Monday Rewind — Texas A&M: Was this the worst loss in the Turner Gill era?


Kansas head coach Turner Gill walks the sidelines during the first half Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at Kyle Stadium in College Station, Texas.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill walks the sidelines during the first half Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at Kyle Stadium in College Station, Texas. by Kevin Anderson

It’s tough to imagine anyone still cares at this point, but, believe it or not, there are a few who do.

So let’s get on with this week’s Monday rewind.

Texas A&M 61, Kansas 7.

Those 22 characters and spaces pretty much tell it all. Kansas, for the 18th time in 23 games under coach Turner Gill, left the stadium with a loss and the disappointing, yet familiar, feeling of simply not being good enough.

With just one game remaining in the 2011 season — and, most likely, in Gill’s time at Kansas — the only question really worth examining after the Texas A&M loss is one that won’t be much fun but should spark some debate.

Was this KU’s worst loss under Gill?

The way I see it, there are seven or eight real candidates here. Before getting into the what and why of it all, I’ll list them as a refresher.

6-3 loss vs. North Dakota State
55-7 loss at Baylor
59-7 loss vs. Kansas State

66-24 loss at Georgia Tech
70-28 loss at Oklahoma State
59-21 loss vs. Kansas State
43-0 loss at Texas
61-7 loss at Texas A&M

These are the games in which the Jayhawks were utterly hopeless. Whether they happened because of poor execution, poor game-planning or poor coaching, these were the games that seemed to get the KU faithful the most riled up.

As you can see, going strictly by the scores, last Saturday’s drubbing by the Aggies was KU’s biggest loss. Only one other time had a Gill team lost by more than 50 points, and that came during last season’s embarrassing 59-7 loss to K-State in Lawrence.

But does that make it Gill’s worst loss at Kansas?

For my money, the answer’s yes. And here’s why.

A handful of North Dakota State fans celebrate against a backdrop of Kansas fans as time dwindles late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field. The Jayhawks dropped their home opener 6-3.

A handful of North Dakota State fans celebrate against a backdrop of Kansas fans as time dwindles late in the fourth quarter, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010 at Kivisto Field. The Jayhawks dropped their home opener 6-3. by Nick Krug

Although the loss to NDSU in last year’s opener was pitiful, there were plenty of reasons to see it coming. New coach, new season, a no-win situation and a group of inexperienced players and overmatched coaches trying to figure it all out. There’s no way KU should have lost that game, but at least you can pinpoint the reasons why they did. Heck, when we pulled up to the stadium that day, Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan even called it.

A frustrated Steven Johnson walks off the field following the Jayhawks' 55-7 loss to Baylor Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.

A frustrated Steven Johnson walks off the field following the Jayhawks' 55-7 loss to Baylor Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas. by Nick Krug

Last year’s Baylor game was the first road Big 12 game for a whole bunch of Jayhawks. And let’s face it; Baylor was damn good. That one probably comes the closest for me, but, again, there were at least some reasons why the Jayhawks had such a hard time, and it’s a lot easier to forgive a team for that kind of performance five games into a head coach’s tenure than it is 20 games later.

Kansas fan Rocky Holman, Arkansas City, shows his frustration during KU's loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 in Atlanta.

Kansas fan Rocky Holman, Arkansas City, shows his frustration during KU's loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 in Atlanta. by Richard Gwin

Moving on to this year, many people forget that the Jayhawks were in the Georgia Tech game at halftime. They trailed just 24-17, and, after a horrific start, had shown a lot of fight to get back in the game and hang around. One quarter later, the score was 52-17 and the party was on.

Kansas receiver JaCorey Shepherd is smothered by the Oklahoma State defense after a catch during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Kansas receiver JaCorey Shepherd is smothered by the Oklahoma State defense after a catch during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at Boone Pickens Stadium. by Nick Krug

The Oklahoma State loss, like Baylor last year, is close to being the most brutal, but, if you recall, KU marched down the field on its opening drive of that game and actually had a 7-0 lead. Fifty-six points and 30 minutes later, the Cowboys were in control and questions of whether OSU could score 100 in the game seemed legitimate. But again, for at least a few minutes early and a few minutes late, the Jayhawks ran their stuff, moved the ball and scored points.

A frustrated Bradley McDougald (24) walks off the field after the Jayhawks 43-0 loss to Texas on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

A frustrated Bradley McDougald (24) walks off the field after the Jayhawks 43-0 loss to Texas on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

As for the Texas game this year, it was awful offensively, but the Jayhawks' defense showed up and played its butts off. Had they not forced a couple of turnovers, made a goal-line stand and held UT to field goals instead of TDs, this one would've been in the 70s, too.

Kansas defensive end Keba Agostinho holds his head on the Kansas bench during the fourth quarter against Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at Kivisto Field.

Kansas defensive end Keba Agostinho holds his head on the Kansas bench during the fourth quarter against Kansas State on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011 at Kivisto Field. by Nick Krug

That leaves the two Kansas State losses and even though both ended up being blowouts, there were moments in both games — more this year than last — where the Jayhawks looked like they wanted to be out there and their play reflected that. Whether that was a big hit (Isiah Barfield in 2010) or a couple of nice drives to get back into the game (just before halftime this year), there were signs of life, however briefly they may have stayed.

Last Saturday, in College Station, there were none. Give the KU offense credit for fighting to the end to try to prevent the shutout. It worked. And finding motivation to keep playing in a game like that is easier said than done. But other than that last drive, the Jayhawks never truly threatened on offense from start to finish.

That’s not to say their drives fell apart or things didn’t bounce their way. They just couldn’t produce. Running plays went nowhere. Passing plays resulted in sacks, interceptions or drops and the Jayhawks looked out of sync — on both sides of the ball — all afternoon.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller is squeezed by the A&M defense in the first half Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at Kyle Stadium in College Station, Texas.

Kansas running back Darrian Miller is squeezed by the A&M defense in the first half Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at Kyle Stadium in College Station, Texas. by Kevin Anderson

And then there was the defense. Oh, the defense. From A&M’s opening drive on, the Jayhawks struggled to compete. The Jayhawks made A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill look like the player that many thought he would be before the season began and the Aggies scored so quickly on so many drives that you couldn’t help but wonder how bad it was going to get.

