Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Les Koenning hired to become KU’s offensive coordinator and QBs coach

Miles completes 1st KU staff — again

Les Koenning was hired as KU football's new offensive coordinator and QBs coach on Jan. 22, 2019.

Les Koenning was hired as KU football's new offensive coordinator and QBs coach on Jan. 22, 2019.


Twelve days after first-year Kansas football coach Les Miles lost his short-lived offensive coordinator to an FBS head coaching job, an OC replacement has been found.

Miles announced Tuesday he has hired Les Koenning to fill the position.

Most recently the running backs coach at Southern Miss, Koenning now takes on the roles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the wake of Chip Lindsey leaving KU to take over the football program at Troy.

Koenning has worked as the offensive coordinator at various programs, including UAB (2016-17), Mississippi State (2009-13), Texas A&M; (2003-07) and Alabama (2001-02), during his nearly four decades in the coaching profession.

"We are so excited to add an offensive coordinator with the experience of Les Koenning,” Miles stated in a release. “He has proven to be an innovative offensive mind who has great success recruiting and developing offensive skill players, particularly at the quarterback position."

The hire completes Miles’ first KU staff — a task that first seemed over and done with in late December, when Miles hired Jeff Hecklinski as his tight ends coach. That changed once Lindsey returned to his home state of Alabama earlier this month to become a head coach and Miles had to hire his second offensive coordinator in two months.

Before working this past season as the running backs coach at Southern Miss, Koenning spent two years coordinating UAB’s offense, following the program’s two-year hiatus. UAB finished fifth in Conference USA in scoring and rushing offense in its second season back in the college football fray, in 2017. UAB’s QB, A.J. Erdely, set the the school's record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a QB, with 13. Running back Spencer Brown set the freshman school record for rushing yards with 1,329. He was also named C-USA Freshman of the Year.

Koenning worked in the Big 12 as recenlty as 2014, serving as the receivers coach on Charlie Strong’s staff at Texas.

His most recent stint as an OC with a Power Five program came at Mississippi State, from 2009-13, when Koenning worked for Dan Mullen, and the Bulldogs went to four consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history.

During the 2013 season, the Bulldogs set a then-single-season record for total offense, averaging 434.4 yards per game.

In 2008, Koenning worked for South Alabama, assisting in setting up the program before its innaugural 2009 season.

From 2003 through 2007, Koenning coached the QBs and coordinated the offense at Texas A&M;, working under head coach Dennis Franchione.

Before his job with the Aggies, Koenning spent the 2001-02 seasons working for Franchione at Alabama, where he was the OC and QBs coach.

His other stops along the way have included TCU (QBs, 2000), Houston (OC, 1999), Duke (OC, 1998), the Miami Dolphins (offensive assistant, 1997), Texas A&M; (receivers, 1994-96), Rice (receivers, 1990-93), Mississippi State (1986-89), Southwestern Louisiana (1985), Alabama (graduate assistant, 1984) and Texas (grad assistant, 1981-83).

A native of Houston, Koenning played at Texas and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university.

Koenning and his wife, Lisa, have two children, Les and Lana.

2019 KU football coaching staff

Les Miles — head coach

Les Koenning — offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

Tony Hull — running backs

Emmett Jones — wide receivers

Luke Meadows — offensive line

Jeff Hecklinski — tight ends

D.J. Eliot — defensive coordinator/outside linebackers

Kwahn Drake — defensive line

Chevis Jackson — defensive backs

Clint Bowen — safeties

Mike Ekeler — special teams coordinator/inside linebackers


Doug Roberts 1 year, 2 months ago

Hmmmm. This does not inspire confidence.

Michael Maris 1 year, 2 months ago

No mention of the hiring of the former NAIA Head Coach to an Offensive Analyst job?

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 2 months ago

Sounds good to me. Imagine he can help recruit Houston area in particular, Texas in general. Second, I think he will be here for awhile. Third, with the addition of an analyst I think we get another layer of validation at what we are doing. All that adds up in my book.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

Agreed. Proven success at the P5 level with good reach into Texas. Seems like a solid hire, a solid staff and more support than we've had in the past.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year, 2 months ago

Its not David Beaty so ld like to believe that the offense will be better. Has Big 12 experience. lve never heard of him so lll keep an open mind. Who knows we all might be surprised.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 2 months ago

I actually am more excited about this OC then the previous one. Built two programs basically from scratch. Has P5 OC experience. 4 years with Mississippi state when they were a solid team. This is a great hire in my view.

1 year, 2 months ago

les may have dementia, we could be screwed as he chases 1 last paycheck & his wife is happy he's out of the house. true, "we cant possibly be any worse than w/ hcdb" but it's something to keep an eye (or ear) on. his interviews almost make Dickie V sound coherent. id love to be wrong, but @ age 60+ w yearS of Oline duties as a former player under his belt, anyone who doesnt honestly consider CTE to be in play are kidding themselves. just be cautious & get us some Ws. rcjh

Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

Speaking of head trauma and incoherence, ...

Jim Stauffer 1 year, 2 months ago

Whoever posted this may have personal knowledge of what CTE actually does to one's ability to reason and express himself.

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 2 months ago

He sounds like a well-qualified coach who isn't coming in looking for a stepping stone to a bigger payday.

I'm cautiously optimistic that we have a solid OC who will last more than one or two years.

Also, if Les is more... then why not bring in more Lesses?

Edward Daub 1 year, 2 months ago

I sure hope you are right Jonathan! I guess the concern is that Les Miles is conservative by nature.

The question is will two Les's make a More? Stay Tuned!

