Sunday, November 27, 2011

What’s next for KU football: Coaching candidates

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach directs his team against Texas A&M in this file photo from Oct. 18 in College Station, Texas.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach directs his team against Texas A&M in this file photo from Oct. 18 in College Station, Texas.


The last time the Kansas University football program pushed a nice-guy head coach out the door after just two seasons, the university followed it up by hiring a hard-nosed disciplinarian to take his place.

That was the story when Bob Valesente — 4-17 overall, 0-13-1 in the Big Eight from 1986-87 — was given his walking papers following the 1987 season and Glen Mason was brought in to replace him.

With history repeating itself on the front end of that equation — Turner Gill was fired on Sunday after going 5-19 overall and 1-16 in Big 12 play during his two seasons in Lawrence — the question on everybody’s mind now is what direction the Jayhawks will take in finding Gill’s replacement.

There are plenty of options, from coast to coast, and the list figures to be full of both nice guys and intense leaders. The following is how sees the search unfolding:


Mike Leach, 50, former head coach at Texas Tech University

Record at school: 84-43 in 10 seasons. (10 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not available. Made $2.7 million at Texas Tech.

Why it makes sense: The biggest name on the block would bring instant on-the-field credibility to the program, restore faith and return excitement to a fan base that has checked out. Offensive guru would inherit a handful of young athletes and, no doubt, bring more with him, perhaps even a big-time quarterback. As for his interest in KU, it seems like the guy would love a shot to stick it to Tech and the rest of the Big 12.

Why it might not happen: Leach would be a great catch for any program, but questions about his character, the way he conducted himself at Texas Tech and whether he learned anything from his uncerimonious fall from grace likely would linger for years no matter how well he did in the win column. In addition, he’s tied up with lawsuits against Tech and ESPN.


Jim Leavitt, 54, former head coach at the University of South Florida

Record at school: 94-57 in 13 seasons (5 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not available. Made $1.6 million at USF.

Why it makes sense: A defensive minded coach with Midwest ties who built USF from the ground up and elevated the program to a No. 2 national ranking at one point during the 2007 season. Currently coaching linebackers for the San Francisco 49ers, Leavitt went to five bowl games in 13 seasons at USF and won fewer than six games just twice. Hired KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger to work as his recruiting coordinator at South Florida (1996) and also worked with former KU coach Mark Mangino at K-State (1991-95)

Why it might not happen: Leavitt, like Mangino, was forced to leave South Florida because of allegations about improper treatment of players. Leavitt denied any wrong-doing — which allegedly included physical contact — but still was forced to leave the program he helped build. Is it too soon for Jayhawk Nation to bring in a coach from the Mangino mold?

Larry Fedora, 49, University of Southern Miss head coach

Record at school: 31-19 in 4 seasons (4 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $704,500 per year

Why it makes sense: He’s known as an excellent recruiter — especially in Texas, where he was a high school coach — and has Big 12 ties from his days as an offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. Also served as offensive coordinator at Florida from 2002-04.

Why it might not happen: Is his name sexy enough to please the big-time donors who helped facilitate the firing of Gill by coming up with private bucks? Even if it is, Fedora looks like a candidate at Ole Miss, which would probably be an easier transition.

Mark Stoops, 44, Florida State defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: Not Available. Made $283,914 in final year as Arizona DC (2008).

Why it makes sense: Obviously has the right last name to get your attention, but also has the right connections. Zenger and Stoops worked together on Leavitt’s staff at South Florida in 1996 and again from 1997-99 at Wyoming, where Stoops coached defensive backs and Zenger served as recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach. Has served as defensive coordinator at three schools (Houston, Arizona and Florida State).

Why it might not happen: A lack of head coaching experience could hurt Stoops in this case, as the Jayhawks need a proven leader to replace Gill.


Chris Petersen, 47, Boise State University head coach

Record at school: 70-6 in 6 seasons (6 bowl appearances, 2 BCS)

Current salary: $1.525 million per year.

Why it makes sense: When you throw in his time as an assistant coach, Petersen boasts an unbelievable track record of success. The program did not miss a beat when he took over and it’s a lot easier to envision Petersen knocking down the BCS door at a Big 12 school than at Boise, where anything short of perfection doesn’t get it done.

Why it might not happen: After the way former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins fell on his face at Colorado, it’s easy to see why other schools could be gun-shy about taking another hot name from Idaho.

Kevin Sumlin, 47, University of Houston head coach

Record at school: 34-16 in 4 seasons (3 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $1.2 million per year

Why it makes sense: Has made a huge national splash in just his fourth season at Houston. After going 8-5 in 2008 and 10-4 in 2009, Sumlin has the eighth-ranked Cougars at 12-0 this season. Is an even-tempered disciplinarian who draws praise for getting players to do exactly what he wants of them. Sumlin is another coach who already has experience in the Big 12 Conference and obviously has huge Texas connections. Sumlin coached under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma from 2003-07. He also coached under R.C. Slocum at Texas A&M; in 2001 and 2002. Although his name popped up for several openings the last time the Jayhawks were looking, Houston paid to keep him and he had one big reason to return to UH. With record-setting QB Case Keenun set to graduate after this season, could Sumlin be looking to move on, too?

Why it might not happen: He’s very happy at Houston, which will do everything it can to keep him, but could be battling several big-time BCS schools along the way. Maybe Sumlin wants his jump from Houston to be a bigger one?

Troy Calhoun, 45, Air Force Academy head coach

Record at school: 39-23 in 5 seasons (4 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $889,095 per year

Why it makes sense: Experience all over the board from Ohio and Air Force to Wake Forest and the NFL. Offensive-minded coach who knows how to utilize multiple running backs, a position that should be a strength at Kansas for at least the next few years. Named the Mountain West coach of the year in 2007 and known for creative offensive gameplans.

Why it might not happen: His is not the biggest name of the bunch and he seems to be pretty happy at Air Force, where he starred as a quarterback during his playing days and began his coaching career under the legendary Fisher DeBerry.

Dave Doeren, 39, Northern Illinois University head coach

Record at school: 8-3 in 1 seasons (1 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $371,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Doeren spent time at KU under Mangino and grew up in Kansas City. He knows what it takes to win at Kansas and he understands the culture. Was a huge player in recruiting a good chunk of KU’s 2007 Orange Bowl team and also has been praised by many as one of the bright, young defensive minds in the game based on his highly successful stint as Wisconsin’s co-defensive coordinator.

Why it might not happen: For starters, Gill beat Doeren earlier this season (45-42 in Lawrence) and that probably won’t sit well with KU fans. In addition, he’s still in his first year at NIU and might not be ready to move again.


Brent Venables, 40, Oklahoma defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $440,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Long considered one of the top assistant coaches in the college game, the Salina native who played at Kansas State and later coached under Bill Snyder at his alma mater has deep roots in the Midwest. His intelligent, energetic and charismatic qualities make him a master recruiter and the kind of coach players go the extra mile for. Venables has a great eye for talent and has been instrumental in Bob Stoops’ success at OU since 1999. Before that, the two worked together at K-State, as well.

Why it might not happen: Talking him into a rebuilding project at KU could be tough considering some think he’s waiting to take over at either Oklahoma or Kansas State one day.

Kirby Smart, 35, Alabama defensive coordinator

Record at school: N/A

Current salary: $750,000 per year

Why it makes sense: Smart is the architect behind one of the most dominant defenses of the last decade. For a program like KU, which is in desperate need of a defensive upgrade, adding the one of the best in the business makes perfect sense.

Why it might not happen: For starters, Smart is just 35, which seems a little young to take over this type of situation. In addition, if Smart’s going to leave his cushy spot alongside Nick Saban and the national-title contending Crimson Tide, it’s probably going to be for a bigger job, and is more likely to be one closer to the areas of the south that he’s comfortable recruiting.


Phillip Fulmer, 61, former University of Tennessee head coach

Record at school: 152-52 in 17 seasons at Tennessee (15 bowl appearances)

Current salary: Not Available.

Why it makes sense: Fulmer, 61, was forced out at Tennessee after an uncharacteristic 5-7 record in 2008. All he did before that was win 10 games in ’07, nine games in ’06 and 10 in 2002 and 2003, as well. Oh, he also guided the Vols to the 1998 national championship. Although the Tennessee native has spent all but four years of his coaching life in his home state, the four years away were in Kansas at Wichita State. Even though he’s been away from the sidelines for a while, he expressed interest in and interviewed for vacancies at Louisville and UConn in late 2009.

Why it might not happen: Fulmer’s been out of the game for three seasons now and could have trouble adapting to the spread offenses — both offensively and defensively — currently in favor in the Big 12.

