Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Matt Tait: Kansas dabbling with stronger crop of coaching candidates this time around

University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses fans at the KU Kickoff at Corinth Square, on Aug. 17, 2018, in Prairie Village.

University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses fans at the KU Kickoff at Corinth Square, on Aug. 17, 2018, in Prairie Village.


Let’s assume for a minute that Les Miles is not going to be the next football coach at the University of Kansas.

I know, I know; radical thought, right?

While the smoke continues to signal that Miles really could be the future football coach of the KU program, the possibility remains that it could be somebody else.

I’m more in Camp Miles today than I have been at any point in the past couple of weeks. But until a contract is signed and he’s introduced by KU Athletic Director Jeff Long, you just never know what could happen.

OK, so, back to the beginning. Let’s assume again that things fall through with Miles — or never were going to happen — and KU elects to hire someone else. While that might be a bit of a doomsday outcome at this point given the excitement, hope and expectations surrounding Miles, do you realize how much better off KU is this time around than in any of its previous searches?

Wait. Don’t answer that. Of course, you do. I have been paying attention. But it’s still worth pointing out.

Not since Jim Harbaugh was on the brink of accepting the job back in 2009 — yeah, I really think that almost happened — has KU been this close to having a big-time head coach with a proven track record on board.

And again, that’s without Miles being the answer.

I’m not talking about coaches who KU kicked the tires on or guys who considered the opening for 24 hours before saying "Thanks, but no thanks." I’m talking about final stages, serious consideration, could have hired any one of them.

Todd Graham, Sonny Dykes, Dave Doeren, Greg Schiano and a few other proven head coaches jump off the page of KU’s list of potential candidates this time around.

As with any good coaching search, there are probably a couple of names in the mix that we haven’t heard much about and that should absolutely be the case.

But you can bet those unknowns are in the same category as Miles and the names mentioned above.

And while name alone does not mean anything, it does signal that KU is in a much better position than it was when it hired David Beaty in 2014.

At that time, the finalists for the open coaching job were Beaty, Clint Bowen, Ed Warinner and Tim Beck. I’m a fan of all four guys for different reasons, but that group combined doesn’t have the kind of coaching panache, nor the accomplishments, of the names in the mix this time around.

A lot of factors existed for why that group made up the list of finalists the last time around, with salary limitations being chief among them. Beaty, you surely recall, was hired for $800,000 annually. No one in that group would have made more than $1.2 million in his first year.

The time before that, when Charlie Weis ($2.5 million per year) wound up being the pick to replace Turner Gill ($2 million per year), former KU AD Sheahon Zenger had trimmed a coast-to-coast search down to half a dozen finalists or so — a couple from the NFL, a couple college football fast-risers, a couple college retreads, Weis and one or two others.

The names were good, but did not feature the same kind of top-to-bottom, quality track record that this search seems to have.

That should bode well for Kansas, no matter what direction Long decides or is forced to go.

If you ask me, and I found a $50 bill on the ground with a note attached to it that said, “Must be used to bet on KU’s coaching hire,” I’d throw that 50 bucks on Miles.

And I wouldn’t be surprised for a second if some of these newer names you’re hearing are being talked to as potential members of Miles’ staff. Remember, Long himself said his preference would be to hire someone with significant head coaching experience.

We might still be a long way from that point. And, hey, we might not. But things happen fast. And even though there has been no official update to Long’s timetable, you can bet that he’d like to get this thing done ASAP so the transition can begin.

If it doesn’t end soon, then what was the point of firing Beaty when he did?


Eric Eakins 2 years, 3 months ago

There were several good reasons for Long announcing when he did whether or not he had the next coach lined up or not. I do take issue that we are better off this time until we hear that a big name was hired and 3 other big names were turned down. Anybody can throw names around and make it look like something its not. If Long ends up hiring an OC or DC then what does that say about if we are better off? I've tried to stay out of the debate about who it should be but all the speculation seems like it could set people up to be disappointed no matter who it is. There is no cure for that but me personally I am just trying to be patient and open minded to the next coach and not see it as we hit a home run or settled based on name recognition. For recruiting purposes it needs to be named by the last game of the year. Recruiting has come to a standstill.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

What would you have us do not talk about it? I mean clearly no matter who it is we all wanna hear everything being said about the potential candidates. I'd rather hear all the speculation and at least know something about who Long may hire than have him hire someone and not have a clue who it is when he announces the coach. I don't think I'm along on that.

