Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Tom Keegan: Beaty and Zenger prove Leo Durocher still right

Kansas University chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, left, shakes hands with new head football coach David Beaty, right, after an introductory press conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, at the Anderson Family Football Complex at KU in Lawrence, Kan. Beaty, the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M, was hired by KU Friday. At center is Sheahon Zenger, KU director of athletics.

Kansas University chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, left, shakes hands with new head football coach David Beaty, right, after an introductory press conference Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, at the Anderson Family Football Complex at KU in Lawrence, Kan. Beaty, the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M, was hired by KU Friday. At center is Sheahon Zenger, KU director of athletics.


The day after David Booth’s $50 million donation was announced at a dinner at the Jayhawk Club attended by most of the coaches in the University of Kansas athletic department, I chatted with Booth for 20 minutes before KU’s 56-34 loss to West Virginia.

In talking about his mutual-fund business, he revealed a personality that doesn’t demand immediate results "or else!"

“You play for the long haul,” Booth said. “You try to do things the right way. You try to do the right thing and that’s all you can do.”

He doesn’t claim to be an expert on football.

“Running my business I think I know what the right thing is," Booth said. "I don’t know what the right thing is to do with the football program, but I have confidence, particularly with the current lineup. The new chancellor, I think, is going to be terrific.”

Booth also shared that he was more than a little impressed with the coaches in the athletic department.

“In terms of quality people, they’re great people running a great program, trying to do it the right way,” Booth said. “That’s all I ask for: Good clean program run the right way.”

I don’t believe Booth threw his body in front of the runaway freight train of momentum in favor of the firings of Sheahon Zenger and David Beaty. I believe that he doesn’t think his generosity qualifies him to make those calls. He knows what he knows and doesn’t claim to know it all. It’s refreshing, even if in this case it contributes to a painful result.

Booth’s donation was the biggest in school history. As a result, many might have read right through the other names on the original press release that kicked off the campaign. Dana and Sue Anderson, now living in Lawrence full-time, and the Mike Beatty family of Salina also were mentioned prominently as generous backers of the project. (Note the spelling. No relation to the football coach).

So with boosters not demanding firings, Dr. Douglas Girod kept everyone in place, apparently because he likes the way the stadium campaign is moving along.

It’s impossible, really, to explain how an AD who has hired football coaches — Charlie Weis, interim Clint Bowen and Beaty — who have combined for a 5-59 record vs. FBS competition (Beaty has gone 1-30 vs. FBS programs) have earned it.

But it’s easier to see why donors didn’t demand they be replaced. Beaty and Zenger are nice guys. Donors like them. Times have changed since Leo Durocher famously said, “Nice guys finish last!”

Nice guys still finish last, but at KU they get to keep their jobs.


Harold Wayne 1 year ago

Mr. Keegan: clearly you have an agenda. Either that or you are seriously misinformed. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and call you clueless. Are you hoping that the entire athletic department simply ignores you? I’d love to have someone follow you around all day and make comments about your job performance. If they did, I’d bet you would want someone that was t least objective to do the analysis.

Go back to the end of CW tenure. How many scholarship players did we have? Did you think two years would get us back to being competitive? If you did, then you are definitely clueless. It isn’t that hard to know the rebuilding would take much more time. Or you may have an agenda... an impotent one but you gave it your best. Surely it must be time for your retirement, or removal.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago


Do you believe Weis and Gill should have been fired?

John Strayer 1 year ago

That's it....keep your head in the sand...then KU football will be gone.

Back during the media days, Beaty himself said there would be noticeable improvements...have you seen any? Folks like you keep hammering the roster situation. Couple more years like this and that trend will reverse. Kids ultimately want to play for winning programs.

