Originally published November 11, 2014 at 12:05a.m., updated November 11, 2014 at 12:10a.m.


Column: Kansas can’t afford football mis-hire again


The term “players’ coach” too often is misconstrued by many who take it to mean, “easy on the players.”

The actual meaning is “good for the players.” A coach who doesn’t blast the players in public but pushes them out of their comfort zones to achieve more than they knew was within their capabilities defines the term perfectly.

There isn’t an athlete who doesn’t want to become better, and even if their wind is gone and their bodies ache by the end of the practice, as long as they know they’re getting a little better every day, they’ll put up with a lot.

The day after Clint Bowen’s first Tuesday practice as interim head coach of Kansas University’s football team, one played at a faster tempo than the players had ever experienced, plus a heavy dose of hitting, the players moved their sore bodies slowly.

Bowen has not been easy on the players, just good for them, as evidenced by the Jayhawks’ more spirited performances with him at the controls. Sure, Kansas is 1-4 under Bowen, all in Big 12 games. Compare that to Turner Gill’s 1-16 and Charlie Weis’ 1-18 and it doesn’t look so bad.

Also, the betting line determined by oddsmakers who have a knack for looking at the past to project the future is as good an indicator at predicting games as any. Kansas is 4-1 against the spread under Bowen.

Iowa State, which embarrassed Kansas, 34-0, a year ago in Ames, was favored by 31⁄2 points Saturday in Lawrence and lost, 34-14.

Showing as much desire to remove the word “interim” from his title as if it were the Alabama job, Bowen has acted quickly and decisively in making major changes to more than just the practice tempo and tone.

At quarterback, Montell Cozart lost his job to Michael Cummings after one half. It also took Bowen one half to move red-shirt freshman Joe Gibson in at center in place of junior-college transfer Keyon Haughton.

Bowen moved senior Tony Pierson back from receiver to his best position, running back. He broke the 100-yard barrier in rushing yards Saturday.

Three games into his tenure, Bowen took offensive-coordinator duties from offensive-line coach John Reagan and gave them to wide-receivers coach Eric Kiesau.

The four major changes with the offense resulted in Kansas scoring 10 more points than the previous season-high vs. Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, which came in a 24-10 victory against Central Michigan.

If Kansas hires a coach who has never worked in the program, it runs the risk of getting someone who might recruit based on prototypes that worked for them at big-time programs. They might set a standard for speed at, say, wide receiver and end up with a player who runs like a big-time player but can’t do anything else that translates to playing productive football.

By hiring an experienced head coach who doesn’t have recruiting ties in the areas that Kansas must mine — Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, in that order of importance — the school would run the risk of the new staff needing to take a couple of years to develop the right contacts.

If left alone for five years, Bowen certainly would have the program in better shape than it has been in any of the five years since Mark Mangino was fired. Bowen’s the safe pick. Search consultant Chuck Neinas and KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger will leave their fishing poles in the water while Bowen coaches the team in the final three games, all against prohibitive favorites. If they land what they consider to be a bigger fish, they need to ask themselves if that fish also is a safe selection. He must not only be attractive with a winning background and recruiting contacts that fit. He must be a safe pick who will stay at Kansas and stop the revolving door from spinning.

If Kansas swings for the fences and misses again, it could be in danger of not only being the school that has the greatest back-to-back-to-back basketball coaching hires in college basketball history in Larry Brown, Roy Williams and Bill Self, but also the worst back-to-back-to-back football hires in college football history.

Kansas can’t whiff again.


Steve Corder 7 years, 7 months ago

Is Sheahon Zenger future as the AD riding on this next hire?

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago

it's easy to find reasons why Zenger's job should be safe, but it's very hard to actually believe that his job is safe if KU makes no progress in football in the next 3 seasons.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

"Kansas can't afford football mis-hire"

Which is exactly why Bowen isn't getting hired.

Everyone needs to take a cold shower and do some research regarding Clint Bowen's performances as a unit leader. This will give you an indication of how he will perform as a head coach.

To kick start your work, specifically take a look at the following:

  1. 2008 KU Defense
  2. 2009 KU Defense
  3. 2010 Western Kentucky Defense
  4. 2011 North Texas Defense
  5. 2012 KU Special Teams Units
  6. 2013 KU Defense Co-Defensive Coordinator

I won't make any conclusions for anyone. But do some homework, and compare Bowen's past resume to other candidates.

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

You know, it's your complete certainty, your absolute conviction that there's no possibility that you're wrong, even following a spectacularly incorrect prediction, that is your "charm".

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm really just curious here Doug. Which of the following aliases are you?

ahpersecoachingexperience? manginorhoolz? BringBackMark? Chuck Farley?

Are there any that I'm missing?

