KU AD Jeff Long follows interesting coaching names on Twitter


 FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford watches his team defeat Boise State 28-17 during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif. For the second straight week Boise State and No. 25 Fresno State meet. This time it's for the Mountain West Conference championship and the game is in Boise rather than Fresno. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian, File)

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, file photo, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford watches his team defeat Boise State 28-17 during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif. For the second straight week Boise State and No. 25 Fresno State meet. This time it's for the Mountain West Conference championship and the game is in Boise rather than Fresno. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian, File) by Gary Kazanjian/AP photo)

All athletic directors constantly update lists of names of coaching candidates in case they happen to be in the market for a new one. Obviously, KU athletic director Jeff Long isn't going to share his list, so I thought I would check out his Twitter account to see what college football coaches he follows.

It proved a worthwhile exercise. Maybe it doesn't mean anything, but if you were a month or so away from hiring a new head football coach, wouldn't you be curious as to how candidates use social media?

It's an interesting list, including one terrific prospect I had not considered, another up-and-comer, and then others I already have examined here.

Head coaches Long follows: Wake Forest's Dave Clawson, North Carolina State's Dave Doeren, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin, Seth Littrell of North Texas. Doeren, of course, was the best recruiter at Kansas under Mark Mangino and is a proven head coach, having won at Northern Illinois and in his current job, where he is 5-1, even though the team lost seven players, including four defensive linemen, in the most recent NFL draft. Doeren is from Johnson County and in the past aggressively pursued the job. He has a $4.5 million buyout and there is no guarantee he would leave a place where he has it rolling.

UNT's Littrell worked as a graduate assistant under Mangino, but is believed to be more interested in making a jump to a school that has a better recruiting footprint and a more successful football history.

The potential candidate followed by Long on Twitter I had not thought of has a terrific history for upgrading football programs in distress: Jeff Tedford of Fresno State.

The Bulldogs went 1-11 the year before Tedford, 56, became head coach. He is midway through his second season and is 16-5 with a bowl victory. Incredible turnaround. Not impressed because Fresno State isn't a Power Five school? OK, let's look at how California did before, during and after Tedford.

Cal was 82-57 overall and 50-45 in conference play in 11 seasons under Tedford. In the 11 previous seasons, the Golden Bears went 52-73 overall and 29-59 in Pac-10 play. In the five-and-a-half seasons since Tedford was fired, Cal is 28-40 with a 13-36 conference mark. Clearly, Tedford knows how to kill losing cultures and kill them quickly.

Long also follows the Twitter accounts of two assistant coaches of note: Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, whose name often surfaces in discussions about a successor to Bill Snyder, provided Snyder ever leaves the post. Leavitt started the USF program from scratch and won big.

Also, Long follows Chip Long, 35. He is in his second season as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame after one year at Memphis. His name soon will become a hot one on lists of assistant coaches ready to take over programs. Chip Long was a graduate assistant at Arkansas for two years, the first two years of Jeff Long's 10-year run at Arkansas.


Doug Longstaff 3 years, 9 months ago

Obviously, this is all wild speculation. But Chip Long would be a very interesting hire. There was some chatter that he would be Saban's pick to replace Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator at Alabama earlier this year. That didn't happen....but there's not much risk in taking a shot at a rebuilding job at a place like KU. Jeff Long insulted the salary offers that Zenger put out there in the last head coaching search, clearly sending a signal that the next head coach at Kansas would be paid REAL Power 5 money. Chip could take it, and there are only three possibilities for him, all good:

  1. He's successful and launches into a more sought-after head coaching job.
  2. He's successful and he decides to be the Bill Snyder of Kansas football and never leave.
  3. He's unsuccessful in turning the ship around (join the club). He'd still be in this 30s, he'll have been paid a pile of money, and his skills as a coordinator would likely get him employed again in a good program, and soon, and he can start over no worse for wear.

Kevin Robert Fest 3 years, 9 months ago

I hope Long has 1, 2, 5, 10 names in mind as soon as season ends. But why would Doeren or any if these coaches with strong established programs come here and clean up this mess? 1 recruit so far, very little time to get a class together, 2-3 years of struggle before results. I figure most wouldn't want to start over and this is so bad it's really starting from nothing.

