Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Reports: KU narrowing in on its next football coach

Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff addresses the football team following a spring practice, on April 8, 2021, Goff's third day on the job at KU.

Kansas Athletic Director Travis Goff addresses the football team following a spring practice, on April 8, 2021, Goff's third day on the job at KU.


The Kansas football program might have a new head coach lined up by the time the Jayhawks kick off their spring game on Saturday night.

According to reports, KU Athletic Director Travis Goff’s nationwide search for the position has narrowed down to four names.

Both ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported KU is most interested in Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold, Army head coach Jeff Monken, Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz and Texas A & M defensive coordinator Mike Elko.

Dodd identified Monken and Leipold as the favorites and reported a decision could be reached as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

Goff’s initial round of interviews began this past week, before the reported finalists emerged.

Leipold has been the head coach at Buffalo since 2015, putting together a 37-33 record over the past six seasons. Each of Buffalo’s previous three campaigns concluded with a bowl game.

Monken took over at Army ahead of the 2014 season. In seven years under Monken, the Black Knights are 49-39. Army has gone 3-1 in bowl games in the past five years, as well.

An FBS head coach for 16 seasons, Holtz has spent the past eight years at Louisiana Tech, going 61-41 with seven consecutive bowl berths and a 6-1 mark in those postseason games. Prior to that, Holtz went 16-21 at South Florida from 2010-12 and 38-27 at East Carolina from 2005-09.

Elko has spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Texas A & M, in the SEC. Previously, Elko also served as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Bowling Green and Hofstra.

The Jayhawks, led by interim head coach Emmett Jones throughout the spring practice schedule, are set to play their spring game at 6 p.m. Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium (ESPN+).

None by Adam Rittenberg

None by Dennis Dodd


Joe Black 1 year, 7 months ago

Let's just hire Skip's dad Lou instead. He is very entertaining at least. I've been to several Corporate events where he has been the motivational speaker. Before any of you blow a heart valve, I'm just being humorous about hiring him as head coach.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Lou was the naysayer when KU was in their Orange Bowl year. He wouldn't acknowledge KU was any good and didn't think they should be in a BCS bowl game.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 7 months ago

I just cannot for the life of me square the obsession for this sport at Kansas. For a team that is 5-115 in last couple years, lot of energy is put into it.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Because it is amazing that they played 120 games in the last 2 years.

Hope is a powerful message though.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Hard No to Skip Holtz and his loony tunes nut job of a dad.

Surprised that the coordinator on the list isn’t Kevin Kane.

If Monken and Leipold are the top two, we will get a good coach.

For those who don’t think Monken can succeed against tougher competition, he is 3-1 in bowl games. Not bad. And remember, in those games, Army’s opponents had weeks to prepare for the offense that Big 12 teams will get one week to prepare for.

Nothing so soothing as the Triple Option!

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm not a triple option fan and not sure if it will be successful, but to tell you the truth if Monken is selected, I'll be 100% behind it.

Saban is my top choice, but not sure he will leave for KU (even though that would prove he is the best coach ever). Joking aside, Leipold is a solid choice and if he is willing to come, we will come out way ahead.

I'm not sold on Skip because he didn't do good at one location, and KU will be a tough spot.

The coordinator to me is a placeholder in case if all of the coaches say no. This gives us an option.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Elko is making $2.1 million as a COORDINATOR at Texas. Goodness. Apparently he turned down the Temple job in 2018.

As far as Saban is concerned, I heard that the sticking point was that KU wouldn’t install the automatic door opener with a button on his desk that he says saves him time. Something about a bad experience with Weis and an automatic deep fried hot dog dispenser that went south.

Ted Hume 1 year, 7 months ago

this reminds me of how funny it was during past coaching searches that Brent Venables' name would come up on these sites by this or that person. Some non-HC's like Brent V. have WAAAAY better jobs with better-than-HC salaries than to ever remotely consider, let alone take on, a hopeless cause like being the "next temporary HC" at the worst Power 5 team in the country. Hilarious!

Glen Miller 1 year, 7 months ago

I've read that he will run a bit different offense if he comes here, but still run dominant. I think coming here and pushing the triple option as it's run there onto the roster we currently have would not be smart......... we don't have the players to run the type of offense.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

I think Monken, if hired, will adjust to his roster as you suggest. And given his limitations in recruiting, his offense may be more limited at Army than even he’d like.

But, if it’s a close decision, Goff will probably go the safe route with Leipold. And he’d be excellent.

Michael Leiker 1 year, 7 months ago

It’s just so difficult for a new coach to understand what it takes to win at KU. Wish they were looking harder at Kane

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Any of the four are excellent choices...where is our percentage wheel ... tait?

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 7 months ago

Not hard to predict how this train wreck plays out. First, let me preface by saying that Jones was on course to at least put a competitive product on the field this fall, say 2-4 wins and no losses greater than 24 points. So why would we expect anything less from a new hire? So here's how it will go:

  1. With a wasted spring and a coach that will want to install "his system", we will once again flounder to a 1-11, maybe 2-10 season.
  2. There will be a mass exodus of the recruits that the current staff worked so diligently to obtain.
  3. The Charlie Weis "bring in the Cavalry" mentality will set in and we'll revert back to the juco/graduate transfer recruiting mode for year two.
  4. As always, half of the transfers will either not pan out, get in off-the-field trouble, or just never show up.
  5. Year two record: 2-10.
  6. Panic sets in and an even more aggressive pursuit of transfers will ensue.
  7. Oh boy, we win 3 games in year 3, scholarship numbers are back in the 60's and it's time to make a change again.