Mike Stoops, 49, former Arizona head coach

Record at school: 41-50 in 7-plus seasons (3 bowl appearances)

Current salary: $1.465 million in final season at Arizona.

Why it makes sense: Look at the last name and consider the area he would be recruiting. Stoops, though decent at Arizona, did his best job while working for brother Bob at Oklahoma. Getting back into the Big 12 and having the chance to prove himself against his brother could be appealing. Stoops’ defensive pedigree would be welcomed at KU, which finished the 2011 season ranked near the bottom of the FBS in total defense.

Why it might not happen: Although a head coaching job in the Big 12 might be appealing, Stoops could be more interested in a less stressful role back on Bob’s staff at OU or somewhere else. Don’t count out the idea of him becoming KU’s next defensive coordinator.

Source for salary information: USA Today


kesmithstl1 10 years, 5 months ago

Matt, how long have you had this story typed, and ready to hit upload? That was fast!

Eric Williams 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach was at 2.7 mil at Tech, he'd demand no less than 3 mil at KU.

We don't have that money.

Bob Forer 10 years, 5 months ago

Believe me. If we have six mil to buy out Gill, we can afford 3 per year for Leach.

dewclw 10 years, 5 months ago

jhawk613, read my post dewclw KU has the money and donars, and they want a winner NOW.

selfishhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Too fast! It needed a little more thought. I would say that 90% of the names are this list are pipe dreams. No way half these folks even pick up the phone.

mikewils 10 years, 5 months ago

Selfish, it is exactly this type of thinking that will keep KU football in the place it is now. All KU fans that either don't care about football or don't think we can be better need to find another team.

TXBBall55 10 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Gill, thank you for your time in Kansas. Unfortunately (for all involved), I don't think you were the right fit for Kansas. You're a classy human being, and I'm sure all of KU nation wishes you the best.

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

Yeah I've had enough of these personal slams on Turner like he was out to ruin the football program. He is a great and dedicated individual and I wish the circumstances were different. He was put in an awkward position by an AD who couldn't make good hiring choices.

boknowssports 10 years, 5 months ago

ahper is da I want a T-shirt!!!!!.lol

Mark Lindrud 10 years, 5 months ago

As much as I felt he was going to be gone he stayed classy the whole time. Even though we gave him a horrible contract I don't have anything negative to say towards him. I do hope he gets to coach again and learn to be successful as a hc down the road. I do think he gave as a good recruiting class this year. Good luck and sorry it didn't workout.

Hank Cross 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's see if he has enough class not to take the full buy-out money. He knows that he failed miserably at his job. A way to build back goodwill would be to acknowledge his shortcomings by only taking, say $3 mill. Otherwise, he'll be known as an incompetent opportunist who got lucky and found a pigeon. Difficult to see him as a HC in another FBS program under those circumstances,

uni4ku 10 years, 5 months ago

Take the money but give it to a charity (at least half of it)!

Brian Powell 10 years, 5 months ago

here's something to +1.

The first thing I think when I read all of this, is "wow, that much money to suck that bad? Didn't KU have enough foresight to work RESULTS into a multi-million dollar contract? Seems like basic math to me."

scraptown 10 years, 5 months ago

It has nothing to do with class, he was promised that money per contract, he tried his best, he gets his money. I guarantee he would have preferred to keep his job over the buy out, but he's due the money, and he should take it. He's a nice guy, not an idiot.

Tribehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I keep hearing Leach's name mentioned, but is there any hard evidence that he is interested in the position or that KU would be interested in even tendering an offer? He hasn't exactly been quiet about his interest in other open positions, but I haven't heard him say a single thing about Kansas.

rockemchalkemrobots 10 years, 5 months ago

So, you're not buying Leach's interest because he has not called you to express his interest in the last, oh, 45 minutes?

Tribehawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm not buying Leach being anointed "The Favorite" to become KU's next coach when there's no suggestion that he or KU have any interest and there doesn't appear to be any past connection between Dr. Z and Leach. What, at this time, makes him a "favorite" over Leavitt et al?

Jeremy Bolinger 10 years, 5 months ago

Several of these names don't make sense..... Chris Peterson? Mark Stoops? Hell even Mike Leach? Wow. I hope to GOD we can land one of these guys, but I highly doubt it!

Jeff Kilgore 10 years, 5 months ago

I can see what you mean up to a point. When Leach was rising at TT, KU would've been a step down. Now? He's seen as somewhat damaged goods which is vastly overstated, but perception is part reality.

Hire Leach. Please hire Leach. Please, please, hire Leach.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

Amen brotha!!! Leach!!!! Leach!!! Leach!!!

Jeffery Barrett 10 years, 5 months ago

I would take any of the aforementioned coaches and probably 50 or 60 more over Leach. Have any of you leach lovers watched any of his press conferences and remember his last month or so at TT? Guess not.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

I predict that if Leach moves to Lawrence, he will either be here for at least 6 years and be highly successful (by KU standards) or he will embarrass us and himself over his very short stay. No middle ground.

In some of his public appearances and interviews, Leach has been flamboyant, to put it mildly. Leach is a part-time lawyer, so I've been told. Like me. He may know how to turn his exuberance on and off, to suit his interests. I haven't conducted any investigation of the man. However, based on what I saw him do at TTech, I think he would be the best hire. The KU job is the best available Big12 job. KU FB does have a history of producing fairly frequent 4 to 5 year stretches of success (Mangino, Mason, etc). Leach wants revenge. Leach will take the job.

jhawkjunkie 10 years, 5 months ago

Please, oh please, OH PLEASE get Brent Venables!

squintseugene1 10 years, 5 months ago

although i am sad anytime a coach gets fired it kind of needed to happen. with that said i agree venables or Kirby Smart would make a lot of sense and it would help with the defense which is what the football team need although i would have no problem with kevin sumlin at houston for offensive help or skip holtz at USF as an outside chance

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach or Venables would be good hires. No one else on the list is really exciting. Maybe Kirby Smart, but I doubt he'd consider KU.

squintseugene1 10 years, 5 months ago

i just dont know if the KU brass would hire leach given his past having more problems than mangino did with disciplining players just wondering what zenger and GBL think about his "troubles"

Kirk 10 years, 5 months ago

I hear you. The idea of Leach mixing well in Lawrence is kind of a stretch. But it's the type of move we need to make, if we're honest with ourselves about how creative and demanding the next dude needs to be in order to truly compete in this extremely competitive conference, here at KU.

squintseugene1 10 years, 5 months ago

true that man I wonder the same thing about leavitt. he, Mangino, and Leach all had problems with disciplinary issues in their final years in 09 but, whoever they hire i will continue to be sitting in the student section on home game saturdays

fancy80 10 years, 5 months ago

I would be a bit leery of hiring Venables because of him being a K-State alum. Conspiracy theory anyone else concerned about the K-Staters secretly infiltrating our Athletic Department to facilitate the downfall of our football program (for good)? Also hiring either one of the Stoops bros while Bob is still head coach at OU....Will they back off of a recruit if Big brother Bob is after the same kid? I like the idea of Leach, but if he has a lawsuit against espn, could that have a negative impact on KU basketball tv time? big decision for AD SZ...I just hope we don't guarantee 5 years. I say guarantee the first three year and incentives for years 4 and 5.

Kenny Terry 10 years, 5 months ago

I guess your high up birdie in the athletic department was indeed playing a joke with you. No malice intended just humor

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 5 months ago

Should of know when a bird was actually talking to me...drugs are bad!

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

If you're going to trot out Phillip Fulmer (not a bad idea, by the way) then why not GLEN MASON?!?!?

I know that one of his former assitants Golden Pat Ruel is currently living in Iowa or Nebraska ... what his number? ;)

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

Golden Pat Ruel was a joke at KU. Please don't even consider hiring him.

Ed Noyes 10 years, 5 months ago

Has Nolan Cromwell ever showed any interest in moving to college coaching from being an exceptional NFL coach?

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

Cromwell was not a great OC during his time at A&M and considering the offense he is most familiar with is the West Coast Offense which one of the most complex offenses that takes years to master at the NFL level, I don't think he would make a very good college head coach.

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

+1 I like the guy and is tough mentally and physically but hiring him with no BCS conference experience is like hiring well, Turner Gill.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Cromwell is in my top 10 KU footballers ever. But the more I learn about his resume, from the posters here, the more I'm becoming convinced that it wouldn't work. It would be sad for him and our fans if he got the job and failed. For those of us over age 50, he's the legendary Ransom Rambler. Don't want to tarnish that.

Marc Frey 10 years, 5 months ago

There are other programs looking for head coaches. Where does KU stand in that line?

