Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Other ADs also looking at Mike Leach

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.


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Mike Leach sweepstakes heating up; plus, what other news Tuesday could affect KU's coach search?

The guys (Matt Tait, Jesse Newell) talk about the latest rumblings from the KU football coaching search on Tuesday. They discuss Mike Leach being wooed publicly by Washington State and what effect that could have on KU's chance to nab him. Also, the two look at under-the-radar candidates and assess ...

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With Day 2 of the Kansas University football coaching search having come and gone, it appears to be a nationwide race for the services of Mike Leach.

No one at KU has confirmed that the former Texas Tech head coach is the school’s top target, but strong signs point to that being the case. KU’s not alone in that line of thinking, though, as several other schools with head football coach openings also have Leach at or near the top of their list of candidates.

Washington State, which made its opening official on Tuesday with the firing of head coach Paul Wulff, appears to be the most outspoken of the bunch. At a 30-minute news conference to announce the firing, WSU athletic director Bill Moos talked openly about the idea of bringing Leach to Pullman, Wash.

“I know Mike Leach,” Moos said. “Actually, Mike was here last spring conducting a clinic ... Pretty good record. I read his book.”

Moos went on to say that Leach, along with Houston’s Kevin Sumlin, were on his short list of candidates and emphasized that WSU would be aggressive in trying to hire its next head coach.

“We’ve either got to run with the big dogs or admit that we’re a doormat,” Moos said. “We can’t wait and embrace mediocrity.”

While the recent flood of firings has many feeling like the market is saturated with openings, the current coaching landscape pales in comparison to what took place in 1996, when 29 Div. I head coaching openings were available. Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who has been quiet about specific candidates during the early days of KU’s search, was happy to talk about the impact other job openings might have on KU.

“The bottom line is, each year we have this, and some years we have more than others,” Zenger said of the large number of openings. “I think it’s a cyclical thing.”

Asked if employment opportunities elsewhere might make landing a new head coach more difficult for Kansas, Zenger pointed to KU’s search being a process.

“That would be the easy answer,” he said. “But even though it looks like there are a lot of jobs open, there are dozens of coaches out there. And we’ve all got something a little bit different to sell. It’s all about fit. And we’re searching for the right fit for Kansas.”


johnnyhrdwd 10 years, 6 months ago

We can double what wsu can pay, Zenger swing your sword.

Jeff Soisson 10 years, 6 months ago

Yawn, Leach is not going there, that is an even worse job than Kansas.

Mike, we want you here. Let's kick some Big 12 South butt and shake things up in the Big 12 (in a good way).

Lots of hunting and fishing in Lawrence...especially of Longhorns and Red Raiders.

hawk316 10 years, 6 months ago

512, I must disagree. You may want Leach here, but I don't. No question he has enjoyed some previous coaching success, but there's more to being a good football coach than winning (although I know there are some who would be happy to have a winning coach regardless).

Personally, I want a good football coach and a man who does it right. That would include: a person of high character and integrity, a person who treats others around him with respect and dignity, and a person who invests in character-building with his players, etc.

I do not know Mike Leach personally, so I could very well be wrong about this. However, based on what I've heard and read, I have some concerns that this man may not be the type of person we want to coach our young men at KU. I, too, want to win, but not at any cost.

hawk316 10 years, 6 months ago

I should add that Mr. Zenger strikes me as one who also values character and integrity, so such factors, hopefully, will not be ignored when selecting the next coach.

texashawk10 10 years, 6 months ago

Here's one of my biggest concerns about Leach. In his 10 years in Lubbock, his combined record in Austin, Norman, and Stillwater was 1-14 with the lone win coming in Stillwater in 2001 over Okie St. KU's defense has been a complete train wreck since Bill Young left after the Orange Bowl season and will now have it's 5th coordinator in 6 years and will presumably have changed base defenses each of the past 5 years as I'm guessing KU will be going back to a 4-3 for next season.