Curt Wright 1 year ago

If you ignore the numbers situation then you don't understand where we were. Beaty supposedly had 60 scholarship player when he got here, Numbers I have heard was that only 39 of the 60 were recruited players the rest were walk on awarded scholarship. Weis had destroyed the program. We now have 8 or 9 kids that have been in the program for 4 or 5 years. Iowa St and TCU both have 40 or more. We will not be able to recruit many kids that should physically be able to play at the Big 12 level in their 1st or 2nd year, especially lineman, but yet we are. How many have we got hurt the past couple years by playing kids who should not have asked to play yet. Beaty signed some Juco kids to help protect from playing kids who weren't ready. We played the last 2 years with a 265 pound left tackle. That won't work in the Big 12. Offense is king in the Big 12 and until you develop offensive lineman who can protect well enough for your offense to develop some consistency then you are in trouble. Will the young group get there, possibly. Adeniji is talented, but Adeniji needs another year to let his body mature into the 35 lbs of weight we had him put on this year. Ribordy may be decent, but just a third year sophomore who was a walkon. McCauley is in third year, missed last year, and played left tackle at 270 lbs the year before. Defense in another story. Playing some kids who physically have trouble competing. It takes some time in the weight room to develop these kids.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

Who hired Weis, the guy that "destroyed' the program?

Curt Wright 1 year ago

Do you think Zenger wasn't feeling pressure from boosters to hire a name coach after Turner Gill disaster? Weis was one year removed from being as good of Off. Coordinator in the NFL as there was. He turned Matt Cassel into a Pro Bowl quarterback. On paper Weis fit many criteria, but once here his priorities seemed more on his daughter's foundation that on KU Football. Hard to predict that would happen. I personally wanted Dave Doeren, but that might have been a tough sell to boosters to go with another smaller school head coach.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

Are really defending Zenger hiring Weis?

Curt Wright 1 year ago

Hindsight is 20/20. At the time of the hire, Weis was a big name, had incredible success at the highest level (NFL), had an enormous number of contacts that should have created a high quality staff that could open recruiting doors just by showing their Super Bowl rings. So therefore on paper Weis checked off a lot of boxes for what any AD would have been looking for. Zenger should have looked closer at Notre Dame and Florida experience, because what Weis does on offense did not translate to the college game, especially in the Big 12. In this case it was an mistake to hire Weis, but it was far from unrealistic at the time to believe Charlie Weis could get it done.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Except....except......except......he was fired at Notre Dame because he couldn't win when he could literally recruit all 50 states.

Quit making excuses. Two horrible hires by the same guy. Millions down the gutter and we are all worse for the wear.

Curt Wright 1 year ago

And he followed that up with probably the best performance of any NFL offensive coordinator in the league that next year. Chiefs went from 26th in offense to 9th in offense with Matt Cassel as his quarterback. Charlie was a very good Pro Offensive Coordinator, but not a college head coach. Zenger would not be the first person to make such a mistake. Has Jim Harbaugh turned Michigan into a National Title contender every year, 3rd place in the division each year? Was Steve Spurrier or Saban successful in the NFL. Pete Carroll has been successful at both levels, but only at the pro level after he returned a second time. AD's and owners will continue to take those chances. Sometimes they work but many times they haven't, but unfortunately Charlie left our numbers and particularly in the offensive and interior defensive lines decimated. There are very few high school lineman who are ready to play major college football right out of high school and we aren't going to get them. We didn't get them after the Orange Bowl either. The destruction of the offensive line started at the end of the Mangino era and neither Turner Gill or Charlie Weis did anything to improve things. Charlie tried the JUCO route and that put us in an even bigger hole, because otherwise we would have had 5 or 6 offensive lineman in the 4th or 5th year in the program and now we have one Jacob Bragg. What I'm saying is that lineman are crucial, and Beaty hasn't been given enough time to develop those kids. One more year and you will have a more information because next year, you will have Adeniji as a 3rd year Junior, Tovi as a Juco Transfer Junior in his second year, Ribordy as a 4th year Junior, but originally a walkon, Chris Hughes a redshirt Sophomore and McCauley as a 4th year Junior, albeit missing one year with injury.