When the dust settled, the Aggies became the third opponent to top 60 points against a Turner Gill-coached KU team, and the Jayhawks were sent away with another blowout loss.

When looking back at a string of so many bad beatings over the past couple of years, it may be irrelevant to discuss which one was the worst. Bad is bad and losing is losing.

For me, though, last week’s loss at A&M was KU’s worst setback under Gill because of when it happened, how it happened and the fact that, in terms of point differential, it was the biggest blowout. It’s hard to imagine a team playing its worst game of the season 11 weeks in. Teams are supposed to get better as the season goes along.

There were a number of factors that contributed to why it went down the way it did — injuries, suspensions, road game, etc. — but pointing to any of those as good excuses would be a cop out. The bottom line is the Jayhawks didn’t show up and the Aggies made them pay.

If they repeat that recipe this week against Mizzou, in what could be the last Border War game ever, this list could have a new game at the top very soon.


Mike Ardis 6 years, 7 months ago

So where does KU go from here? Next week a lot of coaches will be fired - KU will have a lot of competition, might as well start early. I know there are a lot of people who don't like Mike Leach but in KU's situation he might be the best hire, an established, successful, coach who probably wants back in the Big 12, but whose baggage might keep him away from other schools.

And speaking of the baggage, a guy who wrote a book on Leach's firing was quoted as saying that ..."after looking at the facts, Lanning said, he decided that Leach’s firing was not about wrongful actions, but about certain Tech officials having personal problems with the coach and his recent contract negotiations."

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree. I'd much rather roll the dice with a coach that's proven he can win in the Big 12 and count on him not making the same mistake(s) this time around (Leach/Mangino) versus a mid-major coach with some promise (e.g. Turner Gill or Terry Allen). Another coaching flop would be devastating to the program.

Travis Shinkle 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, no more "projects". As we have seen during the past two years, a school's FOOTBALL program will either make or break the entire athletic program.

Brandon Pope 6 years, 7 months ago

I also agree. This next head coach decision is crucial to the long term viability of KU Football.

GoHawks1 6 years, 7 months ago

You need to remember that Lew Perkins, a guy that didn't have a clue about hiring a football coach, made our last hire. Our current AD coached football. If there is anyone we can trust at hiring a coach it is Dr. Zenger. If we get an "A List" coach great. If we get an up and comer that Dr. Zenger, I will put my trust in Dr. Zenger.

TheStonesSuck 6 years, 7 months ago

Someone yesterday suggested Frank Solich. I guess he's coaching at Ohio now. I'd have to think he would jump at the chance to coach in a BCS conference (and be enticed by the bigger salary.) I think he did a great job at Nebraska.

Matt Warman 6 years, 7 months ago

Hard to believe but Solich is 67 years old. Not sure if he would be the right guy right now.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

I would prefer a coach more devoted to defense, but we could certainly do a whole lot worse than The Crazy Pirate. I definitely won't be upset if we land Leach, but if I had a choice I would rather have a guy who is going to get the defense back to what it was in the '05-'07 era.

Of course, I have no idea who that guy is, so that's one big reason why I would be happy with Leach, aside from his proven ability to win in a town clearly situated on the front porch of Hell.

GoHawks1 6 years, 7 months ago

You need to read Leach's book SWING THE SWORD. His next team will have just as much emphasis on defense as it does offense.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 7 months ago

I thought he had an incompetence clause:

Incompetence; is the inability to perform; lack of competence; ineptitude.

Pretty sure Gill and staff fit the definition to a t. And if he would try to challenge in court I would suggest this article be entered as exhibit A.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 7 months ago

There are two clauses for cause in his contract: 1) Detrimental to the University: which is focused on NCAA violations or criminal actions. 2) Incompetence in performing Head Coaching Duties at KU.

Personally, I think (and hope) that when SZ stated that he would look at the body of work of the season and specific about improvement, he was laying the groundwork for a dismissal with cause (or at least a standing to negotiate out of the full amount).

Incompentency is referenced in his Coaching and Recruiting responsibilities. With TG having about 13 scholarships available, but only being able to fulfill about 8 of them with some already backing out of their commitments and only 1 being a defensive player, I think he is showing incompentency in coaching and recruiting.

lucky_guy 6 years, 7 months ago

Why change now? By the time you get a new coach and a new staff in it will mean that KU has spent about 12 to 14 millon on football coaches in the past 4 years. That is the crazy thing. Stop the madness. Changing the coaching staff now will not get you to six wins any time sooner. If you pay him $6 million to go away you still are in the same place, with no football team and no hope of a bowl appearence any time soon. I say let this play out and get the best coach you can in 3 years, better yet bring in someone now as an assistant that could take over in 3 years.

Brandon Pope 6 years, 7 months ago

It may not be the best decision to pay Gill to go away but saying that a BETTER coaching staff will not get KU to a 6 win team faster than an INCOMPETENT coaching staff is ludicrous.

RockCaCO3 6 years, 7 months ago

As difficult as it is for me to say this, I agree with you. If we "cut our losses" with Gill now, that will probably set us back another 2 years (minimum) to 4 or 5 years. I dont pretend to know the answer, but is 2 years enough time for a coach to turn a program around?

That said, after the drubbings we've taken this year, I'm ready to cut our losses, assuming we can get a known quantity.

Nick Cole 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm so sick of people saying Gill was hired to "turn a program around." We were not losing 8-10 games a season before he came in. We were going to bowl games. He was hired to at least sustain mediocrity and he couldn't even do that. Get a grip. We have gone from bad to the worst under Gill. So, yes, it is time to "cut our losses" and move in a different direction.

RockCaCO3 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, TG cant even maintain mediocrity, but Mangino had 3 winning seasons out of 8. Granted, during Manginos losing seasons we werent losing as bad, but his record isnt as stellar as some people are led to beileve.