Given the personnel of the team right now and having a limited recruiting class, I have serious doubts about Mike Leach being a good fit for KU on the field. I have no doubts that he would be a very good fit off the field at a school like KU and a city like Lawrence, but I have major doubts about him being the right fit on the field which is much more important at this point in time. Does KU have a QB capable of effectively running his offense, does KU have the WR's that can catch well enough to make Leach's passing attack any kind of legitimate threat, would he move Pierson or Miller to WR and leave Sims and Bourbon at RB to take advantage of the skill sets of those players because we all know 4 RB's aren't going to get very many carries in a Mike Leach offense, and those questions are just with the side of the ball everyone seems so certain Leach will fix immediately. Will Leach even do anything with the defense because he never seemed to place any kind of priority on having good defenses at Tech because even his "good" defenses Tech had at the end of his tenure were middle of the road at best.

Personally, I think Larry Fedora is a better on the field fit for KU. He emphasizes defense which is the single biggest key to making KU more competitive on the field (look at KSU and KU's defense under Bill Young) and runs a much more balanced attack on offense than Leach does that better compliments KU's current personnel. So. Miss this season ranks 26th in total defense, 25th in scoring defense, and 15th in both total offense and scoring offense. For someone whose coaching background is on the offensive side of the ball, he seems to place a pretty big premium on having a good defense which is something Mike Leach never did at Texas Tech. I just have this gut feeling that whatever BCS school Larry Fedora lands at will be getting a coach that can win 8-9 games on a regular basis and mix in quite a few 10 win seasons as well because of the premium he places on defense.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I would have to agree. Leach is the one name out there that will bring excitement to KU. The one point that texashawk made though (and should be a concern) is that Leach has not had good defensive teams in the past. I don't know if that's because he wasn't able to recruit that side of the ball to Lubbock, or because he couldn't coach it. But defense is critical to building a team that plays for championships. That much is for certain.

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

The personnel makes the excitement, not the coach. But, there is enough here to be plenty exciting when it's not squelched from the sideline.

Thank God, Zenger won't be stampeding toward or away from any one name. As he says, fit is very important because KU can't afford either the expense or the disruption of a revolving door.

Texascane 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, check out Bill Young's defense at Okie State...107th last time I checked...that's really affected their success, hasn't it...I am sure Gundy would give him back for free

Leach's TT defenses were 37th, 31st and 27th in his last three years...Southern gotta be kidding want to compare Conference USA to the Big 12 South...

In addition, Oklahoma had no QB for Leach's system in 1999 when Leach put it in...he went out and got a JuCo named Huepel and OU's offense went from 95th to 11th in one year...using John Blake's leftover receivers and running backs

One more trivial thing...Texas Tech had the highest graduation rate for football in the BCS for public universities for the last 6 years he was there...

Ryan Shelton 10 years, 6 months ago

The stat in which you are referring is yards gained which makes no difference if the opponent can't get the ball into the end zone. Bill Young's OSU defense does bend, that much is certain, but it rarely breaks. He stresses turn overs, which has lead to OSU's success on the defensive side of the ball this year.

John Brown 10 years, 6 months ago

I like Fedora as well. He beat KU under Mangino. I think that Div 1, B-12, has adjusted to the spread offense. I also worry about the character of Leach. Short term success may not be worth long term damage.

number1jayhawker 10 years, 6 months ago

Fedora's team beat Gill's team in 2010, not Mangino's.

squawkhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Texashawk, you're dead on. Leach could never be as successful at KU as he was at Tech for all of the reasons you mentioned. He'd never be able to bring in the talent to Lawrence that he did to Lubbock for the simple fact that Lawrence isn't Texas and good Texas kids want to play in Texas. Could he bring the program back to respectability? Yes, to some level but expectations with Leach will be much higher than that and people would soon get tired of a mediocre program.

rob4lb 10 years, 6 months ago

I think you are looking at this too short termed. Does anyone expect the next coach to come in next year take KU to a bowl? I don't think that is realistic. If he can put out an entertaining product, the seats will fill up. It will take some time and if Leach can replicate at KU what he did at Tech, 99% of us will take that.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

