Thursday, March 11, 2021

KU names Emmett Jones the Jayhawks’ interim football coach

Kansas receivers coach Emmett Jones slaps hands with Steven Parker at the start of practice on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.

Kansas receivers coach Emmett Jones slaps hands with Steven Parker at the start of practice on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019.


At least some of the uncertainty surrounding the Kansas football program’s future dissipated Thursday, as Emmett Jones was named the Jayhawks’ interim head coach.

The team’s receivers coach and passing game coordinator was chosen for the role by KU Chancellor Douglas Girod and interim Athletic Director Kurt Watson.

Jones expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity, calling this “a critical time of change” for KU football.

“Since arriving here, I have developed a deep love of this program and university, and it is an honor to be named interim head coach,” Jones stated in a KU release. “I will rely on our talented assistant coaches, as well as (strength coach) Ben Iannacchione and the strength and conditioning staff to guide our (players) and be there for them on and off the field.”

A number of KU players Wednesday night utilized Twitter to to vocalize their support for Jones, a popular and respected member of the staff.

Watson said he and Girod concluded placing Jones in charge was in the best interest of the program’s players. Watson stated he met with Jones, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Josh Eargle, new offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, and the entire KU staff and team to announce the decision.

“Emmett’s relationship with our football (players) is vital,” Watson stated in a release, “as we venture through this time of transition within our football program and athletics department. I am confident in his abilities to ensure this program functions at a high level in preparation for the 2021 season.”

Jones has proven to be one of the most important recruiters for KU since joining the program as one of the initial members of Les Miles’ staff, often helping the Jayhawks land touted high school prospects from the Dallas area and throughout Texas. Jones previously worked at Texas Tech for Kliff Kingsbury, as the Red Raiders’ outside receivers coach (2016-18).

With spring football approaching, Jones is entering his third year with KU football. His coaching career began to take off following a successful run as a high school head coach in the Dallas area, most recently leading South Oak Cliff High (2012-14).

With KU currently in need of both an athletic director and a permanent head football coach, Girod said earlier this week that once an athletic director is in place, that person will determine the next steps to be taken in KU’s search for Les Miles’ permanent replacement.

Girod earlier this week named Watson, a KU alumnus and prominent donor, KU’s interim athletic director.


Chris Bailey 1 year, 6 months ago

It sounds like this was what the players wanted and hopefully that will keep our recruits and current players with the program.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Not a good long as a coach is named soon, that's okay, but WR coach who was not good at coaching the position with no head coaching experience.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

Help me understand this. What makes you say he was not good at coaching the WR position? From what I saw this past season, any WR problems mostly had to do with the OL not giving the QB an opportunity to make a good throw and also didn't give WR much time to run a route and get into a good receiving position. What am I missing? I am not an expert and am not dissing you. I really would like to know if I'm missing something here.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Fair question: As the passing coordinator and WR Coach: 54.8% receiving percentage, avg is around 60-63% now 458 yards was our leading receiver (43 catches), ranked about 140th 1389 total yards, 4000+ were the leaders 7 TDs in 9 games 10 Int in 9 games Parchment who was highly touted regressed as a senior (Only 24 catches, less than 3 a game) less than half the catches yards and touchdowns Only 4 receivers caught double digit catches in the season (not in a game) Lassiter II did improve under his mentorship I can't find drops, but there were lots of them

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

Thank you for the information. Was he also the passing coordinator and WR Coach the prior season, when Carter Stanley was QB and we had a reasonably decent O-line? (I can't remember all the coaching changes). If he was, then how were the numbers for that season? In other words, I'm wondering how much of the regression was due to the o-line and QB hurry situation? Drops are a different animal, assuming the passes were reasonably on-target. Thanks again.

Layne Pierce 1 year, 6 months ago

Ok. So now we have an interim coach with no hc experience, players are happy , but this is rolling the dice big time How long till we get ad and hc, Everyone players included has to let the process work, this is no popularity contest,this is a fb program at the bottom and about to fall off the precipice into total oblivion. Things can't get worse you say, they definitely could. Rcjh

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

We "rolled the dice" big time when Roy Williams was hired with only high school head coaching experience, too, and he didn't even have the interim title. I think this is a good interim move in several ways, including those already mentioned in other posts. Time will tell whether he earns permanent head coach job or not.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Umm, they had to name an interim while the search is conducted. As Chris points out, Jones is a player favorite, many of the recruits are his and he will simply be overseeing the program for a few weeks. It’s also a good way to give a coach a nice resume mark to support his career, while also getting a look at him in a bigger leadership role. And it will keep team morale up. Frankly, it was a no brainer and represents one of the first smart decisions I’ve seen made in KU football in awhile.

