Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Column: Cumbie would be a good fit for Kansas


The nice thing about Kansas University changing football coaches at the rate Bruce Jenner changes faces centers on the guessing game as to the important hires the head coach will make. It’s an enjoyable exercise. Try it.

For David Beaty, offensive coordinator ranks as his most vital hire. He doesn’t claim to be an offensive guru and believes in letting his coaches coach.

Beaty might already have his man picked out and is waiting to make it official after his OC’s current school plays in a bowl game. Then again, head coaches don’t always land their first choices once pay raises enter the equation.

Kansas would have a tough time pulling an OC from a big-time football school, so think one level below, someone with one of those co-offensive coordinator/position coach titles, which means he’s involved in the offensive scheming, but not calling the plays on game day. For example, Ed Warinner is Ohio State’s co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach and Tom Herman, just hired as head coach by Houston, was the offensive coordinator.

No way Warinner would have been interested in returning to Kansas for his second tour as OC, even if Herman had not left. Warinner interviewed for the head-coaching position, didn’t get it and is not about to come here to do a lesser job.

But there is one extremely desirable candidate who just might be open to the idea of removing the “co” from his title and in calling plays for a hefty pay raise.

Former Texas Tech quarterback Sonny Cumbie did a terrific job running the Air Raid offense for Mike Leach as a player. Then he spent three years playing in the Arena Football League and worked in the offseason as analyst for the Texas Tech Sports Network. He also worked as head coach/director of player personnel of the San Angelo Stampede of the Indoor Football League. He drew high praise for knowing talent when he found a quarterback who started from the fourth game of the season on and led to the team to its playoff victory. The quarterback’s name: Sonny Cumbie.

(Wonder if that approach will work as well for Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, who appointed himself as head coach of the Badgers for the Outback Bowl versus Auburn after Gary Andersen escaped Alvarez’s massive shadow to take the Oregon State job.)

Anyway, Cumbie, 33, doesn’t have a long college football coaching resume, which is why it’s realistic to think Beaty could reel him in and what a catch he would be, based on the work he did in his lone season at TCU. Doug Meacham has been the Horned Frogs’ primary play-caller. Cumbie, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, has had input on the offense and has worked daily with Trevone Boykin.

No quarterback in the nation improved more than Boykin, who finished fourth in the Heisman voting.

Boykin as a sophomore: seven touchdown passes, seven interceptions. Boykin as a junior working with Cumbie has 30 touchdown passes so far and seven interceptions.

Boykin lost his starting spot for the final five games of the season and had to battle through summer camp to win the job back. Amazing. Those who track the Horned Frogs closely believe Cumbie had a great deal to do with Boykin’s shocking season. Now’s the time to grab Cumbie, since bigger programs might hesitate to do it because he has only five seasons of experience as a college head coach and just one game as the primary play-caller (Texas Tech’s 34-31 victory vs. Minnesota in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl, the grand-baby of them all).

Beaty wants a fast-paced offense and in Cumbie he could have just the man to make it move. All of Cumbie’s experience has come in the Big 12, a plus. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s at the top of Beaty’s list and if he is I wouldn’t be surprised if the new Kansas coach is able to hire him.


Michael Lorraine 6 years, 2 months ago

Nolan Cromwell. Mostly a position coach in NFL but was OC for A&M when Mike Sherman was coach.

Laser Quest 6 years, 2 months ago

That's a very good argument AGAINST Nolan Cromwell, thanks.

Michael Lorraine 6 years, 2 months ago

465 yards and 32 points a game. Just saying.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 2 months ago

Cumbie has 5 years experience as a college head coach Tom?

Dirk Medema 6 years, 2 months ago

Beaty's salary is low enough, even if AssistHC/DC is a bit more expensive, that there should be enough budget available to lure Cumbie away from TCU.

Robert Brown 6 years, 2 months ago

Brett- You might find this interesting. This is a database for last year, but KU was among the lowest Big 5 school for staff salaries. I really do not know if there are plans to increase this appreciably but last year K-State for example spend $700K more on assistant's salaries than KU.

Aaron Paisley 6 years, 2 months ago

I would guess Campo leaving was Campo's choice. I would be surprised if Beaty didn't do everything possible to keep Campo because he was the best position coach and recruiter KU had the past 3 seasons.

That article also explains why Wisconsin is looking for their third HC in a very short span and lost their previous two coaches to lateral at best moves.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 2 months ago

Campo was also Assistant HC, which probably was part of the additional salary, and a reason for him leaving. No reason to have 2 AHC's. My guess is that Bowen's salary will also appear a bit higher.

Bville Hawk 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, but last I heard was that Bill Snyder only wanted $250k (or close to that) for himself in the way of salary. So if they are only paying him $250k then that leaves a lot more available for assistants (all other things being equal).

Dirk Medema 6 years, 2 months ago

That list is really depressing. Not sure if it is more depressing just how little the coaches make relative to the others in the nation, or how much they make relative to normal Americans.

Ray Winger 6 years, 2 months ago

Can he recruit? Beaty and Zenger, agree that the assistant/position coaches excell at BOTH!

Danny Hernandez 6 years, 2 months ago

I believe losing Coach Campo is going to hurt us for some time. His coaching of the db's is a large reason for guys like JaCorey Shephard doing as well as they did. Plus, he was able to land some very good db prospects.

I was really hoping Coach Beaty would do whatever it took to retain Coach Campo.

Andy Tweedy 6 years, 2 months ago

Campo is pushing 70, if he leaves it may have nothing to do with the coaching change or what Beaty tries to use to keep him.

Dirk Medema 6 years, 2 months ago

Campo was also the assistant HC and making $500k for it, or about 25% of the total non-HC budget, and more than either coordinator. That's not sustainable, especially with Bowen taking AHC responsibilities.

The good news is that it should free up a bunch of budget to go after an OC and other position coaches. Hopefully, we don't have another position coach turned co-coordinator making less than $100k.

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