Monday, November 5, 2018


Tom Keegan: Pick your favorite next KU football coach from this list of 17 names

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Houston, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Houston. Houston won 30-18. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Houston, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, in Houston. Houston won 30-18. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)


Jeff Long held a very candid press conference Sunday night in the wake of the announcement that David Beaty would coach the final three games of the season for Kansas and won’t be retained.

During the half-hour question-and-answer session he opened a window into what a search looks like from an athletic director’s chair.

“The biggest challenge is trying to find out who is really interested in your job and who is playing a game,” Long said.

He also said he wants to have a new coach in place at the end of the season, if not sooner, and his preference is someone with experience as a head coach.

A look at 17 potential hires — excluding North Carolina State’s Dave Doeren because he has a $6 million buyout and has it rolling where he is — broken into categories, listed in alphabetical order:

Mount Union Men

Playing for retired Larry Kehres at Division III Mount Union seems to be a great precursor for coaching success.

Kehres won 11 NCAA Division III national titles at the school in Alliance, Ohio, and set an NCAA record with 55 consecutive victories from 2000 to 2003.

Matt Campbell’s success at Iowa State can’t hurt other successful coaches who played for Kehres and might be looking for the next career step, such as:

Jason Candle, Toledo: Campbell’s right-hand man, offensive coordinator and top recruiter at Toledo, he went with Campbell to Iowa State for a day and then accepted the Rockets’ head coaching job. He already has done something Candle never did, winning a MAC title. Extremely strong candidate will break into the Power Five somewhere after this season, why not Kansas?

Alex Grinch, Ohio State co-defensive coordinator: Former Missouri coach Gary Pinkel’s nephew a rising star in the coaching ranks. His results running Washington State’s defense led Ohio State to hire him.

However, Long stated Sunday night that his preference is to hire someone with head coaching experience.

Vince Kehres, 42, Mount Union head coach: Son of Larry Kehres, Vince has a 76-4 record and has won two national titles.

Ed Warinner, Michigan offensive line coach: Warinner was the architect of KU’s greatest offense in history and it all centered around scrambling Todd Reesing. Earlier in his career, Warinner had huge success at rush-heavy Army. Has a great offensive mind and has worked for Brian Kelly at Notre Dame, Urban Meyer at Ohio State, P.J. Fleck at Minnesota and now Jim Harbaugh.

Triple-option coaches

Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State: In his fourth season as the school’s first football coach, Bohannon has the FCS Owls ranked No. 2 in the nation with an 8-1 record. He’s a Monken in the making and also a Paul Johnson disciple. Worth a long, long look.

Troy Calhoun, Air Force: Terrific coach in midst of a tough season. Could be open to a fresh start.

Willie Fritz, Tulane: Has won big nearly everywhere he has coached, including going 17-7 at Georgia Southern, and is an expert at flipping losing programs (Blinn College, Central Missouri). Hasn’t won big at Tulane yet but does better every season in competitive American Athletic Conference.

Runs the triple-option out of the pistol formation, so he passes more than most flexbone coaches do.

Players compete extremely hard for him and he’s from Johnson County.

Would not be afraid of the monumental challenge because he’s been there, done that.

Jeff Monken: What he has done at Army is as remarkable as anything any coach has done anywhere in the past few years.

Seldom passes out of the flexbone, but doesn’t need to do so in order to keep defenses guessing.

Came very close to beating Oklahoma this season. That just doesn’t happen unless the underdog has a great coach.

Is Paul Johnson’s most successful disciple.

Other Active Head Coaches

Major Applewhite, Houston:

Former Texas quarterback in second season as head coach at Houston, where he is 14-8, including 7-2 this season.

Neal Brown, Troy: Does fast-paced tempo make sense for Kansas, especially in the early days of a rebuilding project?

Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic: Never at a loss for knowing ways to garner headlines, Tiffin recently offered a scholarship to Matt Leonard’s sixth-grade son, Cole Leinart, 12.

