU's next football coach. he did his time here, he won a couple of bowl games, recruited some very good players.....he won 35 ball games in a five year stretch.

but he's 61...he's been out of coaching for several years....and he messed up the program with what he was going through personally at the time in '95......messy divorce, took the Georgia gig, and then came back....blew two years of recruiting there.

so no to Glen Mason...bless your heart, your place in KU FB history is good and secure.

Leach is everybody's front runner here locally in the KC media. but we haven't really heard anything about whether he would be interested. that's probably good, because these things get talked about in the press and it seems other folks get scared off, or things get all messed up.

again, i think Leach would be a great hire...but only if the lawsuits are taken care of. You, as an institution, cannot have a lawsuit hanging over another school in your league by your coach....and also vs. the biggest sports broadcasting entity in the whole world. You just can't. How in the world could that possibly play out favorably for you? it wouldn't.....because it's all personal. and that's where the coach has swallow his pride...drop all the suits...and then dive headfirst into this gig.

if he did that, i would have no problem with Leach. But if it's not agreed up that that is what he would do, we look elsewhere.

justinryman 8 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with other posters on here why the press wants Leach.

His antics and quotes will give them plenty to talk about and write about.

I agree with you about his lawsuits. He has to drop them, how will that play out the week of the TT game? HUGE distraction for him.

ESPN is very powerful, probably more so than people think. One does not want to go up against them.

sevenyearhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Glen Mason is 61, Bill Snyder was SEVENTY when he took over K-State ...

Dick Vermeil was out of coaching for fifteen years between Philly and St. Louis when he led the Greatest Show on Turf to a couple Super Bowls.

If Leach, Leavitt or Fulmer doesn't work out ... then, why the Hell not?!?!?

Andy Tweedy 8 years, 6 months ago

For me, there's no reason to believe a 61 year old, or even a 70 year old can't work out. The problem I have is that a coach of that age probably won't be in the game much longer, and we'll be going through all this again.

troutsee 8 years, 6 months ago

Totally agree. Mason's teams were tough and he recruited some excellent defensive players. Consider also the crummy facilities at the time and I think he did a remarkable job. Good teams are built around a solid defense. KState would be no where this year without a solid defense.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 6 months ago

If dropping the lawsuits is required he won't take any gig. The pursuit of truth is not going away.

(I am Leach's new self-designated mouthpiece.)

Bill Anthony 8 years, 6 months ago

I have to agree with RockChalk 1990,

"So many of the up-and-comers will simply use KU as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I think a tie to Kansas is a huge plus in a new coach. Or at least a desire to settle down and ride this job out for 10-15 years. We have got to stop being a revolving door of coaches."

We must think realistically, excercise a little more patience, and plan for the decades ahead. We have to realize, also, that 61 or so is no longer "old". If we could get someone with the abilities, respect, and recognition of Fulmer (my favorite) or Mason (should he be interested) and have them on campus for 8-10 years, or maybe more, they could build the program to match themselves--full of abilities, respect and recognition. There would probably be no national championship in that time frame, but maybe a 10+ win season or two in the midst of several 8-9 win seasons. And maybe a conference title and a BCS bowl or two to put icing on the cake . Then, when the new "old" coach is ready to retire, there will be a whole new world of replacement possibilities. With KU being successful for 5 or so years in a row there might be an heir-apparent waiting in the wings, or at the least KU would finally be an attractive destination for top-tier coaches seeking a new home.

Ed Noyes 8 years, 6 months ago

Why does no one ever speak of Nolan Cromwell?

Geekinout 8 years, 6 months ago

Great player, no real track record as a head college football coach...

sevenyearhawk 8 years, 6 months ago

Don't think the teams he was coordinator for were all that hot, either.

so I hear ...

justinryman 8 years, 6 months ago

Matt any word on anything at 2:23 today?

I will take anything of news or updates or names and info. I'm jonesin man.

Geekinout 8 years, 6 months ago

I'd be stoked with either Mason or Leach. Glen Mason would have to bring in top assistants to make his name a little more attractive. His coaching style is what I thought Gill was suppose to resurrect at KU. Solid defenses with power running game.

Tony Sands, June Henley, LT Levine, Stubblefield, Isaac Byrd, Marion Barber, Lawrence Maroney weren't bad recruits either.

shrekkc 8 years, 6 months ago

I liked Leach as an offense man. I think he's brilliant. But MAJOR red flag that he's going to sue his former employer for his release....we're out how many millions of dollars now to ask coaches to leave? Think about the potential liability for lawsuits if things don't work out.....unless there's a provision in his contract (which he won't sign)

Norm Jennings 8 years, 6 months ago

What a CROCK!

There are many things necessary to be a successful coach at Kansas, more than when Mason was a coach with a 12-team, South and North division conference.

A critical, and overlooked criterion for all candidates - which coaching name will attract talented 3-5 star recruits that can qualify at KU while remaining competitive in a ten-team, dual round-robin conference with the likes of UT, OU, OSU, WV, TT, etc.

Few of the names listed meet this criteria - Mike Leach does. Mark Stoops may, Kirby Smart may, Larry Fedora may, but Glen Mason, Donohue, Fulmer, etc. do not. All of these guys may be very good coaches, many might have been successful at Kansas if hired when Mark Mangino was hired, but times have changed.

And please forget about Dave Doeren - Turner Gill beat his team this year! Why would in heaven's name would a sane AD fire a coach only to hire a new coach that was beaten in the same season by the fired coach?

Dirk Medema 8 years, 6 months ago

Mason had baggage at KU. There's a huge duffle bag still sitting at the end of the '95 season.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 6 months ago

Ha ha, i have a vague recollection of that. All i remember is that me and some of the boys used to puff puff


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