Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Kansas football coach Lance Leipold says focus is on KU not Nebraska

Kansas coach Lance Leipold watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)

Kansas coach Lance Leipold watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)


Kansas football coach Lance Leipold, whose name has surfaced on media lists projecting possible candidates to replace Scott Frost at Nebraska, had little to say about the connection during Tuesday’s KU football press conference.

Asked at the start of his regular weekly meeting with the media if he had seen the lists or had any had any reaction to them, Leipold smiled, shook his head briefly and said, “No. I’m focused on this football team and getting ready for Houston, but appreciate you asking.”

The rest of the questions on Tuesday were either about the Cougars or the 2-0 start by Leipold’s Jayhawks in his second year in Lawrence.

Leipold was hired by KU in the spring of 2021 after a successful stint at Buffalo. At the time, he signed a six-year contract worth $16.5 million. Earlier this season, before KU's Week 1 win over Tennessee Tech, Leipold received a one-year extension, keeping him under contract at Kansas through the 2027 season.

KU Athletic Director Travis Goff said then that adding a year to Leipold’s original six-year deal was a demonstration of “exceptional confidence” the university has in Leipold and his coaching staff.

A few days later, Leipold called the gesture "very humbling and appreciated" and noted that stability was a key part of making progress during a rebuild.

“That continuity and stability is something we’ve talked about and this extension will give us something to add to that," the KU coach said. When you are looking at what this program has gone through, those are good signs to the locker room, recruiting, fan base, anyone who is affiliated with this or could be at some time in their life. I think this is all good.”

Kansas will travel to Houston this weekend for a 3 p.m. kickoff against its future Big 12 foe, which has opened the season with a 1-1 record.

Both of Houston’s games have gone to multiple overtimes, and the two programs already have played six overtimes between them this season.

“You know you’re going to be in a four-quarter — could be a four-quarter-plus, obviously — game with them,” Leipold said of Houston, which is led by former West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “They’re highly dynamic. Heading into the season they’re a team people talked about as this year’s version of Cincinnati and being a team in the College Football Playoff. (They have) speed in all positions of importance, size, (a good) offensive line, an experienced quarterback who can keep plays alive with his feet. A lot of things that will present a huge challenge for us and we’ll have to be ready to take another step.”

KU’s clash with Houston is slated to be the first nationally televised game of the season for the Jayhawks. It will air on ESPNU at 3 p.m. from TDECU Stadium.

KU’s first two games were shown on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.

Earlier this week, KU announced that it's Week 4 clash with Duke — Sept. 24 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium — was slated for an 11 a.m. kickoff and would be televised on FS1.


Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

“but I appreciate you asking”

That’s subtle but seems to reflect why Coach gets the buyin and collaboration he does. It’s the core of him as a person which when multiplied across the staff and players becomes culture. It is providing a positive response when it might be easier, more natural for the rest of our culture, to perceive things negatively.

Gavin Fritton 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I do not think Coach Leipold is going anywhere, but it's worth mentioning that he didn't exactly rule out going to Nebraska. And I get it, really, I do. Why would you rule out a job where no one had even approached you about discussing possibly taking it. But for KU fans who suffered through Roy Williams saying he was "never going through 'this' again," this sure could have been a much more complete denial.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I won't be comfortable until I hear that flat out complete denial of interest in leaving Kansas. What worries me is Kelly Leipold is from Nebraska and probably has family there.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Dale - While Kelly is from NE (?omaha?), it’s not that much farther from Lawrence than Lincoln (?1 vs 2 hours?). There could also be a benefit to not being in Lincoln with all the added pressure and scrutiny. So much easier to go back to visit with very little extra effort/pressure. Quite a bit different than needing to fly across the country.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Good points. Hope it's good enough. I think they really like Lawrence and hopefully don't want to uproot their son at this point.

Rodney Crain 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Did anyone really expect any other answer from him?

I would doubt we will know he is leaving till he is. No one is going to say anything, or leak anything.

We can throw money at him, but at this time we are a step or two down from a school like NE. It is a fact. He has to go if the money is right. With the portal, his players can follow him, his coaches will too. That is a fallen but recoverable program in a big time conference with serious money coming in.

Fixing NE is a bigger deal than fixing KU.

The only variable other than money, is if NE thinks they are a good coach away, or they need a fixer like coach L to rebuild the program from the ground up. A rebuild of 2-3 years is easier to deal with the expectations. If they hire a coach like Miles, or Weis, not them but someone like them, a named coach will be expected to win now. If the "name" coach does not win, they might fire the AD, other leaders and let them reset the program in a few years.

Coach L.'s name is going to pop up more and more for openings as he has success here. Getting us respectful in Football is quite a feather in his cap. Doing it at NE on the other hand, might attract SEC schools, where the prizes for winning seems to be unlimited right now.