Kevin Boone 1 year ago

Man, Tom you are pouring it on! But someone has to, and I enjoy reading your articles. Like I said in a previous post, I hope both you and I are eating crow in a couple years, and everyone else is right. Love this school, hate seeing what is going on....someone needs to light a fire somewhere/somehow.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

If they want a nice guy they can have a nice guy. Either way I'll be stopping my Williams Fund donations and will not renew my 8 season tickets for next year. If I'm the only person that does, they'll be fine. But if others do the same, they better be concerned. These idiot boosters should at least sleep well at night knowing their buddy can continue to drill a Power 5 program into the history books of humility.

Joe Black 1 year ago

Well at least we know one guy who will never be described as a nice guy: Tom Keegan

We get it, you want Beaty and Zenger fired. You've made that abundantly clear. Now go on to something else to write about. You are a journalist aren't you??

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

This is the story. KU Football is a disaster and a change is needed. If you don't like it, don't read it. And then don't make yourself look even dumber by commenting.

Joe Black 1 year ago

Thanks for calling me names. That truly makes you much more intelligent than I am. I didn't say a change wasn't needed so I didn't disagree with you. I just get tired of the same old dribble over and over again. If he is just pandering to people like you then I guess he is doing a great job. I on the other hand like to read a variety of stories covering multiple aspects of the programs at KU. But like you said, I'm just Dumb.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

Thank you for admitting it, Joe. :)

Joe Black 1 year ago

You're welcome! Glad I could help you feel better.

Dillon Davis 1 year ago

I really don't understand the aggression towards Keegan. I freaking love what he's doing!! We aren't going to make a difference commenting on message boards or whining on Twitter. But Tom has a voice and a platform and that is how we are going to see change. Because of people like Tom generating discussion with articles like this! Only a fool could be okay with everything that has happened with our football program these last few years. Well Tom is no fool and he is saying everything that needs to be said and I for one feel like he is representing the majority of intelligent, passionate KU fans who clearly want to see a change with this program! He's blunt and candid and that's okay because Zenger and Beaty deserve all the heat they are taking right now from fans, the media, and Tom here.

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

This is one of the reasons the media has lost so much respect in this country. They use their position and tilt their words to further their own cause whether it be politics or sports. Keegan, I did have some respect for you but if you continue this campaign, that respect is gone. I'm not commenting whether you are right or wrong, I'm simply pointing out you are using your position to further your belief and that is not the role our media should play.

Matthew James Roberson 1 year ago

‪I’m floored by how many find their performances acceptable and believe Tom to just be a big meanie. This level of apathy is a huge reason we are where we are.‬

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

That's not what I was saying although I don't think you were pointing this at any one person. What I am saying is I don't think media should be in the business of trying to sway opinions. They should give us credit for being smart enough to form our own opinions.

Mike Hart 1 year ago

John Fitzgerald: Bye, pal. You not renewing your tickets and WIlliams Fund donations. I know for a lot of us... that is such a huge, crushing loss for us personally. Oh well, Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split Ya! We won’t Miss your attitude. Let us know in parting Who we could hire for next year instead. No solutions... just complaints. Weak...

Curt Wright: Kudos

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

Solutions have been offered ad infinitum. Add my three season tickets to John's eight, and my Williams Fund donation to John's. I've already emailed the Director of Ticket Sales, along with Girod. If you think we'll be the only two, then I think you are the one who is weak.

Mike Hart 1 year ago

I said "weak" is complaining without offering a solution. Let me know who is chomping at the bit to coach here next year.

John Fitzgerald 1 year ago

There are 50,071 seats in Memorial Stadium. The last home game against Baylor that most thought was a winnable game (I predicted 42-17 Baylor) only turned about 21,000 people, including myself. Imagine if you will, that roughly each ticket goes for an average of $20. The potential KU has to earn each game from tickets alone is $1,001,420. With only 21,000 people showing, that number drops to $420,000. This isn't even counting the money KU makes off of concessions. I'm making two points here. 1.) KU is leaving at least half a million on the table each game (probably closer to a million with actual average ticket prices and concession sales). Do you really think any fan or University ambassador should be proud of that? 2.) There are at least 29,071 other fans that chose not to go to a game we could have and should have won because they've lost interest in the program. Say all you want about my attitude or anyone else's attitude that wants a competitive football team, but those points show you're on the wrong side of the battle field my friend.