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 7 months ago

ahperse used way fewer words to make his points

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 7 months ago

You said do some homework, but I'm not sure you actually did any homework or you would have thought twice about posting this. All you did was post what his position was the past few years. Did you think to see what he did in that position and compare it to what it was before he got there? Your mind is set about his time at KU, but lets take a look at what he did while he was away.

2010 WKU defensive coordinator. Points allowed-33.2 Previous year 39.6 Completion % - 62.3 Previous year - 67.8 Passing yards 202.9 Previous year - 233.4 Rushing yards - 177.3 Previous year - 244.8 Total yards - 380.2 Previous year - 478.3 Penalty yards 61.2 Previous year 67.8 Turnovers 1.4 Previous year 1.3

He got better in EVERY SINGLE DEFENSIVE CATEGORY. You wonder why he has the respect of his peers? Its because he has talent. I'm going to run out of space on this comment, but it was similar results at North Texas. The PA/G were about the same as was the passing defense, but the rushing defense was hugely improved and they committed fewer penalties while forcing almost double the turnovers. It shows he got them more aggressive while playing more disciplined.

I don't know what your issue is with Bowen, but he must have done something personal to you because unless you are just fixated on a few negative things and blind to the fact that he is a competent coach I can't imagine why you are so against him.

Bobby Oviemena Birhiray 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey Doug, I did exactly what you said and looked up the stats from each years. In 2008 his rookie year as a DC opp avg 30pts per game and rushed for 91, then threw for 168. During the tenure of Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Josh Freeman, & Chase Daniels, all started at some point in the NFL. Also, skilled position players faced that year; Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin, DeMarco Murray, Jordan Shipley, Jordy Nelson, & Michael Crabtree. Pretty darn good only 30 pts per game. 2009 He got better, 25 pts per game, 78 rushing and 93 passing. 2010 goes to WKU, took a team that was giving up 245 yd per game down to 178. Now to North Texas, I admit it was not good, 430 per game, I could find enough to understand what happen there. In 2013, I saw great improve especially in the secondary 14 interceptions, with a defense that was on the field 2/3 more than other defenses. That means they were on the field entire too long for any defense to be successful. So, I asks did you do your homework? There is a reason why this team has responded under him. I don't know if he "The Guy", but it sure feels like from what I am seeing. #2015HCBowen

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

Fair enough. Hey if you take a deep look at his resume and compare it to his competition, and come to the same conclusion that you want Bowen, then thats fine.

No I'm not APHERS or any of those other guys. I just want a winning football program...period.

Bowen's not getting hired, but if he was, then we would be in the same position 3 years from now, talking about who's going to be our next coach.

When looking at Bowen's resume and comparing it to other candidates, in my opinion, it doesn't come close to Phillip Montgomery's or Doug Meachum's. The national media that closely follows college football would also agree with me.

There's not a single power 5 program that would even come close to hiring Clint Bowen.

But hey, thats my opinion. You guys are certainly entitled to have yours.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 7 months ago

You are only looking at a small portion of what it takes. Those guys you listed are decent candidates and I would not mind having either of them, but they could very well be square pegs trying to go into a round hole. They run a certain kind of system and our current program may not be able to sustain it. Rich Rogriguez is a great coach and took West Virginia to new heights and is doing something similar at Arizona, but Michigan was a round hole and he didn't fit. Bowen is a round peg. He loves the program and would do anything to see it succeed. I am not saying that he is the best candidate, but he is a very good candidate and there is no doubt in my mind that he would leave the program better than what he found it. I am not advocating that we hire him today. I think that the search should be thorough and if we hire someone else then I'll support the team, but I will be really happy if they hire Bowen because I know that he won't have any hidden agenda. He won't be trying to do his thing and get to the next big thing. He will be doing whatever is best for the program wether its his big idea or the people he puts around him. There is more to a hire than what the person did at the previous school.

John Randall 7 years, 7 months ago

Good summary of why Bowen would be a positive move for KU.

One nit to pick: "... would leave the program better than what he found it."

My take is that he wouldn't be leaving, but staying with that better program.

DaNeille Dani Davis 7 years, 7 months ago

What kind of head coaching pedigree did Roy Williams have when he took over KU basketball? Nuff said!! Clint for head coach!!

Bobby Oviemena Birhiray 7 years, 7 months ago

I think that you are correct. I drawing comparison, " okay-successful" coordinators, that move to schools became a success, because of fit. I am reminded fit is a better criteria, when I study Bill Snyder, who was relative a "okay-good offensive coach" before coming to K-State. Another that comes to mind is Chip Kelly, Offense of Coordinator, that broke out with his hometown team New Hampshire and then Oregon, now the Eagles( who just Demo the Panthers). Finally, my last example is Roy Williams, he was a " nobody coach" before came to Kansas and becoming Roy Williams. Like Snyder I do believe Bowen will leave. Like Snyder, Bowen was tutored by great coaches such as, Glen Mason, Mark Dantoni & Mark Mangino. He has establish recruiting roots in Kansas, Oklahoma & Texas. That why "fit" is more so a factor.