It is not if, it is when he will leave.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe. Maybe not. He is 58. How long does he want to coach? At this stage does he want the stress of taking on another rebuild? Is the money really that important to him? As an old retired guy I know that there is a point at which enough money is enough and other things in life become the priority. Only time will tell.

Edward Daub 2 months, 2 weeks ago

This was a short press conference of 15 seconds.

It would be nice to hear the entire press conference.

I enjoy listening to Lance talk about KU football.

Rock Chalk!

Matt Tait 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We're getting that uploaded now. Just wanted to make sure you guys saw the clip of this answer as quickly as possible.

Ryan Mullen 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I forgot who it was but I seem to remember a high profile coach getting poached from a university and he was saying the same thing. Focus is still on so and so University. We only win 2 games in a row and already have to worry about a coach leaving what the hell. This is the kind of crap that will always keep this university back.

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I think Lance is a strong coach and he will turn KU around. However, he is 4-10 at KU with 2 wins against FBS and no wins against a ranked opponent. I believe that if Nebraska hires Leipold it would be more disappointing to the Nebraska fanbase than the Kansas fanbase. Leipold did great in Wisconsin, did pretty good in Buffalo, and for KU he is doing great, but in Nebraska, 4-10 in two years, isn't something you go and hire. KSU and ISU coaches have stronger resumes currently and probably easier to steal away and stronger to their fanbase. Ultimately, I think they look at Urban Meyer (I know a lot of noise, but he will win at the college level). The only reason Leipold is mentioned is that he is close by and I think he had a year back in the 80s there. I don't think Leipold is near the top of their list and I don't think Leipold wants that job.

Yes if he is 8+ wins this year, people will call, but even Nebraska would be at risk to getting Leipold...but with a season like that, he'll be much appreciate by KU and more appreciated if he returns.

Brett McCabe 2 months, 2 weeks ago

This should now all die down for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Alberts will have to start doing all of his research, which will take a few weeks, the back channel conversations will then begin in earnest. At some point, around that time, diligent reporters will begin to get tidbits from their sources, and everyone will have to start reacting to that. Rodney is right, we'll know the day he's leaving or the day before, if he's offered and accepts.

Till then, I'm hoping that the next 6 weeks play out in a way that everyone is talking about Leipold because it means that we've won some games. Win on the road, as an underdog, vs. a very good Houston team, get to 3-0, and the stadium will be almost full for the Duke game. It will be absolutely electric.

Randy Bombardier 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Jalon Daniels is already being mentioned in Heisman conversations. This coach will not abandon what he's building and young men involved.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It may be true that he doesn't bolt this year. But this will not be the thing that makes him stay.

Brad Watson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I support Coach no matter what he decides...he is the BEST coach in America and everyone would like to have if we want to keep him here...we need to show filling the stadium and showing our love ...and hopefully the SUITS will pony up some more cash for him and his very talented coaching staff...all deserve a healthy raise...because if we don't...Nebraska or somebody else will....6 National Titles...he might win a 7th this year... that's how good he is at what he does...I am a believer...I believe we can win every game this year...we want Bama in January!

Eliott Reeder 2 months, 2 weeks ago

As someone above mentioned, we all lived through “I could give a sh*t about North Carolina right now.” So I’m not counting on anything.

But I sure hope he stays. He could end up being a real legend at KU and Lawrence is an awesome town to be a hero in.

Doug Roberts 2 months, 2 weeks ago

FFS, how ridiculous is this? Perennial bottom dweller KU wins the first two games of a season for the first time in 11 years and there's already talk of someone poaching our coach.

Dale Rogers 2 months, 2 weeks ago

I don't think number of wins at this juncture plays a role. It's the progress in performance of this team that is catching the eye, especially after numerous other coaches, some with big names have tried and failed. His performance at all three stops, in other words.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Rodney - Completely agreeing - until the last sentence.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Matt - Just listened. Nice framing of the initial question. Let’s ask the question so we can get it out of the way and go on to talk about Houston. Good job.

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Dirk, it's hard to imagine him being successful at Kansas and not leaving for a bigger job/payday.

Even at 2-0 he doesn't have to make a bowl game this year. Win 5 games and it's a successful season. Make a bowl game next year, maybe 7 wins and he'll have plenty of offers, but maybe not any that would be enough to entice him away. Win 8 or 9 games and the big boys will start calling. He's the type of coach and the type of personality that you want for your football program.

Mangino had tremendous success at Kansas and still no one wanted him as the face of their program because he was grossly overweight and was a bigtime a-hole. In a way he was the perfect coach for us because no matter how good we got, no one else wanted him.

We can all hope that coach Liepold takes us to the same heights that Mangino did, but if he does the odds are very high (very, very) that someone makes him an offer he can't refuse. Especially if he does it before he's old enough to start taking social security.