Brent Shipley 1 year, 2 months ago

Interesting hire with good experience. Just curious why after holding an OC position for so long and at many schools was he just a RB coach?

Ray Winger 1 year, 2 months ago

Same reason that Coach Bowen is now the Safeties Coach. External factors involved, I am sure.

Brent Shipley 1 year, 2 months ago

Bowen didn't leave the school tho. He is a Jayhawk for life and you can tell he would do whatever he needs to to be apart of the university so he took a demotion.

Jim Stauffer 1 year, 2 months ago

No doubt this guy is an old school FB coach. My only question about him is why he has changed jobs so frequently up and down the scale and several of his changes were when he was released. I suspect the strength of this hire is his agreement on offensive philosophy with Les Miles.

Steven Haag 1 year, 2 months ago

Ahhhhhh, the sun has come up, and some people are now realizing that the grass isn’t really that much greener on the other side. None of these new hires have been on the sideline for one snap of KU football yet. Am I scratching my head on a couple of these hires? Yep, however I won’t say anything until the rubber meets the road. I think we can agree on a couple of things:

  1. We don’t really want some BIG name coaches, as they would bolt as soon as another offer from a better football program came along. (There are quite a few better football programs out there right now)
  2. Kansas football is...........well, it’s Kansas football. I think we can definitely be better and more competitive. It’s kinda like someone giving you $20 worth of scratch off lottery tickets for Christmas and actually expecting the grand prize to be in one of those tickets.

But alas, the sun is up, I can smell the coffee, and I’m going to go pour a cup. It tastes good on a cold day with snow on the ground

Jason Venable 1 year, 2 months ago

Based on how much he changes jobs he'll last 1 year. How many hires does Long get on football coaches???

Dale Rogers 1 year, 2 months ago

Wow, negatives already and the man has not even overseen a single game for us yet. All Long's first HC hire has done so far is some solid hires for assistants and upgraded the roster with some pretty good recruiting and signing, all in a very short time. Maybe we should give Miles and Long a chance? Ya think?

[''] 1 year, 2 months ago

Question - why, if he was just coming off a record year of offense as Miss St did he lose his job. And he doesn't stay in one place long.....hmmmmm

Jonathan Allison 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't think that the argument that he doesn't stay in one place very long is a fair argument. He worked for Dennis Franchione from 2000 through 2007 at 3 different schools.

He worked for Dan Mullen at Miss State for four years, but the question of why did he leave Miss State is a good one. My suspicion would be that Miss State struggled under the weight of expectations (7-6 wasn't cutting it), and Dan Mullen felt the need to change up the offense.

Since he left MSU he spent 1 year at Texas under new coach Charlie Strong, a year that Texas was just OK, I don't know why he didn't stick at UT but it's not surprising since WR position coaches are about a dime a dozen.

He spent two years at UAB, but UAB didn't have a football team the first year. He was likely selected because he has helped start the South Alabama football team in 2008. They had a surprising good year in 2017 and scored a lot of points, and he likely left for more money at Southern Miss.

Chip Lindsey however was worth scrutinizing over his frequent moves.

Al Martin 1 year, 2 months ago

I can certainly sympathize with skepticism over anything to do with KU football, and I have some myself. Looking from another perspective, though, we now have a staff of coaches, including the head coach, that have coached in power five conferences in the position they're now holding here. That's something we haven't had in a while.

Could they be past their prime, and could the whole thing blow up spectacularly? Sure, we're KU! But this is a different approach than the last failed approaches. This at least makes some logical sense.

David Robinett 1 year, 2 months ago

What is wrong with you Negative Nellies? What’s not to like about the following:

During Koenning’s five seasons at Mississippi State with head coach Dan Mullen, he elevated the offense to its highest levels in school history, in addition to helping the Bulldogs play in four-straight bowl games for the first time in school history.

David Robinett 1 year, 2 months ago

During that time, Koenning orchestrated what was then the top four seasons in school history in total offensive yards, the top two in passing yards and scoring, the top four in passing TDs, and two of the top four in rushing TDs.

Koenning also coached the top four quarterbacks on the career completion percentage chart in MSU history in Tyson Lee, Tyler Russell, Dak Prescott and Chris Relf.

In 2013, the Bulldogs set a then single-season record for total offense with an average of 434.4 yards per game, bettering the previous record of 422.0, set in 1982. Three of the top five total yardage averages in MSU history took place with Koenning at the helm (2013, 2010 and 2012). Mississippi State also set a then school record in total yards, passing yards, completion percentage, and completions, all of which were marks set previously by offenses under Koenning.

Kit Duncan 1 year, 2 months ago

On a MSU site similar to this one it appears that Koenning left MSU to coach at UT (his alma mater) to be closer to family, namely his and his wife's parents. The speculation was that his wife's dad was in poor health at the time and that he may have taken a lesser coaching job at UT for that reason. He was not fired and some fans were sorry to see him leave, considering MSU had just gone to four straight bowls and set records for offensive production.

This was all speculation at the time. The main thing I gleaned from the web board was that no-one was happy to see him leave. There were no comments like I've seen here about "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"

Edward Daub 1 year, 2 months ago

In my KU mid 70's era, the greatest scholar/athlete was basketball player Ken Koenigs.

I recommend that Bill Self hire Doctor Ken Koenigs as KU Big Man Coach.

Just kidding folks, the name Koenning rang my bell.

Let's just hope that Koenning is les conservative than Miles.

Stephen Johnson 1 year, 2 months ago

Just glad to see all the interest in KU football. I have to say that this is one tough job and while Beatty left the program in better shape than he got it, Les Miles has improved it already some. I will be optimistic about it.

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