Meachum and Montgomery have always coached in place with already establish strong Texas pipelines, it's little easier for them because there is talent here every where. It reminds to be seen what can you do without that luxury.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 7 months ago

I tend to agree with you but not because I don't want Bowen. I just don't know if the rich alums are ready to give him the reins. Are there ANY programs that are looking at Bowen as a head coach? I think we know the answer to that. From what I was told from a friend who has some rich alums is that Bowen stays on stay that will be part of the stipulation for the new coach. Is that in stone? Absolutely not but I'm guessing if we were gonna hire Bowen we wouldn't have brought in a consultant to help find the new coach since he is already here. I have no problem with Bowen getting the job so I'm not disagreeing with him as a possible or probable hire. He's a good dude and the players like him and play hard for him so that's pretty huge. I just cannot see them being given the opportunity to hire a big name coach and passing on it. I might be way off base and that's fine I'm more than ok with Bowen.

Gregor Southard 7 years, 7 months ago

That is the reality of his "record." Despite that, I won't be surprised if he's chosen. He can possibly succeed if he makes great coordinator hires and let them do the work.

Kevin Robert Fest 7 years, 7 months ago

Bowen may not have a proven pedigree but at this moment I feel he is the right choice. He not only has ties to the area and the program he's lived in the Lawrence area his while life played in the program coached in the program recruited for the program has recruiting ties and contacts with the program. What other candidate will know more about KU football what it means to play for KU then Bowen. He's an actual part of KU football another coach will just be an outsider as pointed out in this article. High school coachees in the KU area like him have recruiting ties to him he also has try recruiting ties in Texas he is familiar with these hs coaches and their programs another coach again will just be an outsider. Josh Moore switched to KU because he said the wanted to play for Bowen yeah Ohio St changed their mind about him but he is a big time recruit and had a lot of other option besides KU. Victor Simmons younger brother also like Bowen and he's is another big time recruit for KU and both are home state kids. The players like Bowen play hard for him another coach will have to earn the players trust Bowen already has their trust. Bowen again is the right choice more change with another coach coaching staff etc etc will not move KU forward. You also run the risk of having another coach move on to another job after a couple years Bowen is a lifer.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 7 months ago

Doug, I understand what you're saying but the head coach doesn't have to lead those units, right? This could be a case where he'll be a better head coach than position coach. He's already demonstrated that he's not afraid to make changes and unlike Weis s many changes his have actually worked. I don't trust the big name guys as I think they'll demand and receive a safe (for them) contract. The conference will be tougher than they thought, they'll lose heart, give up and make it a hobby like Weis. Then there's another buyout and on we go. But this time Dr. Z gets the boot too. No, for all concerned Bowen is not only the safe hire. He's the smart hire. I bet he'd resign after one full year if he only won one game. See a big name doing that? He loves KU more than his staff. He'll demand more from his coaching staff. He'll get it. The more I think about it a big name is a really bad idea. Up and comer such as Keegs has suggested? Look, TCU demonstrated how its done. You just go out and get the right guys to install the system. Get a few track stars and we're off. What we need is stability at the top. He can bring in his gurus. He does not need to be one.

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

Randy, that was a solid post. The head coach is a manager and in management you surround yourself with smart people. You set expectations, and then you inspect those expectations. It's really no different, except heading coaching is under the spotlight so much more than a manager of a large retail store that never introduces him/herself to the customers.

Speaking of customers, there are two types. There are internal and there are external. The external customers in a sport are the fans, and those that are potential fans mainly. The internal customers are the players, the coaching staff including the head coach, the administrative staff for the athletic department, the AD, the Chancellor, etc. One thing that didn't seem to happen was communication when Weis was here, and he didn't seem to have any expectations internally. There are guys that are really good coaches, but weren't really good players but they learned the game from watching others succeed and fail.

When managing, you have to be willing to allow guys to make mistakes so you can coach them to correct the mistakes. It's not different than managing people in a business. You can't micromanage them. But you have to give guys chances, and if the guy never gets a chance he never makes a mistake, but he also never gets better. Weis just doesn't know how to manage. He's an employee, not a manager. Unfortunately, some don't understand the philosophy, thus they don't appreciate it.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 7 months ago

Enough of the Clint Bowen hype machine. Bring back Ed Warriner!

Chandler Accipiter 7 years, 7 months ago

Two and a half years of Weis articles by Keegan and Tait (give or take those last couple of weeks), now that was a hype machine!

