Kansas has signed football coach Lance Leipold to a one-year contract extension that will keep him in charge of the program through the 2027 season.
Leipold, whose second season will begin Friday when the Jayhawks face Football Championship Subdivision opponent Tennessee Tech at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, went just 2-10 in his first year.
But athletic director Travis Goff found it worthwhile to reward Leipold for what he termed "Year 0" given the timing of his hiring and the challenges he faced in building a competitive team last season.
"This is a statement about our exceptional confidence in Lance, his outstanding staff and the unlimited potential of Kansas football," Goff said in a statement. "When you consider he and his staff did not arrive until May 2021, and therefore did not have a chance to coach our guys until August last year, the 2021 season could be considered 'Year 0.'
"Given the progress that's been made both on and off the field in such short order, I could not feel more strongly about the trajectory of this program under Lance's leadership, as well as our shared commitment to elevate Kansas Football to unprecedented heights."
Terms of Leipold's contract extension were not immediately made available by the university.
Leipold in April 2021 signed a six-year contract with an escalating annual salary that would pay him $16.5 million, or an average of $2.75 million per year. He was hired to replace Les Miles, with whom the university parted ways on March 9, 2021, amid sexual misconduct allegations dating to his time coaching at LSU.
The timing of Leipold's appointment meant the Jayhawks missed a crucial spring window to install his schemes and concepts and had to instead do so once training camp began in August.
That led to a disjoined, simplified approach to the start of the season, which got better late. Kansas surprisingly won in overtime at Texas on Nov. 13, then narrowly lost games at TCU and against West Virginia to close the season.
For months, the coaching staff and players have pointed to those three games as reasons why they believe this season will be different. Kansas also fortified its roster with the addition of 21 players who have transferred from another college since December.
Leipold guided Wisconsin-Whitewater, his alma mater, to six Division III national championships in eight seasons before he was hired by Buffalo to that same role in 2015. After improvement in those six seasons, including a first bowl win by the Bulls in the modern era of college football, Goff turned to Leipold to resurrect the Jayhawks — an appointment made just weeks after Goff was hired to replace Jeff Long, who resigned less than two days after Miles' departure.
"We're excited about Year 2," Leipold said during the formal portion of Big 12 football media days in July. "Year 1 was definitely a whirlwind, but we feel the foundation has been set in many ways, feel very pleased on how we finished last season, where we progressed here in the spring and some of the additions to our roster, and we're excited to get going."