Lance Leipold, Buffalo: Won six Division III titles at Wisconsin-Whitewater and is 8-1 at University at Buffalo in this his fourth season at the school. He obviously evaluates talent well because he recruited almost every player on the roster.

If Iowa State loses Campbell after this season, Leipold and Fritz will be in the running for that job.

The last time Kansas plucked a coach from Buffalo, Turner Gill, it didn’t work so well.

So what?

Seth Littrell, North Texas: Once worked as behind-the-scenes contributor on Mark Mangino’s staff at Kansas. Also worked for Mike Leach at Texas Tech and was thought to be where the Red Raiders would turn if Kliff Kingsbury had a bad season, but unless he loses his last three games to end season on five-game losing streak, he’s not going anywhere.

Matt Wells, Utah State: Is 8-1 overall, 5-0 in Mountain West Conference. A native of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, Wells might be interested in returning to this region of the country.

Former head coaches

Jim Leavitt: Oregon defensive coordinator built South Florida program from scratch into a top-25 program. Wants the Kansas State job, but might enjoy beating the Wildcats since he so far hasn’t been able to rejoin them.

Jim McElwain: Did terrific job at Colorado State, but flopped at Florida. Could spend rest of life counting his buyout money, but he’s coaching wide receivers at Michigan, so he’s not done seeking another shot at running a program.

Les Miles: Part of his buyout from LSU stipulates that he must actively seek another job as a head coach in college football, which makes his level of interest in any job tough to read. He has to look, but is being paid handsomely not to work. Could it be a similar situation to what I once heard a local golfer say about looking for an opponent’s ball: “Always look, never find”?

Then again, Miles worked with Long for 10 years at Michigan and he just might be interested in coaching Kansas.


Brett McCabe 2 years, 5 months ago

Les Miles is a good coach. He shouldn't be our coach.

Give me a guy who isn't looking to leverage the next thing. Give me Fritz or Bohannon or Monken. We need a guy who makes it work. Let Les Miles go to Maryland or wherever.

Let's quit being stupid in football. Do something smart.

Long blew it by not firing Beaty before the season began, he blew it again last night by appearing agitated that fans who support the worst football program in America somehow don't support it enough. The Long Show is already too long. He strikes me as lot of show....let's see the go.

You are being paid $1.5 million to make a single, smart decision. I anticipate you'll do the Zenger thing and hire a name, which is the last thing we need. We need some humility and some respect for the job at hand.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes, it seems so. Plus he brings on a top level assistant to do the job he was hired to do, evaluate the program. The guy is a big time spender.

Jay Beakum 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree but I will always be offended by the lack of support for the football team. Win or lose, they are Jayhawks. They're our family. The Chicago Cubs made headlines, year in-year out, by supporting a losing team. By not supporting our football team, we look like fair-weather Denver Broncos fans. That kind of stuff makes me ill.

Jayson Hawk 2 years, 5 months ago

NEWS FLASH ANY coach that comes here is going to leverage us for the next thing. No matter who comes here (If they are successful) will only be here for a few years before they bolt for a bigger better job. Sorry that is just reality. That is also why we shouldn't worry about the age of a coach, they wont be here long regardless. Hire the best guy to build this thing so we will be set us up to hire the best guy 4-5 years from now.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

Call me crazy but I like Ed Warinner. He's got lots of coaching experience and has spent time in places like Ohio State and Michigan where they take football seriously. Might be that Bill Snyder/David Cutcliffe kind of coach who has lots of football knowledge but for some reason is never given the opportunity except at a job no one else wants.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 5 months ago

You are crazy. He's never built a program from scratch. Why would we hire someone who no one else would hire?

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

Coaches who have built a program from scratch and are willing to come to Lawrence. They'll be lining up around the block.

