Zenger: Fire Gill and Hire Stoops. No, Really. A Workable Plan.


I think Zenger is about to prove whether or not he's better at his job than Gill is at his. The tests have come early and often for Zenger, who stepped into both conference realignment and the Gill situation as a rookie. He will either be a huge success or fail miserably, but only time will tell. Anyway, I digress. Tressel will not come to Kansas. That would be a greater fall from grace than just disappearing from Ohio State into oblivion. Mangino is a more of a possibility but less of a practicality (who wants to date an old girlfriend after she's been with another guy?). Leach runs counter to the culture of Kansas period, and Sheahon would be too afraid to make that hire. He is in the tough spot of needing to time the firing of Gill with the availability AND willingness of a capable coach's hire at KU. Not an easy thing to do because so much of it is out of his control AND because he's going to have to offer a high-dollar, short-term contract. High dollar to attract the coach, short-term to appease an untrusting fanbase who's just been burned badly.

I think Mark Stoops, younger brother of OU's Bob Stoops, would be an excellent candidate (do not confuse with Mike Stoops, former head coach at the University of Arizona). It would put him in the same conference as his more recognized sibling, and a name like Stoops can be trusted in college football and brings instant credibility to Kansas. Stoops is a defensive coordinator at Florida State University who is currently making 400K a year. One-fifth Gill's annual take. If I'm Zenger, I either offer the coaching job outright to Stoops or, and this might appease all parties best, double Stoops' salary to bring him to Kansas as defensive coordinator to help Gill, whose offense seems to have found some traction. Eight hundred large is a lot of cheddar for a DC, but A., it won't be wasted, and B., it's cheaper than 6 million (the cost of Gill's buy-out). If Gill doesn't produce wins in '11-'12, axe him and promote Stoops to the head coaching job.

Here's the math. At that point (the END of next season), you would owe Gill 4M and you will have paid Stoops an additional 800,000. Plus, Stoops' hire could be arranged for, say, 1M for each of the last two years remaining on Gill's contract bringing the total to 6.8 Million. Keeping Gill on and doing absolutely nothing would cost you 6 Million. This also doesn't factor that you can subtract from Stoops' 800K what is currently being paid to defensive coordinator Vic Shealy (150K). That reduces the cost for this plan to 6.65M, a mere 650K more than what it would cost to just keep Gill here. Seems reasonable to me. Furthermore, through 7 games this season, FSU ranks 19th nationally in points scored against (source: I don't know where Kansas ranks, but I'm guessing it's hovering around 120th in Division I-A. That is to say, LAST.

If I were Zenger, I'd be on the phone with FSU officials asking for permission to speak to Stoops. Kansas could certainly do worse.


Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

I meant to add that this is the fairest thing to Gill. It gives him another year to bring his players along and "keep getting better" as he is fond of saying. It should also appease Gill's supporters. It would make people like me--the now unsilent majority of Gill doubters--feel better about keeping Gill around another year. It would certainly calm the fears of a lot of the boosters and alumni because of both it's financial sense and the improvement to the defensive product Gill would field next year. Most of all, it's fairest to the players who are being coached by poor coaches. It also gives Stoops a year at Kansas in the event that he takes over at KU after Gill. He will have some familiarity with the facilities, strength and conditioning coaches, the AD, etc. For all of these reasons, if I were Zenger I'd make it an absolute demand that Gill accept Stoops as a condition of continued employment here at Kansas, with the proviso that Gill has one additional season to "get this turned around" or he gets the boot. Bowl eligibility and nothing less.

chipmunk1956 6 years, 7 months ago

On the surface... I like it! The 6 mil. question is, "Would Gill go for it?" I'm still partial to Bill Young. I know the emphasis at Okie St. is offense, so I haven't crunched the defensive #'s to see how he's doing. I know he's got a pretty good track record of having some pretty good defensive teams (including at KU previously) Plus, he has the advantage of at least some familiarity with KU, albeit under different leadership and circumstances than when he was here before. That familiarity, both here and in the Big 12, would be beneficial in recruiting. And, we could probably get him cheaper than Stoops. Just my $0.02....

