After 32 years with the same equipment manager, the Kansas football program is preparing for Year 1 of a new regime.
KU on Wednesday announced that Blake Kuenzi (pronounced Ken-zee) had been hired as the program’s head football equipment manager, taking over for Jeff Himes, who retired at the end of April after more than three decades with the Jayhawks.
Kuenzi, a 2005 graduate of Oklahoma University, comes to Kansas after stints with former OU coach Bob Stoops both at Oklahoma and, most recently, in the XFL.
“We are very excited to welcome Blake into the Kansas football family,” KU coach Les Miles said in a news release announcing the hire. “Blake brings years of valuable experience in the Big 12 and I think he will transition nicely to our program.”
After 18 years at OU, Kuenzi spent the 2019-20 season with the XFL’s Dallas Renegades, coached by Stoops.
He managed the daily facility operations with Globe Life Park personnel and helped coordinate the renovation of Globe Life Park football operations to ensure functionality for XFL personnel. He also maintained and supervised the inspection and care of all of the Renegades’ athletic apparel, uniforms and equipment.
At OU, Kuenzi worked his way up to the title of associate director of athletics equipment while working with football and men’s and women’s golf. Part of his role in Norman, Okla., was to help transition OU’s football program from Nike to one of four Jordan brand college football programs.
He also supervised the OU student equipment manager program and graduate assistants for the football program and comes to Kansas with some relationships already in place.
“It is a pleasure to welcome a trusted colleague of Blake’s experience to KU,” said Larry Hare, KU’s assistant athletics director for equipment services. “His responsibilities at Oklahoma, as well as the projects with which he was involved at both OU and the XFL, will benefit our football program and equipment operations as a whole. Blake’s background in the conference and familiarity with its personnel and procedures are certainly an immediate advantage.”
Kuenzi began his new job with Kansas earlier this month. He and his wife, Emily, have two children, a son, Cooper, and daughter, Kendall.