Sean Rodger 6 years, 7 months ago

  • however many lbs. Mangino weighs (so like +325) :)

bennettcl 6 years, 7 months ago

He turned the program around all right, for the worse. He has got to go.

Chris Bailey 6 years, 7 months ago

I totally agree! Without a doubt he is not a D1/Big12 coach. We could be in a bowl game in 3 years with a coach who knows what he's doing! Why would we wanna wait 3 years to start that process?? Do people not realize no one will come out and watch a team that loses like this one? I had tickets to two games this season and wanted to go to more but my schedule wouldn't allow it. After the season started meaning after the 1st two games I would have sold all my tickets for 10 cents on the dollar and been lucky to get that. The point is if the stadium seats don't sell how much does that cost the university? Gill needs to go we need a guy who knows what he's doing. Goodbye Gill! You're a nice man and were a great player I wish you the best!

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 7 months ago

The cost to the KU AD of having the worst BCS football program in the nation for another 3 years most likely would exceed $6 million. The $6 million is a sunk cost, it can't be changed and therefore is not relevant for making a future decision. The question is, will getting a new coaching staff make the program better off? After a year where KU football was arguably the worst BCS team in the nation, how can you not say yes to that?

Gill is gone already.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

Eride, you're being generous to say that KU was arguably the worst BCS team in the nation. I would say that KU was arguably one of the worst teams in college football history.

sevenyearhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

I heard that KU is losing one MILLION dollars a game ... yeah, Turner needs to go - like NOW.

LAJayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

This is a legitimate argument, but I don't know if I agree or not. There are other factors you are not taking into account, such as those made by Eride above me. This is a business decision and you have to weigh the costs of buying out Gill AND spending more money on another coach with the costs to the KU brand and the possibility of being left out of a BCS conference with a football program that constantly loses by 50 and makes very little money if Gill sticks around (that's where your argument loses a bit, Eride: yes, the 6 mil. is already spent, but KU would have to spend more to hire another coach). Forget even the conference realignment issue, just being competitive in games (not even making a bowl) could increase KU's revenue long term enough to make the 6 million buyout worth it. So, I don't know that your point is actually factually accurate.

However, even if we stipulate your point, the KU fan base and, more importantly, the donors are completely done with Gill. Money will dry up if he sticks around (partially goes back to the point I was attempting to make above). The decision, simply, is already made. Keeping Gill would be a public relations nightmare for the AD -- as well as a financial one -- even if he wanted to keep the coach (which I'm guessing he does not).

Again, though, long term, it actually probably makes more financial sense to eat the 6 mil. and find a coach who can at least keep us competitively mediocre with the possibility of occasional high success. The revenue we could make under that scenario versus what we would bring in under an atrocious program that is consistently dead last makes the money spent on having Gill just go away actually the correct financial decision.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree from a financial standpoint, Gill should not be fired. I think the negatives outweigh the positives. Unless there's malfeasance, we're stuck w/him for awhile. How much longer does he have on his contract?

GoHawks1 6 years, 7 months ago

If you don't know how many more years he has on his contract then I don't believe you qualify to be chiming in on things from a "financial standpoint". If you want to look at things from a "financial standpoint" I suggest you look at what it will cost KUAC to keep him around. Loss in season ticket sales, luxury suites, loss in concessions, overall giving, etc...

By the way, he has 3 more yrs on his contract.

AirCapJay 6 years, 7 months ago

+1. College football is a business. With all the conference realignment going on, if KU does not do something to protect it's brand, KU will end up in a non-bcs conference and loose millions more than finding a new coach now.

otjhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Is lucky_guy kidding?? You do realize that if KU doesn't start to show some promise in football when the super conferences come no one will want us. No one cares about basketball it's not the money maker!!! People like you are the reason why KU isn't very good at football.

Geekinout 6 years, 7 months ago

LOL - So true... Some people will just never learn.

otjhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Is lucky_guy kidding?? You do realize that if KU doesn't start to show some promise in football when the super conferences come no one will want us. No one cares about basketball it's not the money maker!!! People like you are the reason why KU isn't very good at football.

Armen Kurdian 6 years, 7 months ago

However, I believe only a couple dozen BCS schools actually make money on their football programs. Bigger TV contracts, more expensive tickets, more expensive coaches, more expensive's a never-ending race that schools can't get ahead of. If we were to hire a new coach, there should be a low baseline salary plus multiple incentive fees for achieving certain milestones, like winning record, winning Big XII title, no major infractions, no minor infractions, academic record, bowl game, just to name a few. That way you're not just throwing millions of dollars over the fence and hope the guy you just hired is a winner.

tolawdjk 6 years, 7 months ago

Only on way to make certain. Fire Gill today. You can't tell me we could play worse under an assistant. Hell, make it a lottery and pull a ticket out of the hat. Let Section 14, Seat 16 coach on Sat and draw plays up in the dirt.

Jayhawk444 6 years, 7 months ago

Now that would be funny. Sad that it's probably true. thanks for the laugh.

escaped_labrat 6 years, 7 months ago

I'll take the job for 1 game. Here's my gameplan on defense and it involves rotating players in and out. Everybody blitz on every play like their life depended on it! The way I see it, they'd score anyways so worth a shot :-)

For the offense....hail mary, hail mary, run and keep changing it up

Brandon Pope 6 years, 7 months ago

Most. Depressing. Post. Ever.

But thanks for the insight.

FreddyinLA 6 years, 7 months ago

New coach should be the same guy who should have been hired 2 years ago, Ranson Rambler, Nolan Cromwell.

RockCaCO3 6 years, 7 months ago

Is he currently coaching anywhere? Just like TG, I liked Nolan as a player, but what are his qualifications to coach?

RockCaCO3 6 years, 7 months ago

Ok, I googled him, and yes I feel stupid. I guess thats what happens when you dont watch pro ball.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

I like that idea, Freddy. Cromwell excelled as a player on both offense and defense, and has experience coaching in the NFL. On top of that, it's always nice to have an alum involved because you can reasonably believe there would be some loyalty.