Eric Williams 10 years, 5 months ago

Obviously we're first in line. Every coach wants to coach at KU, they're just waiting for us to call and run them out the door in 2 years.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

KU stands in the bottom 25% of the BCS schools currently looking for coaches. Except, possibly for Leach, seeking revenge.

levicircle2 10 years, 5 months ago

You've listed some great possibilities, but KU will be up against some other big names for these folks. Penn State, Illinois, probably Arizona State, UCLA, Washington State, numerous "smaller" openings like Tulane, Akron, etc - there are only so many Leach/Stoops/Sumlin's to go around. Add to that the perception (okay, the reality) that KU is a "basketball school", with football #2 in fan support...well, good luck to AD Zenger - he has his work cut out for him.

Geekinout 10 years, 5 months ago

I have a feeling Penn State will have a harder time than expected with all the garbage that programs brought to the college sports world...

JayDocMD 10 years, 5 months ago

Agreed - bring back the percentage wheel!

Dillon Davis 10 years, 5 months ago

I think we have an advantage with Leach because I think he'd welcome a return to his old conference and a chance to take on his former Tech team. Plus he can recruit in Texas and he knows the area.

I like the fact that Reggie Mitchell is our interim coach, I think that shows that Zenger wants to keep him here. If anyone is retained it absolutely needs to be Mitchell, and maybe David Beaty but I wouldn't be heartbroken if he left.

CHEEZIT 10 years, 5 months ago

Where's the guy that said Urban Meyer. Give him 4 mil a year!

Tyler Bruce 10 years, 5 months ago

It was reported that Meyer will get 40 mil over 7 years.. Almost 7 mil per! I don't think he'll turn that down to coach KU for 4

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Actually that would be less than 6, but still lots.

FreddyinLA 10 years, 5 months ago

Nolan Cromwell Kansas High School Athlete of the Decade Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year at QB NFL All-Decade Team as a DB Played in 1 Super Bowl, coached in 3. Special Teams coach in NFL for Super Bowl winning Packers. Offensive Coordinator at A&M for 2 years.

Matty's list Big Yes - Calhoun Yes - Leach, Fedora, Petersen, Sumlin, Venables If all else fails - Doeren No - Leavitt, Stoops(both of them), Smart Are you kidding - Fulmer

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

My no. 1 choice is Venables and then he hires Mike Stoops as DC. 2nd choice is Mark Stoops. DC at a national power program. I don't think we will have a difficult time in getting a big name because all they have to do is see the success Mangino had here, and a top 10 school in facilities.

Ed Fox 10 years, 5 months ago

People. This is Kansas football. Coming off of firing a coach after only two years. And when he was himself was supposed to be rebuilding. Without scandal. There are going to be a lot of good jobs out there and people are seriously overestimating how this place is almostly certainly looked at as career suicide. The big names aren't coming unless for a mmuch bigger package than many of you are complaining about Gill having. MUCH bigger. Either prep to bankrupt KUAD or hope a low profile, but great fit, can turn this around because KUFB is in serious trouble and, even if today's decision was correct, it won't make getting a big name coach any easier.

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

So why can't we continue to be good in football? I mean you say this is "Kansas Football" but you have a short memory of playing and winning a BCS bowl. Plus the job is more attractive because the A.D. is Zeahon and not Perkins. Zeahon is a "Football A.D", and because of that alone, we will attract some really good candidates.

Geekinout 10 years, 5 months ago

+1, tired of the people with defeatist mentalities...

Kevin Randell 10 years, 5 months ago

Agreed!!!!! I am an Alumni of KU but have lived in Oklahoma all of my life with the exception of my time in Lawrence. If OSU had the same mentality as a lot of these people posting then I guess they wouldn't be #3 in the nation and competing for a National Championship this year...huh?

Robert Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

One season does not define success. We are looking for sustained success and unfortunately Mangino was not able to ride the momentum of the Orange Bowl year.

Your definition of being good in football must be pretty lenient. Look at Mangino's conference record and tell me if we were 'good' during his tenure.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Try getting the head man's name correct - Sheahon Zenger.

Love the experience Dr Z has with building winning programs, and in particular the connections with Mark Stoops. He's built one of the best D's in the nation at FSU. Would Mike come with him as a DC?

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

True. But the revenge motive makes it more likely that Leach would come to Lawrence. "Beggars can't be choosers". That maxim applies to both sides of this transaction, KU and Leach.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

Be realistic, it ain't happening. Leach is our best attainable proven winner.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Agree. Ain't happening with any of the other big name coaches, either. Looks to me that Leach should be our target.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 5 months ago

Venables - great but he really is probably waiting for Snyder to retire. Calhoun - awesome but is faithul to AF, like his mentor Fisher DeBerry Leavitt - I like it Leach - If we can get him. Ego might be too big to have around. Mark Stoops with his brother as D coordinator - that would work

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

The Stoops connection. Who comes as the OC? It would be nice to see Mitchell and Beatty stay around for continuity.

rcaltrider 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach. And word is Mike Stoops is headed to Columbus as defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer.

Dyrk Dugan 10 years, 5 months ago

I would say Sumlin, Mark Stoops and Venables would be my top three. And Dave Doeren fourth.

All have considerable recruiting experience in this area...all four have either coached in the Big 12, or are directly connected to people who have or do. I would be happy with any of them.

Leach? Only if he drops the lawsuits....or guarantees that they will be settled....or something in his contract that says they will be settled by July 2012...something to that effect. You can't have that hanging over the program.....EVERYONE will negatively recruit against this guy.....his legacy in college football is set...he's damaged goods. He's a screwball anyway.......he'd say something that would offend someone....who knows what other lawsuits would await.

look at TTech. after he leaves, in two years they're 5-7. He did not leave that program well. what would he do at Kansas?

Fedora? the Ole Miss job is probably his...if he wants it. i think he would always be looking for the next gig.

Fullmer, no. too old. Calhoun, no. we need to pass the ball some.

Mr. Smart from interesting nugget. I would at least put out the feelers to see if he's interested. we'd play defense for sure.....he's not too young. as long as you can coach, you're good. and it sounds like he's learned how to do that.

Let's just get someone in here who prepares the program every day to win football games....whether it's on March 15, Aug. 15 or Nov. 15. Every day is looked at and the question is asked, "how do we win a football game today?" that question, I KNOW, was not asked by the previous staff.

Go Jayhawks!

TXBBall55 10 years, 5 months ago

Sumlin to ASU...take it to the bank. Coogs will be crying for months.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

"look at TTech. after he leaves, in two years they're 5-7. He did not leave that program well. what would he do at Kansas?"

Leach is the winningest coach in Tech history, he never had a losing record there. The fact that they are 5-7 after he is gone is a convincing fact to his effectiveness as the head coach.

Leach at KU would be fantastic!! He's a winner!!!

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Definitely. Makes me glad we fall for the T-ville pleas.

I question whether Leach is a fit with KU culturally. Even if he was here, the D would seem to be an ongoing problem. I seem to recall most of his time at TT being defensively challenged. A problem given our recent history.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago


Not a sure winner at KU, though, unless the league gets back to 12 members.

bjejayhawk69 10 years, 5 months ago

  1. Leach
  2. Venables
  3. Mark stoops - only if he brings Mike as DC
  4. Leavitt - see above
  5. Sumlin
  6. Doeren

Don't care much for the rest - Calhoun-no name coach. Smart - is their defense good because of him or the fact he gets some the best athletes on the planet. Fedora would be a maybe because of his Texas recruiting ties. Fulmer - never.

cobweb 10 years, 5 months ago

OU fans can't wait to get rid of Venables. We would be doing them a favor. He also screams a lot.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach's W-L record at TTech, a school with a FB tradition not much better than KU's, speaks for itself. Maybe he doesn't rack up any style points, though. A complicated, risky hire, for sure. Investigate him, talk to him. If the off-field issues can be resolved, hire him.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

We went to 2 straight bowl games. Leach took TT to 10 straight. That means that we were below .500 most of the time, and they were above .500 ALL of the time. That's not very similar and a big difference.

rockwall 10 years, 5 months ago

Was it Matt that mentioned Pat Fitzgerald from Northwestern? Might be a good visit. Leavett and Z are buddies, watch him.

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

Yes. I think we should take a long and hard look at Fitzgerald. I watched them beat the Huskers in Lincoln and his team reminded me a lot of our '07 squad.

Al Martin 10 years, 5 months ago

Fitzgerald is great, and I'd love to have him. He knows how to win under less than ideal circumstances, and he has the integrity and graduation rate (95%!) that we were hoping to get from Gill.