Matt Stone 2 years, 5 months ago

Here are my top 5 in no particular order. The 1st 2 are hot young candidates. 1.Jason Candle, Toledo 2.Neal Brown, Troy 3.Willie Fritz, Tulane 4.Jim Leavitt, Oregon defensive coordinator (keep KState from grabbing him) 5.Les Miles I agree with Brett on Les. He will use this job as another building block and always be looking for next big gig. But name recognition may help jump start the program and we know he can recruit. So any of these 5 seems like winners to me.

David Kemp 2 years, 5 months ago

Biggest advantage for Miles is he is free and can start now. That would be huge for not losing a whole year on recruiting

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Lots of strong candidates here, all of whom would bring about dramatic improvement in a few short years. A much better list than last time around.

Littrell is my top choice.

Kenneth Johnson 2 years, 5 months ago

Mine too. Tedford and Leavitt would also be on my list.

Definitely not Kiffen - a real loser, Also not Brett Bielma, who I saw on another list. He was a loser at Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh and if Miles accepts an offer from KU, why would anyone assume he’s waiting for “the next big thing” when he could just keep collecting money from LSU not to coach? Weird logic.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 5 months ago

1) Les

2) Lane

3) Matt Wells

Not mentioned:

1a) Leach

1b) Doeren

Lance Cheney 2 years, 5 months ago

What is this fascination everybody has with Lane Kiffin? He's failed miserably at every place he's been. We don't need somebody like that.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 5 months ago

Les Miles is like 64. So anyone thinking he’s gonna use this for another job, to me, is crazy. Plus he and Long are good friends. Rumor has it Miles was in town recently. Could be just to say hello to his friend or to give his opinion on the program. Who knows. Seems interesting to me. I just hope whomever we hire they do a damn good no and get us back to winning some games. We can’t afford to get this wrong. If we do we will be out of the Big12 when the realignment talks happen again in a few years.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 5 months ago

You don't understand the egos of the people involved. Les Miles won a National Championship. If you think that he thinks that KU is a destination job then you are as delusional as the new AD who thinks people should spend their time and money supporting the mess that he is now actively guiding.

Les Miles as our next head coach is the KU's admission that we have absolutely no friggin clue as to what we are doing. Want to take a bad situation and make it worse? Hire a guy with an agenda other than building a program.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 5 months ago

He would be a better hire than miles.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 5 months ago

Come on with the Mangino song and dance. He’s never coming back. It’s not gonna happen. Yes he was a great coach but he’s not coming back. I don’t think he’d come back even if we offered it to him. Either way he can’t be allowed back.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 5 months ago


I actually agree with that assessment but I don’t get to make the decisions. I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective either. I’m not saying he’s “the guy” but I am saying we could do worse. Having his friend here would help but you are right we could do better. My vote is for DD. I say we throw money at him and get him back here. Right that wrong from a few seasons ago when we should’ve hired him the first time. I think he’s a hell of a coach and also he knows the area well.

Bill Kackley 2 years, 5 months ago

I always get a kick out if Brett (the coach) McCabes posts. He continually showd he thinks he knows a hell of a lot more than he actually does. I am just glad he is not in charge of hiring the next coach. Heava help us if he was.

Ben Miller 2 years, 5 months ago

Kevin Kelley from Pulaski Academy.

The coach who never punts.

Unless you've been under a rock, you must have seen one of the countless pieces done about this coach. An outside-the-box thinker who would bring a breath of fresh air and excitement to a program desperately in need of both. Moreover, I think he's the perfect coach for a basketball school like KU. His system is fast-break football, with gimmick/trick plays sprinkled throughout the playbook. He would be inexpensive while also creating buzz. Tell me a guy like wouldn't draw fans and also commitments. If you were a prospective college football player, wouldn't you love to play for him?

Keegan- can we find out if Kevin Kelley is interested in the job?

Ryan Shelton 2 years, 5 months ago

It makes no sense for a coach that never punts to go to a school known for its great punting.

JD Roth 2 years, 5 months ago

Looks like KU and K-state will both be replacing head coaches. KU should go after Chris Creighton. Quality coach and a great motivator of men. His defensive coordinator and associate head coach Neal Neathery is also a great man.

