Former KU LB Ben Heeney: Beaty thrown into program left in shambles by Weis


Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney (31) slaps hands with returning alumnus as he walks into the field before the start of Kansas' game against Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas senior linebacker Ben Heeney (31) slaps hands with returning alumnus as he walks into the field before the start of Kansas' game against Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. by John Young

Former Kansas linebacker Ben Heeney didn’t spend much time around David Beaty. Just here and there for a few months, after wrapping up his college career, in fact.

But Heeney was around for all of the Charlie Weis era — a two seasons and change stretch that saw the Jayhawks go 6-22 under Weis’ watch.

And it was with that firsthand knowledge of the program’s inner workings that Heeney took to Twitter on Tuesday to voice his opinion of the job Beaty has done.

KU’s fourth-year head coach, of course, was informed Sunday by athletic director Jeff Long he won’t be retained for the 2019 season.

Even though Beaty is 6-39 coaching the Jayhawks, Heeney tweeted that he doesn’t think “there’s a coach out there that could have been thrown into that ---- storm and done a better job,” adding he has “nothing but respect and admiration” for Beaty.

In other posts, Heeney went on to say only coaches and players who were in the program when Weis was in charge truly understand how the former KU coach, fired four games into the 2014 season, left the football program “in shambles.”

According to Heeney, Beaty was starting from “ground zero,” when he took the job in December of 2014.

None by Ben Heeney

None by Ben Heeney

None by Ben Heeney

None by Ben Heeney

— A previous version of this post incorrectly overlapped Heeney's playing career with Beaty's time as head coach at KU.


Kenny George 1 year ago

I don't know why more people are not smart enough to understand what Ben Heeney is telling us right now. I and several others have been pushing this message for a long time with very few people willing to admit to where the true problem lies...Weis ruined our program to the point of being as close to the death penalty as we could possibly be. Thank you Ben Heeney for clearing this point up for us!

Dale Rogers 1 year ago

There are way too many Chicken Littles out there passing their armchair wisdom to anyone who will listen. The next coach or the one after will have success but few will recognize that success is built on the foundation laid by those who came before.

Brian Wilson 1 year ago

I've actually been a huge Beaty supporter until this year.....Beaty continues to makes terrible game decisions. But Heeney is correct...and no one cares.....

KU had just 23 total players that were Juniors and Seniors when Beatty started. Our next coach will have over 50. Beatty had 60 walk-ons his first year. Our next coach will probably have less than 15-20. Beaty's first year had less scholarship players that Penn State after being handed what was called a death penalty. KU was about as close to Marshall as you can get without a plane crash.

Layne Pierce 1 year ago

I totally agree that Coach Beatty came into a gigantic cesspool, but the question for all of us, is what did he do with that. I totally respect Ben Heeney, but I think that there were things coach Beatty could have done better.

Revamp his offense for the players he had. Be consistent and fair about quarterback situation, I don't know whether Carter Stanley got fresh with Coach Beatty's wife, or what, but he sure has not been fair with him. And he certainly has not tried to develop him, or increase his confidence. The team always seemed to play better and with more energy under Stanley, and coach Beatty, either could not or would not recognize it. Obviously Carter Stanley needs to study his practice films, because according to Coach Beatty he never does the best in practice.

Also, Coach Beatty could have stayed the course with high school recruits, instead of bailing out, a la Weis, in to the Juco ranks. There is nothing wrong with Juco players, but they must be recruited to be 1st or 2nd string, and they must be brought in sparingly and wisely.

So, yes, what Coach Beatty took over was deplorable, but what he his leaving is nothing to write home about either.


Randy Bombardier 1 year ago

But on the other hand I have seen programs from ground zero do better. Florida Atlantic. Alabama Birmingham.

David McNickle 1 year ago

Both of those schools have more football talent in one city in their state than the entire state of Kansas. Both states live for the game of football.

Brian Wilson 1 year ago

both had more scholarship players than KU at the time and they had more upper classmen as well.

Dane Pratt 1 year ago

Both play in conferences that do not include the caliber of talent that can be found in the B12

Dirk Medema 1 year ago

Programs at ground zero have never done better in a P5 conference. Never.

For a while we were actually below FBS ground zero, because we were at FCS level of scholarships.

Kenneth Hillman 1 year ago

Thank you for saying that Ben, I'll bet you know better than anybody. And I agree.


Phil Leister 1 year ago

I'll take Heeney at his word on this. But that doesn't mean that Beaty couldn't have done a better job.

1 year ago

program left in shambles? OK, fine. But, let's not pretend like we haven't spent 4 years watching DB call (awful) plays (too many to list), call (awful) timeouts (before punts), "manage" games, and do it all with SOME Talent. no excuse for that garbage. the biggest problem we have is still having to watch DB putz around on the sidelines for another 3 games. Then, if we hire Les, we will be in more trouble. 63 yo, with 1 Nat'l Champ and you jokers thinks he wants to come here and start from scratch with a perennial doormat?! jfc c'mon. Hire Jeff Monken and let's get this program back on track before the BIG12 leaves us in the dust.RCJH

Marcus Balzer 1 year ago

You will be hard pressed to find any players who didn't think that Beaty was a hell of a man but you can't let that emotion cloud the fact that he was in over his head. He did a great, great job developing young man but when it came to winning games, heck improving your ball club year over year he wasn't able to do that. Beaty will be just fine. He made a lot of money and will get an assistants job some where. This isn't certainly the end for him.

