Sunday, November 11, 2018


Tom Keegan: Coaching search thoughts and a farewell to Lawrence

New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion. To his left is University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod and at his right is former

New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long addresses those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion. To his left is University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod and at his right is former


You know you can’t run or jump or withstand contact the way the athletes you cover do, which brings us to why coaching searches are such a blast to follow: You very often are convinced that you can do a better job with those than the people conducting them. Too often, you are right.

Turner Gill, Charlie Weis and David Beaty have combined for a 17-80 record with three games left for Beaty. This came in the wake of 50-48 Mark Mangino. So we all know we could have done better, and have reason to believe first-year athletic director Jeff Long will do better with the current search.

We’ll never know if Sheahon Zenger would have hired Justin Fuente if chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little did not put a ban on paying any buyouts. We are confident of this much: Long would not have accepted this job without knowing the chancellor has his back. Also, Long could have put his staff to work to research data that would show the chancellor that Fuente’s buyout of $500,000 actually was quite small by industry standards and could have been earned back with a couple of big crowds.

By the way, Fuente’s from Tulsa, went to Oklahoma for two years before transferring to Murray State, and was an assistant for five seasons at TCU. Some believe he ultimately wants to return to the Big 12, and his buyout, the amount Virginia Tech must be paid to grant his release, drops to $3 million on Dec. 15. Long could do worse than Fuente, 42, but probably doesn’t want to wait that long to hire a coach.

Meanwhile, Beaty leaves with a $3 million buyout, guaranteed him back when Zenger doubled Beaty’s salary when he had a 2-22 record.

Zenger had a blast working as linebackers coach for Bob Lisher’s Free State High football team as it just finished up a 10-1 season. After that, look for Zenger to return to an assistant AD role in the Big 12, perhaps at TCU. Kansas gave Zenger a $1.5 million parachute.

Unfortunately, covering sports doesn’t come with lucrative contracts or guaranteed buyouts, but in my case it has led to no shortage of moves.

I spent most of the ’80s covering sports in the Los Angeles area, the first half of the ’90s in Chicago, one year in Baltimore, the next 10 in New York, and the past 13-and-a-half in Lawrence.

I’m leaving a great college town for the center of the sporting universe to write a column for the Boston Herald ( I’ll be driving across the country this weekend to report to work Monday.

Thanks for reading, and in turn, feeding my family.


Jim Woodward 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, I will miss you and your writing for KU Sports. I read funny and clever things you write aloud to my wife frequently. To me your are a positive part of Lawrence and KU. Thanks for all of your good work over the years.

Bill Kackley 3 years, 9 months ago

Positive is a big stretch. A change ther sure wont hurt K U athletics.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Congrats on a great opportunity in Boston. I’ll miss your writing and your humor. We really appreciate having had a true journalist covering sports for us in Lawrence Say hello to Big Papi for me.

Chuck Baldwin 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Tom. I’ve enjoyed reading your work all these years. Best of luck to you. Rock Chalk.

Jim Keen 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, Boston is a great sports town, and you will love the very passionate fans there. They will appreciate your work there as we have. Thank you for the last 13 and a half, and good luck in your new job in Bean Town. Rock Chalk!

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 9 months ago


I know that your views, opinions and voice weren't always popular when writing about KUFB, but you covered a struggling program for a long time. You were just putting down your thoughts about a program that could do better. You are leaving when l believe that the ascension of the program is about to begin, new coach and hopefully bowl eligible every year. But the truth is hard for some people to believe, you were looked at as a nonbeliever and wrote about the program warts and all and people just don't want to hear the obvious. Good luck in Boston and l know that you will still keep an eye on KUFB, even if you won't admit it. Lol.

Dustin Peterson 3 years, 9 months ago

That's a good drive, Tom. Between Rochester and Syracuse is a little town called Geneva, on lake Seneca. There's a wonderful little place called the Lake Drum Brewery that dabbles mostly with sours, but its a nice spot to stretch your legs, get a bite, and just a little pint before you kick in that last 5 hours into NYC (or in your case more like 8-9 hours into Boston). Be safe and good luck.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 9 months ago

A green-eyed epitaph about brilliant sports writers making less money than coaches and administrators.

And capped off with a deliciously funny and ironic analogy about an all-consuming desire for food.

It brings about apropos thoughts having to do with a door and a backside. '

Mike Barnhart 3 years, 9 months ago

Count me among the many who will miss Keegan’s great writing and thoughtful insight.

