Williams Fund boss Matt Baty instructs KU donors on how not to be 'part of the problem'


Rendering of Memorial Stadium's new south end zone, at completion of renovation project.

Rendering of Memorial Stadium's new south end zone, at completion of renovation project.

Before you decide for or against donating to the Kansas Athletics capital campaign designed at raising $350 million, all but about $50 million for football stadium renovations, give a listen to this podcast, starting at about the 33-minute mark.

Matt Baty, senior associate athletics director in charge of fundraising for Kansas Athletics, is working very hard to make it happen, so at least show him the courtesy of listening to what he has to say on Episode 1 of the “KU Sport Management,” podcast, recorded shortly after the conclusion of the 1-11 2017 football season.

Baty points out to the host that Kansas has had 15 football coaches in the past 65 years and just two had winning records.

Some highlights of Baty’s candid interview:

“Average tenure was four years. Four years!” Baty said. “At what point do we put our stake in the ground as a fan base, as a donor base, as an administration, as campus administrators, do we put our foot in the ground and say no more?”

The athletic department’s answer is at the point that their football coach has the worst record (3-33) in program history.

“We have conference realignment coming up,” Baty cautioned. “We have to show that we care about football. We have to show that we have the resources. We have to show that we have the winning product on the field.”

The need to show they have the resources led to the capital campaign. The solution to showing they have a winning record on the field? Retaining a football coach with a 3-33 record because evidently, longevity is the key component that determines a football coach’s success. No wonder Eddie Robinson and Bud Wilkinson, Bear Bryant and Bob Stoops, were such good football coaches. Their schools allowed them to keep their jobs for so long. And all this time I thought it was because they were great judges of talent, superior motivators of men, smart tacticians.

Great professors aren’t great because they know how to communicate their knowledge in compelling fashion, inspiring their students to find out more about the subject. Nope. It’s because they have tenure.

Baty was just getting warmed up.

“This may step on some people’s toes, but I’m dealing in reality, right? This administration sucked at football. The last administration sucked at football. For 65 years, every administration sucked at football,” Baty said.

Well, not really. For one thing, Al Bohl hired Mark Mangino. But close enough.

“But this is the administration to change it. I truly believe that. We’re here to change that,” he said.

Baty explains how: “We hired David Beaty and we knew this was going to be a five-year process, a five-year plan. We beat Texas last year and that kind of sped up a lot of people’s minds. And I get it, it’s all about wins and losses and again it’s not about effort, it’s about performance. And I get that. But we knew going in with our scholarship situation where we're at it’s going to be a five-year plan. We’re getting a lot of heat: ‘Fire David Beaty. Fire David Beaty. Why are we keeping him? He’s lost.’ Well, if we wanted to be status quo — my status quo is the 65 years — yeah, we would fire David Beaty. But we’re putting a stake in the ground and we’re not doing what we’ve done and constantly done year after year after year. That’s what we’ve done. We’ve fired coaches. Average tenure’s four years. We’ve done that. We’ve been there.”

This logic, of course, presupposes that the problem isn’t hiring the wrong coach, it’s just firing coaches too quickly.

“Now let’s compare that to men’s basketball,” Baty said. “Men’s basketball, how many coaches have we had, do you know? Eight. Eight coaches in the history of Kansas basketball. There is something to be said about consistency and stability and that’s where we’re at right now.”

So if Bob Valesente had been allowed to keep his job longer he would have turned into Knute Rockne in no time.

Then Baty slipped into if-you’re-not-with-us-you’re-against-us mode, always a dangerous path to take, especially so when the football team is 5-61 vs. FBS competition the past six years.

“When we’re out talking to donors my mission is very simple: ‘Do you want to be part of the problem or do you want to be part of the solution?’ If you want to be part of the problem in the last 65 years, then we fire David Beaty," Baty said. "If you want to be part of the problem, don’t come to the games. If you want to be a part of the problem, don’t give to Raise The Chant, the capital campaign. Don’t support this. Talk negatively about them. But if you want to be part of the solution, buy season tickets. As challenging as that is right now, buy season tickets. Go buy a single-game ticket. Bring your kids out to the hill and have a birthday party, if you want to be a part of the solution. If you want to be a part of the solution, donate to the stadium because we together can change this.”

