Monday, May 3, 2021

Report: Numerous Buffalo assistants set to join Lance Leipold at KU

Receivers coach Rob Ianello watches over warmups during a morning practice on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Receivers coach Rob Ianello watches over warmups during a morning practice on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Memorial Stadium. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo


A fleet of Buffalo assistant coaches reportedly will soon be on the way to Lawrence to reunite with new Kansas head football coach Lance Leipold.

According to a Monday report from Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Leipold plans to hire seven members of his former staff as he takes over at KU.

The long list of new staffers for the Jayhawks includes Buffalo’s current interim head coach, Rob Ianello. The Bulls’ associate head coach and recruiting coordinator under Leipold, Ianello years back was a receivers coach at KU, on Charlie Weis’ staff.

Per Thamel’s report, Leipold plans to bring in both his offensive and defensive coordinator from Buffalo, as well: the Bulls’ offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Andy Kotelnicki and their defensive coordinator and safeties coach Brian Borland.

A source with knowledge of Leipold’s plans told the Journal-World defensive coordinator and linebackers coach DJ Eliot will not be retained.

KU’s most recent offensive coordinator hire, Mike DeBord, as of Monday had removed any mention of KU football from his Twitter bio.

Also reportedly on their way to KU are Buffalo linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Simpson, quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Jim Zebrowski, offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator Taiwo Onatolu.

Thamel also reported some of the roles the former Buffalo assistants will take on at KU have not yet been determined.

It’s possible some of the UB assistants could join KU in non-coaching roles.

A source familiar with the staffing transition told the Journal-World current KU assistants Chevis Jackson (cornerbacks) and Kwahn Drake (defensive line) remained in the mix to stick around on Leipold’s staff. It’s possible Jackson, Drake and/or other assistants could ultimately stay at KU.

Leipold on Monday during his introductory press conference didn’t rule out the possibility of retaining some former Les Miles assistants as holdovers on his first coaching staff at KU. But Leipold also seemed to allude to the fact that his staffing decisions won’t solely be based on a successful transition in 2021.

“As we put this staff together, this isn't for one season," Leipold said. "We are going to put a staff together for the future.”

KU and Leipold have not yet made any announcements about assistant coaches staying or new hires.

Below are the 10 on-field assistants who led the Jayhawks through spring football and were on Miles’ staff before he left the program:

• DJ Eliot, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach

• Mike DeBord, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach

• Emmett Jones, receivers coach and passing game coordinator

• Chevis Jackson, defensive backs coach

• Kwahn Drake, defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach

• Josh Eargle, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator

• Jordan Peterson, safeties coach

• Jonathan Wallace, running backs coach

• Lee Grimes, offensive line coach

• Jacob Schoonover, outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator

None by Pete Thamel


Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Ianello’s hat looks like it was made by Starter at beginning of the 1989 season. It’s only slightly more up-to-date than Snyder’s letterhead with the Ray Nitschke face mask.

There is no coach on this team that deserves to be kept on. I’ve been in favor of keeping Jones, not as a reward for his IHC time, but because he has been an effective recruiter. At the end of the day though, this is a tough business. It’s hypocritical to expect players to compete every day for their jobs and not expect the same of the ludicrously well-paid coaches.

Put up or shut up. That’s the business you are in. At every level.

Leipold has been hired to get it done. The fact that almost all of his staff is coming with him says a lot about him.

Really excited for this program.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

We’re finally closing in on a solid roster. I certainly hope we’re not throwing out the baby again.

It’s also a bit hypocritical, though par for history, to expect immediate results.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

Is this the first coach of these hires that brought their legacy coaching staff?

I'm guessing Jones wont be retained based on coaches identified as coming.

Mike Barnhart 1 year, 6 months ago

Leipold Made a huge point at his presser about staff continuity. He basically said KU’s revolving door of assistants and coordinators was a contributing factor in its failure. I love this move!!! Our new coach has a loyal crew!

Robert Brock 1 year, 6 months ago

I’ll bet that Jones and Drake are retained.

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't know about Drake, but I would be surprised if Jones is retained.

Leipold knows that it will be a rocky few years and the last thing you need on the staff is the "what-if" we had gone with Jones on your staff the hole time.

Also, the WR coach has been hired as well as the OC. You might say a different position coach, but let's be realistic, that would be a stretch at best.

Jones did us a service during the interim process and will land somewhere, but i would be very surprised if it is at KU.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Listen to the interview in this link then read the description:

This is the epitome of humility.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Name dropping.

Nice to be able to tell a recruit I develop Khalil Mack from a lightly recruited HS player to the 5th selection in the NFL draft

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Kotelnicki previously coached RB so I could see him transitioning back to keep Jones in place.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Zebrowski’s name might not be familiar, but the QBs and teams he’s coached should be.

Edward Daub 1 year, 6 months ago

5 Great Videos DIrk! Thanks for sharing.

Allin Herring 1 year, 6 months ago

Hmmmmmmmm I think I remember we have already had a coach from Buffalo. How did that one so for us!

Edward Daub 1 year, 6 months ago

Gill was 3-9 and 2-10 at KU, then got fired.

Leipold was 5-7 and 2-10 at UB, then got it going.

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