I think NC would make an excellent choice.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

I know Nolan Cromwell is one of the greatest Jayhawks to ever put on a football helmet, but at this point I don't want him as a head coach or even as an OC. He only has two years experience as a coordinator and has been a position coach the rest of his career which is a red flag to me. There have been several coaches that have tried to implement the West Coast Offense at the college level and none have really been successful and considering that Cromwell is a Mike Holmgren disciple as a coach, I would believe that's the system he would bring to KU and that's a very complicated offense that takes years to perfect so I would pass on Cromwell as the head coach or OC for KU. Considering he was a great safety for the Rams, I have to believe he would be at least be a competent DC because that's where he played.

nb4ku 6 years, 7 months ago

I think HCTG would take a smaller buyout. He is a upstanding person and understands the position the university is in. It's just unfortunate he's not as good of a Head Coach as he is a role model.

Joel Hood 6 years, 7 months ago

Turner is a quality man. But, quality men have agents too. If he did accept a smaller buyout, I bet it would be undisclosed and still be over $3M.

Matt Tait 6 years, 7 months ago

These talks will be between Gill's lawyers and the legal team for KU Athletics...

With that said, and seeing how the contract clearly states that Gill is entitled to every penny, he is going to get every penny.

Money well spent, though... Time to move on.

Kevin Studer 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you, Matt, for taking this stand. Most fans completely agree with you. $6 million is a massive budgetary hit, but the status quo is simply unacceptable.

Chris Bailey 6 years, 7 months ago

I know what you're saying but for those who don't agree I'm surprised. I mean Matt has been pretty matter of fact about Gill's fate. I don't think it should be much of a surprise that fans and the powers that be expect him to improve and since he hasn't he's out.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 7 months ago

Matt, I like your response; however, there are clauses for cause in his contract. Although the detrimental to the team probably wouldn't be viable, since it talks about criminal or NCAA violations, the second one, incompetency is in there. Although there are clear signs of his football coaching incompetency, no coach will want that term on their resume. KU will start negotiations and Turner Gill is going to make sure his assistants are taken care of. It will be quick and the negotiations won't be broadcasted, but the final numbers will be. I imagine he will leave with between $2.5 and $4 MM, not the full $6MM.

I think when SZ said that we look at the body of work and expect to see improvement, he was laying the ground work for a dismissal based on incompetency. Turner Gill won't want to sit around in court for a while, instead he will negotiate.

average 6 years, 7 months ago

Since TG would have a hard time getting the HC gig at Mid-America Nazarene after the last two years, he's going to get every penny he can get out of KU.

Ludwig Supraphonic 6 years, 7 months ago

Matt, I agree the A&M game is the most totally inept KU performance of the Gill era. I'm not sure where it ranks in terms of all time KU gridiron worsts. When I get really sick; the current illness seems to be the worst I ever felt. Perhaps because it's freshest in my mind; Saturday's collapse makes me the most despondent. The incompetence seemed equally distributed. The team appeared unprepared and the effort nonexistant. No adjustments were apparent and the offense, defense and special teams were equally bumbling. I want to be supportive of student athletes, and resent my own black humor and sarcasm; which hit an all time low during this debacle. I'm sure everyone connected with KU wants excellence. I lack further faith that significant improvement will occur with KU's current football program

Brandon Pope 6 years, 7 months ago

2 years is definitely not enough time to turn a program around, but 2 years IS enough time to get the program moving in the right direction. This staff has utterly failed to get the program moving in the right direction.

You have to look at Gill's contract as a sunk cost. We are going to pay the man $10 mil regardless of whether he coaches or not over the next three years. His salary is inconsequential to the decision.

The AD has to look at his body of work over the last two seasons and decide if there is any confidence that this staff can get where it wants to go over the next three years. Given the complete lack of progress (in fact the program has regressed substantially under Gill and company) I don't see how the AD can come to any conclusion other than that this guy is not the right guy for the job and he has to go.

That's not to say that we aren't signing up for another couple of bad seasons under whatever new staff we bring in. It will likely take years to put this program back together under the RIGHT staff. But it will never get there under the WRONG staff.

I think that if you look at the end of the 2014 season, when the new staff has had the same amount of time as Gill and company the total W-L record may be similar to what it would have been if Gill stayed for those two years. However, the difference is that over the news coach's first two years there will be signs that things are improving top to bottom. Then 4-5 years into their tenure we may have a 6 win team. 4-5 years into Gill's tenure we would surely be fighting to win more than 2 games per year.

The entire last 2 years were a complete waste of time and money. The higher ups at KU have to look at the state of the program like they did when they fired Mangino 2 years ago. They need to look at Turner Gill (who now has a longer track record to evaluate) and ask themselves "Would we hire this man today, knowing what we know now about it ability to coach in the big 12?" If not, the answer is clear and Gill goes. If so, then there are bigger problems at KU and it may take decades for this program to get back on its feet.

Fred Vance 6 years, 7 months ago

Answer to your question, "Is the loss to A&M the worst one in Gill's era?" The answer is "no" because we haven't played Missouri yet on Saturday afternoon. Each loss seems to reach new lows. I am sorry, my friends, but things won't get better until a new coach and new staff are hired.... Gill is losing credibililty and fans FAST!!!

bennettcl 6 years, 7 months ago

I will not attend another game as long as Gill-Tard is coaching unless he can prove that his team can compete week in and week out. I'm not expecting him to win very many conference games as we are in a very difficult conference, but getting blown the F out every week is getting very hard to handle. His teams look lost most of the time. Something has to be done and replacing Gill is the easiest option.

The next coach has to be a proven Big Name coach who has experienced BCS success before. If KUAD wants to bring the fan base back in, that is what it's going to take. At this rate though, we'll need to remove some bleachers from the stadium instead of adding seats so that it doesn't look so empty next year.

dgless21 6 years, 7 months ago

Matt, since it seemingly becomes more and more inevitable that Turner is fired, who do you see as a worthy replacement?

LSHawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Kevin Sumlin, HC at U of H. Has ties to Big 12 and can recruit Texas. Give this guy a 2,000,000 dollar contract for 5 years and see what happens, can you say BCS bowl game.