I think you're wrong. It is very possible for a coach to come in and a year later be bowl eligible. i.e. Bill Snyder. Snyder was on the cuff of having a really good year his first year back. People are probably getting tired of Snyder's name on this site, but it proves that good coaching goes a long way despite the team's talent level. Mark Mangino did so to a lesser extent.

rob4lb 10 years, 6 months ago

My point is that no one is going to expect the new coach to take the team to a bowl in year one. It could happen. There is alot of young talent. There are three winnable non-conference games and this year's team was competitive in four conference games (TT, Bay, ISU and MU), so winning three conference games next year is not impossible considering some of the conference teams will be weaker next year due to graduation losses.

irvan moore 10 years, 6 months ago

hire leach and he will bring in a few juco players, sign a couple of recruits that wouldn't consider us without him and make a quick difference in our program.

FSUJHAWK 10 years, 6 months ago

Everyone here seem to be making great points. Kudos to the bloggers, and good luck to Zenger.


LubbockJhawk85 10 years, 6 months ago

Be careful what you wish for with Mike Leach, I watched all 10 years of his regime here in Lubbock, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Sure, he gets a lot of attention for his quirky offense, but it goes straight to his head. He spent a couple offseasons paying his own way to interviews at other schools who weren't interested in bringing him in on their own dollar. He was always looking for a way out of middle America back to a school somewhere on the west coast. While I find towns like Lawrence and Lubbock very charming, we must admit, they aren't for everybody. He pays absolutely no attention to recruiting the defensive side of the ball, Tech football fans hadn't heard the word blitz in 10 years. Any pressure on the QB was because of coverage (very rare) and/or a breakdown by the opposing offensive line. He beat Texas twice and Oklahoma 2 or 3 times in 10 years. His act is fun and cute, but the Tech team is still trying to repair the defense he left behind 2 years after he's gone. Be careful what you wish for...

VaJay 10 years, 6 months ago

How 'bout a bowl game every year. How "bout a consistent winning record. With Leach that is quite doable. And beating Texas & Oklahoma 25% of the time - when's the last time we could boast that? (1960's right?) So what if it goes to his head? As long as he's on 60 Minutes again wearing Jayhawk garb, that 's fine by me!!

LubbockJhawk85 10 years, 6 months ago

Looks like Wazzu is going to hire Leach and save KU from a big mistake...bullet dodged!

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

Hard as he tried, there must be reasons he couldn't sell himself out of Lubbock ... better reasons than what got him kicked out.

The man's attitudes are beyond hubris. I'm not sure KU wants to be a proving ground for someone who only learns from himself.

topper 10 years, 6 months ago

Hey- How is that Defensive recruiting that Tubs is doing working out for Tech now????????????????

Jayhawker111 10 years, 6 months ago

Fedora lost to Marshall and Ala Birmingham this year

Two of the worst teams in the country.

I would be very afraid of a guy whose teams cannot beat Marshal and UAB.

Fedora = NO!

If not Leech --then give some defensive coordinator a chance to prove himself.

rob4lb 10 years, 6 months ago

Everyone has bad games. I'm not sure I would look at that. Okla State lost to Iowa State and OU lost to Texas Tech. Does that mean that Gundy and Stoops are bad coaches.

texashawk10 10 years, 6 months ago

According to his logic, the answer is yes.

justinryman 10 years, 6 months ago

Mike Leach lost to Colorado in 2007, New Mexico in 2004, NC State in 03, and East Carolina in a bowl game in the 2000 season where he lost 27 to 40.

He only beat Missouri on time, 2002 and lost to them in 03, 06 and 2007.

Leach = NO!

BigJay81 10 years, 6 months ago

What are you talking about? Marshall is not one of the worst teams in the country. They finished 6-6, 5-3 in their division right behind So. Miss, and in addition to beating So. Miss they also beat Louisville, currently atop the Big East conference.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Wrong again, hihawk. There was a very large group in Nebraska that wanted Gill over Pelini during that hireing and many thought Gill was a great hire at Kansas. We both know that's not true hindsight, but once again you have no idea what you're talking about. There's still people in Nebraska that think KU is stupid for firing him even after two of the most pathetic seasons of football we have ever watched.

