Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Beaty hires prep coach Tony Hull from New Orleans to fill KU football RB vacancy

KU coach David Beaty celebrates an early score in the Jayhawks' 45-14, season-ending loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, at Memorial Stadium.

KU coach David Beaty celebrates an early score in the Jayhawks' 45-14, season-ending loss to Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, at Memorial Stadium.


When Warren Easton High senior quarterback Tyriek Starks first heard the news, he had just woken up from a nap brought on by the exhaustion from the ACT exam he took Tuesday evening.

As the future Kansas University quarterback opened his eyes and allowed them to adjust to the light from his phone that filled the room, he realized something big had gone down.

“I had a few missed calls and text messages and people were telling me what happened,” Starks told the Journal-World Tuesday night. “I didn’t believe ‘em at first so I had to go research it myself.”

Sure enough, what Starks had been told actually was true. Warren Easton High head coach Tony Hull was joining him in Lawrence, hired Tuesday as the Jayhawks’ new running backs coach.

“I was overjoyed,” said Starks, who played quarterback for Hull in 2015 before signing with KU in early February. “I ran upstairs and told my mom and she just started jumping up and down. Everybody in New Orleans is real happy for him.”

Five days before the start of spring football practice, second-year KU coach David Beaty once again has a full coaching staff.

Hull, 34, replaces Reggie Mitchell, who left KU in February to take a similar position at Arkansas.

He becomes the fifth full-time assistant hired by Beaty this offseason, joining Jason Phillips (wide receivers), Todd Bradford (linebackers), Joe DeForest (special teams) and Michael Slater (defensive line).

A New Orleans native and son of a retired bus driver, Hull emerged as the leader for the job from a list of several candidates and three or four finalists. His strong ties to Louisiana football and passion for coaching young people made him the right fit for the rebuilding program. His addition figures to open up doors for others like Starks to come to the Midwest in the near future.

“He’s gonna bring in talent from Louisiana because he’s so familiar with the area,” Starks said. “Not just from Warren Easton, either. It’s the whole state. There’s so many talented players throughout all of Louisiana.”

Added Hull in a Tuesday night with The New Orleans Advocate: “Over the years, I saw that Louisiana kids didn’t really get a shot at that level, and I wanted to be able to provide that opportunity.”

Hired by Easton in 2007 after giving up a dream job — and salary — at NASA, Hull returned to coaching because he believed it was his calling. A year earlier, the school that hired the former aerospace engineer was still in the midst of a five-year span without football, a lingering reminder of the devastation done by Hurricane Katrina.

During the next nine years, Hull turned Easton into a formidable program, finishing with a 54-49 record and competing at highest level of the talent-rich state. In 2014, Easton lost to powerhouse Neville, 28-27, in the state championship game. In 2015, Hull and Starks again reached the state semis.

Those accomplishments may not be on par with coaching — and recruiting — at the major Div. I level, but Starks said KU fans should rest easy about Beaty’s hiring of the former Louisiana-Lafayette offensive lineman.

“They have nothing to worry about,” he said. “He’s been in the position of rebuilding a program before. He knows what it takes. And he’s a great leader.”

Hull will arrive in Lawrence on Thursday and he and the rest of the Jayhawks will kick off the first of 15 spring practices on Sunday. Starks said he was still trying to wrap his mind around the fact that his high school coach was headed to Lawrence before him.

“We already started going over the offense and stuff before he even went up there (to interview),” Starks said. “I have so many favorite parts about him, but I really love the way he prepares — it’s like no other coach. He prepares when other people are sleeping. I’m just excited about it and I’m happy for him. He really deserves it.”


Jeff Coffman 6 years, 7 months ago

Of all of the hires, I think Reggie Mitchell's will be the toughest to fill. He was very much admired by KU fans and he dedicated a lot of effort to the team. Each year Reggie brought in RB after RB and it seemed like they were the ones that were 4 stars on our Team. Although it will be tough to replace Reggie, I'm really excited for this hire and look forward to Hull joining the coaching staff. It'll be exciting to see a young prep coach transition to a position coach in college.

Gavin Fritton 6 years, 7 months ago

I am not taking a shot at this hire. First, if David Beaty wants him, then I want him to have him. Second, I thought that Charlie Weis was a good hire, at least in the sense that it showed Zenger was thinking outside the box. So even if I didn't like the hire, my opinion would clearly be without value. So please believe me when I say that I am not attacking anyone.