Matt Tait 6 years, 7 months ago

I've just about finished up my list of candidates and, right now, it has 10-15 solid names. Some are a stretch, some are great fits... We'll unveil it as soon as we learn Gill's fate, but the names on it that will be most interesting to you are:

Mike Leach, Jim Leavitt, Kevin Sumlin, Rich Rodriguez, Phillip Fulmer

All are realistic options and guys Kansas WILL call.

Stay tuned for more... Ha!

Keep an eye out for it. I'm guessing it will be on the site Sunday or Monday... And I can tell you for sure that it'll go up the minute we hear that anything's a done deal.

pepper_bar 6 years, 7 months ago

C'mon Matt. No established coach will come to a school that only gave the last guy two years to heal a perennially awful program. Leach, RichRod and Fulmer are pipe dreams.

swavity 6 years, 7 months ago

When you fail as completely and spectacularly as Gill has, the program would take a worse hit if it continued to let him run it into the ground.

What's with this "healing a perennially awful program" stuff anyway? It was two years removed from an Orange Bowl, for God's sake. They went to, what, four bowls in seven years under Mangino?

pepper_bar 6 years, 7 months ago

I stand behind my statement. KU football had one great year, anchored by an easy schedule and backing into an Orange Bowl slot that they didn't earn. (KU didn't even win its own division that year; they got the slot based on dollar signs.)

Gill has won five games in two seasons. Not impressive, but not incompetent. Fire him now, you telegraph that KU has developed even more unrealistic expectations post-Lew about what it takes to build a winning football program.

Chris Bailey 6 years, 7 months ago

Are you nuts? Do you watch the games? He isn't improving the team! If they were progressing toward something I would agree no one would come if we just fired him for no reason. He got better players and the results were worse. It's obvious this guy can't coach! You point me to one thing he has done that has been consistent and shown steady improvement from game 1 2010. I doubt you can do that. Why would no one come? We are paying top money for a good coach and coaches have egos! They will come in and prove their brand works. You get a big name and players will come! Just watch!

Matt Warman 6 years, 7 months ago

Jim Leavitt has a great resume but.....he is an MU grad.....ugh.

kupride4u 6 years, 7 months ago

Scratch Rich Rod off the list. ESPN reporting he's off to Arizona, announcement coming soon.

GoHawks1 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't forget June Jones. If it isn't Leach, I would love to have June Jones help right this ship.

RockCaCO3 6 years, 7 months ago

"...the Missery Tigers are hungry". What, isnt the Boone County jail feeding them enough?

DSKornkage 6 years, 7 months ago

I believe they are hungry for their last win before getting crushed in the SEC.

Alex Berger 6 years, 7 months ago

Yep and just one more victory for Tigers and it will all be over. A bright positive about this year was knowing that Missouri would head to the SEC where they will never sniff being a respectable program again.

Brandon Pope 6 years, 7 months ago

Welcome back Mr. Mizzurah Troll. We are so thrilled to have you. As is the SEC so they have another low class institution to beat down every week.

In the meantime, maybe you can help us out. We are looking for a team to fill that coveted 5th place spot in the Big 12. Any ideas?

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago

But a wise person calls for delivery, rather than driving out to get the food himself.

DSKornkage 6 years, 7 months ago

Hey bootlegger, rememeber a couple years back when Mizzou ended KU's perfect season, but KU was selected to go to the Orange Bowl instead of the Tigers? Why was that again? Oh yeah, the whole country knows KU has the better fan base. Must have stung a little to get that far only to be held back cause so few people actually care about MU athletics. Well, good luck down in the south, where football is religion and MU is just the trash blowing in the breeze outside the church doors.

DSKornkage 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, but if memory serves, and sometimes I question that it does, I believe I recall the Orange Bowl committee saying that it came down to which school travels and represents better and it was the KU Jayhawks.

Pbbut 6 years, 7 months ago

"See you soon at Arrowhead..."

Are you the peanut man or the Coke man?

DSKornkage 6 years, 7 months ago

Normally I would say that 2 years isn't enough time. But as has been stated more then once, he is not making progress. Mangino struggled early too, but he made progress. The absolute blasting we get week in and week out proves that progresss is not being made, and possibly even lost. I think we have decent talent around, but they are not playing solid football. I am not saying we would make a run for a Big 10 (ish) title any time soon. But competing, making games close, winning some winnable games should be the direction, not trying to be within 40 pts of the opponent.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Gill now number two on the coaches hot seat rankings...

Hard to imagine how terrible number 1 must be.

nb4ku 6 years, 7 months ago

I still can't believe Gill is the 28th highest paid coach. Thanks Perkins!

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago


Since when is John Goodman coaching at Hawai'i?

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

Steve Fairchild has three straight 3 win seasons, seniority is why he's above Gill.

LSHawk 6 years, 7 months ago

This season wont be a total disaster if after the Missery game the AD comes out and says, "KU fans, meet your new Head Football Coach- Kevin Sumlin"......then this season might have been worth it.

BWHawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Why would Sumlin come to KU? He has a great gig at UH with a tremendous pool of talent to recruit from in the Houston area. I think that it's way more likely that we could get Leach which may be a great hire since he is a "system coach"...i.e., his program doesn't absolutely depend on recruiting great 5 star athletes. He is more like Bill Snyder with more imagination, however the downside is not much defense. Leach might take on the challenge, who knows?

kujayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Sumlin has had a pretty good QB to work with at Houston that he didn't recruit.

