David Beaty and Clint Bowen haven’t just run up and down the same practice fields in their intermittent years of service for Kansas University’s football program. The two coaches have darted back and forth on the same Florida beaches on family vacations together.
Beaty says Bowen wears him out in all the “kids Olympics” that go on during those summer excursions, and the first-year KU head coach calls his assistant head coach and defensive coordinator “dad of the year” to Bowen’s boys, Banks and Baylor. The head Jayhawk says his daughters, Alexa and Averie, love Bowen.
So when Beaty claims he would’ve been at KU this season, even if he hadn’t been hired as head coach, the statement carries some weight.
“Clint and I are as close of friends as I’ve got,” Beaty said Tuesday, when asked about their relationship and whether he would have left his position as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A & M to work on Bowen’s staff had his football and vacation buddy taken over at KU after serving eight games as interim head coach in 2014.
First-year Kansas football coach David Beaty speaks with media members on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, about the shape of KU's offensive linemen, protecting quarterbacks in preseason camp, his friendship with defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, Rob Likens' take on the Air Raid offense and more.
“If he would’ve got the job, I would’ve came if he offered me the job. I’m assuming he would’ve offered me the job to come with him,” Beaty said, grinning. “But he’s one of my best friends and I trust him with everything.”
Last season, Beaty would call up Bowen and pick his brain about packages the Aggies used. The receivers coach wanted to know what his defensive-minded pal would do against certain passing looks. Eventually, their conversations had more career and life ramifications, as the two found themselves in the running to become Charlie Weis’s replacement at Kansas.
Bowen said the two were friends even before Beaty first worked at KU, for Mark Mangino in 2008. So their relationship didn’t take a hit late last year, and they continued their regular conversations amid athletic director Sheahon Zenger’s search.
“I was glad it was either going to be me or him,” Bowen said Tuesday. “When it came out to be him, it really didn’t matter who, because the bottom line is we needed someone in our program who would operate this program in a way that builds the Jayhawk nation, builds a support for our program, our players and allows people to be a part of it. Be a part of what we all have known is special. You know, he’s worked his tail off this year, traveling all over the state and the nation, spreading the word. That’s good. That’s inviting. It’ll help our program.”
According to Beaty, they both saw the opening — one way or the other — as a chance for KU to have a coach “who really loves” the university. “That’s what both of us were looking for.”
Kansas has won just 12 games and lost 48 since 2009, when both Bowen and Beaty worked for Mangino in his final season. The program has been in a constant rebuilding process since, so Bowen is glad Beaty can bring the kind of passion necessary to implement an effective overhaul.
“It’s gonna take a lot of energy and a lot of work to get this thing going,” Bowen said, “and the process has gotten started. We’re already on our way doing that. And he brings that every day, and we have a coaching staff that brings it every day.”