Unfortunately, I don't see him leaving Northwestern. He played there, graduated from there, loves it there, and they adore him. On the other hand, he only makes about 750K, but I'm sure they'd pony up bucks to keep him. My gut feel is that it would take a much bigger opportunity to get him to leave his alma mater. Definitely worth a call, though.

parrothead8 10 years, 5 months ago

It'd be awful tough to get Pat Fitzgerald to leave Northwestern. He signed an extension in May that runs through 2020 and is supposed to give him a "middle of the pack" salary compared to other coaches in the Big 10. Not to mention, I don't know why he'd want to leave a great school like Northwestern in a great city like Chicago in a rich conference like the Big come to KU.

Geekinout 10 years, 5 months ago

All the names mentioned sound great to me! Can't wait for next year already...

Kyle Sybesma 10 years, 5 months ago

All good candidates. I'm concerned about how many would be interested in the job. No way Peterson leaves Boise St for the KU job. Leach would be a great hire for any program so why would he choose KU? I like Fedora but as Matt mentioned he may take the 'Ole Miss job. Mark Stoops and Smart I'd imagine are waiting for bigger jobs. We didn't see Houston Nutt's name. I think he should have been listed on here. Leavitt has strong ties to SZ and the midwest which makes me think he's the leader.

Jayhawk1958 10 years, 5 months ago

Would love to see how Mangino would do under Z.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 5 months ago

Challenges are avoided by people not wanting to succeed.

Ed Fox 10 years, 5 months ago

Outside of Kansas the Orange Bowl year was a scheduling fluke (and likely a result of that hated AD's connections more than merit). No short memory, just question its value in this coaching search. What big name coaches do we think were interested before the last two years? You think AD alone will change that? Besides facilities, something a lot of schools can claim, what makes KU in 2011 terribly attractive? Add Big XII issues and there are a lot of schools ahead of KU on the coaching vacancy list.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 5 months ago

Meant for my comment to be a reply to BannerforKirk. Stop it with the negative waves man.

Robert Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

There is nothing negative about Kirk's comments. They are legitimate issues.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. But the revenge factor might induce one of the big name, proven, winners to take the job. That name is Leach.

hammerhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Come on, Zenger, now it's time for YOU to earn your huge salary. And you better hire a WINNER or you are next.

crimsonwithblue22 10 years, 5 months ago

O-K Hammerhawk, I'm sure Dr. Zenger will keep that in mind big boy.

I would like to note that Dr. Zenger's "huge" salary is substantially less than half what Perkins paid himself while here, and I can guarantee you he'll easily make a coaching AND business deal 5 times better than Lew did last time around.

stravinsky 10 years, 5 months ago

My top five candidates:

  1. Urban Meyer / Jim Tressel. Both are out of coaching, and have some flaws that might dissuade major programs from being as interested (Meyer's health problems, Tressel's massive NCAA infractions). Both could be value buys and have BCS bowl wins on their resumes.
  2. Joe Paterno: history of winning, only living NCAA coach to have coached alongside Moses in the first Tostitos Sinai Bowl, and might be interested in coaching for the school he beat in his first BCS appearance, of which he is the only surviving witness.
  3. Nick Saban: seems to like moving teams every once in a while, and I doubt he could resist a good fix-me-upper. Besides, blowing out top 5 teams at 'Bama has got to be getting boring.
  4. Quadruple Stoops: while many of them already have good coaching jobs, how could Bob, Mike, Mark, and Ron Jr. turn down an opportunity for a family reunion? Hire all four!
  5. Zombie "Bear" Bryant: our med school has been getting better and better, and at this point, it's probably worth taking the lid off of that test study in reanimation. You risk that he might cause a stir by physically assaulting a player (he coached in a different era with different expectations, and now has a hunger for brains) but would likely bring success if that could be contained.

stravinsky 10 years, 5 months ago

Glad it's being enjoyed.

Yeah, there are waaaay too many people who really do think we're serious contenders for someone like Meyer or Tressel. Honestly, I don't think we could land Leach or Sumlin. Sumlin wasn't interested in moving to KU back when we were looking last time, and the job has become significantly less appealing. I don't think Peterson would ever want to leave for KU either.

I think our best odds are hiring a coordinator (a successful head coach, even at a mid-major, is simply not going to see KU as a step up).

That, or we can hire Pat Summit. Maybe Geno Auriemma. They're proven winners who may want to transition to a sport regularly found on network television.

hiphopsux 10 years, 5 months ago

rarely take the time to read the longer comments here, but thank you for the humor, actually laughed out loud. but too old to type it the way most people do

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 5 months ago

Petersen would get to play Paterson every year. Either would do well at KU. Like Kirby Smart. I disagree that he would be waiting for a bigger ship. Lots of good candidates but please, no unknown this time. Would not compare Petersen to Hawkins either. Also like Leavitt. Why not Mangino? Bring him back just like we did Fam. KU, the school of second chances.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Dennis Mahorney 10 years, 5 months ago

Hire Venables, and tell him to bring Geneo Grissom, and Blake Bell, back to Kansas where they belong.

TheGiftedOne 10 years, 5 months ago

A&M is about to fire Mike Sherman IMO. They are going to want a fresh start going into SEC play next year. A&M is going to have first choice from this list of available coaches. Just a thought.

Robert Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

Certainly Leach would be the homerun pick. But Leach's name comes up with almost every coaching vacancy. And Leach knows exactly what the obstacles are at KU. None of the other coaches listed really excite me. Remember, these guys will also be candidates for other coaching vacancies.

It seems like Venebles has been a candidate for a head coach for ten years. I think he was a finalist when KU picked Mangino. Why has he not made a move? Stoops is relatively young and will be at OU for several years.

I would like someone who can put together a defense that can slow down Big 12 offenses. After the Orange Bowl season, Mangino teams never stopped anyone. It is very frustrating to watch. Of course, Mangino's last two years did not compare to the frustration of the last two years under Gill.

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

That defense was all Bill Young and if he was 5-10 years younger, he would be the perfect hire.

Robert Brock 10 years, 5 months ago


Granitestatah 10 years, 5 months ago

Agree with the above posters but no mention of Charlie Weiss? Great offensive mind and was also a top notch recuiter at Notre Dame. Was pretty popular around KC this time last year..............

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

and why is he not still at N.D.? Exactly...

unklemonkey 10 years, 5 months ago

The SEC is head and shoulders above the rest of the nation and has been for almost 10 years. Why shouldn't KU try their hardest to get Smart, the two-time champion defensive coordinator of the best defense in the best conference?

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

An excellent point!

That's why I was hoping for Charlie Strong when Turner was hired ...

SEC, baby.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Charlie was definitely the top choice, and stinks that he went to L-ville, one of the few teams that has erally been succesful with their '09 hires.

That is part of my motivation for Mark Stoops (and Mike as DC).

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 5 months ago

The two things I would really like to see, above all else, is that the coach has two qualifications. First, they need to be young enough to be in the coaching game for a while, and second, they should have some sort of ties to the area so they aren't here simply to get a better job. Other than that, I'll trust the AD to pick the guy with the best credentials. Of course, I think I did that two years ago, and look where that got us!!!

okiedave 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach? wasn't he fired for being too abusive to his players? Isn't that what got Mangino fired?

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach's issue was a flap about one player, and his own personal flap with the athletic department. Mangino's issue was about abusive of everyone that got in his path; multiple players, coaches, admin staff, other university staff, high shool officials, ... Not terribly different than his first HC position (PA HS).

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach appears to me to be a more cultivated, savvy, character than Mangino. Both are winners. Both are noticed wherever they go. However, Leach is the better entertainer. More interesting and pleasing to watch. More complicated, more calculating. Is he out of control or is he just acting that way for a particular purpose? If he appears to be uncouth at times, it's probably intentional. He needs no couthing up. Leach is capable of performing at several different levels. Depends on who the audience is. Like Spencer Tracy's character, Clarence Darrow, in the Monkey Trial movie. With Leach at the helm, there will be plenty of watchers, for better or worse, from all corners of these united states. Games at Lubbock and Morgantown could be almost spectacles, transcending sports.

That's my impression of him. Of course, to entertainers, public perception is...........You may say, "yes, but the score is tallied every Saturday for 12 weeks straight. He can't finesse or bamboozle his way out of that". To which I would answer that 6-6, 5-7, 7-5, are good enough, especially if we fans believe that on Saturday afternoons, we're getting our money's worth.

Hire him. Then do everything possible to get the league back to 12 members. With 12 in the league, Leach could stay in Lawrence for 10 years or more, like Mangino would have done had he not been lynched.

Maybe Mangino was lucky. He exited before we were forced to face the entire southern Murderers' Row every year.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 5 months ago

No need to apologize for the speculation, that's all anybody is doing on this story!