Pbbut 6 years, 7 months ago

The sad commentary is that question even has to be asked, and then you can come up with a long list over a scant two years.
IF Zenger is looking to replace Gill, I hope he has a replacement all but signed.
Any thoughts on Rich Rodriguez? I think he was punted out of Ann Arbor while actually showing some visible progress. I've never followed the guy and he seems a little slick, but I believe we need a name for recruiting, excite the fanbase, excite the kids already in the program, and some self-promotion while building the product isn't necessariy a bad thing.

anonymous9898 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree completely on the Rich Rod hire. He is a man that made the mistake of hiring Greg Robinson as his D coordinator, yet he ran one of the most potent offenses in the country in a defensive minded conference. I also think Rich Rod is a better fit for the team that we have. We have 4 scrambling qbs on the roster for next year and depth at tailback. Dan Beaty already coaches blocking wr's and could stay on the staff to keep our recruiting presence in Dallas. Mike Leach is a great coach but it will be a few years before he can get his system up and going with our current talent. I would rather have Rich Rod come in and develop an Oregon-esk offense right from the start.

Brian Skelly 6 years, 7 months ago

Id parrot the Rich Rod idea. I would have loved him two years ago as an option, but clearly we werent even in the ballpark.

We still may not be. But Id jump at the chance to get him if he were remotely interested.

My guess is that he's not going to be offered a plum D-I again. He'd probably be thrilled just to be employed again. Although my guess is he's still collecting plenty of $$$ from Michigan.

Pbbut 6 years, 7 months ago

I hope looks like Arizona wanted the pompous overrated jerk. Idiots!

Benjamin Simon 6 years, 7 months ago

  1. Cromwell and Leach should be the top two guys on our list. Both have experience in big time football, getting kids to the NFL, and knowing how to WIN. Gill has none of the above.

  2. With regards to the article, I think the Texas loss this year was even worse. Not that there was ever any doubt that KU would not become bowl elligible this season, but when we played Texas we were sitting at 2-5. The season wasn't over (yet), and there was still something to play for (besides pride). The fact we couldn't even manage fifty yards of total offense for the game is tragically funny.

This past weekend's game against aTm was not pretty, but when the team is already 2-8 there isn't much motivation or reason to even show up. (aTm was sitting at 5-5 before Saturday, obviously they became bowl elligible against us, but it's not like we had an opportunity to play spoiler a la Iowa State.)

Given that there was little to play for Saturday, I can write off the bad play a bit easier than I can against a struggling Texas team where we couldn't even move the ball, let alone score.

  1. I think it's safe to say the basketball team's loss to UK last week was a "good loss" in that we learned a lot about the team and know what we need to work on. We kept it close for most of the game, and competed the whole game. Can the same be said about ANY of the football team's losses under Gill?

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with your point about the basketball team's loss being a good loss, but it's a stretch to say that we kept it close for most of the game. It was close for a half, but once UK went on its run early in the second half that was pretty much it, and it mostly stayed in double digits the rest of the way.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 7 months ago

[face palm]

[head wall]

[body tall building jump]

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

Is this the worst loss? Maybe? Does it really matter? To me, Baylor was the worst loss. Combine that with an underachiving A&M team and things can deteriorate quickly.

The AD has a tough decision to make. If you fire Gill, you need to find a suitable replacement and you better not handcuff the university will another onerous contract. The university will have fired two coaches in two years which makes an already unattractive job that much more unattractive for prospective replacements. Why go to a place with unreasonable expectations and damage your career?

If you think any of these big names will come here, you don't understand the real state of KU football. This is NOT a great job, contrary to what some on the board think.

Everyone brings up Leach's name. I would be interested in Matt's take. I would love for him to take KU where he took TT. But, he sued the university and ESPN. That's not good. I suspect that if KU were even considering hiring him that UT (they don't like him) and TT would put pressure on us NOT to hire him and, I believe, we would comply.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

How could UT and/or TT have the slightest influence on who we hire as a head coach??? I'm not saying you're right or wrong about Leach himself, but it's ridiculous to say that UT or TT could dictate to KU who it hires.

I also disagree with you about KU being a great job. The potential is certainly there, with tremendous facilities in place and a reasonable athletic budget. With the right coach, there's no reason to believe that KU couldn't be competitive and have a chance to make bowl games on a regular basis.

Sam Constance 6 years, 7 months ago

It's official.

The psycho-paranoia that the conference realignment has fostered in KU fans has officially jumped the shark.

You seriously believe that 1) UT or TT would give two sh*ts who KU hires for it's football coach? and 2) that KU would listen?

He sued the university and ESPN for completely valid and just reasons. As a matter of fact, I respect him more than I did because he stood up for what he knew was right.

As far as the appeal of KU as a job...

1) It should be pretty easy to explain to potential new hires that Turner Gill's situation is unique and that they would be given a more reasonable amount of time if they could show even the most minor improvement, of which Gill has shown none.

2) Some coaches find the kind of challenge that awaits at KU appealing. I've yet to hear a coach talk about a lack of faith in his own coaching ability, and some of them take that to the next level, wanting to be known as the guy who turned KU football into a winner. The fact that Sweet Lew is gone will also help Zenger assure potential hires that there won't be any shady AD and football team meetings without the head coach present.

3) Kansas, unlike some college football black holes, has the benefit of committing to financial support of the program and the presence in a BCS conference that allows for big-time success with a few lucky breaks (2007-08 anyone?). The fact that we've been so bad will be a drawback, yes, but not as big as you'd think.

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

There is no need for the psycho-analysis and personal attacks.

1) I do believe that Leach is blackballed and that KU would not be the school to go against convention and give him a chance. And I do believe that we are influenced by UT. I also think the conference would frown on hiring a coach who currently has an active law suite with a member school.

2) You think it would be that easy to explain the Gill situation to say, the NIU coach who has had success in a MAC program just like Turner Gill. Coaches are looking for some security. We will have fired two coaches in a two year stretch. They only way you compensate for that is pay alot of guaranteed money. That's very risky.

3) Every Big 12 school has similar or better facilities and financial support except for maybe Iowa State and Baylor. That is who the new coach is competing with.

4) This is a hard job. Mangino was the best coach in KU history and I can't really say he was successful. Look at his conference record over his career. Take away 2007 and he had ZERO seasons with a winning conference record and he was the best coach in school history. Today a ten team conference is much more difficult to get a winning conference record than a 12 team conference, so the job is even harder.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

Who says he was the best coach in KU history??? He might have had the best SEASON in KU history, but that doesn't make him the best coach overall. An argument could certainly be made for Pepper Rogers (despite the horrible year the team had after their Orange Bowl season) or for some of KU's earlier coaches.