Dillon Davis 3 years, 9 months ago

The pitch to Doeren would be "come be the hometown hero." Like Tom said, he's actively pursued the job in the past but Zenger wouldn't hire him. So he clearly has an interest and he probably has friends/family in and around KU. And maybe with those connections he could recruit around here. It'd be an absolute homerun hire to get Doeren.

[''] 3 years, 9 months ago

I would love it! But he has become a town hero in NC St. Would you rather live in warm, balmy NC all year round with a program on the rise and Top 20 or come back to KS for cold in the winter and stifling heat in Summer. My guess is NC St will open up the checkbook for him again after this year and make it impossible for him to leave.

Titus Canby 3 years, 9 months ago

Dillon, I agree with you 100%. Coaches are extremely competitive. The pitch is, "you get to build a program from scratch." Come to KU and slay a dragon. Do something that no one else has ever done.

Anyone can go to an established powerhouse and win. And after a while it all starts to feel like the same thing year after year. But if you truly want to put your stamp on a program (like Bill Snyder did), come to KU. The prize at the end is immortality. Get you name on the stadium.

I believe we're thinking way too small. Why not make this pitch to Nick Saban?

And yes, I'm being serious.

Michael Maris 3 years, 9 months ago

Coach Doeren has a proven track record. And (as Jayhawk nation all knows), he has a history with the Jayhawk program. It's true that the State of Kansas is NOT a major recruiting field for P5 Football recruiting. But, there are kids in Kansas who do make P5 Football players. And, I think that Doeren and staff can turn that recruiting ship around. I think a wise thing to do, would be to employ former Butler County Community College HC Troy Morrell on the staff. Coach Morrell obviously has had success of recruiting Kansas kids to BCCC (in his successful past). Morrell (OL) is a Kansas guy. Another key would be to retain Coach Bill Miller (LB) on the Defensive Staff (as well), he's a Kansas guy. Bring back Kevin Kane (DC), he's a Kansas guy. Keep Clint Bowen around (as Director of Football Operations), he's a Kansas guy. Try with all of their might, to keep Coach Hull (RB) around (with his Louisianimal recruiting skills), sadly I'm betting that he's being looked at hard and heavy by SEC schools (now) to be added to their staff for the 2019 Season. If Hull is not retained, try to bring back Coach Reggie Mitchell (with his past Kansas connections). I believe that this avenue would PROVE to the High School Coaches (in the State of Kansas) to at least give Kansas a legitimate shot at recruiting Kansas kids to build up their roster. And, then recruit Oklahoma, Texas, etc...... It CAN be done. But, people have to BELIEVE that it can be done. Obviously, these so called Kansas Blast recruiting trips were just a marketing ploy (that really did lead do any type of success). When, K-State can out recruit Kansas in the City of Lawrence, Kansas. Then, you have the wrong Football HC at the University of Kansas. But, I have looked at other Big XII programs and seen quite a few Kansas kids on respective rosters (outside of Texas and OU). And, Derek Kerstetter's (OL @ U. of Texas) dad Devin Kerstetter grew up in Protection, Kansas (and Derek's grandmother still lives in Coldwater, Kansas and Uncle lives in Protection). Derek was offered a scholarship by Beaty & Staff. Derek initially committed to Okie-State. Then, Texas swooped in at the last minute and offered Derek. And, Derek committed to Texas very close to signing day. In conclusion, this westward migration (on I-70) of Lawrence, Kansas High School football talent needs to STOP. Sorry Beaty, I supported you strongly pretty much through last season. But, you've lost my support. I'm moving on from you. Good luck in your future coaching endeavors.

Michael Maris 3 years, 9 months ago

Obviously, these so called Kansas Blast recruiting trips were just a marketing ploy (that really did NOT lead to any type of success).

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 9 months ago

I stopped reading your post when you mentioned keeping Clint Bowen, He has led directly to two coaches performing poorly.

Jack Hoff 3 years, 9 months ago

Jeff Long was the chairman for the Inaugural College football Committee. No doubt he has countless connections and options in the college football world to ultimately make his choice when the time comes. I personally like the idea of bringing Mangino back. I think he has proven he can turn a program around, has recently expressed interest via twitter for wanting to coach again and I think he would rally a stagnant fan base in quick fashion due to the name recognition. Now certainly there are other great options! Just curious what the pulse of the people might be if they did get Mangino back?? Upset? Encouraged? Disappointed?

