Discerning which candidates are actually interested in KU football job a potential challenge for Jeff Long


New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion. To his left is University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod and at his right is former

New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion. To his left is University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod and at his right is former by Nick Krug

Once University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long made football coach David Beaty’s forthcoming dismissal official on Sunday afternoon, Long said he began hearing from “a number” of parties who wanted to let him know about coaches interested in KU’s job opening.

Whether the list of candidates he’s considering is narrow or extensive at this point, Long knows one of the many challenges he will encounter between now and identifying KU’s next football will be gauging just how serious someone is about actually accepting the job.

“Many times,” Long said, “coaches will express interest simply to pad the situation they’re in.”

In his previous stops as an AD, Long hired Dave Wannstedt at Pittsburgh, and Bobby Petrino and Bret Bielema at Arkansas. Plus, he has worked as an athletics administrator for more than 20 years. So Long knows of coaches who used one university’s job search to negotiate a raise from their current employer.

The most difficult part of the process, Long admitted, can be figuring out “who’s really interested in your job and who’s just playing the game.”

Long might have to flex his sleuthing muscles more than ever now that he’s at KU. College football coaches know how irrelevant Kansas has been since Mark Mangino left, as well as how bad the Jayhawks were before he arrived and went 50-48 from 2002-09.

Feigning interest in KU’s now-open head coaching job in order to renegotiate and extend an already existing contract elsewhere could appeal to some more than becoming the Kansas coach.

Then there’s the unique case of Les Miles, easily the biggest name associated with this search. When LSU fired him in 2016, one stipulation of the reported $9.6 million buyout was that Miles must seek another college football job.

So if Miles were to express interest in KU, he could do so without ever accepting the job and continue to be paid by LSU.

Speaking generally about trying to discern true candidates from pretenders, Long said: “Sometimes, you never know until the ink is on the contract.”


Joe Joseph 1 year ago

Head coaching experience would be great. But I can't imagine any HC leaving a winning program, however small, to coach at KU. Is Long making a mistake by neglecting up-and-coming assistants?

Eric Eakins 1 year ago

It's first and goal. Send you best receiver to the corner of the end zone and throw it up to see if you score.

Doug Longstaff 1 year ago

No, every young coach at a smaller winning program wants the chance to make it in the Power Five. What do they have to lose? Worst case scenario, they make a pile of money, fail, and can always go back to the small time. For example....Turner Gill. Had a nice head coaching start in the MAC, came to KU, face planted.....had an enormous buy out and went back to coaching at a place more his speed (Liberty). Now Liberty has moved up to the FBS (NCAA D1A) and he's got them in a position to make a bowl with a couple wins. He's no worse off.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 year ago

Miles would be a great hire out of the gate. If he were to take the job I think he'd need to appoint a co-head coach or big name assistant coach as the presumptive next head coach to take over after his likely 4-5 year term ends so as to not have his short term coaching tenure work against him too much in recruiting. Bret Bielema maybe? Regardless of who they hire it's going to take time but Miles might be able to jump start things quicker than any other option available.

Brian Wilson 1 year ago


Why would KU ever go down a path to pay someone so much money with no guarantee's of having a winning program. KU hired the big name "CHARLIE WEISS" and it did squat. Weiss was old, on his way out, did not care, and he had no reason the be hungry or prove himself. Why would we hire into a situation like that again and pay to be bent over one more time.

Go hire Rebowe from Nicholls. Or Fritz even. Rebowe's contract is online for anyone to read. He is basically making $130,000 year plus some incentives. His contract would probably be bought for less than $500K. He is recognized as one of the best recruiters with solid contacts in Louisiana recruiting. What a match he and Tony Hull could make on recruiting. Rebowe also knows how to recruit locally and has proved that while at Nicholls. Not to mention the butt kicking recevied form Nicholls to open the season this year, but, KU could have a good coach that knows how to manage a game, a team, recruit, and put a quality product on the field for a third of the cost of Miles. Rebowe or another young winning coach would be a huge upgrade over Beaty and for them it's like winning the lottery having a shot at a Power 5 while becoming a millionaire.

Travis Clementsmith 1 year ago

Umm, the buyout is for LSU to pay, not KU. If I'm reading it correctly, Miles must continue to search for a new head coach position in order to receive the buyout, so the concern is, does he really want the job or is he just trying to meet the terms of the LSU buyout.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 year ago

Correct. KU would not have a buyout for Miles.

Brian Wilson 1 year ago

If Miles is due 9.6 million in payments, why would he come to KU for less money?
Isn't LSU out of the buyout when Miles gets hired somewhere else? To get Miles, my guess is you have to pay him more than what he's getting!

Jeff Kallmeyer 1 year ago

I don't believe we would be obligated to pay any kind of buyout, believe that's between Miles and LSU.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 year ago

Actually, the fact that KU would not have to buy out a Les Miles and/or Bret Bielema contract would have to be considered a significant positive since the athletic department seems somewhat strapped for cash these days.

Layne Pierce 1 year ago

There is no such thing as a quick start for the KU program if you put it in wins. But what we would expect to see immediately is a competent attention to details, and a willingness to make it work with the players available. And that let's you recruit the high school players that you are going to develop as you develop the program.

Beware of old HCs, what incentive do they have to bust their buts. Reilly at Nebraska 5 years to retirement, there was no great endeavor there.

Mid 50s would be ideal.

Look for someone who does not spend all of his time bragging about this formation or that, but talks about player development and team discipline on and off the field. "A leader of young men."

Telford sounds intriguing. Also among assistants, how about Major Applewhite? I think right now, Willie Fritz has a helluva a good shot at it. If he's interested.

Nebraska was not nearly as far in the hole as we are, and Scott Frost is a doer, he's a saviour, but it is going to take time, then think about us, and every time I think about the ADs who did a terrible job, I get sick to my stomach.


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 year ago

Willie Fritz would be a very solid hire and his name seems to come up a lot in these discussions. It seems to me, however, that Jeff Long has a reputation of splashy hires. Maybe Fritz would be the best hire but doesn't seem very splashy.

Titus Canby 1 year ago

We're thinking too small. Some head coaches, similar to some CEOs and almost all entrepreneurs, want to build a program from scratch. Look at it this way, you could continue chugging along with a good team, doing the same thing you did last year. Or you could build something from nothing. Be the next Bill Snyder. Raise a program from the ashes. Have future generations singing your praises. Get your name on the stadium.

Some coaches won't want to that. Some might.

We should be thinking about Jim Harbaugh, Urban Meyer, Dave Doeren. Heck, why not Nick Saban? Maybe Bill Belichick.

I'm being serious. We could have had Harbaugh 10 years ago, but BGL vetoed it. We need to think big.

Who wants to be a legend?

Chris DeWeese 1 year ago

I get the impression that Jeff Long is thinking really big. He wasn't brought in to attract some no name coordinator. He has the know how and contacts to find a big fish.

Layne Pierce 1 year ago

Splash with substance that is what we need. Think Larry Brown in basketball, instant credibility. But that is gonna cost us, and so what, forget any stadium reworking, until we have a product to put in it.


Craig Carson 1 year ago

if i were Long, id bring up the example of Bill Snyder to any candidate cowardly enough to not consider the KU gig...Snyder accepted the challenge of building up what was the worst D1 FB program in NCAA history in terms of he has a stadium named after him and is beloved by the whole city...and he didnt have to win an NCAA championship to get that

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