And if you decide not to subject yourself or your loved ones to watching a team that has lost more than 90 percent of its games the past three seasons you’re part of the problem.

Don’t feel bad. So am I. Maybe we should issue a joint apology.

“You know the naysayers that are in the local papers and the national papers and things, all they are is part of the problem,” Baty said. “They’re not part of the solution. You know, we’re getting beat up in our local paper. Our local paper’s beating us up and they’re wondering why we can’t recruit and do these things. Well, we are recruiting, we’re proving that. Well, are they being part of the problem or part of the solution? To me they’re being part of the problem.”

Enough writing for now. I have something more important on my plate: I must find the North Korean “journalist” who wrote the story about the late dictator’s first round of golf, the one in which he shot a 34 and had five aces, to see if he would be interested in covering KU football for us. He could become part of the solution.


Tom Keegan 3 years, 9 months ago

You're right that it's Bob, not George, but there is no 'c' in Valesente.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 9 months ago

Well it isn't easy to be a solution person those problem people are much more vocal demanding immediate changes. The upcoming football season will be a big factor helping those in charge to make wise decisions.

Joe Norgay 3 years, 9 months ago

Matt Baty is more proof of how bad an AD Sheahon Zenger is. This is the guy he chooses to raise funds? I mean seriously?

SZ better thank his lucky stars that Bill Self got that mega donation out of Booth over dinner.

Jeremy D. Morris 3 years, 9 months ago

We've heard what makes a bad fan from the administration. What metrics make a bad football coach though?

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Or a bad administration?

Stunned that a guy working for KU would absolutely throw past administrations under a bus. Beyond unprofessional. Just stupid.

I can't add anything to what Tom has written. It's literally like an Alice in Wonderland moment.....just when you think it can't worse or weirder, the Athletic Department cranks out something else.

After all, it was the previous administration who fired Gill. And the previous administration who hired Weis. And the previous administration who fired Weis. And the previous administration who hired a coach with zero P5 coordinator experience and zero rebuild experience and zero head-coaching experience. A guy who couldn't even get promoted at the school he was at.

Isn't it a bit hypocritical to fire two coaches and hire two coaches and then say the problem is that no one has put a stake in the ground to ride through some tough times? Baty, Beaty and Zenger are KU's version of the football Three Stooges.

The problem? The only people laughing is every other program in the Big 12.

Matty Broz 3 years, 9 months ago

Dear Matt Baty,


Love and Kisses

Proud Alum Who Only Asks For Accountability Which Apparently Is Part "Of The Problem"

Eric Eakins 3 years, 9 months ago

Seems to me the first rule of fundraising is not to lecture (even if you are correct) those who have money that you want them to voluntarily turn it over to you. I took the survey, I am behind most of the ideas presented as a must need for KU. I was even considering giving towards that effort. I'm not a difference maker but they need several thousands of me along with the big boys/girls.

As I've stated earlier, I want to support my University because I care about it and also it represents me in my life as well but I have concerns about the caretakers of my money and every time I start to loosen up and get behind giving again a caretaker comes out and pushes me back into my stance - My money goes to those who appreciate it and wisely use it!

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

you sound reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllyyyyyyyyy mad Tom.

Even more funny that you are just now finding this, 5 months later.

What he said is quite frankly true. The BMD's are the only people that matter. If you aren't buying season tickets, donating to WEF or putting money towards Raise the Chant. You are irrelevant. Hell I'm effing irrelevant and I do all of the above.

Stadium holds 50,071. 71 people hold our program at their fingertips and another 2-3k play a good part in sustaining. Those people have chosen this path and it is either ride with it or go bi*** and moan.

You do nothing for KUAD besides write articles. You don't donate, you don't buy tickets and you aren't even an alum. Proves the point that if you left and the many like you left, KUAD would lose nothing and that is their point.

Might be taking a big reach by saying people not buying are the problem but if you are bit**ing and not going, it is 100% factual that you aren't helping.

Frederick Heckel 3 years, 9 months ago

This is a paid employ of the KU athletic department. Don't pay any attention to what he has to say.

