KU football coaching search appears to be nearing an end, but waiting until after Saturday's spring game to announce the hire is the right move
If you’re the type that furiously scrolls through Twitter or regularly frequents message boards to find out the latest bit of potential news — good or bad, real or speculative — on the Kansas football coaching search, you probably know that it’s already been a hot week.
No less than half a dozen reports exist out there that say KU is closing in on hiring its next coach and that the search is nearing its end.
Heck, one rogue tweet even went as far as to say someone had been hired — with the serious CYA hedge language included, of course.
Regardless of where things stand today or how quickly things are finalized, I keep feeling like the official announcement will not come until early next week.
The reason? It seems only right, from KU’s perspective, to let interim head coach Emmett Jones see things through to the end of spring football before announcing the new boss.
Jones has done a terrific job of holding the program together and keeping the players engaged and willing to work hard this spring. And none of those things was even close to a given in early March, when both Les Miles and Jeff Long left town amid controversy.
For that, Jones deserves his moment to shine.
No, the spring game will not be on national television or count on any kind of official record. But it is what Jones and the KU staff have been working toward for more than a month and it would be a nice gesture by KU to let them have the spotlight one last time before everything changes.
That’s not to say there won’t be leaks or unconfirmed reports about the hire before Saturday's 6 p.m. spring game at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Those are almost unavoidable in this day and age.
But it would be an incredibly classy move by KU to wait to announce anything on its end until Sunday at the earliest, with an introductory press conference early next week.
Most reports, along with my sources, say this will come down to Buffalo’s Lance Leipold or Army’s Jeff Monken. Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz is the other name that has continued to surface during the past few days.
All three are proven head coaches. Both Leipold and Monken have been first-tier candidates from Day 1. Both are terrific football coaches with winning track records who would bring several new and needed elements to this struggling football program. And either would be a popular choice among the KU fan base.
To be frank, the mere fact that Kansas is in the running to land either coach after the dismal decade it just finished should be viewed as an incredibly good sign for the future of the program.
No matter who is hired, the job won’t be easy. Patience and perseverance will be critical traits for the new coach and his staff, first-year AD Travis Goff and KU fans.
But there’s a real sense among several people associated with KU that hiring either Leipold or Monken would be the first rock solid step in a successful rebuilding process that’s long overdue.
KU and its fans have waited this long to get to this point. What’s the harm in waiting a few more days, when that wait will provide the opportunity to say thanks to a good man and potentially important part of the future of the program in Jones?