Robert Brock 7 years, 7 months ago

If Dr. Zenger makes a poor decision, KU may be joining Conference USA when the Big 12 folds in about ten years. C'mon Z!

Terry N Tom Denner 7 years, 7 months ago

It my not be the C-USA but I can feel it already that Texas and OU will bolt to the Pac 12 if any of the Big 12 miss out on the play off because of not having a Big 12 division Champ !!! The so called winner of the Big 12 means nothing to ESPN !! 2- SEC or Pac -12 team will jump into to where the Big 12 thinks it should be. Get ready for another BIG 12 melt down !!!

Robert Brock 7 years, 7 months ago

The Grant of Rights expires in about ten years. Texas will not stick around.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

Where will they go? The PAC, SEC, ACC, and Big 10 all told them no because of the Longhorn Network. UT's only option is to go independent, but the problem then becomes what to do with their other sports and finding a league to deal with the Longhorn Network with those programs. As long as the Longhorn Network exists, UT is staying put because NOBODY will deal with that albatross.

Jerry Cross 7 years, 7 months ago

Coach Bowen is the right choice!! The Players are playing their hearts out, they were not under the previous two head coaches. I have been a KU football fan since the 1968 Orange bowl team. I say give Coach Bowen a shot. I garauntee if he is not successful he will still leave the program better than he found it.

Bowen has learned how to evaluate players from three of the best coaches in recent LHS/KU fooball history. Coach Freeman at LHS (showing my age; I played against Coach Freeman when he was at Osawatomie HS, which won state 3A champion ship that year), Coach Mason and Coach Mangino. He bleeds KU crimson and blue football. I want that in a Head coach.

In business; if you worry about only making money chances are you will not make money. If you concentrate on your customers; you wiil make money and build a devoted client base. If an athletic program is only worried about wins chances are you will not win. If you concentrate on your players, coaches (internal customers) and fan base (external customers) you will have a successful program.

Jim Jackson 7 years, 7 months ago

Clint actually has a very good track record being a D-Coordinator. He improved those units drastically from where they were the year prior re: Western Kentucky, North Texas. I don't have the numbers in front of me but that is a concrete fact as it was shown to m a couple months ago.

I think the best combo for the job is David Beaty as HC with Bowen as Associate HC/ DC. Beaty has proven his ability to coach up 3 star players into All Americans and his ability to recruit being named Dallas Morning News recruiter of the year. Beaty's rise as a former HS coach could be a lot like Hugh Freeze, Art Briles. We'll see.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

For once I actually kind of agree with you...regarding Beaty.

Raymond Wright 7 years, 7 months ago

I am still not sold on Bowen but I do believe that him coaching under Campo for a minute corrected one of his biggest flaws,in my opinion, as a D coach, which was playing the CB's 15 yards off the receivers. I believe Campo actually showed him that you can play up close and hit receivers on the line and not get burnt deep all the time. It was an aspect of his coaching that just drove me nuts. I am really torn here. I don't think he is the answer, but he is proving himself to be very capable with the situation he was given. He has made some of the changes that even we as fans thought should have been changed months ago which shows me that he does in fact care about the product on the field.

Travis Clementsmith 7 years, 7 months ago

I think it comes down to the K-State game. I don't think he has to win that game, but I think if he inspires this team to at least be competitive in it throughout, he'll win the job. If he gets blown out like everyone else has since Snyder came back, then it is up in the air. A great showing against our top rival will seal the deal for him.

Steve Corder 7 years, 7 months ago

Travis, I think you may be spot-on. How this team finishes against these 3 talented teams will make the decision on the hire easier, but not necessarily "golden".

As stated by these posts, pros & cons abound.

Bryce Landon 7 years, 7 months ago

If KU fares against Texas Christian, Oklahoma and Kansas State the way they fared against Baylor, not only should Bowen not get the job, he should be fired.

Stephen Johnson 7 years, 7 months ago

Great post Randy. You nailed it. Bowen is the smart hire. I do NOT want another big name do nothing hire. The eye test doesn't lie. This team has been significantly better under Coach Bowen. He has made moves that have made a difference on the field. Bowen is the best hire and I don't believe it's close. If Zenger goes out and gets another big name hire (failure), he deserves to be fired.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 7 months ago

Just don't give me someone like Montgomery who has never coached a soul without Art Briles at his side.

Let's have someone we know has his own FB mind and can therefore make decisions without calling Waco.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

Here is Clint Bowen's Unit Rankings. "PPG" These are compared to 120 FBS teams:

  1. 2008 KU Defense Ranked 87
  2. 2009 KU Defense Ranked 85
  3. 2010 WKU Defense Ranked 99
  4. 2011 NTU Defense Ranked 88
  5. 2012 KU Special Teams "It was a disaster"
  6. 2013 KU Defense Ranked 94
  7. 2014 KU Defense Ranked 90

OK - If ya'll would just take the emotion out of the situation, and just objectively look at his performances as a coach, maybe you could rationalize your opinions better.