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

Bro I wish i was paid by KUAD. Would make this a lot more worth it to argue with idiots.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh no, Tom. You've really upset Bryson Stricker this time. Better start job searching! Lol

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

lol john, I am not upset. I just stated a lot of facts. 3 hours ago you thought KUAD meant KU Athletic Director lol.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 9 months ago

You’re right, that was very stupid of me. Almost as bad as your poor grammar, poor spelling and constant cussing.

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

........................................................................................................................................................................................ you can't be serious right now. You've literally tried to make fun of me for making fun of you and kevin for poor grammar and spelling. It's a messaging board, grammar is out the window. But my spelling is pretty damn proficient lol.

Gavin Fritton 3 years, 9 months ago

Do I want to be part of the solution or part of the problem? The nerve required to even ASK that question while not acknowledging the criminal levels of negligence committed by the KUAD is absolutely mind-boggling.

Also, it's worth noting that Baty is hammering the five-year plan, as if the problem all along has been that we ran out of patience with Turner Gill, Bob Valesente, Charlie Weis and Terry Allen too soon and that the fault belonged to a restive fan base for not giving them enough time to do the job. Does Baty or anyone else on the planet really feel like THIS year is going to be the one that KU football turns the corner and that we're gonna win games now because that is the just reward for our patience? What is Baty going to say a year from now when the team loses another eleven games? That the five-year plan was stupid and we fans should have known that it wasn't ever going to happen in five years and it's our fault for believing him?

For the record, I want to be part of the solution. But I'm not 100% convinced the KUAD even understands the problem, let alone how to solve it.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom Keegan, I am impressed you published this article because, to be honest, I've in recent months come to view you as an attack dog on the Fire Beaty and Zenger bandwagon. What this guy says makes a huge amount of sense. I could buy into the AD setting a date that certain criteria are to be met and that's the fire or not fire decision date.

Pat Sullivan 3 years, 9 months ago

There is a massive bowl of Zenger Punch that each and every employee involved in fund raising is forced to drink. Matt Baty clearly is ingesting it intravenously. In a black and white approach to issues that are so much more complex than simply looking at 65 years of football history, Baty has all but told loyal and loving KU Fans that "if you aren't sitting in Memorial Stadium and singing the praises of Zenger/Beaty, you are not a true fan."

How dare you sir! Please assume that we all have money to burn. Any honest financial consultant would ask, "What are your priorities?" -Two kids in private school -A mortgage -Providing for my family long term -Oh and KU Football

I would hope that financial consultant would scold me and remind me that the ROI on KU Football is absolutely non existent. I've been a season ticket holder for over 12 years. It's been 10 years since KU competed. You do the math. The Texas win was absolutely the worst thing that could have happened to this program...false hope. I do sleep well at night knowing that we have one of the coolest locker rooms in the country. That has clearly done wonders for the product on the field.

I don't personally know our new Chancellor or David Booth. I can say with confidence that they are hard working, very intelligent and thoughtful. I don't doubt that they love KU. I will however challenge their common sense. They have hitched their wagon to the Zenger Star and unfortunately that asterisk will forever be part of their legacy.

BTW, I buy and read the Lawrence Journal World because it IS an objective newspaper with hard working reporters who tell it like it is. If Baty believes the program would be in a much better place because Tom Keegan is sugar coating the worst football program in D1, he should not be representing KU. Good football, baseball, softball, women's basketball sell newspapers. KU is void of all those. My guess is Keegan and his colleagues would much rather write about winning programs because they do in fact increase circulation.

RockChalk FOREVER!

Brad Richardson 3 years, 9 months ago

Add Matt's name to the "to be fired list" that will commence sometime after game 3 with Rutgers. Good grief!

Michael Sillman 3 years, 9 months ago

I guess that I am a bit old fashioned. If you hire a guy who says from the beginning that it will take five years then you really need to give him that five years.

If the results are not good in Year 5, then you fire him and bring in someone new. At least the head coach applicants will know that they will be given a full five years to turn the ship around.

Marcus Balzer 3 years, 9 months ago

I would just like to know from "other" Baty what is the difference between the tenures of Weis and Gill compared to what David is doing...

