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And the winner is … KU football fans select Dave Doeren over Les Miles

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

The results are in, voting has closed and the Kansas football fan base has made its choice for the program’s next head coach.

On the final day of voting in our KU Football Coaching Search Bracket, in what may be considered a mild upset by some who have been following along, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren defeated former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach Les Miles by the slimmest of margins — 51% to 49%.

Perhaps Miles’ backers within the KU fan base were too busy wondering about flights from Lawrence to Baton Rouge, La., that never materialized to remember to vote in the finals. Or maybe the bulk of our readers just plain prefer Doeren, a former KU assistant (2002-05) who grew up outside of Kansas City.

Either way, KU’s athletic director, Jeff Long, would be fortunate to be able to hire Doeren away from N.C. State — though doing so in reality would include a hefty $6 million buyout.

Currently in his sixth season with the Wolfpack and eighth as a head coach, Doeren, 46, led N.C. State to just its sixth 9-win season in school history in 2017, capping the year with a Sun Bowl victory over Arizona State.

Doeren is 63-37 as a head coach with a 40-33 mark since moving to N.C. State from Northern Illinois. His final team at Northern Illinois was 12-1 and received an Orange Bowl bid before Doeren moved on to the ACC.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

Eliminated in finals:

Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach

Eliminated in semifinals:

Jeff Monken - Army head coach

Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach

Eliminated in Round 3:

Chris Klieman - North Dakota State head coach

Willie Fritz - Tulane head coach

Bryan Harsin - Boise State head coach

Jason Candle - Toledo head coach

Eliminated in Round 2:

Greg Schiano - Ohio State defensive coordinator

Neal Brown - Troy head coach

Jim McElwain - Former Florida and Colorado State head coach

Major Applewhite - Houston head coach

Scott Satterfield - Appalachian State head coach

Matt Wells - Utah State head coach

Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach

Jim Leavitt - Oregon defensive coordinator

Eliminated in Round 1:

Mike Locksley - Alabama offensive coordinator

Lance Leipold - Buffalo head coach

Bret Bielema - Former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach

Mike Norvell - Memphis head coach

Butch Jones - Former Tennessee and Cincinnati head coach

Mike MacIntyre - Colorado head coach

Todd Graham - Former Arizona State and Pitt head coach

Ed Warinner - Ohio State O-line coach

Tim Beck - Texas offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo - Navy head coach

Jeff Tedford - Fresno State head coach

Chris Creighton - Eastern Michigan head coach

Frank Wilson - UT-San Antonio head coach

Brian Bohannon - Kennesaw State head coach

Craig Bohl - Wyoming head coach

— Review how the bracket played out: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Reply 5 comments from Robert  Brock Layne Pierce Karen Mansfield-Stewart Michael Maris Jeff Coffman

Make your choice: Les Miles and Dave Doeren reach coaching search bracket finals

It all comes down to this.

After dominating their competition in each of the first four rounds, former LSU and Oklahoma State coach Les Miles and North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren are the only two candidates remaining in our fan-driven KU Football Coaching Search Bracket.

The athletic director at the University of Kansas, Jeff Long would consider himself fortunate if his finalists turn out to be as good as these two.

And, realistically, Long would find himself in a pretty enviable spot if he had a shot at hiring either of the other two coaches who cracked the bracket’s Final 4.

Eliminated in semifinals:

Jeff Monken - Army head coach

Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach

But now that the pool has been whittled down to the two football coaches who most intrigue the KU football fan base it’s time for you to get this fictionalized contract with your favorite candidate finalized.

Fans have all day Tuesday to vote for the champion, so to speak.

— Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach vs. Dave Doeren - N.C. State head coach —

LES MILES

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Miles won 114 games and lost 34 over the course of 11-plus seasons with LSU. He was voted Coach of the Year by the AP in 2011, following his second SEC championship and a 13-0 start to the season. Miles’ Tigers won the national championship in 2007.

