Monday, April 26, 2021

KU football coaching search: 3 selling points for Lance Leipold

Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold during the second half of the Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game against Northern Illinois, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold during the second half of the Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game against Northern Illinois, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


As the search for the next head football coach at the University of Kansas comes closer to a conclusion, the Lawrence Journal-World is taking a look at some of the potential candidates to lead the Jayhawks into the 2021 season.

What might make a certain contender appealing to Travis Goff, as KU’s athletic director tries to identify the right person for the job?

Here’s an overview of three selling points Lance Leipold has to offer.

Track record of winning

No, the Buffalo head coach hasn’t yet led a Power Five program. But it seems like it’s only a matter of time before that happens for Leipold, and the Jayhawks happen to be in the market for a head coach who can win college football games.

After six seasons with the Bulls, Leipold has a record of 37-33 (.529) at the FBS level. It’s what he did before he got his big break that’s more impressive, though.

As the head coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2007-14, Leipold went 109-6 and won six NCAA Division III national titles. He was the Division III coach of the year six times and set an NCAA record in reaching 100 career wins faster than any head football coach at any level.

At Buffalo, the Bulls have now played in three consecutive bowl games. In the 25 years previous to Leipold's arrival, the program made two bowl appearances.

Leipold turned Buffalo program around

It took a couple of years for him to lay the groundwork, but before long the Bulls became one of the MAC’s best programs under Leipold's guidance.

Buffalo went 5-7 in Year 1 and 2-10 in Year 2, but since then the Bulls have finished .500 or better each season.

From 2017-20, Buffalo went 30-16, giving it more wins in that span than any team in its conference.

Years 4-6 for Leipold at Buffalo all have concluded with a bowl appearance, and the 2020 season (the Bulls finished 6-1) might have been particularly impressive had the pandemic not shortened the schedule and limited the regular season to six games.

Bulls’ offense is thriving

With Leipold’s longterm plan in place and effective, Buffalo’s offense produced eye-popping numbers in 2020. The Bulls averaged 478.4 yards per game (18th among all FBS teams) and 7.33 yards per play (sixth in the country) while putting up 43.4 points per game (fifth nationally).

Much of that success came on the ground, with Buffalo posting 287.4 rushing yards a game (second in the FBS, trailing only Air Force) and 6.71 yards per carry (No. 1 in the nation).


Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

This has been my favorite of the names mentioned. A mix of taking a program with limited success and one that had not had good years leading to his hiring.

He has success at D-III and now was proving it at the next level. I think he has a solid base at KU and would be successful in 2-3 years. He has a hybrid offense and that is why i would take him (if he wants it) over Monken, just because of his offense.

I'm a bigger fan of this guy over Monken, but both would be welcomed for sure.

Kane I think will be interesting because of his KU ties; however, I don't think he will be able to pull it off.

Exciting times.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Absolutely a lot to like about him. Especially love the focus on the run.

While Monken is my first choice, Leipold seems like a really solid option.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 7 months ago

If we have to go outside, Lance Leipold has been my choice for awhile. What I question, is whether Kansas fans, those who don't immerse themselves as fans, will have the patience to give him a couple more years before this is a really good team. That will be the case no matter who is chosen as HC, outside or inside.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

In my opinion it has nothing to do with the fans.
Money talks and it's the donors and admin that are responsible for the pattern.
If you don't kiss up to the donors, they fire you.
If you are fat, ugly, or without perfect manners, they fire you.
If you don't have a winning record within 4 years, they fire you.
Any reason to dislike you and not the flavor of the day, they fire you.
It is, is not what it is, it's what they tell you it is.

Austin Lopez 1 year, 7 months ago

As a Kansas fan but also a life long/ current resident of the city of Buffalo, NY, with the team UB has coming back next year and the momentum UB has right now I don’t see Lance leaving for a place like KU. I think UB will open up the check book to keep Lance, trust me they can afford it, Plus their is a lot of A+ facilities that have been built and that are currently being built around the city. Too much momentum in the city right now for Lance to jump ship.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Austin, I hear you, but, from what I googled, Lance is currently making around $500,000 annually. His orginal contract was 5 years at 2.4 million. The average P5 salary is $1.64 million. Lance would probably start in that range at KU and would be earning more than 3X what he currently make to day. Buffalo may be able to afford that. But you have to agree, if Lance got a slary like that out of Buffalo his salary would be more than double any other coach in the Mac and probably at the very least severely frowned upon within the conference. I would think Buffalo would just try to go out and find another good D3 coach.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Immersed or not, fans have quickly turned in the past. Comments here have gone from it will take 3-4 years to fire the bum in a matter of weeks for recent regimes.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

He did well at a small school (I think Terry Allen did also?) but I think his record in the his first 4 years was the same as Turner’s.

I’m not comparing the coaching ability of the two, because I’m told it’s not comparable, but I believe an objective look at the #’s shows they’re virtually identical.

Edward Daub 1 year, 7 months ago

Goff cannot afford a Mulligan!

Lance's dream job would be Wisconsin Badgers (not available).

As Austin points out, Leipold has Momentum in Buffalo (Let's Go Bills!, oops Bulls) and would be smart to bide his time on choosing a Power 5 program.

KU Fans are also "haunted" by the memories of Turner Gill!

Lance will be offered the job, UB will raise his pay, and Lance will stay in western New York, according to my Ouija Board.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Rumors are Skip Holtz has been added to the list of finalists. No mention of Jones.

Robert Robinson 1 year, 7 months ago

KU fans in August: Give him a few years and he'll turn this program around.
KU fans in October: Fire this fool. He'll never lead this program anywhere

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