Lucas Town 3 years, 9 months ago

Exactly, why didn't we put our stake in the ground with either coach, if this is the stance we are to take?

I guess Gill wasn't a SZ guy.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 9 months ago

For all you that really think Beaty deserves 5 years regardless take a look at the on field performance from 2015-2017 and please tell me where you see improvement...

Hell, I even challenge Mr. Baty to give it a try. I have the facts laid out right there. I'm not saying Beaty needs to be fired right now but the idea that he gets 5 years regardless is about as asinine as trying to push an elephant on roller-blades up Campanile.

Matt Elliott 3 years, 9 months ago

I am finished being a part of the problem. I am on board with becoming part of the solution. With that being said I have clicked on my last article written by Keegan. Becoming part of the solution means it is time to stop reading Keegan's negativity. Tom you are in the business of selling journalism and negative journalism is all you know. If you want to continue to be a part of the problem then go write in Manhattan. Jump on the Kietzman bandwagon and ride away! Maybe Kietzman needs someone to bring him bottled water every 30 minutes to wet his dry anti-KU throat. Please apply.

Mark Pahls 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes!!!!!!!!. I stopped reading Keegan six months ago, but had to open this one up. Keegan will fire every day with negativity but god forbid someone fires back. I have my football season tickets. I am with you Baty, Beaty and Zenger!

Mike Zimmerman 3 years, 9 months ago

So you actually didn't stop reading Keegan, did you?

Joe Norgay 3 years, 9 months ago

Even people at Jayhawk Slant don’t like you Bryson.

You said David Beaty was a “recruiting god”...

a “recruiting god”. You can’t make this stuff up.

You’ve been a fan of KUFB for about two years and for some reason have derived your entire self worth from seeking prestige for supporting KUFB as though you’re some admirable person worthy of celebration. Most of us have supported KUFB for decades and will support for decades more after you’ve moved on to your next “obessesion”. We’ve been through it all and we’re tired of the WORST STRETCH OF FOOTBALL IN THE HISTORY OF KANSAS ATHLETICS.

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh no, not everyone at JayhawkSlant likes me, what will I do.

You show me a coach that can be a part of AND I QUOTE JOE NORGAY 22 MINUTES AGO "the WORST STRETCH OF FOOTBALL IN THE HISTORY OF KANSAS ATHLETICS." as well as get in the living room of 10 TOP 300 recruits in two years as well as receive commitments from 7 and signed 2 pending 1, then I'll rest my case about him being a recruiting god.

Joe Norgay 3 years, 9 months ago

Umm dude. Did you even watch football, like at all, before two years ago when you stared watching? Coaches get in living rooms of recruits that are out of their league all the time because that’s what recruits do.. they look at numerous options. The #1 recruits at virtually every position are going to look at several schools despite knowing they’ll end up at Alabama or Clemson. It’s called due diligence.

I’ll give Tony Hull credit where credit is due though.

Man, you are way too close to this thing. I know you’re still in college but you need to find some other hobbies. Take up a different sport to play or try out an artistic endeavor. I’m worried.

Steve Hillyer 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm confused if I am a part of the problem or solution. I guess I am a part of the solution since I am a season ticket holder since '92, and I give to the WEF, however since I think Zenger should have been fired months ago and Beaty should be fired at the beginning of oct when we are 0-4, does that mean I am a part of the problem? Perhaps Mr.Baty is the only who can help me out, anyone have his contact info?

Eric Eakins 3 years, 9 months ago

Great thoughts. I'll piggy back on to them. I will try to go to a couple of games this year (out of towner) and catch the rest on TV and cheer for Jayhawk success and be proud if they win some games. If they do, Beatty gets his 5th year. Can't say a number because we all will know what was quality and competitive after we see it. But another 0-12 or 1-11 season it has to be over. It would be crazy to give him another year. Take what recruiting success he has (and he has done well considering) and pass it on to someone who can develop talent and call a game. It would be interesting to know in the last 40 years if another P5 school has allowed these kind of losses to pile up like KU has. That sends a message too Mr. Baty.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Not picking a fight because your comments are very reasonable, but I can't let a myth become an assumed fact. Beaty's first two recruiting classes were last or next to last in the conference. This recruiting class is overloaded with overrated JUCO players, which means he'll have to reload, again, in two years. He hasn't had a single strong recruiting class, he hasn't recruited Texas well and he hasn't recruited Louisiana well, though Zenger did panic and give Hull a promotion and a 3X raise for a bunch of commitments that virtually all backed out.