Brad Sherp 1 year ago

Some of the reasons with ANY coach with head coaching experience would have been better:

  1. Beaty is a horrible play caller. His one year of experience as a play caller at Rice was so bad that he was not retained for a second year. Most head coaches have enough experience on one side of the ball to help their coordinators find success. Beaty has never possessed this competence, so his coordinators have been on their own. When his more experienced assistant coaches disagreed with them, he has let them go. There is no other football program on the planet where someone who failed as a coordinator would be promoted to HC.
  2. Weis proved that consistantly taking more than 8 jucos in a recruiting classes will eventually leave a program in shambles, and then Beaty was stupid enough to double down on that strategy. Beaty originally had a long leash, and could have rebuilt the program the right way. Recruiting kids for 5 years, and coaching them up. Instead Beaty offered incoming scholarship slots to transfers and jucos.
  3. His inexperience as a head coach, caused him to publicly throw his coaches under the bus. Do you remember when he took over coaching punt returns? Or when he paid a coach to be a "walk-around-guy"? Or fired Meachum?
  4. Good coaches run the best system for their talent. Beaty has embraced an air-raid-or-bust mentality before he arrived. He still believes that the way you win in the Big 12, is by out air raiding an air raid conference where every other team from top to bottom is more talented.
  5. His game time decisions have been a joke. He actually agreed to a running clock against TCU last year, until the Big 12 intervened and told him that he couldn't throw in the towel like that.
  6. He literally has the worst coaching record in the history of college football. If Saban is the Goat, Beaty is the Woat.
  7. Every QB that Beaty has touched has experienced a regression of talent. Willis and Cozart both did much better once they left. Not to mention non-QBs like Sternberger.
  8. Beaty could not pick a starting QB if his life depended on it. When we look back at this chapter of KU football, the one thing we will all remember is the guy who had a 4-year QB controversy.
  9. Look at the roster. Evaluate who is leaving, and who will be left. There will be very little difference from the program Weis left to the one Beaty is leaving.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 year ago

This is an apples to oranges comparison. Weis left Beaty with little to work with yes, but if in year 4 you are calling time outs before punts or agonizing over whether to go for it on 4th and 1 it's not a players situation, it's a coaching ability situation. He looked overwhelmed for4 years. Beaty said the samething for 4 years after each game, nothing ever changed. Not about how many players he had. He doesn't have the whatever you want to call it to lead a program

Jeff Coffman 1 year ago

The issue is that KU made a series of mistakes not just one. I see the following as key choices made, but I'm not sure I hit all of them.

1) Mangino was railroaded, and lost the ability to coach. Although he never beat the big boys, he did take care of the wins that were expected. He also took us to bowl games and won them. His termination was the first mistake.

2) Harbough not being okayed by our Chancellor.

3) Turner Gill's resume was horrible when we hired him, but for some reason when he said speed, everyone believed. He didn't understand the recruiting process for a B12 team and did not encourage class participation. His hiring was one of the key detriments of all.

4) Zenger having been thrown into a pile knee-jerked the decision. At the time KU had some position to launch some people, and there were a few people interested. However, he ignored many of the recommendations and out of no where went with the big name. I believe it wasn't the biggest mistake to go with the big name. One thing, I think no one realized, is Weis is very proud of his Education record with Notre Dame and wanted to carry that same sentiment at KU, he basically walked a lot of players for lack of school attendance that really led to a poor future. This technically was caused by Gill, but no one quite blames him for that.

5) When Zenger found out what happened and let Weis start using JUCOs it continued and further caused concerns with the class. He took some really high risks and basically none of them panned out. Remember Chris Martin...he was a beast that was arrested prior to ever suiting up.

6) Zenger was retained and was allowed to hire a second coach.

7) Bowen was determined that he would be retained no matter who the coach would be. This was a rookie mistake by Beaty, this prevented him from ever becoming a full head coach.

8) Beaty with limited Coordinator experience was put in a program where he was over his head in first hiring a staff.

9) Every assistant Beaty fired he thought he could do a better job and just took on more, when he was under performing as a Head Coach.

10) Beaty switched to a JUCO recruiting track when he had limited success at the high school ranks, including limited success of in-state recruits.

11) We extended Beaty after basically one win (I know he won against a FCS school as well).

12) After week 3 of 2017 we retained Bowen.

13) After Year 3 of Beaty's coach, we retained him, making 2018 a worthless and another step backwards.

Weis may have inherited just as bad of a situation as Beaty had, but he won just as many games in 28 games that Beaty has won in 45. Also, Beaty lost to 2 FCS schools and Weis never did. Neither of these coaching hires were even mediocre, they were both very poor and bad choices. Beaty was able to point to Weis and Weis was able to point to Gill and Gill was able to point to a toxic situation.

John Joseph Gorski 1 year ago

OK Ben, Great, Weis sucked, we know it. But you know what Ben, Weis at least had a winning record vs 1AA, Beaty didn't, Weis won 6 games in 2 years, It has taken Beaty 4 to match that. Weis may have sunk the ship but Beaty hasn't done anything to bring it to the surface.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

look, we all know Beaty walked into a mess..we get that...but in 3 years KU made absolutely zero progress...we accepted that we'd get slaughtered during his first season, but year 2 we expected to be more competitive and have a chance to win at least half our games...didnt happen, then year 3 we expected them to win some games and his recruits to progress...didnt happen....Bill Snyder is always my proof that the right coach can walk into a dumpster fire and turn things around...KSU was the worst FB program in NCAA history..he had them to 9 wins by year can be done

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