Dave Coen 1 year ago

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't journalists sometimes reporters and sometimes columnists? Reporters report the facts and columnists write their opinion hopefully based on facts. It appears to me that Mr. Keegan is writing columns giving us his opinion based on facts. I applaud Mr. Keegan's columns. Mr. Keegan, please no matter how hopeless, continue speaking truth to power.

Matthew James Roberson 1 year ago

Why don’t we try bringing in an AD with some fresh perspective that hasn’t hired the two worst coaches in program history? He can then judge Beaty objectively and see what steps make the most sense.

Brett McCabe 1 year ago

This is actually, literally what Keegan proposed around mid-season. It's exactly what Nebraska is doing. In contrast what some of the posters, above, seem to think, Keegan's original proposal is far more moderate and reasonable than is being portrayed.

But the AD doing the review needs to bring some serious chops to the job. Someone whose word would be trusted.

Lewis Mitchell 1 year ago

This actually makes the most sense - both for the "keep Beaty" crowd, and the "we want a change" crowd. Bring in a good AD, who we can trust to make the best decision - whether it's to fire or keep Beaty, and if it is to fire, someone who will hire a better coach than we've been hiring - and then trust the process.

I personally think Beaty's not gonna make any progress no matter how many scholarship players he had, but I understand the opposite argument. Zenger, however, has badly whiffed on his football hires and should be moved to another position or out the door.

Drew Matthews 1 year ago


Continue to apply pressure. The administration clearly does not listen to the fans as 90% of us believe change is needed and that the product in year 3 is unacceptable. Keep up the good work!

Curt Wright 1 year ago

And if the Kansas City Royals and David Glass would have listened to the fans Dayton Moore along with Ned Yost would have been fired after 2011 when his five year plan failed to develop a winning record and the Royals would have started over again and never won a World Series. Sometimes you have to ensure people are allowed the necessary time for their plan to come to fruition. Last year's win against Texas was an outlier that probably led to unrealistic expectation when you look at the foundation in the offensive and defensive interior for us.

Brandon Sieckman 1 year ago

Curt, not exactly the same sitaution. At that time, the Royals has the best farm system in the league and were pouring money into that farm system. College football's farm system is recruiting. I don't see Beaty's classes exactly "lighting it up."

Drew Matthews 1 year ago

Ned Yost also has experience. Beaty has none and shows no signs of life.

Matthew James Roberson 1 year ago

Exactly Brett. Not sure why so many take exception to this relatively moderate approach. Bizarre.

Bryson Stricker 1 year ago

Brett, to be honest. I could get behind every one of your coaching hire suggestions. All pretty good options but in 5 years if they fail, how much different will that look than what we are saying now about Weis/Gill etc.

Personally, I'd like to see you take your three best coaching suggestions. Break down their records in the Beaty era. Then put this KU Team in their shoes and tell me how many games you think we would win.

I will not disagree that Calhoun, bohl etc are all better coaches than Beaty. But do we have proof of anyone rebuilding a P5 program that we could hire? That is a whole obstacle nobody seems to know how to do. We will never find a coach who turned around a similar situation like Beaty's. But regardless, when the time comes for them to fire Beaty. I will be appreciative of what he did to turn our program around and change the culture. A LOT goes into being a HC. I think we can ALL agree on that. David Beaty has done just about everything pretty damn well except win a damn football game which just sucks and I believe that is why people like myself support giving him more opportunity.

I checked the NCAAF section of ESPN today and yesterday. 8 articles about players getting DWI, possession, robbery etc.. Beaty has done an amazing job in building our program and creating an environment where kids know that isn't acceptable. I think we just get caught up in the fact we all just want to win but I know ALL of you would be complaining if we were 12-0 with our kids caught in a credit card scam or robbing people.