His name continues to be the most popular reportedly tied to Long’s search, which is officially in its second week.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2001Oklahoma State11470.364
2002Oklahoma State13850.615
2003Oklahoma State13940.6922414
2004Oklahoma State12750.58316
2005LSU131120.846536
2006LSU131120.846833
2007LSU141220.857211
2008LSU13850.61573
2009LSU13940.69211417
2010LSU131120.8462158
2011LSU141310.929412
2012LSU131030.7693214
2013LSU131030.76912614
2014LSU13850.615138
2015LSU12930.75014416
2016LSU4220.5005513
16 YrsOverall197142550.721
4 YrsOklahoma State4928210.571
12 YrsLSU148114340.770
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

DAVE DOEREN

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Now in his eighth overall season as a head coach, Doeren has won 63 of 100 games and guided his teams to five bowl appearances — with another one on the way this year.

North Carolina State has won the St. Petersburg Bowl, Independence Bowl and Sun Bowl under Doeren's watch.

Unlike Miles, of course, Doeren is an active head coach, currently preparing his Wolfpack (6-3, 3-3) for a Saturday matchup with floundering Louisville.

Whether Long considers Doeren a candidate or would seek him out to fill KU’s vacancy is unknown at this time.

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Reply 13 comments from Len Shaffer Robert  Brock Dirk Medema Forever2008 Kall3742 Texashawk10_2 Seth Nesmith Hosshawk Jim Stauffer Dane Pratt

Just 4 candidates remaining in KU football coaching search bracket

The search for the Kansas football program’s next head coach is nearly complete — at least as far as our online bracket is concerned.

Each of the top four seeds in the 32-candidate field survived the first three rounds of fan voting at KUsports.com, leading to a chalk semifinal round.

Les Miles. Jeff Monken. Dave Doeren. Seth Littrell. Only two of them can move on.

The other two will have to take the same exit route as some very experienced, talented coaches who already have been removed from contention.

Eliminated in Round 3:

Chris Klieman - North Dakota State head coach

Willie Fritz - Tulane head coach

Bryan Harsin - Boise State head coach

Jason Candle - Toledo head coach

It’s safe to assume most KU football fans would actually be pleased if any of those four coaches knocked out in the quarterfinals actually ended up in charge. But in this head-to-head endeavor, even candidates Athletic Director Jeff Long still may be considering are out of the mix.

We’ve reached the Final 4 in our KU Football Coaching Search Bracket, and you, the program’s fans, get to decide which contenders are worthy of the championship round.

Here are our two semifinal matchups. Make your selections throughout Monday. Voting for the title round, which determines the people’s coaching choice, will follow on Tuesday.

— Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach vs. Jeff Monken - Army head coach —

LES MILES

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2001Oklahoma State11470.364
2002Oklahoma State13850.615
2003Oklahoma State13940.6922414
2004Oklahoma State12750.58316
2005LSU131120.846536
2006LSU131120.846833
2007LSU141220.857211
2008LSU13850.61573
2009LSU13940.69211417
2010LSU131120.8462158
2011LSU141310.929412
2012LSU131030.7693214
2013LSU131030.76912614
2014LSU13850.615138
2015LSU12930.75014416
2016LSU4220.5005513
16 YrsOverall197142550.721
4 YrsOklahoma State4928210.571
12 YrsLSU148114340.770
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

JEFF MONKEN

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2014Army12480.333
2015Army122100.167
2016Army13850.615
2017Army131030.769
2018Army10820.800
5 YrsArmy6032280.533
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Dave Doeren - North Carolina State head coach vs. Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach —

DAVE DOEREN

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2011Northern Illinois141130.786
2012Northern Illinois131210.9231622
2013North Carolina State12390.250
2014North Carolina State13850.615
2015North Carolina State13760.538
2016North Carolina State13760.538
2017North Carolina State13940.6921423
2018North Carolina State9630.66716
8 YrsOverall10063370.630
2 YrsNorthern Illinois272340.852
6 YrsNorth Carolina State7340330.548
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

SETH LITTRELL

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Coaching Record Table
Year School G W L T Pct AP Pre AP High AP Post
2016North Texas13580.385
2017North Texas14950.643
2018North Texas10730.700
3 YrsNorth Texas3721160.568
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 11/11/2018.