Suzi Marshall 2 years, 5 months ago

KState will hire an experienced HC. Perhaps they will hire Beaty.

Mike Bennett 2 years, 5 months ago

  1. Fritz- I wanted him when they hired Beaty.
  2. Candle-He's from the cradle of coaching. We did very well with Terry Mason out of the MAC.
  3. Matt Wells-Utah State is not an easy place to coach and win. I doubt he'd come to KU though.

Joe Black 2 years, 5 months ago

Utah State does not play the level of competition that KU plays year in and year out. It is much easier to win in the Mountain West than the Big 12

David Friend 2 years, 5 months ago

I have no idea why no one mentions Chris Kleinman. He has the most successful football program in the country (and Alabama I guess:) and his teams are better than most division 1 mid major programs. And he does it in North Dakota. Has some KU ties. Pay the man his money!!!! Bohannon would be my 2nd choice and Littrel my third.

Robert Brock 2 years, 5 months ago

If Miles turned the lousy KU football program around, he would be a living legend - a god - and would not need to leap to another job.

Dennis Strick 2 years, 5 months ago

Bingo! You hit the nail on the head. Then logically the guy who hired the God would be in the same stratus.

Lance Cheney 2 years, 5 months ago

You left one name off. I guess it's already a done deal, but the guy that Long is hiring is some guy I've never heard of. Some up and coming position coach named Bavid Deaty.

Bville Hawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Willie Fritz seems like the logical choice. Has rebuilt several down and out programs, years of head coaching experience, has solid roots in Kansas.

We don't need a "name" coach (Les Miles = Charlie Weis). Also, I worry that hiring an FCS or lower division coach who has been successful will get us another Terry Allen.

I think Fritz is in his late 50's so he likely still has the "fire in his belly."

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

And he destroyed Nichols State.

I would be okay with Fritz but if you look at the coaches Jeff Long has hired he doesn't fit the profile.

Jack Hoff 2 years, 5 months ago

It's pretty outrageous to me for someone to say Les Miles = Charlie Weis. For one Weis had never proven himself of being capable of running a good program he just had a big name. Miles has turned around a OSU program and is a championship pedigree coach. Second he has a reputation to uphold so the idea that he would come to Kansas and half ass it seems unlikely to me as well. I'm all for Miles. Instant recruiting success, brings back fan in the seats and I believe he would still have that fire considering he is looking to get back into the game of coaching.

Ryan Shelton 2 years, 5 months ago

You beat me to it. Charlie Weis and Les Miles shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence. We would be very lucky to land Les Miles.

Aaron Paisley 2 years, 5 months ago

Les Miles does not equal Charlie Weis. Miles has been a successful head coach at multiple schools, including building up Oklahoma State for Gundy to take to new levels. A down year for LSU under Miles was 8 or 9 wins. I don't expect Miles to build KU into what he had at LSU, but turning KU into what he turned OSU into isn't far fetched and at that point, then KU can get the big named up comer.

Bville Hawk 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm not saying Weis and Miles are coaching equivalents. I am saying that in Les Miles you may be getting a coach (like Weis) whose agenda is to pad his retirement nest egg just one more time before calling it quits. There is no way to know for sure what his (Miles) motivation is, other than his LSU contract that says he has to keep "looking for a head coaching job." The 65 year old Les Miles is not the guy who took over the LSU program way back when.

Brad Watson 2 years, 5 months ago

Miles is the worst choice...the list lacks many quality names...Gene Chizik...hello?...the best resume ...National one else has a ring....rings impress recruits...and his visibility on SEC NETWORK is a plus...recruits are familiar with him.. ...great recruiter....great salesman....great family.......understands how to win it all and what that takes... and he is available and he wants to coach......perfect fit here....HELLO?.

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 5 months ago

He's a great guy, but he doesn't want to take any job -- IF he takes any job at all -- unless it's the "perfect fit" (his own phrase.) Kansas sure as hell isn't that.

