Sunday, November 4, 2018


Tom Keegan: Beaty’s failure to execute his own blueprint led to demise

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches a West Virginia score during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches a West Virginia score during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.


So nervous at his introductory press conference that he twice said “Texas” when he meant “Kansas,” David Beaty still was able to articulate his plan for rescuing a football program flailing in quicksand.

He could not execute his blueprint because he so quickly abandoned it. In three games shy of four seasons on the job, he didn’t move the program forward an inch and has a 6-39 record.

“It starts with not only having a recruiting board, but a Kansas recruiting board,” Beaty said at the beginning.

With a couple of exceptions each year, it pretty much turned into a walk-on recruiting board. That became the perception of many high school coaches in the state. It’s a tough one to dispute.

“We truly want this to become a Kansas identity football team,” Beaty said his first day on the job. “Now, we’re going to recruit other areas. We’re going to hit the state of Texas. We’re going to hit the state of Oklahoma. We’re going to hit the state of Missouri. But this will be, make no mistake, this will be a Kansas identity program.”

Didn’t even come close to happening. There are more scholarship players from Florida than from Kansas on the roster.

“We’re going to earn the support of our students, our fans and the high school coaches from this great state, from east to west, north to south, and the recruits in this great state,” he said.

Smart plan, never executed.

Six scholarship players on the updated roster arrived directly from Kansas high schools. One of them, fifth-year linebacker Joe Dineen Jr., was recruited and played his first season for Charlie Weis. The other five: Mac Copeland, Jay Dineen, Joey Gilbertson, Jalan Robinson and Bryce Torneden.

“We also want to do a good job of keeping the best players in the state of Kansas right here at home at their university,” Beaty said on Day 1. “That is top priority for us. And we do that by building relationships, not only with them, but with their coaches, their families and the fans.”


In the five recruiting classes from 2015 through 2019, the Jayhawks welcomed just three top-five Kansas recruits.

Quarterback Ryan Willis originally committed to Weis and then to Beaty, played two seasons at Kansas and is now starting quarterback at Virginia Tech. Kenyon Tabor, a terrific receiver prospect, suffered a career-ending injury before playing a college game. Redshirting freshman offensive lineman Mac Copeland is the third.

Miles Emery, No. 2 in the Class of 2018, made a verbal commitment to KU, but enrolled at Butler County Community College.

In that time period, Kansas State landed seven top-five Kansas recruits, Clemson, Oklahoma and Wisconsin two apiece, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Northwestern and Notre Dame one apiece.

In Beaty’s first two recruiting seasons, Rivals still went 10 deep with its state rankings. Kansas picked up junior defensive back Torneden, a third-year starter and No. 9 in his class. Kansas State had four top 10 recruits in those two classes who did not earn top-five status.

Identifying quarterbacks also was a problem for Beaty.

Blue Valley North’s Graham Mertz, the state’s top-rated recruit in the Class of 2019, per Rivals, is bound for North Carolina. Labette County’s Easton Dean, the fourth-rated prospect, committed to Iowa State. Last season’s No. 1 recruit, Jace Ruder from Norton, is at North Carolina.

The talent in Kansas is more spread out than in most states, but playing football means more to a player from the state than to one just coming here because he was blown off by the top schools close to home. Offering a scholarship to a player from Kansas just a tad less talented than one from elsewhere often is the better way to go.

You can’t fill a whole roster with Kansas players and expect to survive in the Big 12, but with good projecting skills, a coach can find prospects not as close to their ceilings as are prospects in year-round football states. Bill Snyder has proven that for years.

Beaty didn’t succeed for a variety of reasons, ranging from recruiting too many transfers to too much turnover on his staff to never developing an offensive line or a quarterback.

His unintentional words from the introductory press conference proved to be his most prophetic. When going through a list of people he wanted to thank, Beaty said, “and certainly the search committee, who did a very thorough job and did a very professional job as they conducted this search. My condolences to them.”


The end all started at the beginning, when Beaty said the program would have a Kansas identity and then changed his mind.

It doesn’t matter whether the next KU coach says he will build his program first by ensuring that the top recruits from the state of Kansas stay at home. All that’s important is that he does so.


Al Martin 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey, Tom, when you listed your top ten interim head coach possibilities, how did you miss David Beaty? Okay, I'm kidding. Who would have imagined "dead man coaching" would be the decision?

Honestly, it doesn't give me a ton of faith in Long.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 7 months ago

I don't see the problem. We don't have to change anything by having a new interim come in and then a month later a new head coach take over. Thus the players don't have to have three styles in less than two months. It also saves us paying an interim and it allows Long to find his man, put him in place so he can hire his staff and get on the recruiting trail! Just my two cents but I don't think it's the worst thing. My gut says we will have a new head coach before the end of the season.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 7 months ago

Totally agree Chris. There is no real reason to promote an interim if they aren't gonna get the job anyway. The players do actually enjoy playing for Beaty so does no harm to have him coach his seniors for the last three games of their careers.

