Originally published November 16, 2018 at 08:39a.m., updated November 21, 2018 at 06:18p.m.


Matt Tait: Beaty staying positive to the bitter end

Kansas head coach David Beaty smiles as he walks across the field during the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty smiles as he walks across the field during the 2017 Spring Game on Saturday, April 15 at Memorial Stadium.


Some coaches in their final year on the job enjoy farewell tours that come with gifts and adoration from longtime foes in once-hostile venues.

Former Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart’s final farewell at Kansas is one that comes to mind, and Norm, who for decades had been urged over and over by KU fans to simply sit down, finally did just that, in a rocking chair given to him by then-KU coach Roy Williams during a special ceremony at Allen Fieldhouse in 2003.

There have been dozens of other gracious goodbyes just like that, in all sports and at all levels.

But Kansas football coach David Beaty is getting no such treatment.

Maybe the coaches Beaty has gone to battle with during the past four years have had some kind things to say or encouraging words in their postgame handshakes or via text messages during the past couple of weeks. But it’s been nothing like what Stewart received. Heck, even longtime KU broadcaster Bob Davis got his own farewell tour. But both Davis and Stormin’ Norman had earned their feel-good exits.

Beaty, the football coach, has not. All he and his 6-41 record at Kansas get is a few weeks to talk about how he feels about moving on, what he’ll do next and what he’ll both remember and miss most about his time at KU.

And Beaty has handled it all with extraordinary dignity.

Beaty had an out. He could have walked away with three games left in the season and still received the $3 million buyout — give or take a couple hundred thousand — and nobody would have blamed him for doing that. In fact, many probably would have celebrated it.

Now, as KU begins the transition to new coach Les Miles and Beaty tries to keep his focus on preparing a game plan for contests that hardly matter, the toughest part of his job has been keeping it together.

Beaty wanted to finish out the season because he felt he owed it to the seniors and wanted to honor them for all of the tears of heartache and fits of frustration they endured together.

The most comfortable place to do that is on the field, on game day, where Beaty is merely another football coach trying to make the right call in the moment.

It’s before and after that when the noise gets loudest. Beaty has shown on more than one occasion he’s not above getting choked up about his new reality, even if he’d rather not think or talk about any of it.

I asked Beaty last Tuesday if he had let his mind go to what he would miss or what he won’t get to do at KU.

“I have not,” he said.

Remember, Beaty, like all new hires, had big plans and a grand vision for what Kansas football would become under his direction. The program fell woefully short of what that vision held, but Beaty is honoring it, himself and his players on his way out.

Talking about what your replacement will have to do to succeed or fielding questions about what makes KU a good job can’t be easy for the man who’s about to give up the head coach’s office.

But Beaty has remained positive and appreciative to the bitter end, without showing so much as a hint of bitterness. We now know the price of love and loyalty. And good for Beaty for being willing to pay it.

Tuesday, he even made a joke about the idea of never getting to work in the still-under-construction indoor facility that he worked so hard to help bring to campus.

“I park in the back,” he said. “So I don’t see it. That kind of helps a little bit. I really haven’t seen it go up.

“(But that facility is) going to make this place even better. It’s going to give (KU) the opportunity to draw top-flight players, and that’s really all I care (about), that this place continues to go up. Because there was a lot of work that was done here and, hopefully some, if not all, of it was appreciated. But it doesn’t matter if it is or not. What matters is what happens with KU moving forward.”

No matter what takes place in the season finale against Texas on Friday, KU’s record under Beaty will forever be an eyesore. And it’s that record, among many other shortcomings, that sealed his fate.

But 20 years from now, when Beaty looks back on his time at Kansas, he expects to do so fondly and hopes that aspects beyond football will be a part of his legacy.

“I think what will mean the most to us is the men and what they turn out to be,” he said. “They’ve faced a lot of adversity, and for them to be as resilient as they are, I think those are traits that great leaders possess and people that do great things, they possess that. I think that’s where I’ll look back and go, ‘Hey, man, I think we made a difference there.’”


Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 9 months ago

He got his players to graduate, never put up with nonsense, kicked players off team regardless of standing starter, back up etc. Just can't coach or lead a program. Positive to a fault. Just can't make game time decisions. Has integrity. Same problems after 4 years. Shame on you KU administrators. Bad decisions after bad decisions. I wonder if conference realignment wasn't an issue if KU would just go with status quo. Now they have no choice.

3 years, 9 months ago

Yea, DB's a great guy. Let's have a beer with him, we can let HIM buy.
He should be in a classroom teaching, not anywhere near a football field ever again. At least in a classroom you can teach the daggum students -or "dudes", if you will- the whole way through and not need to worry about TIMEOUTS!

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 9 months ago

Could have had Doeren or Harbaugh , no instead we get Dumb, dumber and clueless. I'm more hopeful now then l have been in a long time. KU has no choice but to get it right, no more 1/2 hearted attempts.

Josh Galler 3 years, 9 months ago

it retrospect Gill was really not given a chance, he had some good players. I was one of many to get rid of him but maybe he should had got a chance for ayear or two more b/c Weis was hell.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 9 months ago

In hindsight would like to have seen him get another year. However, I think most coaches given time could get this program up and running at a respectable level before they plateau. Beaty has improved football at KU, just not fast enough.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 9 months ago

He inherited a 3-9 program and he will leave it with a 3-9 program.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

Josh - I was one that was hopeful Gill could recreate in Lawrence what he had experienced in Omaha, but it was clear by the time that he left that there was a disconnect in implementing it here. He's gone on to be successful at Liberty, so it's not like he can't coach or that his vision for a program is without merit, but extra time wasn't going to change what had already begun here. The fact that Weis continued the spiral doesn't change what Gill began.

It is much the same for Coach Beaty - except for the few that are committed to complaining about everything. There is plenty that Coach Beaty has done right, and he definitely has football coaching ability. Unfortunately, where we had hoped that he would grow into the HC position, and the game management in particular, he really hasn't over 4 years. Another year wouldn't/won't change it.

Glen Miller 3 years, 9 months ago

I think in this win or else world we live in....... we lose sight of some of the good things that Beaty has done. I don't argue it was time for him to go, but to continually bash on the guy...... especially the same played out rhetoric has worn on me. I'm saddened by some of the comments that I still see. We are all aware of the shortcomings that Beaty has, but to not understand that he has really done many good things for our school and program would be very short sighted. He cares and he tries to do things the right way and his integrity and love for our program is something that I as a fan very much appreciate. You never heard of him the the news negatively outside of the loses piling up. I hope he goes on to coach somewhere and has success, he deserves another shot down the line in my opinion if he can get some more experience and learn from his mistakes here. I'm proud to have had Beaty as our coach because of the person he is, the way he leads and takes on accountability and how his players feel about him. Wins and loses matter, I get that...... but so does a man's character and I doubt we will find someone with much better character than Beaty.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 9 months ago

Totally agree Glen. The people who continually bash him even after his termination has worn on me as well.

Dale Rogers 3 years, 9 months ago

Over time, it seems clear there are certain people who look for something to complain about. Nothing and nobody ever totally meets their expectations. You have to wonder if they know so much how come their writing comments and not on the field somewhere. Hating seems to make them feel more worthy of existence, I guess.

Garry Wright 3 years, 9 months ago

Yes, very well said. I've really grown tired of the many who keep harping on how bad Beaty was/is. He has made the program better, just no fast enough for many. I've said from the beginning that we should give him five years. I wish him well. I've been a Jayhawk fan well over half a century and that includes the football program. It's had its ups and downs. But there's been some bright moments, like when we went into the OU Snakepit in 1964 or there-a-bouts and beat them!

Patrick Bryant 3 years, 9 months ago

Well put, Glen. Everyone can have internet courage to say whatever they believe or just think up without any accountability. Those posters would never say those things to DB or the KU Administers faces.