Brandon Mahon 7 years, 7 months ago

I am actually agreeing with Doug for once... If his defenses were even ranked in the top 50 I would be more willing to give the knod to Bowen. I do like him and he is a players coach, but it does not help that our offense has been terrible the past two years. I still think Warriner is our best chance at a HC because he has learned under Mangino, Kelly, and Meyer at OSU. He has seen success at a program like KU and at big name ones. He also has coached almost every position except WR so he knows he stuff. I think you bring Beaty in as CO-OC.

Travis Clementsmith 7 years, 7 months ago

Its not just emotion. The team is noticably improved since he took over. He didn't set the agenda for those teams. He didn't say who we're going to recruit, what the team policies were going to be, set the tone for the program. I expect the admin to do their job and look at all possible candidates, but Bowen got the opportunity to impress on this outing. If he does that, that is what you give the most weight to. Every coach he has coached under has said great things about him. To my knowledge, he has never "relieved" of his duties. If he is competitive, especially in the KSU game, I think he earns it. If not, then sure you can take "position rankings" under his stewardship into account. But, there is only so much a position coach can do. You're leveling a lot of blame at a coach who has so much about a program that is "out of his control".

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 7 months ago

You are a slave to these rankings. It is not all about where they finish. It is how they got there. Do you think that Nick Saban, arguably the best defensive mind in football could take any of those teams and make them top 50 in just ONE season. He was dealing with low levels of talent and short time periods to fix them. 2008 to 2009 the ranking went up. WKU defense got better, the NTU defense got better. Now you see that the 2014 ranking has gone up. He IMPROVES defenses. There is no switch. Not one person on this planet could take those teams and turn them into the best defenses in the country in that short of an amount of time. It is a process and one that you just showed he improves upon. You need to look at more than just the rankings. Clint Bowen is not Nick Saban, but he is not Terry Allen or Turner Gill either. There are better coaches than him, but very very few who are a better fit for what we have now.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

Jonathan - I respect your opinion...but don't agree with it.

Have never met Clint Bowen, but he seems like one hell of a guy. Everybody loves him who knows him. But that doesn't make him a winner in college football.

The stats are facts that takes emotions and personal biases out of the equation.

Going from 87 to 85...or from 94 to 90 isn't much improvement.

Ultimately if you're going to hire a head coach at a power 5 school, you DO have to look at past performances and where they finished. At least I would think an Athletic Director, or a selecting committee would look at where coordinators finished. I'm not an I could be wrong...

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

Jonathan - here is one for you.

In 2007, our defense under Bill Young was ranked 5.

So we went from 5 to 87 in one season. 85 the next.

Is that really improvement ?

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm pretty big on using the rankings to determine the progress of a program, but I haven't really looked into it at an assistant coach level. There are a lot of variables that go into it, including the head coach's agenda, and who the program decides to recruit rather than who the assistant might want to.

Having said that, the example you just gave is pretty good. The head coach stayed the same, the only difference was the defensive coach. Frankly, it's a pretty nasty number. The offensive numbers also dropped in those years, although not as badly. I know that we lost Aqib Talib from the 2007 team, so it's possible that we lost rare talent that a Kansas wasn't likely to replicate.

But it's also entirely possible that Bowen, despite kids loving him and playing hard for him, is a mid-80s, mid-90s coach. And we can't use this year's progress to dissuade that argument, because we're just not that great even now.

Zenger's got a tough call to make.

Jonathan Briles 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree that you need to look at stats and where people finish, but I'm saying that you need to look at more than that as well. You can not put all your focus onto just one thing. There have been many great coordinators who have flopped as head coaches and several average coordinators who made great head coaches. There are certain intangibles that have to be considered.

As for your 5 to 87 deal I will say that looks bad and I'm sure Bowen made his share of mistakes, but when you lose two all american players who were the vocal leaders and best two players on the defense and also have a strength of schedule that goes from 69th to 16th things can quickly move down hill. We had the exact same offensive staff and they dropped significantly too. Who you have and who you play matters.

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

Ah, that's the point I missed: the schedule change. That does have an impact.

Chandler Accipiter 7 years, 7 months ago

Didn't KU lose a couple of All-Americans on defense and swap out BU, TA&M, and OSU for OU, TT, and UT in 2008? And overall all defenses in the Big12 slid down the rankings as offenses were put at the forefront.

"There's lies, damned lies, and statistics!" I'm enjoying seeing some analytics put into these argument, but one could probably find pros and cons either way backed up by numbers.