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Eliminated in Round 2:

Greg Schiano - Ohio State defensive coordinator

Neal Brown - Troy head coach

Jim McElwain - Former Florida and Colorado State head coach

Major Applewhite - Houston head coach

Scott Satterfield - Appalachian State head coach

Matt Wells - Utah State head coach

Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach

Jim Leavitt - Oregon defensive coordinator

Eliminated in Round 1:

Mike Locksley - Alabama offensive coordinator

Lance Leipold - Buffalo head coach

Bret Bielema - Former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach

Mike Norvell - Memphis head coach

Butch Jones - Former Tennessee and Cincinnati head coach

Mike MacIntyre - Colorado head coach

Todd Graham - Former Arizona State and Pitt head coach

Ed Warinner - Ohio State O-line coach

Tim Beck - Texas offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo - Navy head coach

Jeff Tedford - Fresno State head coach

Chris Creighton - Eastern Michigan head coach

Frank Wilson - UT-San Antonio head coach

Brian Bohannon - Kennesaw State head coach

Craig Bohl - Wyoming head coach

Dan Enos - Alabama quarterbacks coach and associate head coach

Reply 5 comments from Layne Pierce Jeff Coffman Andy Godwin Dane Pratt

And then there were 8: See who’s still alive in KU football coaching search bracket

How close we are to reaching the finish line in Jeff Long’s search to find the Kansas football team’s next head coach remains to be seen.

But here at KUsports.com, our tournament-themed quest to land on the best possible candidate is humming right along.

Some coaches with serious promise and/or experience didn’t survive the second-round voting.

Eliminated in Round 2:

Greg Schiano - Ohio State defensive coordinator

Neal Brown - Troy head coach

Jim McElwain - Former Florida and Colorado State head coach

Major Applewhite - Houston head coach

Scott Satterfield - Appalachian State head coach

Matt Wells - Utah State head coach

Troy Calhoun - Air Force head coach

Jim Leavitt - Oregon defensive coordinator

It’s now Day 3 of our KU Football Coaching Search Bracket, and you, the program’s fans, have trimmed the list of candidates down to eight. The tightest Round 2 matchup was between Tulane’s Willie Fritz and Houston’s Major Applewhite, with the veteran Fritz edging the young Applewhite, 51% to 49%.

Thus far, the top seeds from each region, Les Miles, Jeff Monken, Dave Doeren and Seth Littrell, remain in the mix as we’ve reached the regional final round of our interactive hunt for the Jayhawks’ next coach.

Here’s the rundown of our Round 3 matchups. Make your selections Friday, and Final Four voting will begin on Monday.

RIGGINS REGION

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

FILE — Former LSU head coach Les Miles watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

• Les Miles - Former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach vs. Chris Klieman - North Dakota State head coach

HADL REGION

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Army head coach Jeff Monken yells to officials during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

• Jeff Monken - Army head coach vs. Willie Fritz - Tulane head coach

SAYERS REGION

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren reacts during the second half an NCAA college football game against Boston College, in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are coming off consecutive losses to Clemson and Syracuse entering Saturday's game against Florida State. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

• Dave Doeren - North Carolina State head coach vs. Bryan Harsin - Boise State head coach

REESING REGION

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

North Texas head coach Seth Littrell, center, watches from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

• Seth Littrell - North Texas head coach vs. Jason Candle - Toledo head coach

— Now’s your chance. Pick KU football’s next head coach at our bracket: 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket

Eliminated in Round 1:

Mike Locksley - Alabama offensive coordinator

Lance Leipold - Buffalo head coach

Bret Bielema - Former Arkansas and Wisconsin head coach

Mike Norvell - Memphis head coach

Butch Jones - Former Tennessee and Cincinnati head coach

Mike MacIntyre - Colorado head coach

Todd Graham - Former Arizona State and Pitt head coach

Ed Warinner - Ohio State O-line coach

Tim Beck - Texas offensive coordinator

Ken Niumatalolo - Navy head coach

Jeff Tedford - Fresno State head coach

Chris Creighton - Eastern Michigan head coach

Frank Wilson - UT-San Antonio head coach

Brian Bohannon - Kennesaw State head coach

Craig Bohl - Wyoming head coach

Dan Enos - Alabama quarterbacks coach and associate head coach

Reply 5 comments from Layne Pierce Micky Baker Gerry Butler Jeff Coffman Robert  Brock