I didn't expect the recruiting guru to start landing top classes. My expectation, when an untested coach with virtually no resume is hired as a recruiter, was to see us recruit one or two classes above our weight. He's failed at the fundamental purpose of his hiring.

I've gone to every home game of the Beaty calamity. Save your time and money. It's hard to watch. Though, if you want to go deaf from the incessant clamor on the scoreboard....think local semi-pro baseball, but without all of the class and control.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

Instead, Brett will continue to promulgate his own myth. The one based on rating from NSD. The ratings that don't take into consideration KU's full recruiting classes, because Coach Beaty has been a master of getting players to campus early (blue shirts?) or finding gems late like Adeniji, or creating starters out of walk-ons. Actual thought would recognize the amazing job Beaty and staff have done in rebuilding the roster from the FCS caricature that he inherited, and develop 5 players receiving post-season awards out of those horrible recruits. Yes, there are still definite holes, especially when considering the 44-ish players needed on a 2-deep to be truly competitive at this level, but he has most definitely rebuilt the roster - his fundamental purpose in being hired.

Bryson Stricker 3 years, 9 months ago

Joe, I’ve been watching college football since I was 7. I am 23. I AM not in college. I have not missed one second of KUFB since I’ve attended.

You didn’t name me one coach. I know regular schools get top players. Bad ones dont. Snyder hasn’t gotten in a living room that good in a long, long time.

You think I’m too close, cool for you. I care a lot about CFB and think it’s asinine that some of you are so set on getting rid of Beaty when I don’t think anyone needs to point out his faults. We aren’t blind, we all saw us lose 33 games.

John Brazelton 3 years, 9 months ago

Once again, every year is a different season. Let's let the players and coaches get through the 2018 season before we start firing coaches and badmouthing players. Tom Keegan is excellent at writing articles that get clicks, eyeballs and bring out the most negativity by disgruntled fans. Some of you play right into his hand.

Joe Norgay 3 years, 9 months ago

We’re not playing into his hands... we agree with his sentiment that Sheahon Zenger, David Beaty and Matt Baty should be fired for being utterly incompetent at their jobs. Like world class incompetent. Wonder if there’s corruption going on incompetent.

And no, if you’ve ever been watched sports you’d know that every season isn’t a new season unless new coaches and players are brought in. And college football is one of the hardest sports to change season to season. It’s gonna be another year of futility. I guarantee it.

Brad Avery 3 years, 9 months ago

“You know the naysayers that are in the local papers and the national papers and things, all they are is part of the problem,” Baty said. “They’re not part of the solution. You know, we’re getting beat up in our local paper. Our local paper’s beating us up and they’re wondering why we can’t recruit and do these things. Well, we are recruiting, we’re proving that. Well, are they being part of the problem or part of the solution? To me they’re being part of the problem.”

The problem is we don't have even a mediocre football coach. The LJW is not "part of the problem" and neither are the fans of the football program who have taken notice of that that you can count the number of wins David Beaty has achieved on the joints of one's middle finger. Find a coach who can win. That may not be easy, but it's that simple.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

"In an effort to make potential donors feel included in the dream of a stadium renovation, a survey found its way into the email inboxes of many friends. I'm more than a little offended I didn't receive one."

How long will you stay offended Tom? You had come so far lately

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

Matt Baty is part of the problem by essentially trying to shame the donors into supporting the putrid program. Obviously he's been taking lessons from the Democratic Party, who have tried to shame voters into following Barack Obama and supporting Hillary Clinton. Those tactics didn't work in the last election, and they won't work when used with donors and boosters.

I have better things to do with my time than support a perpetually bad football team run by an incompetent coach and supported by an even more incompetent athletic director and his minions.


Dane Pratt 3 years, 9 months ago

Your indifference to KU football would be better served if you didn't post about it all the time.

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