Despite KU's mediocre football history, I don't think a 52-48 record makes someone the best coach of all.

Gregor Southard 6 years, 7 months ago

A little perspective here. Mangino inherited a team that was every bit as bad as this one and went to a bowl game in his second year. Gill inherited a 5-7 team that was three plays away from being 8-4. Granted there were losses to graduation (happens to every team). Its possible the next coach could be competitive in 2 years, especially if Gill's recruits are anywhere near as good as people say they are. Bring back the Phat Man before KSU hires him as their heir apparent!

anonymous9898 6 years, 7 months ago

I think anyone that simply says the KU job is not desirable has not been following the interviews ongoing at Tulane where both Rich Rod and Mike Leach have met with the school. KU is awful but we have new facilities and a fan base that shows up you cannot tell me Tulane is a better job than KU.

Marc Frey 6 years, 7 months ago

For me,it was a tie between UT and A and M but now I agree with Matt. As I watched the game, it seemed to me that KU, on D and ST, had given up. But, it was been a horrible two years. At least I was at the GT game last year. I would love to beat Mizzery and keep them at 6-6.

Eric Sorrentino 6 years, 7 months ago

Sure, the subject matter may be depressing, but this is an outstanding summary, Tait. Completely agree on the A&M game being the worst loss of the Gill era. Not only is it the worst loss in terms of deficit (54 points), but to have it happen this late in the year suggests little to no progress, particularly against a Texas A&M squad that has underperformed this season.

Completely unrelated, but you must be loving the Tebow-mania that's taking over the AFC West at the moment. I still don't believe I'm following a first-place team. It's as if I'm immune to Raiders' victories. I blame JaMarcus Russell, Art Shell, Aaron Brooks, LaMont Jordan (remember that guy?), etc...Goodness, those were horrible teams.

Nice read today!

Kyle Cornish 6 years, 7 months ago

It HAS TO BE Dave Doeren, head coach at Northern Illinois. He has been here and knows what it takes to win at and in Kansas. You can't recruit like you would at USC, or Michigan or West Virginia or big name schools. It takes something different. Anyone yelling for a big name coach is crazy. Mangino wasn't a big name, he was a man with ties to Kansas who knew how to win here and had a plan to do it. Your name won't get wins at Kansas, your plan and your staff will. Dave Doeren is the man for this. No question.

actorman 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree that Doeren would be a good choice, but I think Nolan Cromwell would be an even better one.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

He lost to Turner Gill, that's all that needs to be said about him.

Jeff Coffman 6 years, 7 months ago

Worst post of the day award...and it isn't even close.

sheahoRn 6 years, 7 months ago

Yeah...ummmm...I was....ahhhh...kind of hoping you guys would have forgot about those games. I better get to doing something quick. You'd think I'd have already taken care of business and started making calls to get a jump on Arizona, Ole Miss, Arizona State, Illionis, UCLA, Penn State, Washington State, North Carolina, etc. But nope, I'm off bounty hunting with Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Remember, no ice in paradise, sheahoRn

Bear86 6 years, 7 months ago

The aTm game was one of only 2 games I got to watch the Hawks live this year. I have never been more embarrassed as a KU Fan/Alum in my life. This team looked pathetic. Never have I witnessed such a weak effort by any KU team in any sport. I knew this year was going to be tough based on the schedule but to watch teams just man-handle the Jayhawks was embarrassing. I'm all for giving a coach a chance to get his kids/recruits in place and build up a team. However you must make strides over the course of the season and as far as this game went we went backwards by leaps and bounds. Get your check books out Alums. This one is gonna cost us. F-Texas !!!!!

average 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm totally for Leach. I also think he'd fit in really well in Lawrence overall, compared to Lubbock. Townwise, at least... can't say for campus politics.

But, we've already got the evidence in hand that it's not going to happen. If the Department was able to digest the hire, Leach was interested, and the money for the buyout was in the works, Mr Leach would be strutting at Memorial right this moment. Before 20 other programs start their hiring process. Since HCTG is still drifting along, it doesn't seem likely that Leach (or anyone currently unemployed of a similar resume) is coming.

Brian Skelly 6 years, 7 months ago

The fact that Matt posts that "list" of horrible games as an option the past two years is a bigger problem than asking the question of weather or not the A&M game was the "worst".

If it was just the 'one' worst game we wouldnt be having the conversations we've had the past 12-18 months. There are more "worsts" here in 2 years than likely in the Mangino + Allen years combined. I dont mean losses. I mean performances so bad, it makes you wonder if the guy in charged has ever coached before.

Id include Mason, whom was the coach when I was there. Mason was alarmingly uncreative on offense. But on "D" weather they were good or not (and generally they were at least decent -- because Mason COULD recruit guys). Even with the "up the middle, up the middle, up the middle, punt" offense they at least managed to stay competitive on occasion. I recall a few stinkers then as well. But not 4-5 per year.

The sentiment that "Two years isnt enough to turn it around" is reasonably apt. But you know what you have after two years. And there hasnt been anything resembling "turn around". If anything, the accelerator has been pressed down harder as we go off the cliff. Even by KU's obscenely mild / moderate / low standards this isnt going to fly. Thankfully.

texashawk10 6 years, 7 months ago

The two KState losses were the worst losses to me. KState doesn't have the superior talent to KU like Baylor, Texas, or Texas A&M has yet KState was able to hang 59 points on KU in consecutive seasons despite not having a very good QB in either season. KState is at best the 8th most talented team on paper in the Big 12 yet they are going to finish at worst 3rd in the Big 12 and at best in a 3 way tie for the Big 12 title this year. I can handle losses to teams like Texas, OU, OSU, and TAMU because those are teams loaded with vastly superior talent to KU, but losses to teams like KSU, ISU, and Missouri are the troubling ones to me because those teams are not vastly superior to KU in terms of talent.