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

You mean losing players like Aqib Talib and Charles Gordon the year before that had nothing to do with that? And of course, good defensive linemen that Clint Bowen doesn't have. You really aren't being objective. You're a slave to statistics that don't mean much if you don't know how to use them ethically.

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

Okay we all get it. We all understand that you think that Clint Bowen shouldn't have the right to live. No go back doing your job and let us adults handle the conversation here.

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

You are the one that injecting your personal hatred of Clint Bowen from day one. Everything under Weis was a disaster. Clint Bowen didn't create that disaster. But you are certainly a symptom of it.

Glen Miller 7 years, 7 months ago

Mark my words..... we don't hire Bowen, someone else will. And when he's having some success and we're sitting at 1-26 in the conference after three more years of a brainless wonder at coach who we thought was our "savior" all of you same people saying Bowen isn't good enough will be the same ones asking why we didn't keep him. This is commical... do you people really think we are going to land a Nick Saban, Bob Stoops, Bill Snyder type coach?? Get real and understand that Bowen may not be the sexy pick, but the guy BLEEDS KU blue. His players play their asses off for him. He has some good assistants to lean on. He's already shown the competence to make a change immediately if something isn't working unlike past regimes. He WANTS to be here. Are all of you people delusional in your haste to win games. No matter WHO we hire, we will not be very good for the next few years. We are low on players, haven't recruited worth a flip and are about to lose most of the best players on our team. If any of you think Bowen is just a bad choice and can't coach then fine, but I dare any of you who have actually paid attention and seen the marked improvement on a team that looked lost even in our wins to tell me who you think would represent this University and build this program any better. I am not sure why we paid $50K to bring in a consultant. Our coach is already here and everyone you talk to... players, coaches on other teams, past co-workers and everyone else is saying this guy is our man. Why are we not listening to them?? We won't be back to the drawing board in 3 years if we hire Bowen. We will be headed towards bowl games and watching teams that compete every week. I believe in this guy and I haven't believed in a coach we brought in since Glen Mason..... he didn't do too bad.

AJ Cleland 7 years, 7 months ago

Quite simply, Doug Cramer is a Bowen hater. I am now to the point that when I read the comments sections, I simply skip over Doug's diatribes.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm not a Bowen hater. In my opinion he's not the answer. Looking at his resume, it's obvious he's not the answer.

Bob Reinsch 7 years, 7 months ago

Do you want a National Coach of the Year with a winning record at a top program? We already fired Charlie Weis. It's not always about the resume.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 7 months ago

Bob R. ---- Go back and look at previous articles. I've NEVER supported the Weis hire. never.

Weis didn't have the resume to be a college football head coach. His success came in the NFL as an offensive coordinator for the Patriots and he did good one year for the Chiefs.

John Randall 7 years, 7 months ago

Doug, you may not be a hater, just a gratification seeker. It just won't be any faster with someone other than Clint Bowen ... Bill Snyder had some miserable records getting KSU turned around (and is still reaching for .500 in conference).

KU is a long way from the program we would all like to have, but there are very few short-cuts along that road. No one will do it in a couple of seasons, no matter how big a name.

Bryan Chaffee 7 years, 7 months ago

Doug Cramer is the only one that seems to have any clue here. There is so much more to being a HC of a P5 football program. Who would be on his staff? How well will that staff recruit? What is the the recruiting plan? Who will be OC and DC? What type of offense and defense will they run? Getting players to play hard is one small part of it and that can be fairly judged from an interim HC position. The players did not like Weis. You could have plugged in a couple of other guys as interim HC and they would have gotten the same results from the team.

Bob Bailey 7 years, 7 months ago

Bowen;s defensive unit has been "out of position" for about ten years. Biggest improvement may have been this year. Basically, they can't tackle, always get pushed back 5-8 yards. Couldn't "cover" till this year. And the 'Defensive Scheme' is inadequate.

He is a great Jayhawk. That doesn't solve 'football' Problems. But I agree he maybe should be on staff, perhaps recruiting.

Warriner is good; pay him what it takes to get and keep him, Get your DC from Oregon, or Mich State, or Oh St. Pay what it takes to get him.

Lebeau is terrific at special teams, but he is behind on DC at Pit.

Kiesau may be a good choice for OC.

A lot of choices seem to be without regard to the PROBLEM! That is still COACHING.