Chad Smith 2 months, 2 weeks ago

KU and Gopher fan here. Fleck has interest from Nebraska, but unlike Leipold, he has two 9 win seasons under his belt and is 3-0 in Bowl Games. I don't think he's leaving Minnesota though because he genuinely loves it here and knows he's in a good spot to be the best gopher coach potentially of all time. I don't know why Leipold is being talked about two games into the season. Trust me, I want him to do well, but why don't we just focus on Houston and getting to 3-0. Wait til the offseason for all this other stuff.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Chad - All this other stuff isn’t waiting for the offseason because the Huskers didn’t. It’s currently the news. Matt did a nice job of getting the presser back on track, but the question was going to be asked. Hopefully Brett is right that it will get quiet while Trev does his job, though there will undoubtedly be more.

Now about Houston, …

Bville Hawk 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It would seem to me that if Nebraska can afford to spend $7.5 million rather than wait 3 weeks to fire their coach they need to be setting their sights on Nick Saban, or Dabo Swinney, or Lincoln Riley, or Urban Meyer. Why would they be interested in a middling coach like LL who did well at lesser division schools but has hardly proven he can consistently win big at the D1 level? At the bottom of their want list would be coaches like the ones at ISU or KSU who have shown the ability to win consistently at the D1 level while at traditionally non "big time" football schools.

Pat Bell 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Several folks have talked about when Roy Williams left after saying he was here to stay. What many forget is how so many fans turned against him at the beginning of that season when he lost the early tournament--the same fans who had pledged their forever support earlier.. The comments were terrible. It made it a lot easier for Roy to leave. As fans, it matters a lot how we support Coach Lance. We need to be part of the culture he is building. And in the meantime, let's enjoy the heck out of this season and show up for as many of the home games as we can. Rock Chalk Jayhawk KUUUUUUUUU!!

Jeff Coffman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Roy did not leave KU because of the KU fans.

Brad Watson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

We win this Saturday...and the College Football worlds' eyes will be on Lawrence next wouldn't surprise if Gameday or the Fox show made Lawrence their destination....but blinders and complete focus on Houston...we really need to play some tough D...with their elusive QB and those wide outs.....the DB's are going to have to man up in a big way and the entire defense is going to have to play out of their minds!!!....11 hats to the football!!

Joey Meyer 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Definitely do want a sellout for the Duke game, but let's hold the press on Gameday coming in town : )

Jonathan Allison 2 months, 2 weeks ago

haha, yeah, we won't have to worry about college gameday setting up in Lawrence for a while. We'd at least need to crack the top 25 and be hosting a ranked opponent before they'd even think about catching a game at Memorial Stadium.

Benny Armstrong 2 months, 2 weeks ago

It's entirely dependent on stories and the options available each week. This weekend, they're going to Boone, NC for App State/Troy and neither of them is ranked (though App State is receiving votes), but App State just upset A&M at home so they're the feel-good story. If KU and Duke are somehow both 3-0 heading into next weeks game, then I could see KU getting considered, however there are some better options available.

If the teams take care of business, then I think that it'll be at one of the following places: Knoxville for Tennessee/Florida Winston-Salem for Wake/Clemson Dallas for TCU/SMU Norman for KState/OU, or Corvallis for USC/Oregon St.

Dirk Medema 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Pat - There will always be whiners. Heck, we have them even when winning and in the best of times. Fortunately, Larry had started changing the culture when he got to Lawrence/Larryville, and Roy continued to build on it even if he did whiff on the championships.

Kinda interesting to consider Coach Self’s comments about one not being enough in light of Roy being an 0-fer at KU.

Glen Miller 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Truth is, we can all sit here and give our educated guesses on whether he would leave or not and there are a lot of good points from my fellow Jayhawk fans in here............. but for this Jayhawk, until he removes his name from the running or a coach is announced. I will cross my fingers and hope he stays. I trust Lance and I support him, even if he choses to move on to Nebraska. He's already earned that from me. I'm just enjoying this team we have right now and am extremely proud of what he and his staff and players have done in such a short time. Rock Chalk!!!

Mallory Briggans 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Even though Coach L is driving the victory bus right now around THE BOOTH remember its on loan from Coach Self until basketball season starts. So football team enjoy each victory but make sure you pick up your trash and make sure the tank is full when you park it at Allen Fieldhouse on November 2 ................Thank you for your support

Brad Watson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Mallory?.....Please expand on your thought....before I unload on you...I want to be clear in what you are actually saying/thinking.

Mallory Briggans 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Go ahead Brad speak your mind ......unload if you will . When your done I will finish my burger and fries and move on with my day ....................because its not that serious : )

Commenting has been disabled for this item.