Sound familiar?

Ted Hume 1 year, 7 months ago

bingo. that's why one has a good argument to let Jones try and build something meaningful with his players, who by all reports are inspired by him and want him to lead them. I understand that's not the way coaching searches and hires happen at this level and i get it, but a part of most of us wishes it were true just for the novelty of it + 10 years and half a dozen coaches is evidence that the traditional replacement rout might need shaking up. Could jones do any worse that a 1 win season? sure but only by 1

Ted Hume 1 year, 7 months ago

at least they could put into new coach ----'s contract that he has to retain Jones on his staff when he brings in a new team of coaches....please do that

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Charlie, I disagree with you on every point. I challenge you to pull this post up at the conclusion of year one and the conclusion of year two and see how your predictions pan out.

BTW: Your assumptions on Jones are based on what, exactly?

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Spot on Charlie, Brett is just wrong. There is zero risk in hiring Jones for the next one to two years. IMO, hiring an outisde coach into disaster is not the answer.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Charlie - You described CWs juco recruiting, but DB totally changed that trend. It’s understandable to be cynical but let’s not lose all grasp of reality.

Brian Wilson 1 year, 7 months ago

Dirk - If DB changed that trend then why did we fire him? We should be cynical of any hire coming in making changes because that is exactly how we got to this point. The least risk for KU is to keep what we have and build on it. Let Jones run it for two years and then make a decision and let's see what can be accomplished by having a full roster of home grown recruits. What's the risk? Two bad years? Like we haven't had that already. If KU hires someone from outside, KU risks losing the family of players they worked so hard to develop.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 7 months ago

I think if you look at it, Beaty talked a good game but didn't do anything to add to scholarship numbers. In fact, we may have had less when he left than when he arrived.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 7 months ago

The other day someone was posting about coaching hires. Glen Mason and Mark Mangino's names came up. The individual that posted said that both were proven coaches. Mason had spent two years as head coach at Kent State and Mangino started out as an administrative assistant at K-State and worked his way up to a coordinator at OU.

We hired Mason simply because Kent State pounded KU 31-14 the prior year. He was viewed as a young up and coming coach at the time. People forget that in that coaching search there was an assistant at Iowa that really wanted the KU job. He didn't have head coaching experience so we passed on him. One year later he was hired at K-State. His name was Bill Snyder. Honestly, I was never disappointed in that simply because I wasn't wild about his personality. But it goes to show that getting the proven coach isn't necessarily the best choice.

Brett, you're absolutely right. We'll need to look at this two years down the road and see where we ended up. I hope I'm totally wrong and we made a great decision. Based on our track record I don't think that will be the case. A new hire has got to be a home run or we're in serious jeopardy of being escorted out of the Big 12.

Brian Skelly 1 year, 7 months ago

I'd be okay hiring Jones simply because KU has proven they're not good at this at all.

Im sure that's not what's happening. But the only way is up. Hopefully not sideways... like it's been for a decade.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Jones isnt going to be the head coach unless all others say no. He isnt winning 2 games and has been the least productive passing coordinator.

I dont know what the infatuation with this guy is. Kliff kingsbury had twice to take him with him and he wasnt invited to go. The new regimen could have kept him and they didnt. When an OC position came available twice under miles, he was passed on. When there needed to be an IHC he was passed on. Only after long was fired did they switch to him.

He has under performed as a position coach and if we lose him during transition...that wont be our biggest issue. If monken is selected our passing offense wont much different.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 7 months ago

Brian - DB was fired in particular because he never turned into the game day HC he needed to be. If he had, we would have been bowling his last year or really close.

Charlie - Your comments about the roster are so far from factual it’s almost comedic. The numbers were in the 40’s when he arrived and 60-70 when he left. Not done, but at least better than our FCS opponents.

Kendrick is a great example of how different and more effective DBs recruiting. He’s a former JC, but came to KU after just 1 semester at San Mateo JC and has been around longer than just about anyone not named Prison Mitch.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 7 months ago

Charlie, Mason had been the OC at Ohio State, Mangino was promoted to OC at OU and had worked for years as part of the Snyder staff you just mentioned. That’s why I said that they were both proven coaches.

Gill? Had only proven he was mediocre. Weis? Proven as a fired head coach. Beaty? Never a coordinator. Jones? Unproven.

And Dirk, Beaty gutted the roster with JUCO players. It’s documented fact. Why do you continue to state otherwise.

And Charlie, your first prediction will be proven wrong almost immediately. There won’t be an exodus of players. These guys want to win.

Robert Brock 1 year, 7 months ago

Hire Monken. Make Jones Assistant Head Coach. Retain the OC (everybody HAS to run the Spread, right?).

Then, get the rest of the staffers in. Don’t hire the Lawrence High coach. ;)

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 7 months ago

Jones as an Assistant Head Coach as a position coach? You forget that Monken likely doesn't even need a passing coordinator or WR coach for his offense. Jones becomes the most expendable coach if Monken is hired.

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