Ethan Berger 10 years, 6 months ago

actually he didn't prove your point. You said "even Nebraska people knew that." and he said no, their were alot of Nebraska people who liked him.

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

Actually, hihawk didn't say "knew" – what he said was "new". In Nebraska, everyone since Bob Devaney is "new", y'no?

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

Well, I don't understand half of what you just wrote so...okay.

manginodrh00lz 10 years, 6 months ago

Most people don't ever understand what he writes...he's our Ernest T Bass.

Funhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

LOL. We Jayhawk fans are all nuts like Ernest T.! And, Ernest T. Bass used to drive me nuts! "Ernest T. was an ignorant and obstreperous mountain man with a penchant for troublemaking, particularly vandalous rock throwing, which wreaked havoc on the otherwise sedentary town of Mayberry. He lived in the mountains neighboring Mayberry, and his appearance in town almost invariably meant trouble for Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife. A wild, belligerent hillbilly, he had a scruffy, unkempt appearance, a maniacal laugh, and often spoke in rhyme. When threatened with the law, Ernest T. would generally run off, yelling over his shoulder his famous catchphrase, "You ain't seen the las' of Ernest T. Bass!" His behavior was summed up succinctly (and repeatedly) by Barney Fife: "He's a nut!"

KGphoto 10 years, 6 months ago

You are too funny hihawk.

"...they are just plain ignorant who really don't know anything about football and a good coach as the media as said, which Corncobb Stomp Pelini, is a good example of that."

I about fell off my chair laughing. Keep it up, whatever it is.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 6 months ago

I appreciate you saving me a long reply stating what those of us who live in Nebraska know...hihawk is out of his mind!

bjejayhawk69 10 years, 6 months ago

Yes many Nebraska fans were blinded by Gill the player but the administration and even Obourne knew he was not "Nebraska" head coaching material but would easily recommend him for any other job - just not Nebraska. I think he was never more than a position coach at Nebraska. All that to me should have been a huge red flag when he was considered by KU but of course Perkins didn't care. We paid for it with 2 of worst years of KU football.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

You have no idea what you're talking about either. Gill was one of the top candidates for the Nebraska job and probably would have been hired by Osborne had they not chosen Pelini. That means he was very highly regarded by Osborne (not that I give a lick what Osborne thinks) and pretty much the entire state of Nebraksa.

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

You two may have no idea.

I have an idea — that everyone 40°N latitude and beyond was smiling behind their hand when they touted TG as head coach material. Give them credit they didn't laugh out loud when Perkins bought it with money we needed to expand the stadium (which is no longer a big rush).

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

That's very possible that some where mocking the hire, but I know for a fact that he was high on their list when they were searching. I'm sure there are some within their program that are very glad they made the decision they did. And I totally agree with you that the money could have been used for improvements such as lowering the stadium and removing the track.

Robert Brock 10 years, 6 months ago

KU doesn't need Leach. He has more baggage than Louis Vuitton.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah..who wants a proven winner at this level.

RNCJHAWK 10 years, 6 months ago

Well Butch Davis is out there. He had a good run with UNC and I think he's learned from his mistake regarding hiring shady characters to be on his coaching staff.

shinanigins 10 years, 6 months ago

I have heard his name along with Charlie Strong from U of L thrown around for some other jobs like Illinois and Miss St (if Mullens heads to PSU)

shinanigins 10 years, 6 months ago

KU needs to move quickly before other ADs can gain momentum. I feel KU has a much better offer then Wash St (money, facilities, location, conference, etc....) and I don't see ASU/UCLA/Ole Miss going after Leach as first choice.

justinryman 10 years, 6 months ago

PAC12, growing vs Big12, has no direction and lots of defections. Plus its easier to win there.

Facilities, do they have a track around their field?