I enjoy the LJW but the Boston Herald, WOW! Congratulations Tom!

Robert Brock 3 years, 9 months ago

Sad that Tom is leaving to write for the lowly Herald instead of a real newspaper - the Globe. J/K...Enjoy!

Dane Pratt 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, I am sad to see you go. Good luck with that hard R. Never understood how they pronounce the country Cuba, koober. It's both fascinating and puzzling how that R shows up in words.

John Fitzgerald 3 years, 9 months ago

Sad to see you go, Tom. But I’ll definitely be reading your stuff in the Boston Herald. Cheers my friend!

David Kelley-Wood 3 years, 9 months ago

Have enjoyed and appreciated your columns over the years. All the best, Tom.

Michael Leiker 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for all the great reads Tom. Lawrence has been lucky to have you!

Scott Custer 3 years, 9 months ago

Good luck and thanks for your hard work.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago

You have got to be the luckiest guy in the world to actually get paid real money to cover the Bosox vs. Yanks. Covering the Pats and Celtics is nice, but seriously, in Boston does any sport come close to the Red Sox?

For the past several years, I read your articles to my husband everyday over breakfast, then usually made some comment. You are in a unique remarkable golfer class in that you can hit every shot....while making 7 routine pars, a birdie to two, some of which are spectacular, and still manage to shoot over a 100. How can a guy hit a +200 yard 4 wood on Number 15 (?) over water & sand, put it within 5 feet of the cup...and shoot over 100? See you in Houston sometime.

Bryan Mohr 3 years, 9 months ago

Good luck Keegan. Thanks for having the guts to write truthful articles even when it wasn't popular with some. Will miss your humor and insights. All the best.

Ashwin Rao 3 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations on your new gig! I loved how you brought out the energy & passion from the fans. I know that most were premeditated!

You do have a good journalistic sense, and will do a fabulous job in Boston! Hope you remember your time in Lawrence like we do ours, even after even 30 years like me!

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 9 months ago

Good luck in Boston, I actually work for a company HQ'd in Bedford now. Also, there's a great Italian restaurant in downtown Boston. Heh, that's like saying there's a great Chinese restaurant in San Francisco.

Anyway, here's hoping for a better future in KUFB. Enjoy your drive.

Bill McGovern 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for all the great columns Tom. You always told it how it was, and had the guts to say what needed to be said and what a lot of the KU fan base was thinking. Enjoy your time in the North East and be safe! Don't be a stranger!

Joe Joseph 3 years, 9 months ago

Best of luck, Tom.

I enjoyed reading your columns and always appreciated your honesty and lack of homerism.

Pius Waldman 3 years, 9 months ago

BOSTON Why would anyone want to move to Boston? Well Tommie did. I'm sure we will miss his stories and comments. Most were well written and usually caused a stir.

Bill French 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom you will be missed. Your honesty and hard hitting stories made me feel like I knew what was really going on with regards to KU football.

Thank you! Bill French

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, as someone who grew up outside Boston and found my way to Lawrence for college I can only say I am excited to have you writing for the Herald. I followed the Patriots and the Red Sox when they were bad-to-mediocre. Boston fans were a cynical bunch back then, but that has changed with all the winning and bandwagon effect. You've been a pro covering KU, and I wish you continued success in Bah'stn.

Joe Black 3 years, 9 months ago

Good luck in Boston with those loving and forgiving fans!

I have disagreed with you and your sentiments more than I ever agreed with you but I appreciate your efforts and I respect your right to express your opinion.

Joe Ross 3 years, 9 months ago

You're an outstanding writer, Tom! The Herald will be better for your presence. Thank you for your service to the LJW,, and all of the Jayhawk family. Hope your path crosses with the Crimson and Blue in the future!

Brad Farha 3 years, 9 months ago

We will miss your writing and point of view Tom. Best of luck at The Herald, and Rock Chalk!

Sam Meyer 3 years, 9 months ago

Though I mostly rolled my eyes at your jokes, I always did enjoy your writing. Best of luck to you in Boston.

Doug Cramer 3 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations on your new position Tom.

Good luck to you and we wish your family the best.

I’ll never forget your article that announced Mangino’s investigation 5 weeks into the 2009 season. My heart pretty much stopped.

George Johnston 3 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations, good luck, and thanks for all the great articles and columns.

Some alleged fans hated the fact that you wrote the truth but you kept on.

If the Herald and the Journal-World would allow it, I would love to see a series of retrospectives about your days in Lawrence.