Joe Black 1 year ago

Unfortunately, most of the poster on this site would rather be 12-0 with kids getting caught with credit card scams, robbing people, abusing people, etc. They would just chalk it up to kids being kids. I love having a clean program which will have hiccups at times because you cannot control behavior of all. Just make sure there are consequences. I'm not sure if Beaty is the right guy to get things turned around into a winning program but it isn't from lack of trying. One thing he does need to do is to replace his defensive coordinator which will be difficult since they are close friends. Maybe create a different position for him to keep him in the program.

Gunnar Hays 1 year ago

You're point is well taken in that a coach having success at a certain place and time doesn't automatically mean it would transfer to success elsewhere. Not speaking for anyone else, but I think the point some are trying to make is that due to Beatys lack of experience, it was more of an experiment to see if he could do the job. With results not being good so far, having a guy come in with more experience could stabilize things, because at least they've proven on some level they can win as a head coach.

In terms of a coach being able to take on the obstacle that Beaty had, really the only examples that come to mind right away considering how bad things were is Snyder at KSU, Cutcliffe at Duke, and maybe Mangino but I don't know that the KU program he took over was as bad as when Beaty took over. I know there are probably other similar examples, but that's off the top of my head. Cutcliffe is the example I point to most because Duke was historically awful for several years before he took over. They are a basketball focused school, and even though Duke has never been great under him, they are at least respectable (average about 6 wins a year, made one ACC championship appearance). I think this kind of turnaround can be done, even as horrible as it was then, and is now. That said, I do appreciate your last point on Beaty. I think he's done some good things, and even if it is time for KU to move on he would be a great asset on a lot of coaching staffs out there.

Mike Nicco 1 year ago

Good points.
IMO, Coach Mason inherited a far worse mess than Coach Mangino. Coach Mason's style also made it possible for someone with Coach Mangino's style to be hired.

Lawrence McGlinn 1 year ago

I applaud Keegan for being objective despite working in Lawrence. Small cities and towns are full of sycophantic journalists who don't have the guts to call out incompetence in local college athletics. At this point, I believe his suggestions are in the best interest of KU.

The power of the big donors helps to explain a lot of the poor decisions made over the past decade. The most nonsensical argument is that we can't keep hiring coaches. It is hard to know just how a coach will turn out. For instance, Terry Allen was a successful FCS coach who did not translate to FBS. However, all successful coaches have shown some improvement in three years, and it is just not happening. The argument that we don't have scholly athletes does not explain our losses to MAC teams, nor the obvious lack of organization and preparation we see on the field.

John Brazelton 1 year ago

Tom Keegan has known for over a month that Zenger was going to remain as AD and Beaty was coming back in 2018 as HC. Yet he continues to rack his brain coming up with articles to TRASH the football program. His articles draw eyeballs to the KU sports pages as posters so if that's his objective then he's doing a great job. A good journalist (and columnist) is suppose to report the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about his subject without personal venom. My one complaint against his articles was when he TRASHED a student athlete (Daniel Wise) for giving a pep talk to the team. It's one thing to TRASH the Chancellor, the AD and the HC who have contracts giving them million dollar or near million dollar salaries and criticize their decisions, it's another to trash the athletes themselves..

Matthew James Roberson 1 year ago

Painting with a pretty broad (and misguided) brush, Joe Black. Hoping for 4-6 wins and non-embarrassing losses doesn’t mean we’d rather sell our souls than be able to root for a quality coach and young men. Is it truly that unimaginable to strive for both? I’m proud of who Beaty is as a man and I’m willing to give him another year. Dr. Zenger also seems like a good person, but has proven to be incapable around football. He needs to be replaced.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year ago

Crewmember to Captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg "We hit an iceberg where are we in the process of sinking?" Captain "We are right in the middle"

He boadly states this is a bowl team, now at 1-9 he now says that they are in the middle of the process, after saying bowl team 1-9 is now the middle? what's the end? 4-8? 5-7?

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