Doug Longstaff 3 years, 9 months ago

Pass on Mangino. In a perfect world he'd STILL be our head coach right now. But that ship sailed. He's 62 years old, and his last coaching stop didn't end well at all. He made a lot of money coaching, and I find it hard to believe he'd have the energy and/or motivation to get up everyday and put the passion into it that's required. Much prefer we go young, unless there's a guy in his 50s with a little more tread on the tires than Mangino.

He's earned his retirement.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 9 months ago

Not a chance -- and thank God for that ...

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't think Mangino has the connections to build a coaching staff. Keep in mind that is still one of Beaty's biggest weaknesses and we have seen the turmoil of his staffs every year including already this year. I don't think most people would want him back and I don't think KU will even attempt to bring him back.

[''] 3 years, 9 months ago

If Long hires ANYONE with no head coaching experience then HE needs to be fired. There are GREAT candidates out there who are coaching NOW and doing great things -- we don't need another Beaty debacle. Bottom line.

Dillon Davis 3 years, 9 months ago

I will say that there's a big difference b/w hiring someone like Beaty who was an average OC at Rice University and hiring someone like Brent Venables at Clemson but I agree. You need a proven head coach who can recruit in the Midwest and Texas because of how big of a rebuilding project this is going to be - not an unproven coordinator.

[''] 3 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. My point is -- this job will be a huge remodel/gut job. Do we want to hand that off to someone who has NEVER been a HC?. It isn't like we are handing off this smoothing flowing win machine cuz our HC got lured away because of his success.We need someone like a Tedford or Frist who has taken over a struggling program and turned it. I realize Mangino didn't have any HC experience and turned it -- but, two things: it was a slow go...we don't have that luxury now. And frankly, Mangino inherited a team in MUCH better shape than the next here will get. Find a solid HC, pay him, don't try the bargain route. Zengy proved that doesn't work.

Layne Pierce 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Long, welcome to the world of difficult questions, Oh I know you've had to deal with them before, but this is the toilet bowl, many years of neglect, and a willingness to be less than mediocre have taken their toll.

Now I can tell you that on paper, there is no reason why KU can't be mediocre and occasionally better than mediocre.

We the fans are just tired of being awful, and worse, we are tired of seeing no real improvement, no real conscientious adherence to a plan that could work.

We all know that football is a game that requires numbers, and a constant adherence to sound football principles and details.

Please get us a head coach with experience, a teacher, and a motivator of coaches, players, and perhaps most importantly fans.

We are tired of being a laughing stock, and we count on the fact that such a state of affairs is unacceptable to you.

We know it will take time, but improvement, vision, organization, maximization of available talent, those are things that are obvious in a very short period of time.

Please don't try to do it on the cheap, and please don't use money to make a selection look better than it really is.

If we seem cynical, just look at the track record.


Titus Canby 3 years, 9 months ago

Good points Layne. One of things I like about Long is that he has already come out publicly and chastised the KU administration for not putting the necessary resources into football. Meaning hiring a coach on the cheap. Who was the chancellor when we did that? BGL? I still blame her for this mess, starting with not wanting to pay Harbaugh and going with Gill.

Jerry Walker 3 years, 9 months ago

If AD Long is as smart, credentialed, and connected as everyone believes...the party is over for Beaty. It doesn't matter what/how Beaty performs in the remaining games he's finished as head coach at KU.

Beaty's abject failure is clear to anyone with the ability to sit up and take nourishment. It's only a matter of time until Long pulls the plug on Beaty's career at KU. You'd have to be an idiot or a K-State fan to argue in favor of keeping Beaty.

Sayonara, adios, goodbye and hallelujah!!!!

Len Shaffer 3 years, 9 months ago

Not just a KSU fan but anyone else in the Big XII. They must love having one game every year that they KNOW they won't have to worry about.

Eric Bernauer 3 years, 9 months ago

We may not win any Big 12 games, but look at all the Homecoming games we are invited to!

Brett McCabe 3 years, 9 months ago

Never shop for groceries when you are hungry. Every candidate Keegan ever mentions gets me revved up.