John Joseph Gorski 2 years, 3 months ago

It seems like we had some pretty strong candidates in the last few searches and the wrong choices were made. How do we not make that same mistake this time around. Is there a search committee this time or is it Jeff Long the sole individual conducting the search?

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

Long is making the decision. He stated that.

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 3 months ago

I’m curious, why the bet on Miles being the guy? Not saying he isn’t. But, as you say, there are other good candidates. And what changed your mind, swaying you more in his favor?

Help! Clarity!

Brett McCabe 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's say Miles is the guy. Would Long go out and interview other guys when he already has his guy? I don't think so. So if Miles is the guy, then - as another poster suggested - Long would only be out meeting with donors or meeting with potential assistants. Right?

I would think that, if you were hiring Miles, you would leak it the second the decision was made (to help recruiting) and not sign the contract until one minute after the end our last game. If you leak it, everyone knows but he is not constrained by the NCAA.

John Joseph Gorski 2 years, 3 months ago

The bet on Miles is he's available right now, had a good record in a football or nothing conference, can recruit and has a history with Long.

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 3 months ago

I like those things about Miles too. But Matt is saying Miles is MOST likely. Why? I’m sure we can all invent arguments but I’m curious what his are. And...why does Miles seem more appealing than he did two weeks ago? Both points seem worth unpacking or providing rationale for.

Aaron Paisley 2 years, 3 months ago

Relationships. Long has known Miles for about 30 years. Long also hired Mike Vollmer to basically head up the PR for Kansas football who has also know Miles for about 30 years. Relationships do matter.

Kirk Garrett 2 years, 3 months ago

I get that, kind of a no brainer. I’m asking Tait for HIS rationale. Every candidate has his pros and cons, and not every one has the same desire to come to KU.

Matt says:

  1. Miles looks most likely to be the guy.
  2. Matt likes the idea of Miles being here more than he did two weeks ago. Ok. That’s interesting. Why?

Chad Dexter 2 years, 3 months ago

Kirk, that's a great question. Something has to have changed in the past 2 weeks. The relationships Matt knew about 2 weeks ago. So what has changed to make him feel that Miles is most likely the next KU coach? Some new information, perhaps? What is Matt not sharing with us about this?

Robert Brock 2 years, 3 months ago

Gotta have Miles. KU needs to turn its lousy program around quickly, before it gets pushed out when the GOR runs out.

Bee Bee 2 years, 3 months ago

I hear the K U jet visited Baton Rouge today.

Doug Roberts 2 years, 3 months ago

My $50 says Long will announce his hire this Sunday and introduce new coach on Monday.

Steve Hillyer 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't see it being Miles, if he was going to be the hire why the delay in announcing it? I sure hope it isn't Fisch from the Rams, if he is indeed the hire then it's just the same ole same ole with KU football, might as well have stayed with Beaty in that case and Zenger too.

Brett McCabe 2 years, 3 months ago

Should have read your post before posting....above.

Dane Pratt 2 years, 3 months ago

Jeff Long hired Dave Wanstedt, Bret Beliema and Bobby Petrino. All coaches we’ve heard of that were known quantities. Les Miles fits the mold. Just saying.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's be clear, Beaty was NEVER an OC in a POWER-5. He was a position coach. So no not the same. He never proved a damn thing and we just hired an inept coach based on what we felt was an ability to recruit.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 3 months ago

We're better off this time for 2 reasons:

  1. As partially stated, we don't have nearly as big of an outgoing HCs salary as an anchor on the budget so the next HC can receive a P5 HCs salary and not a position coach's salary. You get what you pay for?