But coach Hull says that he "lost an incredible paycheck, friends." Why would he lose friends over following his passion. I get that he may have had former co-workers he doesn't see as frequently, but did he really "lose" friends or did he just have to substitute email for in-person conversation? I am sincerely asking because it seems to me that anyone who would stop being your friend because you changed professions is not really your friend to begin with.

OK. Enough nitpicking. I also think that replacing Reggie Mitchell is going to be the toughest "get" of all the recent defections. But it sounds as if Coach Hull is going to help us tap into an area where we historically haven't recruited all that much, so I like it. As we all know, football is huge in the South so any way we can open up new avenues sounds good to me.

Welcome aboard Coach Hull and Rock Chalk!

Jeremy D. Morris 6 years, 7 months ago

He's not saying he lost friends. He's saying "Friends, I lost an incredible paycheck." In other words, he's being relational/folksy with the reporters.

Freddie Garza 6 years, 7 months ago

I like it. There's a ton of talent in the New Orleans area, and in Louisiana in general. If this helps us have a presence there, I'm all for it.

Jack Hoff 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow not what I expected at all! But I like it! If there is something Beaty is good at it is sorrounding himself with capable coaches who seem passionate about what they do. In all honesty, besides DL and RB this staff upgraded in terms of coaching experience and proven track record. This team should certainly win a few more games next year and may even snag an upset at some point. I'm a Beaty believer, I just hope we can be patient and give him the time to turn things around. Rock Chalk!

Dirk Medema 6 years, 7 months ago

Not entirely sure of the history of the football program at Warren Easton, but a review of recruits in the recent past would seem to indicate that he developed a mediocre/nothing program into one with some top recruits.

The fact that he was an aerospace engineer, would also seem to indicate that he is a smart, organized guy as well.

I'm excited for the hire, given the age difference, this position could potentially be an improvement as well. Probably not immediately evident, but one in which his ability grows with the team/roster.

Maria Ungaro 6 years, 7 months ago

Coach Beaty, great hire. I believe Coach Hull will provide great insight and leadership to these young athletes.

I like the fact he has taken a program and turned them into winners. He will have the vision and passion to build a winner in Lawrence.

Most important this hire will open the door to some Talented football players in the south east.

Welcome coach hull..

Michael Leiker 6 years, 7 months ago

Beaty starting to figure out what the right fit looks like for KU Football...this is a good sign.

David Robinett 6 years, 7 months ago

Looks like Jazz, a Louisiana Kitchen, from KC will have to open a location in Lawrence!

Eliott Reeder 6 years, 7 months ago

There already is one. Right across from Louise's Downtown where BBWs used to be.

Bob Bailey 6 years, 7 months ago

You couldn't work for NASA without showing some smarts!

He seems on paper to have hired what seems to be good candidates. In my heyday, I was hiring salesmen. My record seemed bad, to me; 1 winner, 1 loser, and a guy who could glean wages from the margins he created. seems others thought one out of three was pretty formidable. One or two successes may be pretty good out of 5.

My own wish that we could actually get a coach who can teach 'tackling' and 'coverage'; those are key elements in defense. Schaake's Rules of Tackling have been mentioned before. If you understood them, they haven't been taught before; not even Pro defense people can tackle! Our biggest problem is Defense. It is a shame that coaches really don't understand .... Offense is for show; Defense wins games.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Not saying this is a bad hire (truth is I dont know one way or the other) but I'd be interested in knowing what he did at NASA before I declare him a genius. I mean I'm sure even NASA has janitors.

Randy Signor 6 years, 7 months ago

story says he's an aerospace engineer, a few steps up from janitor, don'tcha think?

Jonathan Briles 6 years, 7 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking Randy. No one gets their degree in aerospace engineering to become a janitor and no one has a dream job (and salary) of being a janitor.

Joe Ross 6 years, 7 months ago

Ill take your first point but call you to task on the second. No one has a dream job of being a janitor?

Randy Signor 6 years, 7 months ago

So we really do have a rocket scientist on our staff, eh?

David Robinett 6 years, 7 months ago

It may take both a rocket scientist AND a brain surgeon to fix our football program. Nevertheless I believe we are on our way.

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