Hiring an ol’ ball coach with years (and years) of experience seems best move for KU

FILE - LSU head coach Les Miles ponders a reporter's question's following an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Mississippi won 38-17. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

FILE - LSU head coach Les Miles ponders a reporter's question's following an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. Mississippi won 38-17. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Whether the next head football coach at the University of Kansas turns out to be Les Miles or someone else, the man charged with turning around the Big 12’s worst program seems more likely to be long in the tooth than one of college football’s up-and-comers.

Ideally, athletic director Jeff Long wants KU football’s next leader to arrive in Lawrence well-versed in all that goes into running a college program.

Theoretically, the coaches who have been around the game the longest would be most equipped to deal with whatever unforeseen challenges pop up at KU.

How exactly would KU’s AD view a candidate’s age — as a positive or negative — while searching for a replacement for David Beaty, 48? Long was asked one such question during his press conference earlier this week.

“Well, by federal laws I’m not allowed to have age be a factor in my search,” Long was quick to point out.

Through his next words, though, it seemed the athletic director wouldn’t mind hiring a coach who was closer to the retirement stage of his life than his football playing days.

“Age, you’re only as young as you feel,” Long said. “I feel a lot younger than my 59 years — it’s hard for me to believe it when I say it. But it’s not about age and years. It’s about energy. It’s about passion. It’s about commitment. It’s about eagerness to get out and turn the program.”

The most prominent name tied to KU’s job opening the past several days, former LSU and Oklahoma State head coach Miles also happens to be the oldest candidate being mentioned among Long’s potential hires, theoretical or otherwise.

Miles turns 65 on Saturday and hasn’t coached in a little more than two years, when LSU fired him four games into the 2016 season, despite his .721 career winning percentage and national championship with the Tigers.

Currently the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Oregon, Jim Leavitt, 61, has spent the better part of the past four decades in college football. True, Leavitt hasn’t been a head coach since 2009, but he did leave South Florida with a 75-44 record and five straight bowl appearances to close out his run there.

A three-time FCS national champion as head coach at North Dakota State, Craig Bohl, 60, is now in his fifth year at Wyoming. Bohl's Cowboys are currently 4-6, and they’re 26-35 since he took over in 2014. Still, it’s his stellar 104-32 run over the course of 11 seasons with North Dakota State that makes him an intriguing coach for a Power Five program in KU’s position.

| PODCAST: Beaty’s out — what’s next for KU football? |

A few other names featured in our 32-candidate coaching search bracket at KUsports.com are approaching 60.

Tulane’s Willie Fritz, 58, worked his way up through the ranks. This year marks his 26th as a college head coach and 22nd in charge of a Division I or Division II program. Fritz has Tulane at 4-5 this year. He’s 31-27 over the past five, thanks to an 18-7 mark in two seasons at Georgia Southern, before he moved on to Tulane (13-20).

Jeff Tedord, 57, has amassed a 100-62 record during his close to 13 seasons coaching at the FBS level. Tedford’s Fresno State team is off to an 8-1 start this year. From 2002-12, Tedford’s Cal teams went 82-57 overall and 5-3 in bowl games.

Now the receivers coach at Michigan, former Florida and Colorado State coach Jim McElwain is 56. The Florida job, like most in the SEC, is a beast, often accompanied by unrealistic expectations. McElwain led the Gators to a 10-4 record in 2015, 9-4 in 2016 and then was fired at 3-4 in 2017. Previously, he went 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State.

Considering what KU football has endured since Mark Mangino was forced to resign following the 2009 season, any of those veterans, grizzled or not, signing on with Kansas would signify a change for the better.

| 2018 KU Football Coaching Search Bracket |

Reply 3 comments from Doug Wallace Karen Mansfield-Stewart Steve Corder