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Bill Young definitely has longevity in college football. He's certainly seen a lot. If he could be wooed with money, though, I wonder if T. Boone Pickens would have anything to say about keeping him put. What do you think?

chipmunk1956 6 years, 7 months ago

If KU went after Young and Gundy really wanted to keep him, I'm sure T Boone would write a blank check made out to Bill Young! With KU athletic's financial situation right now, thanks to $weet Lou, we're not in any shape to get into a bidding war with anyone, let alone the deep pockets of T. Boone PIckens!

Mark Lindrud 6 years, 7 months ago

Mark Stoops would be a great hire! Great family name with plenty of connections to get the right staff to come on board. He could probably bring in his brother Mike as DC. There is lots of potential to this move

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree. And furthermore, I think T. Bone probably subscribes to a philosophy of not fixing what isn't broken. He's probably good with his team just the way it is, especially considering their high ranking. I suppose he would take umbrage with tinkering from outsiders, especially league rivals who seek to pick off his talent. My gut says Young would be hard to get away from Okie State.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

"I don't know where Kansas ranks, but I'm guessing it's hovering around 120th in Division I-A. That is to say, LAST."

It is dead last. Averaging 50.4 per game....

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the source LAJayhawk! Was easy to guess at though considering our performance.

Sean Rodger 6 years, 7 months ago

I think I'd copy and paste this article into a PDF file and attach it to an email and send it directly to Zenger.

I was a Gill supporter until the k-state game. He lost me from that point going forward.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

If you help me find it, I will do exactly that...

johnnyhrdwd 6 years, 7 months ago

Brent Venables is more seasoned, from Kansas, recruits Texas, and played and coached under Snyder. Mark Stoops would work but he's a last resort hire at this point in his career.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Johnny...I like Brent as well. Here's the thing, no matter who you plug in, the rationale works. No way Kansas comes back next season with Vic Shealy coordinating the defense, although that is the kind of thing I expect from Gill. Not only because I think his coaching skills are suspect, but because I believe him to be a man of character who values loyalty. So I see Gill as sticking with Shealy and seeking to improve his defense by recruiting. But I think Zenger realizes he can't let that happen. He has to get a defensive coordinator who really knows what he's doing. As long as he can get one here and plug them in, the above rationale would work. Rather that be Venables, Stoops, Levitt, whoever. Zenger would come off looking like an AD who is savvy and willing to take the bull by the horns.

waywardJay 6 years, 6 months ago

I must say the first part of your premise is outright absurd. The only thing people have asked for was improvement... and despite Saturdays performance... Our offense has scored on teams, despite not having a legitimate Quarterback.... And yet, those in your camp continue to say, where is the improvement.... You refuse to see any positives at this point

The second idea of yours is genius, because without Torbush we are lost on defense and even then we might still be lost. It wouldn't cost us much to bring him in and it should greatly improve one of our glowing weaknesses... But,convincing someone to leave Florida State to come to Kansas would be incredibly difficult,specifcally seeing as they are much more willing to spend to keep good coaches at Florida State.... I could see Florida State upping the ante beyond what we are capable of spending, and there is no guarantee that we could keep stoops through the end of Gill Contract. It's wort the risk of trying it, but I doubt Stoop's will still be making 400k when big names start calling....

Joe Ross 6 years, 6 months ago

RE: "The only thing people have asked for was improvement..."

I don't think the case can be made that TG has improved the program since Mangino. But more importantly, I think it is unquestionably the case that Turner Gill 2.0 (overall) is worse than his inaugural season here. I agree with you that people want improvement, but defense and special teams have gotten WORSE. The offense is better when you consider the whole season, but lately that offense has been turned down to a trickle. Our performance against McNeese State and NIU (the earlier games) aside, even our offense has taken a nosedive. Reasonble arguments that Gill has made the program worse in nearly every way have to be seriously entertained. I don't refuse to see positives. I WANT to see them. What I see instead are scores like 66-24, 70-28, 47-17, 59-21, 43-0, and with a lot of the scoring in these games coming from our opponents mercifully playing their second strings. We had about 10 yards of total offense through three quarters at Texas. Seriously. This is not about wins and losses to me. It IS about improvement, but the facts on the field don't suggest that we are getting worse.

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