Kevin Robert Fest 7 years, 7 months ago

Let's face it the quality of recruits at KU is a joke in order to field a team they have to consistanly have to go after 2-3 star recruits. Not many if any 4-5 star recruits will choose KU. Which means they are slower under sized lack natural athletic talent. Which means we will get pushed around on offense and defense. Even Heeney and Talib were 3 star recruits out of high school and they certainly blossomed but they are the exception. Look at some of the schools we recruit against one recruits only other offer was Missouri State do you think he will miss a tackle or get pushed around? Its not always the coaching its the talent you can teach technique but not god given talent. Saban wouldn't be the geneious he is with 4-5 star talent that is a given. If he coached KU tomorrow he wouldn't win with this group I'm sorry. Belecheck didn't win without Brady and he won't win when Brady retires.

Kevin Robert Fest 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't care if KU hires Jesus. It will take 2-3 maybe even 3-4 years to turn this around regardless of who the coach is.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 7 months ago

If he brings his disciples with him, that might make the turnaround quicker, at least on one side of the ball!

Lucas Town 7 years, 7 months ago

That branch is pretty weak. Snyder's teams will be competitive and play hard as long as he is the coach. I respect Snyder and they will be a tough out for anyone. I will agree with you in that KU has a big opportunity to hire a good coach and be competitive in the next 2-3 years. There is no reason that KU shouldn't be ready to get this program off the ground, after sitting on it for the last 5+ years.

Don Johnson 7 years, 7 months ago

The history of sports is filled with overachievers. The key has always been called, "intangibles." I read the current argument between Cramer and other posters in that way. Doug advocates a "statistical results" and "facts" approach. There is something to this, but I am not sure it means everything. Other posters have been advocating for the idea that Bowen has the intangibles to succeed or to exceed his statistics. I am not sure that Bowen's stats as DC or position coach is a fair measure of what he might do as a head coach. Even so, as others have pointed out, he would inherit a mess left by the last two coaches. If you think about some our best KU football players, they were overachievers that succeeded due to their intabngibles. Perhaps Bowen would be a good fit and find that same quality in others. I like Bowen because of contenuity. If the program is going to change, we can't just keep changing everything every 2-3 years. Give an overachiever a chance. See the intangibles. Give Bowen five years before passing final judgment on his ability.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm ready to see who the actual candidates are. We do all this speculation but no one truly has a clue what's going on. Let's hope Zenger is going to start digging in deep so we can continue to recruit. That's my main concern right now.

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

We may never really know them. We didn't the last time. We speculated based on where his plane was going, but that was it. We also don't know who turned him down. Weis was very likely not his first choice.

Kevin Robert Fest 7 years, 7 months ago

Let's look at this situation from a recruits perspective. When the season started they all thought Weis would be their coach and they wanted to play for him then Bowen had to call to keep them committed and some might have stayed because of him (I have no way of knowing this) then if KU hires ANOTHER coach that's 3 different coaches these kids have heard from in as many months. A KU recruit over the weekend just switched back to Utah another player took KU off his interest list a top 300 running back no less again over the weekend. Right now Bowen has an 8 games head start over anyother assistant coach from another program who has been mentioned. He has hands on experience right now is around the players the team the program NOW some other candidate is just looking from afar and can not spent anytime thinking about KU football since they are coaching in another program right now. Bowen has been around the team coach the team for the past couple seasons. He knows what they need by watching film coaching recruiting right now. Tell me how another coach will have any clue as to watch this team needs. Hire anyone besides Bowen you start from scratch again at least with Bowen now you have a starting point he has already remade the culture around the program I don't think the players will play as hard for another coach who hasn't been around the program since the Mangino era. It has been said the players at USC do not play as hard or with the passion for Sarkisian as they did for Coach Ogeron because the players loved him, Sark is also a coach from a different USC era and the results speak for themselves. I live in So Cal so I see the games and hear the stories. This info comes from a players who played for SC and is still around the program. You can't hide your passion or love for a program or players Bowen has that in spades. For Ku that's a good start. Gil nor Weis had either and look where they are now. Bowen wants KU to win wants to see KU win he gave his blood swaet tears for KU football name another coach who wants KU to win more then he does. Another coach, be it an assisstant at another program or a current or ex headcoach could win here and sure as the sun will shine will leave for a better offer. To Bowen this is the Best Offer.

Jeremy D. Morris 7 years, 7 months ago

To provide more context here is the team's Total Offense Ranking in the same year:

2008 KU Offense - #21

2009 KU Offense - #25

2010 WKU Offense - #98

2011 NTU Offense - #96

2012 KU Offense - #93

2013 KU Offense - #117

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

Well, now that is a whole lot more ethical to include that. Of course, when your offense doesn't move the ball, the defense is on the field more. It's really not that difficult to understand this,but Doug Cramer is struggling.

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

He's not struggling. He's cherry-picking the data he likes.