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

There was that story that Harbaugh was supposedly ready to take the KU job, but wanted to coach Stanford in their bowl game and Perkins said no and gave that contract to Gill. Harbaugh definitely would've been worth the $2 million a year, but I don't know how validity there is to that story though. If true, it does explain perfectly why Gill got $2 million instead of the $750k-$1 million he probably should've been paid when hired. I also wonder if people would've been tolerant enough of Gill to give him year 3 with changes to the coaching staff this offseason if he was only making $1 million or so.

10 years, 5 months ago

What a list ... only one or two guys on that list worth looking at.

Leach & Leavitt - no way, both bring more baggage than is needed. Fulmer and both Stoop brothers - what a joke Petersen - you got to be kidding me, why go from a power house to KU ... just becuase it is in the Big 12 ... arrogance Sumlin - is nice but why leave Houston whose football pass is as good if not better than KUs. He has something going ... why leave. Calhoun - only reason for him money, Air Force would be an excellent place to work. You go to an Air Force game and you know you have been to a football game .. KU ... no way, nothing like Air Force

Who does make some sense -

Fedora - young and could be here for some time but I sure would not gamble on KU if I were him. I would stay where I am. Doeren - young and again might stay. But he also knows the unrealistic expectations that were placed on Gill, he knows the type of players that Gill had to play with against a Big 12 that was much better than the past. Venables - maybe ... better than Leach or Fulmer or those others who blew it. Smart - another maybe ... coming from the SEC he might attract some talent and his mentor is one if not the best

If KU were lucky ... maybe Fedora, Doeren, Venables or Smart would take the chance. The others - they are in better spots or are not the type you want.

Bottom line - KU made a mistake ... 2 years not enough.

Layne Pierce 10 years, 5 months ago

Besides the coach, the question is how much do we want to pay. Are we all on board for paying the 2 million as established, or do we want to go bargain basement. I think out best bet is look at every top assistant in the country and set a maximum salary of $1.5 million per year.

Nobody likes sloppy seconds. For example is Kirby Smart better than the defensive coordinator at Michigan State, Pat Narduzzi. You want tough defense, watch Michigan State play.

The key for the AD and the committee is to get the right person for the right price. Optimum is a great coach for no more than 2 million. Keep in mind, the next coach is going to get more than 2 years, no matter what.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 5 months ago

For me, the $2 million price tag wasn't the problem, it was the length of the guaranteed contract. If he'd had 3 years guaranteed and 2 more as some type of KU option, we wouldn't be so screwed right now.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

Gill is a sunk cost, he's gone. Let's look to the future.

Dick Sengpiehl 10 years, 5 months ago

Crucial hire. People were surprised when Roy Williams was hired for BB. Have confidence that Zenger will know enough about football to make good selection. Gill just wasn't ready for the Big 12, likewise Terry Allen. Must be good recruiter, particularly out of Texas. Although Perkins built facilities, he did not make one good hire. Was really incompetent and ran a program gone amok. Gill good man. Wish him the best. At least with 2 million a yr he won't be homeless.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 5 months ago

Perkins kept Bill Self when T. Boone came calling. Gotta give him credit for that.

RockinChalkinLA 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm rooting for Coach Sumlin.

I like the description of no nonsense, gets players to do what he wants done. Seems to have been able to recruit to a smaller school. And a proven winner. I see no down side to this hire.


Randy Bombardier 10 years, 5 months ago

Houston is larger than KU, something like 40,000 students. His record is skewed by the performance of Case Keenum, so it is hard to say how good he really is. They are just winning the games they are supposed to. I don't seem them as world-beaters at all.

sportjunky 10 years, 5 months ago

Urban Meyer. Still haven't heard him officially announced as the Ohio State coach. It is a pipe dream (that's putting it mildly, I think...), but he would be my top choice as the new KU coach! :-)

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 5 months ago

The idea of Leach excites me...forget the baggage, there are dirty trick, black ops in college football these days. Naive if you don't believe that. Mangino, Leach were both the result of such foul play. As was Leavitt. As was Tressel. Dumbest firing of all. So, forget the idea of baggage. Can he win?

Leach, Tressel should be at the top and other proven winners as well. Venables has earned a look if he would consider it. Fedora too much of a gamble. We need someone who has won in one of the major conferences. No more up and comers, please. Someone who can recruit, someone who is innovative, someone who can manage, both a program and a game. Clearly, Gill could not do the latter. Awful.

If we cannot attract someone proven, hire Mangino back, take out the fire hydrant where he likes to park, and purge the University of Kansas of PC thinkers.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Tressel is a proven winner ... and a proven liar. Now there is someone any athletic director would like responsible for their multi-million dollar ops.

phi4life940 10 years, 5 months ago

A contract is a contract. KU signed it just as TG did. It's not's stupidity on KU's part (well...stupidity on Lew Perkin's fault....).

parrothead8 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm sure you'd refuse the severance pay mandated in your contract if you got fired from your job.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 5 months ago

How much did Prince took KSU for? People that live in glass houses should not throw stones. Now scoot back to the KSUck forum little kitty.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 5 months ago

I'm a little surprise nobody has mentioned Luke Fickel. He did a pretty good job at a place with out of this world expectations and a ton of distractions and I'm almost positive he won't be kept around in Columbus (through not fault of his own). He might come at a decent price.

boknowssports 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach got railroaded just like Mangino. The "closet" turned out to be a building the size of a gym. James was a punk who did not deserve to start at Texas Tech, so his daddy, who is an ESPN punk, threw his weight around as a dad and an ESPN announcer, and helped get Leach fired. It was all BS and Leach will prevail in his lawsuit. So don't put much into the Leach is an abuser BS. Bottom line, he took Texas Tech to bowls in all of the ten years he was there (I think).

So I would welcome Leach or Sumlin. Sumlin was the guy I personally wanted back when we hired Gill. Let's face it, we need to get someone who can get us the Texas high school recruits.......Todd Reesing ring a bell???,,,,, :)

MartyrMangino 10 years, 5 months ago

We're forgetting the man everyone knows is the only one fit for the job.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

All the speculation aside (and it''s great fun, I admit) I would bet that SZ already has his hire verbally committed and that he is just waiting for the lawyers and the Chancellor to give their blessing on making his announcement.

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 5 months ago

I think you are dead on. I believe after the KSU game when he made his statement about getting things fixed he started doing his homework. Gill just made it so much easier for him by not winning any more games. He has probably been putting out feelers for weeks, evaluating who would be the best fit, what they bring, etc. I hope you are exactly right, that it is all done except for the ink. I trust the AD to do this better than some committee of boosters who funded the buyout. That would be awful.

riverdrifter 10 years, 5 months ago

Fully agree. This "search committee" stuff I see here & there is really funny.

I'd say make Venables an offer he cannot refuse and it still might be impossible to get him. I wonder if Lew even talked to him 2 years ago.

JamesA 10 years, 5 months ago

I would hope so. SZ has had about an entire season to evaluate other potential coaches. That being said, my money is on Bonnie Henrickson.

Stan Unruh 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach may be looking at UCLA and that means we have another week to wait... Washington State may also be talking to him. Lots of openings this year. Hopefully SZ has most of the phone calling completed weeks ago and can close the deal quickly.

fancy80 10 years, 5 months ago

I read an article that said Leach will not be seriously considered ay UCLA because of his lawsuit against espn. No one has mentioned Ron Zook. Also, in my opinion, it is extremely important to retain Reggie Mitchell, he is KU's main recruiter...

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Zook is a retread that didn't work beyond recruiting at Illinois or Florida. Bad, bad, bad call.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

Hollywood is Leach's natural habitat. Don't be fooled by his occasional uncouth or flamboyant public behavior. He is a performer in the big-time business of sports entertainment. He knows that and acts accordingly. And he is a part-time lawyer of sorts. He calculates.

I'd love to see him come to Los Angeles so I could observe his antics at close range. But I'm a KU fan and therefore hope KU gets him. Leach is a proven winner.

pepper_bar 10 years, 5 months ago

"Why it might not happen" for every one of these candidates: KU has a historically awful football program, and if you don't show results in two years, you're on the hot seat. For any coach that takes this job, there's a strong chance it'll be a career-killer.

Wonder why Tait only acknowledged this in one of these profiles, towards the end of the column?

DallasJayhawk1 10 years, 5 months ago

If we get Leach--you HAVE to have a QB that fits his offense--and that's someone who can light it up on passes--which currently we don't have. But, he would love to come back to the Big 12 again I bet.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

My bet is Leach would bring in a JC transfer for year #1.

Ever heard of Josh Heupel? He was a Leach recruit at OU, and a JC transfer. He turned out pretty good.

Leach can spot talent, that's for sure. Hire the man, PLEASE!!

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

I do agree that Leach needs a QB who can throw the ball 50+ times a game, but you also need players who can catch those passes and that's the bigger issue with bringing in Leach at this time because getting a stop gap JuCo QB while developing a HS QB isn't as difficult as KU makes it look.