Joe Black 2 years, 5 months ago

"understands how to win it all and what that takes." You mean like paying for your top name quarterback?

Aaron Paisley 2 years, 5 months ago

There's a reason he hasn't landed another head coaching job since he was fired 6 years ago. Chizik is overrated as hell. He was nothing without Cam.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 5 months ago

It is funny that you say Rings impress recruits and Gene is the only one that has one and Miles is the worst choice.

I might suggest that you look at the 2007 National Championship Game and see who won that game. Hint he was the coach at LSU. Furthermore, he went on to play in the NCG in 2011, some say that his win at Alabama earlier in the year should have prevented the rematch. Likely he would have beat OSU or Stanford if either of those two had been correctly picked to play in the NCG.

Just saying. Also, check how Gene Chizik did at Iowa State, that would be a better match of how he would perform at KU.

Brad Watson 2 years, 5 months ago

You are right...Miles coached against mistake...I like Chizik...get him on the phone Mr. Long!

Joe Black 2 years, 5 months ago

Jason Candle, Toledo: Campbell’s right-hand man, offensive coordinator and top recruiter at Toledo, he went with Campbell to Iowa State for a day and then accepted the Rockets’ head coaching job. He already has done something Candle never did, winning a MAC title. Extremely strong candidate will break into the Power Five somewhere after this season, why not Kansas? DID YOU REALLY MEAN "He already has done something CAMPBELL never did, winning a MAC title"

Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic: Never at a loss for knowing ways to garner headlines, Tiffin recently offered a scholarship to Matt Leonard’s sixth-grade son, Cole Leinart, 12. DON'T YOU MEAN Matt LEINART'S son not Matt LEONARD'S

You edit these articles about the same as Beaty coaches football. Oh, well I guess soon you both will be gone.

Mike Barnhart 2 years, 5 months ago

The "Texas recruiter" didn't pan out. Now it's time for a "coach 'em up" guy.

3-star and 4-star recruits don't settle for rebuilding projects so we'll be recruiting mostly 2-star prospects. We need a coach who'll spend countless hours in the film room, not crisscrossing Texas finishing second on the recruiting trail.

Willie Fritz has good contacts in Louisiana, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Ask the HS coaches for their under-sized, kinda slow-footed, mean-as-hell football junkies and coach 'em up!!

We'll worry about 3-star and 4-star guys after we finish 6-6!

Randy Bombardier 2 years, 5 months ago

Jeff Tedford not on this particulsr list but has the right stuff. Keegs, you bring an interesting point on Miles, enough that he's moved down my list.

My head says Tedford, Monken. (Safe bet)

My heart says Doeren. ( But would hate to see a KU guy ruin his career here if it doesn't work out. It's a bigger gamble for him than for KU.)

My gut says Ed Warinner. Warinner is an old offensive line coach like Mangino and Mason, Ohio roots like Mangino.and Mason. Thought is they know that games are won and lost by line play more than any other position. You can't win national championships with a philosophy of "3 yards and a cloud of dust" (Woody Hayes, Ohio State legend) without making line play the most important priority of your team. This is the root of football. Warinner gets that.

Bryan Mohr 2 years, 5 months ago

  1. Doeren
  2. Mangino
  3. Mike Stoops
  4. Leavitt
  5. Venables
  6. Fritz
  7. Littrell
  8. Candle

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

If K-State doesn't nab Leavitt we should go after him.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm betting on Sean. How can you say no to the only man who has every meant anything to your program.

Max Ledom 2 years, 5 months ago

Just to get this straight: you all think Les Miles will use KU as a building block to leap frog into the bigger better job?’re expectint 64 year old Les to be looking for that big time coaching opportunity at like..70? Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it works out.

Hire Les.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

Consider coaches from the Bill Snyder coaching tree. He has spawned quite a few. We used to have one that did a decent job.

Brad Watson 2 years, 5 months ago

If we could lure SWEATER VEST back into would be awesome!

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