Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Names of potential KU football coaching candidates emerging quickly

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)


Exactly who will be coaching the Kansas football team when it takes the field this coming fall is up in the air just a few weeks before the scheduled start of spring practices.

Les Miles is out. Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord is the acting head coach for now. And an interim could be named before the Jayhawks have someone in charge for the long haul.

Even though the head coaching position for the Big 12’s perpetual last place program just officially became vacant late Monday night, lists of potential candidates began making the rounds on national websites once KU placed Miles on administrative leave.

Already, in particular, three names of current college head coaches have been brought up by multiple outlets — Buffalo’s Lance Leipold, Tulane’s Willie Fritz and Army’s Jeff Monken.

As KU Athletic Director Jeff Long, with the help of an outside firm, tries to find the right hire for the long struggling program, those three appear to be early frontrunners.

It’s also possible KU could decide to promote from within, and the top candidates from the current football staff are defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and receivers coach and passing game coordinator Emmett Jones, along with DeBord, whom Long named the acting head coach.

DeBord has only worked at KU a month. Eliot and Jones both have coached the Jayhawks for two-plus years now. Eliot also has experience as a defensive coordinator at Power Five programs Colorado (2017-18) and Kentucky (2013-16). Jones has proven to be one of the most important recruiters for KU since joining the program and previously worked at Texas Tech for Kliff Kingsbury, as the Red Raiders’ outside receivers coach (2016-18).

A coach whose name hasn’t been brought up nationally but would be familiar within the KU football facilities is former offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon. Because Dearmon just left KU this offseason to become the O.C. at Middle Tennessee, though, it’s possible KU and Long might not even reach out to him.

Below is a rundown of the active head college football coaches whose names have been linked to the KU search so far — via The Athletic, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports and Football Scoop. Each potential candidate is listed with his career record as a head coach.

Lance Leipold, Buffalo (37-33 in 6 seasons)

Willie Fritz, Tulane (47-40 in 7 seasons)

Jeff Monken, Army (49-39 in 7 seasons)

Jay Norvell, Nevada (25-22 in 4 seasons)

Sean Lewis, Kent State (12-17 in 2-plus seasons)

Skip Holtz, Louisiana Tech (115-89 in 16 seasons)

Mike Neu, Ball State (22-34 in 5 seasons)

Bill Clark, UAB (40-22 in 5 seasons)

Craig Bohl, Wyoming (38-44 in 7 seasons)

Ken Niumatalolo, Navy (101-67 in 14 seasons)

Jason Candle, Toledo (38-21 in 6 seasons)


Sam Walters 1 year, 9 months ago

Back the BRINKS truck up to Dave Doeren's house in NC and tell him it's his job and he has complete control. Right the wrong of passing over him on three separate occasions.

Andy Tweedy 1 year, 9 months ago

We should have hired him in round 1, and now we have miss after miss after miss!

David Friend 1 year, 9 months ago

Talk about irresponsible journalism. The pundits are just throwing names out without any ounce of fact. We don't even know if the Athletic Director will be here next week. We are not going to get any of these guys mentioned unless we throw huge money at them. What we really need is a Roy Williams type of hire. That guy may be under our nose in Emmett Jones.

Matt Lindaman 1 year, 9 months ago

Pretty much a list of every mid-major coach. If you corroborate however, many news outlets from their side are linking their names to KU. Don't know much about the list, but UAB went from no program to winning record. Toledo always seems to be a winning route. For the record though, I grew up in Iowa and was a big Jay Norvell fan in the midish-80s. HIs first coaching gig was Northern Iowa in 1988 under Earl Bruce. His coaches at Iowa during his playing days--Hayden Fry with a staff of Barry Alvarez, Stoops, Bill Snyder, and Kirk Ferentz. Norvell later spent time working for Alvarez and has pro coaching experience (including Peyton Manning). Once passed up for a head coaching job at Bowling Green for Urban Meyer.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 9 months ago

Emmett Jones isn't even a coordinator. This is a guy exactly like Beaty. Wide Receiver Coach that is known for recruiting.

David Friend 1 year, 9 months ago

We will be lucky to get someone who reads and write at this point. Jones is way more impressive than Beatty. I never said he is the best choice but we have to be realistic at this point.

Dee Shaw 1 year, 9 months ago

Ryan Held is my choice. RB Coach at Nebraska. Great recruiter. Grew up in the Kansas City metro. Went to high school at Blue Valley North. Remember the name.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 9 months ago

Not even an offensive coordinator? We just did that with Beaty, we had a wide receiver coach who was a great recruiter. We need a head coach.

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 9 months ago

I used to say Ed Wariner. I think he's been passed over before. My thinking is the same. Get the best oline coach from either big 10 or sec who wants to be a head coach. Both Glen Mason and Mark Mangino were offensive line coaches. Our best teams have had our best lines. It's where the game is won or lost.

Mike Hart 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, and you know who else was an OL coach? LES MILES. How many OL coaches did he go through in 2 years? 3...

Randy Bombardier 1 year, 9 months ago

I just was thinking the same thing, Jeff. You beat me to it.😃

Brett McCabe 1 year, 9 months ago

Monken is the answer. Not only would he win, he’s build us into a powerhouse.

Jeff Long should not be allowed within 100 yards of this coaching search.

John Joseph Gorski 1 year, 9 months ago

Not even close. Kansas doesn't have the personal for that kind of offense and trying to change the current offense to a triple offense would take 4-5 more years. Not gonna happen.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

Sounds like Monken is doing just about everything right. Hmmmm, where have I heard that before?

Dirk Medema 1 year, 9 months ago

Regardless of the lists created by people who have no part in the search, a more pertinent question might be who wants to come to KU. Lots of names thrown around and comments about some being “passed over” though there’s no actual knowledge of interest on the part of the coach.

The one person I remember expressing an interest in our program that wasn’t hired was Tommy Tuberville who ended up at TTU and flamed out almost as fast as Gill. Along those lines, I also vote no on Buffalo coaches.

Doug Cramer 1 year, 9 months ago

We all know that the only way to end the curse is to do the right thing. And the right thing is to offer the job back to the greatest football coach this program has ever had.

At least give him the opportunity to turn it down, and maybe the Curse of Mangino will finally go away.


Robert Brock 1 year, 9 months ago

Didn’t the Jayhawks hire a coach from Buffalo U. just a handful of years ago? How’d that work out?

Lance Meier 1 year, 8 months ago

Last thing KU needs is to hire a coach that's NOT an OC or DC. If U put Urself out there again with a position coach, U hire a guy that does not have to deal with more players then there are platers in/at the position he coaches. WR coach, U only coach them and maybe TE's. DB coach, U only deal with DB's. ETC... ETC... Needs to be able to coach all players and communicate with other coaches on what he wants and how he wants his O or D run. Needs to be able to handle all or a lot of the day to day BS that comes with being a HC, and still coach a position or a majority of time on one side of the ball or the other... EXPERIENCE! That is what it comes down to, who or whom wants to come to Lawrence that has an actual coaching (History) background, one who will no doubt deal with a ton of questions and doubters each and every day! KU has not won in over XXXX years, why can U win here? Got to get some damn PRIDE back in the program, too many games in last 20 years U could see, no pride no ownership of this program... KU for quick turn, SPEED SPEED SPEED, cant teach that, then get some guys on that D line that U cant move, Samoans??? Those guys are like rocks, why cant KU get some pipe line going, getting these big unmovable bodies into Lawrence Kansas and continue to recruit them... West coast teams seem to have no problem... I know its closure for them to Hawaii but gotta START somewhere!!!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.