Bryan Chaffee 7 years, 7 months ago

Doug Cramer is the only one that seems to have any clue here. There is so much more to being a HC of a P5 football program. Who would be on his staff? How well will that staff recruit? What is the the recruiting plan? Who will be OC and DC? What type of offense and defense will they run? Getting players to play hard is one small part of it and that can be fairly judged from an interim HC position. The players did not like Weis. You could have plugged in a couple of other guys as interim HC and they would have gotten the same results from the team.

Al Martin 7 years, 7 months ago

You are putting words in my mouth. I have never said that Bowen should be hired. I have said that Zenger has a tough job ahead. Excellent coaches he's interested in may not want to talk to him.

Your hero, the only one you think has a clue, said that our disorganized, poorly coached team would get pasted last week, and that Mangino's infinitely better organized offense would lay 45 points on us. Get your own clue, bubba.

Micky Baker 7 years, 7 months ago

He does? Really? Because he's the least knowledgeable and least ethical poster on here by a long shot. He doesn't know what it takes. He is the one being short sighted. I do feel sorry for his family.

Bryan Chaffee 7 years, 7 months ago

Doug Cramer is the only one that seems to have any clue here. There is so much more to being a HC of a P5 football program. Who would be on his staff? How well will that staff recruit? What is the the recruiting plan? Who will be OC and DC? What type of offense and defense will they run? Getting players to play hard is one small part of it and that can be fairly judged from an interim HC position. The players did not like Weis. You could have plugged in a couple of other guys as interim HC and they would have gotten the same results from the team.

Also, why not have your cake an eat too? Go with someone like Beaty, who could be the next Briles and keep Bowen on his staff as associate HC. Then, if Beaty builds it back up, hand over the reigns to Bowen. That is the safest choice, because now you get two well respected guys that can recruit, one on offense and one on defense.

Bottom line, Bowen is not the safe choice for turning the program around. He might be the safe choice as far as people not being upset with Zenger because the hired one KU's own, but that is not what KU needs right now. KU needs a smart hire. KU needs a team of Beaty and Bowen together to rebuild this program along with my boy Reggie!

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

I'd say it's pretty clear at this point that if Bowen gets the job, he's keeping Eric Kiesau as his OC. Go look at Eric Kiesau's track record, it's impressive. Washington Huskies OC, coached Bishop Sankey to being the best RB in the country last year. At Cal, he made Keenan Allen into one of the best WR's in the nation. At Colorado (while they were still in the Big 12), he coached up a walk on named Scottie McKnight into the best WR in school history. At Utah St, he coached Kevin Curtis into being an All-American.

Kiesau is a top level OC with strong recruiting ties out west. Not every coach on staff has to have direct ties to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, or Missouri, but Bowen does need to replace some coaches on staff and his decisions in that regard (I'm sure Bowen and Zenger have had discussions about staff retention) will play a big factor in how strong a candidate Bowen is.

Rick McGowwan 7 years, 7 months ago

First off, I love the debate and passion that everyone is showing. People are stating their opinions and their facts--and they are doing it from the perspective that they believe is the most informative. It's nice that we can agree and disagree respectfully. I've never read 87 comments on an article before.

Here is my take: Zenger is going to offer the job to someone not named Bowen and his offer will include large dollar figures and a guarantee of years. If the top 2 or 3 choices turn us down, and it is very likely that Dantonio or Beck or Leavitt or "insert name here" don't want to take a chance on KU, then the job goes to Bowen. Zenger has been very smart in naming him the interim HC, he knows exactly what he'll get. Bowen will, without a doubt, improve the program. I personally don't believe that he has the skills yet to move us into the top 4-5 in the league, but I do think he can get us to the 6, 7, or 8 range consistently. I want better. To use a bad analogy, Bowen is our safety school.

Finally, with all the talk about continuity, it's a bit overrated. Imagine if we hire another coach and we lose half of our commitments. Well, going from #10 in recruiting to #10 in recruiting in the B12 just isn't that big of a deal. We are a program that will take multiple years to turn around and if we think a handful of 2 star players and JC transfers can stop that we aren't being honest about our situation.

If we hire Bowen, I believe in 3-5 years we are hiring another coach that can move us to the next level. If we hire a coach that's not Bowen, and one that builds the program and leaves, then our next HC hire just became significantly easier.

I really think Bowen has it in him to be a good HC, just not yet. If we don't hire him which P5 school is extending him an offer? Shortlisting him? Considering him?

Robert Brown 7 years, 7 months ago

Arguably, Mangino got us up to probably the 7th or 8th best program in the Big 12 and he is now a living legend. Besides 2007, he never had a winning conference record and played in the weaker Big 12 North. We went to two bowls played before Christmas meaning it they were probably 7th or 8th in the pecking order.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 7 months ago

I think Dr. Zenger's strategy will be able to get lots of interest by saying "You see that pile of crap we had on the sideline? If you can't coach better than him who can you coach better than?

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