Al Martin 3 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, I suppose. It's late enough in the season that maybe an interim coach would be a useless disruption. Still feels weird, but I admit that could be a "me" problem.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 7 months ago

That's how I see it and the new coach, when hired, can do his thing. We're paying Beaty anyway. At first I thought he may sabotage the program but he's only shooting himself in the foot if he does after all he's auditioning for a new job somewhere as are his staff. So to me it's just as easy to let the team play out the season.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 7 months ago

I also agree with Chris. To me, the reasons he listed are exactly why the firing was announced now. There's no chance of salvaging a bowl season at this point but now a new coach can be found in time to hit the recruiting trail quickly. And may be that 4-start QB who decommitted will reconsider? Or is he no longer available?

Chris Bailey 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure hoping the new man will get busy. If we hire the right coach maybe just maybe we can put together a recruiting class.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

So often, success is about discipline. So often people can't manage it. Usually, the excitable guys are the ones who wane first. Give me steely resolve and toughness over exuberance and energy any day of the week.

When you look at Beaty's career, you see a guy with a lot of energy but also a guy who couldn't focus it. Jumping from coach-to-coach, from QB-to-QB, from one recruiting strategy to an entirely different one in the course of two years.

I'll never forget when they did the Kansas Rush and some of the coaches went, without a clue, to high schools that didn't have football teams. Tons of energy, little preparation and no follow-through. As they say...all show, no go.

This is a tough job. Hash tags and sayings ain't gonna cut it. Holding hands in the huddle ain't gonna fix it. We need a grinder - not a flashy new thing. We need a guy who can set his feet and keep pushing the sled one inch at a time.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 7 months ago

"In three games shy of four seasons on the job, he didn’t move the program forward an inch and has a 6-39 record." I couldn't disagree with this statement more. No doubt Beaty under-performed from a wins/losses standpoint but to say the program hasn't moved forward an inch is wrong. Everything from culture, scholarships, grades and internal affairs has drastically improved since Weis. It hasn't led to wins and that's on Beaty but if it isn't evident that the next coach is much better set up to excel than Beaty was then maybe Keegan you aren't as smart as you pretend to be. Almost everyone agrees that this team is talented enough to win probably 5 games no way you can say that about the talent 4 years ago. The guy and his staff just got fired, why dance on the grave?

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

Couldn't disagree with you more. Let's use facts. Scholarships will be in as bad if not a worse situation than when Beaty arrived. The "culture" is of a flailing, disorganized program that drew approximately 7,500 KU fans to its most recent game. Internal affairs are a complete mess with the recent firing of the OC, a coaching carousel and a lame-duck HC.

No one is dancing on the grave because it's in the middle of quick-sand. The program continues to get crushed by incompetency. A post-mortem on the Beaty tenure is not only to be expected but is pretty much required.

I'm guessing that Beaty will be able to use those $3 million-dollar-bills as a salve to any wounds.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 7 months ago

Couldn't disagree with you more on Scholarships. The next coach will be way ahead. Beaty only had 23 returning Seniors and Juntiors. Our next coach will have over 50. You can only recruit an average of 21 scholarship players each year. We have 18 to give. Any coach worth his salt will find 18 2-3 star players that have potential. We will be fine.
The rest of what you said holds true!

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 7 months ago

Couldn't disagree with you more on the way you couldn't disagree with Brett more for not being able to disagree with Jack more. So there!

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 7 months ago

Gonna miss ya, Keegs! Good luck in Boston.

Kyle Rohde 3 years, 7 months ago

Mertz is going to Wisconsin, not North Carolina...

John Joseph Gorski 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm gonna laugh if KU beat's KSU and the team carries Beaty off the field like it's his last great hurrah! On another note I have heard that Snyder may be announcing his retirement either before the KU game or before the TTech Sr. day game.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 7 months ago

He didn't follow his own blueprint in terms of recruiting but he did execute the air raid offense which turned out to be a bust.Only after abandoning it did he find some degree of success but by then it was too late. Bet he wishes he hadn't chased away Ryan Willis.

Jim Baker 3 years, 7 months ago

Oh, he executed the air raid offense, all right! DOA

David Kemp 3 years, 7 months ago

Had I known Bender was going to turn out this badly, I would gladly like to have Willis back. He would have had much better success with a pooka backfield

Titus Canby 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, Did he really say "condolences?" Oh my gosh. Was there a gasp in the room when he said that and referred to us as "Texas?"

Brett McCabe 3 years, 7 months ago

He did and his wife cringed when he said it.

Barry Weiss 3 years, 7 months ago

somehow the next coach needs to solve the recruiting dilemma we have. I know winning helps. Beaty was suppose to deliver Texas recruits and did not.

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 7 months ago

Hinted at here but not outright mentioned in any article I've seen as of yet is the fact that with Snyder most likely leaving after this season, the Kansas recruits will be FAR more available to the next KU coach than in years past. Coinciding with Snyder's imminent departure is maybe the most alluring aspect of this job opening.

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