Tom Keegan 3 years, 9 months ago

I know what you mean. I get revved up about each one when comparing to current situation. That's why I don't think it will be tough to get somebody good, even though the mess the coach inherits will be worse than the one Beaty inherited. Charlie Weis' juco recruiting left scholarships out of whack but at least he left behind some good high school players. Wise and Dineen are 2 of the top 3 players on the team (Pooka).

Len Shaffer 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure what to make of Tedford. He did turn around Cal and they were great for a couple of years. But he had trouble maintaining his success, and in addition there were some serious academic issues (which I think was actually one of the main reasons he was fired from Cal).

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 9 months ago

Tedford would be excellent. Cal and KU have similar histories. That's quite an impressive win percent there. He's a the perfect age to get that critical experience. He's at Fresno (a demotion) but he's still getting it done. That speaks of not only having the right stuff but the right attitude

Dave Doreen would also be excellent. He would be the most likely long term guy. But since this could be his second go-round you better talk to him and him alone initially because if he has discussions with KU one more time and KU doesn't hire him it never will happen.

I think the only way this gets screwed up is to get too many candidates and you hire the best interviewer (Beaty was a great interview if I remember the presser correctly). Too many candidates and its easy to mess up, burn possible future staff bridges.

So, talk to Doreen alone, then if he is not interested, Tedford. That is an error-free plan.

Joe Black 3 years, 9 months ago

You must be the best talent scout out there to be so bold as to say that your plan is an error-free plan.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 9 months ago

It's about the process Joe. The last thing we want to do is bring in a bunch of guys who are qualified, interested, and we don't hire them. We will hire one. The rest are bridesmaids never to be interested again most likely.

Why Doreen as my number one? The prospect of a long term relationship despite success. We don't want to get a successful coach who rights this ship, then leaves. There are a very few who would be successful and stay. That's my logic.

Andy Godwin 3 years, 9 months ago

You can speculate and wish all you want but it comes down to the resources KU will put to hire a coach and build a football program long term. There are no coaches banging down the doors to take over one of the worst programs in the country, even if originally from this area. Beaty was hired because he was willing to take over a mess left behind by Weis while being the lowest paid head coach in a power five conference. The only way someone would be willing to take on the challenge of trying to resurrect the KU football program yet again is if Long has the funds to overpay an established head coach and his staff and guarantee that other resources will be in place to give them an opportunity of getting out of the perennial basement of the Big 12. Young coaches looking to make a name for themselves and jump to a better program would not want to touch KU. They need someone willing to make KU their final stop and set it up years down the line for a younger coach who will not have to start from scratch.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 9 months ago

First things first...Beaty went 0-12 and wasn't fired.

Beaty won basically two games and was given a raise of more than 100%.

Beaty put his feet up and won 1 game (against an FCS team). He should have been fired after that season and he surely should have had his DC removed for putting up four of the worst defensive years in KU history.

Beaty loses to an FCS opponent again and hasn't been fired. He has proceeded to win against two of the worse teams out there. I don't think Rutgers or Central Michigan have won (except to FCS teams).

We had the OC fired and Beaty basically creates one of the most horrendous offensive performances ever.

I'm not convinced Long is going to fire Beaty. I believe the longer Beaty is our coach the harder it is to hire a coach because the job looks worse and worse every day.

Waiting to fire the coach has been about 16 games too late and counting. I thought Long should have fired the coach before the season starts, now I wonder if he ever will.

Gunnar Hays 3 years, 9 months ago

Jeff Teddford is a very good coach. Not sure he would want to leave for Kansas, but a good name. Its all speculation of course, but he also follows some other interesting names of head coaches and coordinators. Some of the more compelling to me are

Bronco Mendenhall-Proven winner at BYU, currently turning around UVA Butch Davis- Well traveled in the NFL and NCAA, proven track record, KU could easily pay him more than FIU does now Greg Shiano- Not great in the NFL, but did have some success at Rutgers which is obviously not easy Jim McElwain- Didn't work out in Florida, but a good offensive mind and did very well at CSU Randy Shannon- Had issues at Miami but helped guide them during some hard times and HC experience Dave Aranda- Probably on the riskier side but also very intriguing. Successful D coordinator and recruiter. Is very well paid at LSU and probably would want a better job for his first try at head coaching but I think worth looking at.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 9 months ago

I cry whenever I think about how we missed our opportunity on Doeren.

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