Joel Hood 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure what people mean by "turn around" the program?? The cupboards were not bare when Mangino left, even though he lost all those games in the 2nd half of his last season.

Baylor at home was the ugliest loss for me. The coaches lost that game with overly conservative play calling in the 4th quarter. The 2 point PAT wasn't gutsy, it was deperation. The gutsy playing calling should have come earlier in the 4th.

I was at the game and thought Gill should have a chance to stay on for next year if he won that game and then somehow beat missery. I was never on the "fire Gill" bandwagon, but now he has dug his own $6M grave. Not too shabby.

The success of whoever SZ hires to replace Gill will determine his fate as KU's AD. Welcome to bigs, SZ. Sure hope you got some juice.

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

I think the cupboard was bare last year. Mangino rode Reising, Sharp, Meier, Briscoe after the Orange Bowl season. The defense didn't stop anyone during his last two years. So with all of the offensive talent gone and bad defense, downward performance was expected. I did not think it would get this bad, but the disparity in talent hit me during last year's Baylor game, where Baylor was clearly bigger, faster and stronger than KU.

We clearly have more offensive speed this year and this is a young team. I was only lukewarm to the hiring of Turner Gill and tend to think he is over his head. I did like that he hired experienced coordinators. I tend to think, unless, the team just lays down against MU, that SZ will give him another year because:

1) Team is the youngest in the conference 2) Team lost its DC at a critical time due to health reasons. 3) It is rare these days to give a coach (who inherited a bare cupboard) only two years to succeed.

Joel Hood 6 years, 7 months ago

HTH, Respectfully, what Mangino inherited when he came to KU was bare cupboards. And with nothing, he showed progress in year 2... not much, but a little. I agree that most coaches need a minimum of 3 years to get their program established, but nobody wants to see a repeat of Terry Allen - nice guy, but not D1 material. If SZ keeps Gill next year and the program continues to flounder, SZ will really be on the hot seat.

FightnMangino64 6 years, 7 months ago

a little progress? A bowl game in 2003, his second yr, is only a little progress really?

Joel Hood 6 years, 7 months ago

I guess sarcasm is lost on some... really

FightnMangino64 6 years, 7 months ago

harder to pick up when typed and people have been trying to down play the great job he did. really

Joel Hood 6 years, 6 months ago

Too bad he bullied people outside of the football program and couldn't manage his temper off the field. He would have had a much longer career at KU if he had. He had one GREAT year at KU and a couple really good years by KU standards. He only had a winning record against 1 conference foe - ISU - the rest were 500 or worse. So, all sarcasm aside, I really respect the strides he made at KU, but I don't believe he was the genius some make him out to be.

ahpersecoachingexperience 6 years, 7 months ago

Rich Rod to U of A. So cross that name off the list.

Pitthawk34 6 years, 7 months ago

No this isnt the worst loss, worst loss is us season ticket holders who has had to sign a check to watch this crap.

d2psugrad 6 years, 7 months ago

Would love to see Leach or another big name, but there are lesser known guys who have proven records that could be had for a song comparatively. Willie Fritz at Sam Houston comes to mind, sure it's not a BCS record, but he's proven he can win at every level he's had opportunity to:

Willie Fritz - SHSU 12-0 in 2nd year and seeded #1 in FCS playoff. 18 - 5 in 2 years at SHSU. .674 career record at D2 CMSU

School Years Position Record Other Pittsburg State 1982 Student Assistant 7-2 1982 Conference Champions Shawnee Mission Northwest HS 1983 Assistant Coach 7-2
Sam Houston State 1984-85 Graduate Assistant 16-6 1985 Conference Champions Willis High School 1986 Assistant Coach 6-4
Coffeyville CC 1987-90 Defensive Coordinator 34-6-1 Three post-season bowl games Sam Houston State 1991-92 Secondary/Special Teams 14-5-3 1991 Conference Champions Blinn College 1993-96 Head Coach 39-5-1 1995 National Champions 1996 National Champions Central Missouri 1997-2009 Head Coach 97-47 2001 Mineral Water Bowl 2002 Conference Champions

Robert Brown 6 years, 7 months ago

The problem with all of those coaches is you don't know if you are hiring another Terry Allen or Turner Gill.

Let the speculation begin:

I will have you know this is very different than the eight coaches mentioned a few weeks ago.

d2psugrad 6 years, 7 months ago

Agree that success at an FCS school is no garauntee, but someone like Coach Fritz who won 2 Juco National Titles at Blinn, would likely do like Snyder and mine the best juco talent available and be competitive quickly. I would take the FCS coach of the year over someone who had a losing record in the FBS which is what we are paying 2 mil per year for.

Geekinout 6 years, 7 months ago

To those who say 2 years isn't enough time to turn a program around, you might not be too off. HOWEVER, watching 2 years of Turner Gill style of football is enough to show me he doesn't know how to coach at this level and is over his head. Progressively this team looks worse every weekend and that's no exaggeration.*

*Uncreative, shows no emotion and seems lifeless on sidelines and in interviews, players can't feed of coaches energy because there is none, repeats same mistakes, can't make in-game adjustments, doesn't use personal to potential, teams undisciplined (funny considering that seems to be his entire mantra), doesn't seem to collaborate with his assistant coaching staff very well, doesn't get team excited to play every down, doesn't hold players accountable (just puts blame on them), doesn't discipline players for jogging during plays on defense in pursuit, doesn't realize other teams leaders and top players until way too late, doesn't know how to exploit other teams weaknesses, doesn't know how to teach the fundamentals of tackling, predictable game plans and play-calling, keeps using same players who miss same assignments and make same mistakes, can't recruit!

But he's nice guy, keeps the same blank expression on his face, and claps a lot!

Steve Corder 6 years, 7 months ago

Matt: Have you heard anything about a double buyout if Gill is released before the end of three years? Turning a reported 6M into 12M?

If true, does Zenger have that kind of backing?

The rationale was that Gill wanted time, not just the money to come to K.U. Therefore, such a clause was inserted.

jmonley 6 years, 7 months ago

Not going to be here long enough to have an "era".

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