Good luck with Boston traffic. And, if you ever find a parking space, keep it.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 9 months ago

Never have understood why people are so shallow as to wish a guy well they attacked for years as being biased against the school. I hope Keegan learns to write more objectively. I think he comes to hasty conclusions sometimes and once he does the vendetta is on. He was right about Beaty as most were, but he made it personal and that was totally unnecessary and unacceptable to me.

Kirk Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

Being "objective" often means being critical and calling out what people in power are sweeping under the carpet.

But in the good ol', passive-aggressive midwest, this can be seen as a "personal" attack.

His reporting, and sometimes his opinion pieces (there IS a distinction between the two) really illuminated, for me anyway -- a lot about WHY Beaty was failing as a coach, from his about-face in recruiting strategy to his incredible indecisiveness about almost every aspect of the program including choosing a starting QB. Would any other local writer have done this? Hell no.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, there have been days when I loved your articles and days when I hated them. There have been days when I thought your articles were spot-on and days when I thought they were completely off-base. But love'em or hate'em, accurate or inaccurate, they were always well-written, and always a must-read. Farewell, Tom. Sorry we'll be losing you to that snobbish, high-and-mighty, know-it-all, left-wing city of Boston.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 9 months ago

...where people go if they have a brain tumor and need their life saved...where people go to see where this country got its start...and all those left-wing Patriots fans...yup!

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations and good luck, sir. I really appreciate some of the hard hitting you have had to do. Love your new home, one of my fave cities although can't say I would enjoy the winters there. Miami Herald next?

Steve Quatrocky 3 years, 9 months ago

Enjoy the beans in Boston....the football program just got better and we dont even have a coach! Keegans continual campaigns against the coaches were as destructive as any of those hires. Its easy to be a critic, much easier than building a Big 12 Football Program from literally ashes given that every failed coach made recruiting even worse. Although a lot of blame also has to go to the University, letting the facilities fall so far behind the rest of the conference made it really tough to get any recruit to actually sign with us after they had visited multiple schools. I hope the next guy to fill Keeg's shoes is a little more appreciative of where we are and supportive in getting us out of this deep deep hole.

Kirk Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

I think Keegan spoke a lot truth in a vacuum. Everyone else at the LJW -- for all their merits and big smiling charm -- is a cheerleader. Which is great in some ways, but certain topics are off the table. You may offend the guys in power. Keegan voiced much that was otherwise left unsaid. Just one example, he called out -- in a sustained way -- Beaty's about-face on recruiting. How Beaty had promised he would go after Kansas recruits, go after HS players. All that disappeared as he grabbed up Juco players. Would any other "journalist" here have written that story. Good God, no. Telling the truth -- or a good chunk of it -- does not undermine a program. It is the first step to turning it around.

Joe Ross 3 years, 9 months ago

This is one of those tone-deaf comments that leaves a reasonable person scratching his head...

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 9 months ago

How does ignoring the ineptitude of an awful coach constitute appreciation? The job of a sports writer is not to be a cheerleader for the local team. That's how coverups and corruption happen. Keegan had absolutely no hand in the destructive administration of the KUAD. He just reported the truth.

Danny Hernandez 3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the memories, and enjoy the snow. Seriously, you're going to a great city and it probably took you all of 2 seconds to accept that job.! Good Luck

Mike Hart 3 years, 9 months ago

Hi, Tom:

I was often a dissenting opinion when it came to your articles... or at least choice/timing of some of your articles, particularly the week after week after week, redundant bashing of anything Beaty-related and his record. That being said... Your passion for the University of Kansas is very clear... as is/was your commitment to your job as a journalist. Just because I sometimes disagreed with you does not take away from the fact that I enjoyed your articles and your commitment. I always looked forward to what you had to say, because you had passion behind it. I wish you the best of luck in Boston and you will indeed be missed here, Keegan. Your articles inspired a lot of commentary here on the KU message boards, and I certainly appreciate that. Cheers!.... Sincerely, Mike Hart

Waylon Cook 3 years, 9 months ago

Why is there rumours of Todd Graham?

Make them stop!

Mo Mosallaei 3 years, 9 months ago

Good luck to you. Thanks for the coverage over the years, especially of Zenger and Beaty the last couple of seasons. You have been a part of the positive process.

Matt Stone 3 years, 9 months ago

Tom, you will be missed! Love your work wether I agreed or not. I am on this site 2-3 times a day and look forward to all the knowledge you and your peers pass along. Good luck in Boston, but know you are always a Jayhawk! #RCJH

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