Sure Eastern Washington isn't flat and full of farms, it has mountains and really isn't that far from the coast, plus it doesn't touch Missouri or Nebraska.

Money, yes Kansas will throw an insane amount of money at a coach, that has been proven.

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

Sure Eastern Washington isn't flat and full of farms, it has mountains and

Geography lesson — that part of Wash. (Pullman, Spokane, etc) has terrain and climate comparable to Nebr. panhandle (Sydney, Ogallalah, Alliance, etc)

Robert Howard 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm having flashbacks to 2009 when we had similar discussions here about the list of coaching candidates that we 'should' hire, then seemingly out of nowhere we got Turner Gill.

I just hope that history doesn't repeat itself.

hawksince51 10 years, 6 months ago

I have more faith in Zenger than lame-duck, lame Perkins. However, it does seem that there are an unusually high number of coaching jobs opening up so the competition is going to be tough. It will not surprise me at all if we end up taking a gamble again. Except for the willingness to spend big bucks,IMHO the KU job is not all that attractive.

ChesterCopperpot 10 years, 6 months ago

As I read the back and forth on Leach, it make me think of Bob Huggins going to KSU. Seems like there are a few parallels. Huggins arrived in Manhattan after Asbury, Wooldridge and years of garbage basketball and BOOM... Instant respectability, big time recruits, and national exposure. Even after Huggins spurned them and moved on, they are still in a much better place basketball-wise than they were before Huggins. I realize basketball and football are very different, and maybe I’m way off, but I wouldn't mind Zenger taking the “risk” on Leach. Even with his baggage, and poor defenses, I can’t see how he could leave KU football any worse than it is already. Besides, how can you criticize his past defenses when we just sat through KU’s pathetic defense this year.

WilburNether 10 years, 6 months ago

"No one at KU has confirmed that the former Texas Tech head coach is the school’s top target, but strong signs point to that being the case."

Such as?

This is a news story, right? So how about doing some reporting?

RockChalk26 10 years, 6 months ago

How do you feel about ex-NFL coaches, Jim Mora or Del Rio, taking over as head coach?

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 6 months ago

The sooner you understand that Leach is first and foremost a lawyer the better you will know his end goals.

John Mueller 10 years, 6 months ago

That is the most bizarre sentence. What are you trying to say BCRaven?

Wilbur, ease up, bro. A coaching search is all speculation with zero facts until the press conference. You can wait at the airport all u want, but the bottom line is that Leach is certainly in play, will almost certainly take a job somewhere and KU is just as probable as any of the others as his next employer.

And, frankly, the speculation is kind of fun reading and good conversation while it lasts.

With regards to various comments about stepping stone scenario, it is a Rich Man's Problem! I hope our next coach is successful enough, that other folks want to hire him.

We have had a hell of a lot more disaster's than high steppers around this football program, unfortunately.

If fact, i can only recall Pepper Rodgers and Mike Gottfried as guys that left in a step up scenario. Glem Mason doesn't really count, because A. he didn't step up and B. he kind of needed to get out of town for personal reasons.

That leaves Fambrough, Bud Moore, Fambrough, Valescente, Terry Allen and Mangino and Gill as "fell short of retirement on the job".

So, i think i would be excited about the next coach at least having the opportunity to upgrade. Beats the current scenario by a mile.

jayhawkryno 10 years, 6 months ago

Factors for a coach:

Facilities Pay Conference (stability) Recruiting area TV/Media exposure Locale AD Fan support Tradition

Factors for a player:

Coach Facilities Success in getting players to the NFL TV/Media exposure Locale Fan Support Tradition Academics Pay

How do we grade out in these areas compared to other Big 12 schools and other schools trying to hire a head coach? What other factors are there?

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 6 months ago

According to Reggie Bush and Personally, Cam Newton, I believe that Pay is a little higher on the factors for players!

Dennis Mahorney 10 years, 6 months ago

Matt Tait is a fan favorite for sure. He is more in depth than most, and seems to enjoy keeping KU junkies up to the minute on hot topics. Matt replies to readers questions and comments pretty often too. He is the best we have in my opinion.

