For much of his coaching life, Clint Bowen has been one of the youngest guys on any coaching staff of which he has been a part.
Although the 42-year-old Bowen remains on the young side relative to most defensive coordinators in the country, the former Jayhawk who served as Kansas University’s interim head coach for the final eight games of the 2014 season actually is one of the oldest coaches on first-year head coach David Beaty’s coaching staff.
Only Beaty (44), co-defensive coordinator Kenny Perry (44), offensive coordinator Rob Likens (47) and running-backs coach Reggie Mitchell (54) are older than Bowen. In fact, the average age of Beaty’s staff, including the head coach, comes in at 38.8 years old, which makes this staff by far the youngest group of coaches that has come through Kansas in years.
Despite being one of the youngest staffs in the country, the new KU coaches do not lack experience. All but four of Beaty’s coaches — 27-year-old Klint Kubiak (4), 31-year-old Calvin Thibodeaux (7), 31-year-old Zach Yenser (8) and 31-year-old Kevin Kane (9) — have at least 14 years of coaching experience. And the average number of years in coaching per staff member sits right at 16.
Here’s a look at the Kansas football coaching staff, with name, title, age and years of experience:
Reggie Mitchell — Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator, 54, 32 years experience
Rob Likens — Offensive Coordinator, 47, 23 years experience
Kenny Perry — Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs, 44, 22 years experience
Clint Bowen — Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach, 42, 19 years experience
David Beaty — Head Coach, 44, 21 years experience
Je’Ney Jackson — Strength & Conditioning Director, 39, 16 years experience
Gary Hyman — Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator, 37, 14 years experience
Kevin Kane — Linebackers, 31, 9 years experience
Zach Yenser — Offensive Line, 31, 8 years experience
Calvin Thibodeaux — Defensive Line, 7 years experience
Klint Kubiak — Wide Receivers, 27, 4 years experience
“Even though they’re young in age, they’ve earned their stripes,” Bowen said of the new staff, which is rounded out by 37-year-old special-teams coordinator Gary Hyman and 39-year-old strength coach Je’Ney Jackson. “They’ve earned their right to be here, and they’ve worked hard to get here and have accelerated their learning curve to get here. I think it’ll be a group of guys that our players on our roster right now can come in and relate to and feel comfortable around.”
When it comes to the task of turning around Kansas football, regardless of how many years they’ve lived or coached, Bowen said every member of the new staff was considered an equal.
“Any time you bring a new group of guys together, I think it’s a great opportunity to really step back and evaluate everything you do,” Bowen said. “From a recruiting standpoint, to how you handle your players on a day-to-day basis to a schematic standpoint. It’s a chance to let everyone stand up in the room as they do on their interview. It’s interesting when you interview guys. You actually learn a lot about the way they would do it. It’s a chance to reset the whole deck a little bit and find out what everyone really does know and find out where you can make your program better.”
One of the biggest areas that Beaty, Bowen and the rest of the staff hope to make a big splash is on the recruiting trail. Bowen said the energy and enthusiasm of a young staff could help entice more athletes to come join the KU program. Recruiting coordinator Mitchell, who, 32 years into his career, is the most experienced member of Beaty’s staff, said having so many guys who have worked with Beaty in the past at one place or another also could be a big advantage.
With less than three weeks remaining to fill the four open spots in the 2015 recruiting class in time for national signing day (Feb. 4), the now-complete staff has gone all-in in its attempt to find a few more guys to round out the class.
“The transition has been very smooth,” Mitchell said. “Because of coach Beaty’s personality and attitude, he knows sometimes things aren’t going to work out perfectly. With me knowing our roster a little bit and knowing the players and then knowing the guys who we were recruiting on the board, that’s kind of helping the transition.”