JamesA 10 years, 5 months ago

Nope. Webb excelled at Rockhurst running a spread offense similar to the style run by Mangino and Leach. The guy can throw ball. You cannot evaluate his potential in a heavy passing system, when so far he has been stuck in a system oriented around the Run, not to mention having little to no talent at Wide out(sorry Kale Pick, but you are not Kerry Meier. Beshears, though the most productive WR this season, would have been better off at the Slot position, rather than the 1 or 2 WR spot). The PROBLEM lays in the offensive and defensive lines. You can get by with mediocre Secondary and LBs, as well as 2-3 star RBs & WRs, as long as you have a quality Line on both sides of the ball. KU has had luck in the past getting quality O linemen, however it is much more difficult to get quality pass rushers or run stoppers. --My choice for coach is uncertain at this point, however I do believe that the new coach needs to have a proven track record in Defense before anything else. KU doesn't need to win 8 games next year, HELL, KU doesn't even need to get to a bowl game next year, but KU DOES have to show that the program is going in a positive direction.

bjejayhawk69 10 years, 5 months ago

Webb didn't go to Rockhurst. He is from outside of St Louis. Nice kid but not a big 12 QB. Too slow a foot and locks onto 1 receiver.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

My vote in order of preference

1) Leach 2) Venables 3) Leavitt 4) Petersen 5) Fedora

Annette Lee 10 years, 5 months ago

y'know, I was never quite sure why that sleaze Perkins fired Mangino. Was it just the cosmetic factor? Coaches yell at kids, and sometimes the field mikes catch less than gentle, encouraging remarks. Get over it. These guys want to call themselves warriors; kid gloves is not the standard training accouterments for warriors. We are going to suffer the ravages of Perkins and his bigotry, greed and golden parachute for quite a while. So let's forget Perkins and the blight he cast on KU's name and history. So Mangino wasn't pretty -- so what? He was a damned good coach who got results. Remember how much FUN it was to watch KU football when he was there?! Remember how the jerseys had NAMES on them?

Why isn't Mangino on this list?

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 5 months ago

Put this on the wrong article, but my dream:

Jim Tressel - Head Coach Mike Leach - Offensive Coordinator Stoops - Defensive Coordinator

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

Urban Meyer yes, Jim Tressel no

Your O and D Coords OH YES!!!

Eric Williams 10 years, 5 months ago

that would only cost about 10 mil a year...

JayhawkNatn 10 years, 5 months ago

a little advice for the leaders at KU....go get YOUR GUY, don't settle, this is KANSAS! We are a major university, incredible campus, great leadership and oppurtunity for these young student athletes. This university knows how to compete at a national level, we do it EVERY SINGLE YEAR in basketball. We are 3 years removed from an Orange bowl voctory and 1 possession from competeing for a Nat'l Tiltle that year (man,I hate Missouri) Don't settle for some mid major unproven punk, (Sorry Houston fans)! Chris Peterson has done it consistently and correctly for a long time, you want him, go get him! Kirby Smart, take a lesson from the SEC, THEY WIN, go get the best they have to offer. If the DC at OKlahoma wants a shot a head coaching job then take him from Oklahoma. You screwed up by not getting Harbaugh a 2 years ago, go get the BEST, don't settle. Leach maybe a great fit, but he never won Championships at Tech, find a guy who wins Championships, not just games and the 7Eleven Bowl

Robert Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

I think you are bit delusional. This isn't a great job. I'm not trying to be negative, just stating facts. We were one possession in 2007 (four years ago) from getting to play OU for the conference championship. Whether we would win that game is subject to debate. We would probably have been a double digit underdog.

We did not screw up by not hiring Harbaugh. There is no indication he was ever interested in the job. I credit Perkins for trying to make a big splash with a named hire. It didn't work and he hired Gill and overpaid him thinking that it would look like a bigger hire than it really was.

The easy part was firing Gill. The hard part is picking his replacement.

fancy80 10 years, 5 months ago

Harbaugh used KU to get his raise. He was never coming here. Leach, (minus the espn lawsuit) is my first choice. He is friends with Zenger from the k-state days, and all of my K-State co-workers are terrified of us (KU) getting Leach. That tells me we need to get him. Keep Reggie Mitchell. Bring Dawson back for strength and conditioning.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 5 months ago

Although I am a huge Leach Hopeful...they mentioned lawsuits with the NCAA and TTU. However, the lawsuit that prevented him from going to Maryland among other schools, is the lawsuit with ESPN. With ESPN holding our Tier 1 rights, that might actually prevent him from being hired.

Robert Brown 10 years, 5 months ago

ESPN calls the shots and they have effectively blackballed Leach. You also have to look at the law suit with Tech. They are a fellow conference member and the conference will look down on the university if they hire him. Some can say there is no way we would be influenced by Tech or the rest of the conference, but we will.

Given that the Pac-12 is less dependent on ESPN, they have a big contract with Fox, I think Leach ends up there possibly UCLA.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

I have heard similar rumors, but they are just that rumors and speculation. Until I hear from a reliable source that lawsuits are preventing the Leach hire I'm gonna continue pleading for his hire.

Come on Leach!!!

Alex Wishart 10 years, 5 months ago

the next UCLA coach will be Herm Edwards. i live in the heart of LA and its all the chatter with ESPN and Fox Radio and the local fans.

SinoHawk 10 years, 5 months ago


I hope that UCLA is that stupid.

It seems like Herm is a decent enough guy, but I can't imagine that he would have much more success in LA than he did in KC--even if it is a college job.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

There has been a Zenger sighting in Key West!!! (I wish)

10 years, 5 months ago

It is really a telling sign at how short-sighted Sheahon and Gray-Little are ... and this will be their down fall when the dust settles.

First they give Gill really only 1 year. Last year he is just coming in trying to get things setup - new system, new coaches, different philosophy. His players are not even Big 12 caliber players - to be truthful. Not sure there are more than two (not even sure who they are) who could start for OU, OSU, TX ... Yet they (Sheahon and Gray-Little) plus a number of KU supporters feel Gill should have won the Big 12 this year ... okay win 2 or 3 Big 12 games. Nice but frankly unrealistic.

Now they fire him and they expect to go out and get a top name coach. The guy who wrote this article listed some nice candidates ... actually very amusing. Does anyone truly believe KU is going to get a top flight coach? If you do - let me know what you are smoking ... I just might try it.

Why KU is not going to get anything resembling a top candidate ...

UCLA - Neuheisel is gone once the season is over AZ State - Erickson is gone Illinois - Zook is gone Memphis - whoever they had is gone TX A&M - rumor has it he is gone UGA - very easily could be looking for a new coach Ol Miss - looking for a new coach Colorado - just might be looking for a new coach

Before January 1 is here there will probably be another 5 to 6 openings. Most of these places would be better than KU from a football point of view. KU has no tradition as a football school. They just fired a guy and really gave him 1 year ... and this is after taking over a guy who had one good year. Otherwise got beat by the Big 12 south.

Sheahon and Gray-Little would have been better off waiting one more year. Shows they will give a guy a chance. They would not have been any worse off - KU's program isn't in great shape. Give them time to get their fiscal house in shape - better shape. Shows they are willing to give a guy a chance. And would not be fighting some good programs to get a good coach.

For all you Gill haters you got what you want. But in the end I believe KU will be worse off.

CUBuffturnedHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

UCLA-just won the Pac-12 South, not so likely. Memphis-why would anyone choose Memphis over KU? UGA-currently #12 in the nation and playing for the SEC championship. Colorado-Jon Embree is a CU alum and just finished his first season (that ended with the program's first road win in four years).

Vernon Riggs 10 years, 5 months ago

Here are the jobs that are open and might be open in order

  1. Ohio State
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas AM
  4. UCLA
  5. Ol Miss
  6. Kansas
  7. IIllinois
  8. AZ State
  9. Colorado
  10. Memphis State

I think Georgia doesn't come open, but if it does it slides into #4.

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

If the Georgia job comes open for some reason this season, Kirby Smart is going to be their next head coach. Smart will probably be their next head coach whenever the UGA comes available as that is his dream job.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

I would move KU to the 8th spot in your list, except for Leach. Revenge factor.

Get the league back to 12 members and Leach could be even more successful at KU than he was at TTech. The league's entire southern FB Murderers Row is tough to face every year. Get back to 2 divisions.

irvan moore 10 years, 5 months ago

yep, leach is the dream coach, maybe, we can hope. he's smart enought to fill the gaps with a couple or few juco players and bring back the possibility of winning, i'm going to think/hope zenger can hit a home rin on a hire, i just hope they are smart enough not to insult a name coach with an offer lower than what tg was getting.