Michael Maris 3 years, 9 months ago

Just last week, I said (not in the same words), that I was tired of the constant bashing of David Beaty. David's Head Coaching duties are winding down. He's a very respectable individual. And, he's doing a great job of keeping the negatives out of sight and working with the football team each and every day. This team will NOT forget his workmanship like behavior.

However, the adage of keep "kicking the man even when he's down" seems to be all that some of the people on this site seem to care about. Truly sad. Lord hopes the next HC is successful for the sake of the dog kickers.

David McNickle 3 years, 9 months ago

I was KU long before Dave took the HC position. I can remember winning one conference game in three years and tying a game with Kstate when they were win less. I live in Dallas now and met Coach when he still was at Lindenwood. I've been to his wedding, been to his bachelor party, and played in Hoop-it-Ups with him. Watched him coach HS at Garland, North Dallas, and Irving MacArthur. Watched him make his way up the ranks in college football. You can say what you want about the progress that has been made since Coach took over. What I hope people will remember about his stint is his dedication, love, and energy for KU.

Kirk Garrett 3 years, 9 months ago

I like Beaty’s demeanor in how he’s handled the firing. But his brief tenure cannot be compared to those decades-long careers of coaches like Norm Stewart.

In one sense, programs benefit from a kind of free agency mentality. But to receive legend-worthy respect, ya gotta be able to stick around a while.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 9 months ago

He is getting another $400k to coach the final 3 games, and because he finishes the season his buyout went up by another $200k.

His buyout isnt 3mm, his buyout is $3.5mm. KU will pay him just over $10mm for 6 wins.

3 years, 9 months ago

Thanks Jeff. And to those above who don't like the DB bashing: if you work in the public eye, with this type of INSANE salary, you are going to get pissed on with these types of results. How do you think the KU FACULTY feels about this turd making this type of money - he literally will not need to work another DAY in his life, if he so chose- and they are getting their tenure dismissed and closing up shot. JFC let's keep this in perspective, here. DB is no JESUS. DB is a lucky-@$$ coach who was paid wayyy too much $. You don't get to be praised as a HEAD FOOTBALL COACH for being a NICE GUY! although, honestly, this circus has been entertaining (& profitable) as hell to watch, as long as you've been betting against the 'hawks like we all should have been doing. Cheers DB, thanks for the memorie$! RCJH

Dirk Medema 3 years, 9 months ago

Guessing you weren't a math major, though even a 5th grader could probably get the story problem correct. Coach Beaty made $800K for each of the first 2 years ($1.6M total), plus $1.6M for each of the last 2 years. 3 x $1.6M = $4.8M. If you add in the $3M buyout (or $3.5M as you claim), that still comes up shy of $9M. Even bonuses shouldn't take it to $10M, but you apparently know more about his salary than the reporters writing for the papers.

He also didn't get paid for 6 wins. One of the primary responsibilities identified when he took over was rebuilding the roster. While not complete, he has done this, though some have forgotten, and some are even in denial that it existed.

It is funny to also see the academic card being played. Haven't seen that one in ages. I think/know that any KU faculty worth employing recognizes that Coach Beaty is paid out of a separate budget from what they are. They also should/would recognize that a sports program enhances academic giving and not the other way around. The rest sounds like someone's started happy hour a little early.

Dennis Strick 3 years, 9 months ago

What Time Does The Team Bus Leave For Norman?

30min-1 hour later Hello New Head FB Coach Presser

Halftime KU vs LA Hello New Head FB Coach

Tim Brando At 6pm-10pm Saturday Gushing Over New Head FB Coach On Nat TV


Randy Bombardier 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope he gets in a position that is in a much better place than KU football has been. I wish it would have worked out. He seems to have real character. It's just brutal at this level. Seeing 7-5 coaches canned like Sumlin and Graham is just absurd. I hope he finds a nice private college. I think he would do well in the Ivy League.

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