Thursday, February 20, 2014

KU football names former Washington coordinator Eric Kiesau as WR coach


Charlie Weis won't be the Kansas University football team's wide receivers coach, after all.

Weis announced Thursday the addition of Eric Kiesau, who will coach the Jayhawks' wide receivers.

A college football veteran, Kiesau has more than 14 years of experience coaching offense―primarily the wide receiver position―at the Division I level. He landed at Kansas after spending the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Washington.

“When Coach (John) Reagan came to me with Eric’s name I was intrigued,” Weis said in a press release. “We’re very pleased to be able to add him to our staff. It is our good fortune that Washington experienced a staff transition at the same time we were looking for a receivers coach. Eric has experienced a great deal of success in exactly the position that we were looking for.”

Weis had room on his staff for another hire after former receivers coach Rob Ianello was reassigned to director of research earlier this month. At the time of the move, Weis announced he would be working with Jayhawks wide receivers himself.

In KU's first season under Weis and Ianello (2012), not a single Jayhawks wide receiver caught a touchdown pass. In 2013, that total moved up slightly, to four, with TD grabs by Andrew Turzilli, Rodriguez Coleman, Justin McCay and Tony Pierson (a hybrid running back/receiver).

This coming season, Kiesau will have a proven weapon with which to work at wide receiver. Senior transfer Nick Harwell caught 23 touchdown passes in three seasons at Miami (Ohio).

KU's 2014 signing class included five players who lined up at wide receiver for their high school programs: freshmen RB/WR Corey Avery and receivers Darious Crawley, Bobby Hartzog, Derrick Neal and Tyler Patrick.

Kiesau was an integral part of Washington’s success the past two seasons as the Huskies went 9-4 in 2013, marking their highest win total since they went 11-1 in 2000. During the 2013 season, his first as the UW receivers coach, Kiesau developed a pair of true freshmen who ended up as key players in Demore’ea Stringfellow and John Ross. Ross was named the Huskies’ Freshman of the Year, while Stringfellow started the final three games of the season.

Also under Kiesau’s guidance, in 2013 UW’s leading receiver, Jaydon Mickens, more than tripled his production over the previous seasons, finishing with 65 receptions for 688 yards, easily eclipsing his 2012 totals of 20 catches for 190 yards.

Prior to his time at UW, Kiesau served as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at California for the 2011 campaign. He'd returned to Cal, where he'd previously worked from 2002-05, after having spent the 2006-10 seasons at Colorado.

During the 2011 season at Cal, Kiesau coached Bears wideout Keenan Allen, the No. 2 receiver in the Pac-12 in terms of receptions per game. Additionally, both Allen and teammate Marvin Jones finished in the top 10 in the conference in receiving yards.

In his prior stint with the Golden Bears, Kiesau served as wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator. During those four seasons, Cal posted a 33-17 record, including four winning seasons and three bowl game victories. In 2003, Kiesau's second with the Bears, Cal broke a school record with 278 receptions and posted the fourth-best passing yards average in school history with 264.6 yards per game.

Under his guidance, Cal receiver Geoff McArthur earned second-team All-America and first-team All-pac-10 in 2003, when he was second in the nation with 115.7 receiving yards per game. McArthur set school records for receiving yards (1,504) and notched the second-best season in school history in terms of receptions (85). He finished his career in 2004 as Cal's all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards.

In 2005, Kiesau mentored Cal receiver DeSean Jackson in his freshman season when the future NFL All-Pro set Cal freshman records for receptions and receiving yards.

Prior to returning to Berkeley for the 2011 season, Kiesau was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Colorado from 2006-08, before being named offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

At Colorado, Kiesau developed walk-on receiver Scotty McKnight, who finished his career in 2010 as the school's all-time leader in receptions (219), yards (2,588) and receiving touchdowns (22).

Kiesau’s first Division I job came in 2000 at Utah State, where he was initially running backs coach before moving to wide receivers. He coached All-America running back Emmitt White, who led the nation in all-purpose yards in 2000, while at USU. In 2001, he coached receiver Kevin Curtis, the NCAA's leading receiver with 100 catches, to All-America honors.

Kiesau began his coaching career at Glendale (Calif.) Community College in 1998 after earning his bachelor’s degree in communications in 1996 from Portland State. During his time at PSU, Kiesau played quarterback for the Vikings, starting in 1995.

He began his college playing career at Glendale CC, where he earned All-America honors in 1992. A native of Pasadena, Calif., he and his wife Wendy have a daughter, Tayler, and a son, Blake.

Here is the current makeup of Weis's coaching staff:

• Charlie Weis: head coach

• Jeff Blasko: tight ends coach

• Clint Bowen: linebackers coach

• Dave Campo: assistant head coach-defense/defensive backs coach

• Eric Kiesau: wide receivers coach

• Reggie Mitchell: running backs coach/recruiting coordinator

• Ron Powlus: quarterbacks coach

• John Reagan: offensive coordinator/offensive line coach

• Scott Vestal: assistant defensive backs coach

• Buddy Wyatt: defensive line coach


Katie Vanalstine 8 years, 7 months ago

This is good news for Wide Recievers we need them to be able to catch the ball to add to our production. Oh and Washington is mis-spelled in the headlines :).

Chris Gilbertson 8 years, 7 months ago

This hire almost has me more excited than when I read that Reagan was coming back.

Kevin Randell 8 years, 7 months ago

If this move helps our receivers to catch the ball, I am all for it!

Jack McEnaney 8 years, 7 months ago

Two huge areas of improvement which need to be focused on.

1.) Catch the Ball

2.) Block downfield... I lost count of how many touchdown runs we would have had if the wide receivers had simply been able to sustain their blocks downfield. With such a successful running game those big runs are there to be gained if we just sustain our blocks!

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

It's probably worth noting that in '03 & '04, Cal's WR's benefited from catching balls thrown by Aaron Rodgers. They were a slow slide after that. What did CU do from '06 to '10? Uh-oh, those were the Hawkins years. Fortunately, the Charlie's son doesn't play QB.

Mostly, I'm happy about the hire and our prospects for coming seasons.It seems to me that in a lot of ways the staff is being set up for succession planning. Future HC, Future OC, Future DC.

Titus Canby 8 years, 7 months ago

BTW, this seems like an awesome hire. Good to see we're focusing attention on last year's biggest weaknesses: OL and WR.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 7 months ago

I just hope that Powlus and Kiesau are on the same page. seems like the receivers and quarterbacks have not meshed at all since Reesing.

Terry N Tom Denner 8 years, 7 months ago

Finally all the pieces are coming together. Looking forward to a winning season this year. 8-4 or maybe 9-3 year for the Hawks. One can hope, Right !!

Dirk Medema 8 years, 7 months ago

I think that's called dreaming, and some might suggest that are other substances involved as well - especially with our schedule. One easy game, though even that might be stretching it (Prove me wrong 'Hawks).

I'll be ecstatic with bowl eligible after what we've been through.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 7 months ago

It is weird to see a successful OC come to KU to be our WR coach... I love it, Weis did something right. I can kind of see it now, if Reagan and Kiesau do their jobs the new HC and OC in a couple years??

Terry, I love your optimism but idk if 9-3 really is there yet but i do believe 7-5 or 8-4 with a game going our way could be possible if these coaches can get the best out of our guys and everyone continues to buy in.

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