Nick Cole 10 years, 5 months ago

You're an idiot, no offense.

Gill took over a 5-7 team. He went 3-9 in his first season, losing to an FCS school at home in his first game, which is a considerable step backwards. Then this year he goes 2-10, another considerable step backwards. All of this while setting the wrong kind of records at a university not too far removed from an Orange Bowl victory and consistently going to, and winning, bowl games. Any coach who takes a program from where we were to where we are now in only two pathetic seasons is going to be shown the door, no matter where you are. Every game where we had something going, it couldn't be sustained. In his two years here, we maybe played two game for a full 4 quarters. We only won 1 B12 game. We got blown out by 30+ points 2X more than we won a game (10 blowouts vs. 5 total wins in two seasons). He had a losing record at his last school in a crappy conference. We finished in last place in the B12 the last two years, and it wasn't even close. There is only one other team this year that isn't bowl elegible, and KU got blown out by them after taking a good size lead in the 1st quarter, at home. Want me to keep going...?

Now what about any of this says he deserved a 3rd year?

SELFANATIC 10 years, 5 months ago

Bring on the fire and brimstone of the salty pirate!

I can only imagine what his halftime an postgame speeches would have been like this year.

hiphopsux 10 years, 5 months ago

Bring in Leach and you sell 37,000 season tickets the first year alone. Bring in any other name on that list and you only sell 27,000. Contract would have to be similar to Gill's, but the dollars would work, the fan base would be energized and the play should increase at a faster rate (hopefully). By the way, best of luck in the future to Coach Gill, a good man. Wrong position, wrong time and wrong contract though. Rock Chalk!

CherryCreekHawk 10 years, 5 months ago

One gets the sense that KU is desperate, willing to do almost anything to win at football. But folks, KU is never going to be a winner. And in my mind, it is disgraceful for any university to pay a football coach $2 million a year, or even one tenth of that.

A great university scrambles to be something it never will be. That's sad. And as a KU graduate of some years ago, I find the whole thing unseemly.

It's time for KU to get real and join the Western Athletic Conference or the Missouri Valley in football. They simply cannot compete. And there is no shame to that.

The shame is to continue to hit their head against the wall and expect a different outcome.

10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with part of what you have said - Sheahon is deparate to put his stamp on the school. And yes many alumni and supporters are desparate for a win ... in fact I would contend they will sell their souls ... many would take Leach. A class institution should only want class coaches coaching and KU has never really been known to have football coaches with class until they hire Gill where they have basically given him 1 year ... well two if you count this first season.

What I do disagree with is that KU cannot become a top football school. They can but they have to give someone time to bring in good players and to build a foundation. If Boise State, Baylor, and any number of other programs can do this KU can.

142466 10 years, 5 months ago

There have been many high class head FB coaches in KU's history, including Jack Mitchell, Pepper Rogers, Don Fambrough, Glen Mason, Mark Mangino, and others. (Yes, the big man, too.) We're judging football coaches, leaders in battle in the roughest and most complicated of all contact sports. Win, honorably. Do not accept failure. Learn from lost battles.

Choir leaders need not apply. Sunday school is not held on Saturday afternoons.

Speaking of winning honorably, when are these NFL coaches going to discipline these knot head touchdown celebrators? It's becoming ridiculous.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't feel that KU appears desperate.

So your feeling is that if you can't compete with the boys just go join a girls league? Pussy post...

fancy80 10 years, 5 months ago

Your alumni card has been revoked. KU is going to be a winner again and I hope you do not waste a seat at Memorial Stadium when we are. Thanks for your support...(roll eyes).

fancy80 10 years, 5 months ago

This post was in response to CherryCreekHawk. I hate threads...but here I am a thread...

letourneau41 10 years, 5 months ago

Leach is currently on a plane from his home in the Florida Keys. Plane lands at 9:49.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

Just as a side note to all of this, Rich Rod's contract was 5yrs. $9.55 mill. Yea, that's right, less then Gill was making.

With a reasonable offer we land Leach. Do it SZ!!!!

Fill the seats!!!!!

Kevin Randell 10 years, 5 months ago

I just saw a post of KU's facebook that says KU has just fired the entire strength and conditioning staff. Is there any validity to this? Don't want to state it as fact until Matt tells us.

10 years, 5 months ago

If Gill is gone they probably got let go as well.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the link. I would be there will be more articles like that coming out in the near future. It was obvious from Day 1 that fire and intensity were missing. And kudos to Keegan, he's been harping for 2 years now that our conditioning was not on the same level as when Dawson was here.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Interesting that "the players" that the article generally references are Woods and Murphy. Two players that performed seriously below expectations.

Definiely agree that the current/former/recent S&C program was even more below expectations.

hiphopsux 10 years, 5 months ago

apparently a plane machin KUs left dallas earlier, where leach spent thanksgiving, went to the Keys, now approaching Lawrence.

Bville Hawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Hope you're right. I'm betting a hire (not necessarily Leach) will be announced no later than halftime of the basketball game this coming Wednesday.

Our AD is not going to pussyfoot on this, I guarantee that.

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

What's the ideal coach for KU? In order to build a solid program that can regularly get to bowl games and compete for conference titles once in a while, KU needs a coach that's not the sexiest name out there and has ties to the region to make it more likely that he won't use KU as a stepping stone to a big time program. The HC also needs to be someone who won't command a $2+ million salary right out of gate so that if he does end up failing, it won't cost KU a fortune. Nearly every coach currently making $2+ million is making that amount based either on past/current success or because of tenure at the school. I think Zenger should take a serious look at some less sexier names than the ones that Tait has because these are the kind of hires to could establish long term success at KU and not jump ship for the first big job that comes along. There will be some flaws with all these coaches as there are flaws with every coaching candidate out there. I'm attaching the coaches bios on here so you can read a more detailed account of each coach if you like.

Mark Farley: Currently the head coach at Northern Iowa, 92-38 in 11 years and has made the FCS playoffs in 7 of 11 years including this season. He is a former assistant coach at KU so he has direct ties to the school.

Willie Fritz: Currently the head coach of the 12-0 Sam Houston St. Bearkats. Played football at Pitt St., coached at Shawnee Mission NW, won 2 JuCo national titles at Blinn in the 90's, winningest coach at Central Missouri.

Chuck Heater: Currently the DC at Temple and is an Urban Meyer disciple. Played RB at Michigan under Bo Schembechler and was an assistant at Colorado for 6 years so he has experience within the Big 8/12.

Pat Narduzzi: Currently the DC at Michigan St. and has been a finalist for several BCS conference teams.

Tim Beckman, HC at Toledo, back to back 8 win seasons including 7-1 conference records, Toledo is currently 14th nationally in rushing and is a former DC at Oklahoma St.

None of these guys are sexy names, but all of them have been winners at whatever level of coaching they've been at and most of them have connections to the Big 12 or the state of Kansas so would be somewhat familiar with KU football in some way. Farley and Fritz have never been FBS head coaches, Heater and Narduzzi have never been HC's at any level, and Toledo's defense gave up 63 points in back to back games this season.

hiphopsux 10 years, 5 months ago

I liked the last head coach KU hired from UNI too, as a man, but not as an FBS head coach. Terry Allen is still a god in cedar falls, not here. Why can't we try and go get a sexy coach? Never had one before. why not give it a shot. Shoot for the stars!

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

Basically every school in the last 20 years that has become a consistent winner has done so with a coach that wasn't the biggest name out there, but because they weren't the biggest name out there, they didn't have the pressure to leave for a bigger named program they had connections to.

I really don't care that Mark Farley's connection to KU is Terry Allen because Mark Farley is not Terry Allen and Mark Farley has a resume that says he can succeed at KU and he would not be likely to leave KU at the first sign of success like a sexy name would and that's why Farley should be given consideration for the job.

uni4ku 10 years, 5 months ago

Mark Farley will never leave UNI. Why should he? He and BB coach Ben Jacobson are at the top of the rock in Cedar Falls. Mark was with Terry three years here and saw first hand how KU fans treat coaches who struggle. He was very lucky (and good) to get out of Lawrence when Dunbar floundered in Cedar Falls.

Ryan McAtee 10 years, 5 months ago

@ hiphopsux - where are you finding this info...??

hiphopsux 10 years, 5 months ago

flight tracker, people who know those who work at the hotel

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 5 months ago

Flight tracker says you are wrong.

Quit making up stuff; the voices in your head do not qualify as credible sources.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Are you sure that's the right one? Or could this one

be the right flight?