  2. While the roster is not in stellar condition and the recruiting class is a virtual black hole, the roster is in better shape than 4 years ago. A lot better.

The next coach has more to work with - both players and administrators, and an appropriate compensation. That's why we are in a better position with this coaching hire.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 3 months ago

Your kidding yourself if you think Beaty has left a better roster than others. The problem he didn't know how to coach up a player.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

You just contradicted yourself. He has the best record of any of the coaches we've had and should be 4-8 and possibly 5-7 had we had Pooka game 1 we win that game. We should've beaten KSU as well. When Weis left he left the rooster completely short on scholarships as well as talent. We actually have some talent now. As you said he just can't coach it.

Dale Stringer 2 years, 3 months ago

I think we need to give some thanks to Charlie for gutting the football program. I fully believe that if he would have kept all the failing players that TG brought on, then the NCAA would have hit us with about the same amount of scholarship cuts. However I think the cuts would have lasted at least though this year.

With recruiting players, he wasn't much better than Gill. But at least he ran off the irresponsible ones before they could cause sanctions too.

You are right that we should be 4-8 or 5-7. If it wasn't for some stupid play calling, we could have had a chance in the ISU game. But you can't say that Pooka's unavailability in game one cost us that one. A P-5 team's second string should beat them.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

Ha true story on the second string but we know that doesn't happen and if we don't play our starters we get waxed by A LOT of those FCS schools. I think we would've won that game, the KSU game and possibly the ISU game if we had a competent coach. I had forgotten about that game. We were so close to winning the first game and the KSU game though I think any competent coach would've had us ready and would've won both of those contests.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 3 months ago

Beaty has the worst record ever by a KU coach.

He had a better class of personnel when he arrived than people admit to and even with his personnel he can't win. I don't think the roster was the problem that Beaty had, he just can't coach.

Where do you get 4-8 or 5-7...he is 3-7 on the season and showed how to lose to a FCS school again (not once, but twice during his tenure). Are you counting that he almost won a couple of other games and those should count since he is so bad? I can't believe we have stooped so low to count almost wins as wins.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

Um where I get that is if WE HAD A DECENT COACH NOT NAMED DAVID BEATY sorry for the all caps but apparently you think I'm talking about Beaty. HELL NO! If we had someone else, descent coaching this team that's where I get those records! Imagine what Urban Meyer does with this team? Or Nick Saban? Or Les Miles? Or a host of other competent college coaches. Beaty sucks. He CANNOT COACH, PERIOD. Hope that clears up the confusion.

Chris Bailey 2 years, 3 months ago

Any coach worth his salt would've had this team playing in a bowl game this season. Not Beaty but any good coach would have done it.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 3 months ago

Totally disagree, every time we have had a group of people able and ready to take the helm of the program, every time the person making the decision was incorrect. BGL with Harbough, and Zenger didn't have a clue on what he wanted either time.

[''] 2 years, 3 months ago

"BGL with Harbough?" The reason we lost Harbaugh is because Lew The Screw refused to let him coach Stanford in the owl game that year. Maybe I'm misreading your comment.

Jeff Coffman 2 years, 3 months ago

I've heard both...Lew didn't want him to coach Stanford's bowl game and BGL didn't want to pay a buyout.

Either way we had good candidates, but the people that were making them were inept...I agree, I should have included Lew in the hiring decision there. Ultimately, Turner Gill was a low tier option, and somehow we ended up with him.

Chris DeWeese 2 years, 3 months ago

It's really interesting to hear some of the former Kstate players talking about their experience with Snyder. It seems a lot of them really didn't like their experience. Wondering if Snyder is forced out, what type of coach Kstate will be looking for.

Brad Watson 2 years, 3 months ago

GENE CHIZIK.........JIM TRESSEL.........PAUL JOHNSON......PAT that order

Chad Dexter 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't know who those last two are but no to Chizik or Tressel. Chizik was a massive failure at ISU. You think he would do any better at KU?

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