Justin Carlson 10 years, 6 months ago

Personally I think Leach would fill more seats just because society loves offense and a fast pace game with tons of scoring! The end game is a .500 coach that in 5 years time takes us to 2 bowl games and 1, 9 win season!

By the way I love the pick! "F***You" "That call was B.S." I am going to flip you off and hope no one with a camera snaps this photo!

Oops at least his finger wasn't fully extended!!!


average 10 years, 6 months ago

That's all we're asking for. If Gill looked like he was on target to be a .500 coach, get in the Pinstripe Bowl 3-4 times this decade and put some butts in seats, he'd be the coach today and basically ad infinitum.

We really ought to be able to do that for under $2mm a year, but such is the modern age.

STLJHawk86 10 years, 6 months ago

I will be surprised if Zenger hires Leech.

VaJay 10 years, 6 months ago

Can anyone imagine the pandemonium in AFH @ halftime of the Ohio State game announcing Leach as the next coach?!

Randy Bombardier 10 years, 6 months ago

Leach, Mason, Leavitt, Fulmer, Nutt, Jones or any known commodity who has been a head coach in one of the major football conferences. A long-time assistant would be okay. I am not going to get caught up in the Hire Leach Promotional Tour. KU has a lot of potential suitors. Whoever lands here this time is going to get a lot of support.

Another word about Mason. He has been here before and he has been in the Big10 and did well both places. This should not be overlooked. He has never been abysmal, his teams are always competitive and we have some shiny new running backs that he could showcase. He is an old OC and Line Coach.

I just have no confidence in someone who has never been a head coach in a major conference. This was the common mistake between Turner Gill and Terry Allen. Let's not do that one again.

AcesWild 10 years, 6 months ago

kansas better cohtrat with leach .if they dont its time to clean house. kansas have been threw a circus. by ku ad quit hoping

you can hide in corner and someqne else will hire himm

so you can hire whoyou want go back ksu

AcesWild 10 years, 6 months ago

kansas better cohtrat with leach .if they dont its time to clean house. kansas have been threw a circus. by ku ad quit hoping

you can hide in corner and someqne else will hire himm

so you can hire whoyou want go back ksu

VaJay 10 years, 6 months ago

Go back to the drinking contest at the bar.

Jeff Soisson 10 years, 6 months ago

I have been pushing Leach for one reason: He consistently goes to bowl games!!!

This to me should be the measure of success for KU football (for now).

Make a bowl game every year, he did that at Texas Tech.

No one can argue that.

Robert Brock 10 years, 6 months ago

Pop the balloon: Leach would not be able to recruit top Texas talent to go to KU.

John Randall 10 years, 6 months ago

He couldn't recruit the top Texas talent to go to Lubbock, either. Still he did all right with the leftovers ...

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 6 months ago

Not sure where to post hopefully no one is offended.

CFL legend Patterson dies......

Born in Garden City, Kansas in 1932, Harold Patterson was a football, baseball and basketball star at the University of Kansas. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL but opted for the CFL.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 6 months ago

Dream on, fellow posters....Leach will announce his acceptance of the Kansas job the same day Shabazz Mohammed signs his letter of intent to play basketball for other words...never!!

Joe Baker 10 years, 6 months ago

Shabaaz is more realistic at this point than Leach.

Joe Baker 10 years, 6 months ago

Leach and Sumliin were on WSU's short list. Leach takes the position and Sumliin may have been mildly interested. Sumlin may be looking to take a step up from Houston. I don't think KU will land Sumlin either.

KU's list is getting really short and Zenger's job is getting alarmingly difficult. It depends on how much KU is willing to pay and which coach is willing to jump into a really challengiing job at a basketball school.

Good luck SZ, you're going to need it during your negotiations. This is your first test. Please make it a good one.

lh69 10 years, 6 months ago

Since KU lost out on Leach, and want a coach who has no knowledge of the forward pass perhaps digging up Woody Hayes may be the way to go.

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