We went 0-9 last year.

Please highlight the overwhelming achievements of the coach on staff who was your clear choice.

Jim Keen 1 year, 6 months ago

Brett's comments are sometimes "out there". But I think he nailed it this time. Very will said, Brett!

Mike Hart 1 year, 6 months ago

Agreed. We have a 4 star WR recruit who came here specifically because of his relationship with Jones. This will keep our offensive recruits in order. And it is an interim position... so relax, everyone. Better someone familiar with the program and players than a guy brand new to KU. Jones will use DeBord and leverage his experience.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

They already had named an Interim Coach...they switched it...Why? If they make the guy that had 50% completion from the returning starter it doesn't bode well.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

Roy Williams had no HC experience other than High School when Kansas hired him. There was quite an uproar when he was hired. I don't know if Emmett Jones will end up as our HC but if he turns out to be the best fit.... who knows. He might do very well or he might not. That's pretty much true of any hire. I just hope "they" choose the best possible fit for our needs, whether that be Jones or someone else. And then give him the support he will need.

Chris Condren 1 year, 6 months ago

This appointment should help claim things down. Let’s see how he handles paring football.

Layne Pierce 1 year, 6 months ago

As I said, Brett, let's let the process play out, any coach chosen would have been controversial for some reason. There is no clear hc talent on the staff. Even you should admit that.


Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

Here is another point I don't quite understand. How did you determine there is "no clear hc talent on the staff?" I'm not close enough to the program's inner workings to make that determination.

Every head coach I ever heard of got his start somewhere. Most were at lower levels but not all. This sounds to me like an excellent opportunity to watch how he handles things during spring practice, not just the practice but everything, and also keeps many of our players and commits onboard at least until a HC is named. To me this seems like an intelligent decision. If Jones proves his chops during the spring, maybe he will be kept on as IHC during next season before a HC decision is made. If he doesn't prove he deserves that opportunity, then a different decision is made.

Jones does have some HC experience, albeit only at the high school level. Yes, I realize that's a totally different world.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

The coordinators have no head coaching experience. Many times you may have someone that has served as a head coach return to their roots to be a coordinator (e.g., Norv Turner, Jack Del Rio, Tom Herman, Mark Mangino, etc.)

However, on our staff, no one has served as a head coach from a collegiate or NFL perspective.

People usually progress from a player development/analyst, then a position coach, then a coordinator, then usually a head coach. Jones had a very similar resume to David Beaty. Head coaching experience in high school, various position coaches, latest position is WR and assisted with coordinating the passing offense.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

I can agree with "no head coaching experience" on our staff but don't see how that relates to head coaching "talent." The only way anyone will know if any of those guys has "head coaching talent" is to give them a try, either here or someone else. I'm not suggesting we should be the one to give them a try as HC but if Jones does well as interim HC then I would be ok with moving forward with him as HC. If he doesn't prove himself or if an obvious hire becomes available, then...

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Well said Dale, and while HS is a different world, TX big school football is probably closer than some college programs.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Exactly like Beaty..had championship head coaching experience in High School.

Doug Roberts 1 year, 6 months ago

Smart move to satisfy the players. Once a new head coach is named I bet theyll be required to keep Jones at least a year so as not to upset new or potential recruits. I think they did the same kind of thing with Reggie Mitchell several years ago didn't they? That was the speculation anyway.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 6 months ago

They did with Clint Bowen. Kept him for a year, then let him go.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 6 months ago

We can't miss on these next hires. That's what concerns me about the apparent urgency. Remember Zenger was going to leave and not come home until he had a coach in hand? Then he got homesick and hired Charlie Weis. Do we really expect a coach to leave the program he's at just as spring practice is starting to take a historically career ending job?

Let's take our time. If we go through the 2021 season with an interim head coach it's not the end of the world. Especially given that the current staff is recruiting at the highest level we've seen in many years. If we get in a hurry and screw up one more time we won't have to deal with 11:00 kickoffs any more in the Mountain West!

Layne Pierce 1 year, 6 months ago

I didn't say there was no hc talent on staff, I said there was no clear cut hc talent on staff, Otherewise its just speculation on anyone's part, but that being said, remember we were all able to convince ourselves that Weis was a good selection, and so on and so on...

There are many players on the team, a vote of every player was not taken, as far as we know a few more vocal players, (good ones at that) spoke up). Calming things down is fine, but ultimately it will be the committee's decision not the players.


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