A month after being introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Kansas, Les Miles completed his staff Wednesday, announcing the hiring of tight ends coach Jeff Hecklinski.
The offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at FCS program Indiana State the previous two years, Hecklinski also worked previously as the receivers coach and assistant head coach at Michigan, Miles’ alma mater.
"I am excited to add a coach of the caliber of Jeff Hecklinski to our staff,” Miles stated in a release. "He has experienced great success in recruiting, teaching and developing student-athletes and consistently gets the best out of them, both on and off the field."
According to documents obtained the the Journal-World, Hecklinski signed a four-year deal with Kansas Athletics worth a maximum of $760,000. KU holds options on the third and fourth years of the deal, which guarantees the tight ends coach $180,000 in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Should KU exercise its options, Hecklinski would make $200,000 in 2021 and $220,000 in 2022.
In 2018, the final season at KU for former head coach David Beaty, Garrett Riley coached the Jayhawks’ tight ends and fullbacks. However, according to a source familiar with the situation, Riley, whose deal with KU expires in February, isn’t expected back.
Per a Journal-World source, KU isn’t expected to retain Beaty assistants Justin Johnson (receivers), Bill Miller (linebackers), Kenny Perry (special teams), A.J. Ricker (offensive line), Cassius Sendish (safeties) or Jesse Williams (defensive line) in any capacity, either.
Miles announced Monday night his plans to keep running backs coach Tony Hull and former defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, now the safeties coach, in place as the only holdovers from Beaty’s final staff.
Neither Bowen, under contract through December of 2019, nor Hull, whose deal runs through February of 2020, have signed new contracts with KU.
With Tuesday’s addition of Hecklinski, Miles now has all 10 of his full-time, on-field position coaches in place for the 2019 season.
KU’s five offensive assistants are: coordinator Chip Lindsey, receivers coach Emmett Jones, running backs coach Hull, offensive line coach Luke Meadows and tight ends coach Hecklinski.
The Jayhawks’ four defensive assistants are: coordinator and linebackers coach D.J. Eliot, D-line coach Kwahn Drake, safeties coach Bowen and defensive backs coach Chevis Jackson.
Mike Ekeler is KU’s special teams coordinator.
Prior to taking on several duties with Indiana State the past two years, Hecklinski served as Colorado State-Pueblo’s passing game coordinator and QBs coach in 2015.
From 2011-14, Hecklinski worked on head coach Brady Hoke’s staff at Michigan, as an assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and receivers coach. One of his pupils, Devin Funchess, was a 2015 second-round draft pick of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
Hecklinski also worked with Hoke at San Diego State from 2009-10. The coaches first teamed up at Ball State, from 2004-08.At Ball State, Hecklinski coached All-American receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Dante Ridgeway in 2004.
The QBs coach at Arizona in 2003, Hecklinski spent two years prior to his brief move to the Pac-12 as the offensive coordinator and QBs coach at Central Missouri State, where he helped the program make its first postseason appearance, in 2002.
As a football player, Hecklinski began his college career at Illinois before transferring to Western Illinois to play QB and pass for 5,980 career yards over three seasons. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois in 1997, then played for the Arena Football League's Albany Firebirds in 1998.
Hecklinski and his wife, Tiffany, have a daughter, Riley, and two sons, Mikey and J.R.