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 5 months ago

That plane is not registered to KU; the one in my post is the Cessna Citation 550, the main plane used by KU personnel for business.

hbjayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

Herman Edwards is in consideration for the job too. Dana Anderson and Herm have big time connections and it is well known Herm owns in KC and stated he is interested in returning to coaching, but NCAA.

squintseugene1 10 years, 5 months ago

Mike Leach is staying at the oread tonight

squintseugene1 10 years, 5 months ago

heard it from kuathletics twitter not sure if it is a verified account but hopefully and most likely is but i will wait and see if this really is true

Andrew Washington 10 years, 5 months ago

There were a small number of fans that showed up at the airport- but it was not mike leach who got off the plane-a family back from vacation in florida. This is the latest i've heard..

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 5 months ago

The KU plane made a round trip to Eagle Creek Airpark (Indiana) this afternoon. It was nowhere near Dallas or the Keys. Previous usage was a round trip to Stillwater last Monday.

aviebs51 10 years, 5 months ago

Willie fritz better not get the head coaching job. It will turn into juco university....

texashawk10 10 years, 5 months ago

Let's ignore a coach who is 11-0 and the top seed in the FCS playoffs this year and only gave up 20+ points once and that was to an FBS team they beat, played his college football in the state of Kansas at Pitt St. (one of the most successful D2 schools of all time) and has strong ties to high schools in Kansas City (Shawnee Mission NW) and Houston (Willis) and to JuCo's in Kansas (Coffeyville) and Texas (Blinn). This is a coach with strong ties to the two most important recruiting areas for KU and has been a winner at every school he has been at, but let's hope the SZ doesn't consider him because he will utilize his connections to try and make KU a winner, well thank god you're making the decisions about KU's future and not someone who has more resources than you or I to do his research on who would be an ideal fit for KU.

SELFANATIC 10 years, 5 months ago

Supposedly reporters went to check at airport and was just people coming back from Thanksgiving. No Leach on that flight. (Per Twitter, but I'm too lazy to track down a link)

Layne Pierce 10 years, 5 months ago

Looking back on it for Gill, it was not just wins and losses, so much as disorganization, and inability to get his team to give their all. We did not just lose, we were non-competitive. And that is something that can never be accepted.

cobweb 10 years, 5 months ago

I talked to a pro scout recently and he said the program at KU was a joke.

sad_lawrencian 10 years, 5 months ago

"Uncerimonious"... don't these people own a spell-checking app?

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 5 months ago

Mike Leach is staying at the Oread Hotel tonight. BOOM!

Bill Lee 10 years, 5 months ago

I've never liked someone who isn't currently employed. Those out of a job are for a reason. The best talent available are the men coaching somewhere already. They need to be convinced to move to KU as a step up or as a pay increase.

Retired coaches are too old, and fired coaches screwed up somehow, somewhere. For the right person the money can be raised. We've raised it for the wrong people.

Pitthawk34 10 years, 5 months ago

Unless they hire some guy that I have never heard of before I will renew my season tickets. Well with the move they are making I will renew my tickets anyway. If it is Leach I may just upgrade my seating.

uni4ku 10 years, 5 months ago

Here's my two cents worth:

Frank Solich, former Nebraska head coach, is out there doing a heck of a job at Ohio. He has Midwest ties and big name appeal. He knows how to play the Big 12 Game!

To my knowledge he has no "investigation on going", no law suits pending and has pleaded guilty to only one DUI, in 2005.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 5 months ago

Is Leach flipping off the ref in the photo?

Stephen Johnson 10 years, 5 months ago

for me it's Leavitt. So. Florida was a much tougher job than TT and Leavitt got it done there.

beebe1 10 years, 5 months ago

No mention of Callahan, Miami, Fl -- He was fired too, a year or so ago, for the wrong reasons. He has used his down time to learn a lot about head coaching from the Big 10. He is Defensive minded. Could recruit FL and keep the TX guys we've got.

KGphoto 10 years, 5 months ago

For the writers who supposedly have no real rooting interest in what they are reporting, (unless you count Keegan reporting on Marquette) it seems pretty obvious that they were bent on getting Gill fired because he was a terrible interview and made their jobs hard.

Now they are pushing Leach like pimps because he would make their jobs so easy. Just plug in quotes, it writes itself. Add the almost certain controversy that will be bubbling from the moment he is hired and it's pure sports writer gold!

lama 10 years, 5 months ago

Arizona hired Rich Rod. Sumlin dismissed the KU job the last time it was open -- he's not interested.

KGphoto 10 years, 5 months ago

It's interesting to see some contradicting ideas swirling around here. Nobody believes that a big-time coach like Urban Meyer or Jim Tressel would want to "rebuild" at Kansas, but somehow hot-head Mike Leach would come in and instantly win.

Venerables would sooner take over at Kansas St. because he wouldn't want to coach a re-building school like KU? The stronger logic suggests that without Bill Snyder KState is probably in worse condition than KU. Snyder could switch talent with any school in the nation and kick that school's butt the next day. KSU is not a prime landing strip for a hot coaching candidate. Or at least not for a smart coaching candidate, because The Cats would gradually disintegrate and Snyder would come out of retirement at 90 years old to take over.

For Leach, KU would be his opportunity for revenge and that's it. Do we really want to be used by an immature coach for the possibility of a couple of bowl games?

The dude is 50, and heavily into pirates! That's more embarrassing than losing 100-0 every night of the week! Why don't we just find out which coach is the biggest Harry Potter fan and get him on the horn?

The only real consistency I see here is that KU is a re-building project. Everybody seems to agree with that. Unfortunately we just fired a guy in half the time it takes to do it, so what kind of desperate coach do we really expect to land? What kind of self-respecting individual would throw themselves on the burning coals? What kind of great coaching mind sees KU and thinks, "I could've done that in 2 years. Yeah, give me that recruiting base and let me have a crack at that schedule!"? Other than Snyder of course.

Oh yeah. Leach.

Fine. Hire the nut. I'm just riding on this crazy thing anyway.

Benjamin Piehler 10 years, 5 months ago

Candidates for interim head coach are Bill Self and the Big Jay mascot

cobweb 10 years, 5 months ago

We could get Peterson if we promise a blue field.

JhawkalumJB 10 years, 5 months ago

How bout alternating red and blue every five yards?

RockChalk26 10 years, 5 months ago

I have a feeling Zenger is going big with this hire. Let's face it, the Big 12 is still on shaky ground and might not last much longer. Zenger will go get a big time name who can recruit and compete on a national level.

We have the facilities, we have the cash, and we have a lot of room for improvement. Time to go big or go home.

hawkfarmer87 10 years, 5 months ago

I don't know why head coach at Butler County doesn't ever get a look from anyone. He has local ties, can recruit, and is a proven winner! Look at the link below to his resume...

BigDog 10 years, 5 months ago

The coach has a heck of a record at Butler. Has there been other Juco coaches that have been successful in Div. 1. Concern I would have there is yeah he can recruit talent at Juco level .... because alot of that talent doesn't have the grades to go to 4 year college.

xclusive85 10 years, 5 months ago

Knowing Coach Morrell, he loves where he is at. He has gotten some looks, but he has turned them down. He is just very happy with what he is doing at Butler and doesn't have aspirations to coach FBS football.

seagull 10 years, 5 months ago

Tom Keagan and the LJWorld are at it again creating (unrealistic?) expectations for who the new coach will be. When we don't get the coach Tom thinks we ought to get everyone is disappointed and the new coach starts off in a PR hole. Tom's been anti-Turner Gill since day one. Turner is certainly responsible for the losses but Tom and enthusiastic PR campaign have not helped KU football one bit. Let Zenger do his job and be surprised and supportive of the outcome.

riverdrifter 10 years, 5 months ago

Like 2 years ago, Venables is still at the top of my list. Offer him $2.5M/yr and see what happens.

dewclw 10 years, 5 months ago

I like Chris Peterson(Boise State) as head coach and Leach as offensive coordinator, and Mark Stoops as defensive coordinator. And for the person who said we don't have the money... who is "we". You aint payin for it. The same private donars that bailed out KU to pay Gill off will fork out as much as it takes to get a winner in here. Trust me. KU fans, especially the big donators to KU athletics want a winning program NOW. I wouldn't be surprised to see a big name accept the job and get a whopping $4 or $5 mil a season. You want a winner you gotta spend the money.

baw99alum 10 years, 5 months ago

I hope Sheahon makes a call to Mike Bellotti.

jayhawks71 10 years, 5 months ago

Why does the LJW post a photo of Leach giving someone "the bird"?

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

The problem as I see it there is outside interference in the college athletics program aka big time donors.

I say fire the donors and leave a college program to the college. These big time donors represent corruption and reckless spending. Whoaaaaaaa what egotistical nonsense that which must prevail in the family home as well.

How many faces is a coach expected to take advice from?

Will a new coach enjoy KU donors or will they be a pain in the butt?

Why aren't these donors coaching instead of interfering?

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