With big-time jobs out there, here's why Turner Gill is staying put


Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches his players warm up at the start of practice Wednesday.

Kansas head coach Turner Gill watches his players warm up at the start of practice Wednesday. by Nick Krug

With job openings at attractive football schools such as Miami, Florida and Pitt, every program in America has to take a look at its coach and wonder if he might be interested in bolted or persuaded to leave his current situation if given the chance.

Consider Kansas University to be among the few schools that don’t have much to worry about.

With KU coach Turner Gill just one year into his time at Kansas, it’s highly unlikely that the former Nebraska quarterback who led a remarkable turnaround at Buffalo before coming to Lawrence would be interested in leaving anytime soon. Gill’s under contract for four more years and he’s talked openly and often about his desire to turn KU into a consistent winner, even uttering the words “winning dynasty” on more than a couple of occasions.

Still, the football coaching community is an odd one and deals between friends and past relationships often weigh heavily into deciding all of this stuff.

While Gill isn’t a serious candidate at Miami or Florida, he might be at Pitt, where former Nebraska AD Steve Pederson is currently in charge. Bob Pompeani, of KDKA in Pittsburgh, is reporting that Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and Gill are at the top of Pederson’s wish list in finding a replacement for Dave Wannstedt, who resigned earlier this week.

In fact, Pompeani’s report indicated that Pederson pushed hard for Wannstedt to hire Gill as his offensive coordinator when Gill was still at Buffalo.

Having been through a coaching search recently, those of us around here know how these things go. The hiring is preceded by a ton of rumors and speculation that make for interesting conversation but have very little merit.

That may be all this is, but a couple of different message board threads on have popped up about Gill being a good fit for Pitt.

Something to keep in mind is that with the rising pressure for schools to interview minority candidates for coaching positions, Gill’s name might get thrown around a lot over the next few years. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving and it doesn’t mean he’ll even listen.

One other thing you have to keep in mind here is that whoever fills the jobs at Florida, Miami, Pitt and elsewhere, likely will be leaving other openings behind. Nebraska’s Bo Pelini has been linked to a couple of these jobs and, although he’s probably not going to take them, you all know what kind of wild scene Pelini leaving Nebraska would create around here.

Anyway, with all that said, I don’t think there’s any chance that Gill leaves Kansas any time soon.

Here’s a quick list of reasons why.

  1. There are bigger fish in the sea. Despite the turnaround at Buffalo and Gill’s excellent reputation as a player and person of great character, he’s simply not a big enough name (yet?) to get ADs and fan bases at those schools fired up.

  2. Why start over again? 2010 was rough, and there’s no way that Gill — or anyone else, for that matter — would want to go through it again. First years can be incredibly difficult no matter who the coach or what the school. Now, moving on to Florida or “The U” or even Pitt would probably make for a smoother transition than Gill experienced in Year 1 at Kansas. But there are no guarantees in that department and I can’t see it being worth the gamble.

  3. Loyalty. Gill pledged to do a job here at Kansas. He has a plan. He stuck to that plan throughout an entire season and remained committed to it, even when the easy answer would’ve been to deviate a little in order to have a better chance at success right away. Because of his belief in his plan, in addition to all of the work he’s done in recruiting and developing relationships with his players and the community, I just can’t see Gill giving all that up. He loves his coaching staff. He loves his players. He’s got more on the way. He believes in what he’s doing here and doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would be OK with not seeing that through.

  4. Family. Don’t forget about the role family plays in all of this. One of the things that made Gill most excited about landing the job at Kansas was the chance to be closer to his oldest daughter, Jordan, a student at KU. In addition, Gill already relocated his wife and youngest daughter from Buffalo to Lawrence. I can’t imagine he’d put them through that again.

  5. Money. Gill’s making $2 million a year at KU. I can’t imagine he’d make more than that anywhere else nor does money seem to be the driving force behind why Gill is in the coaching business to begin with.


hawk316 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt, good analysis, and I agree. I don't see Gill leaving. I believe that in three years nearly all Jayhawk fans (even these Gill critics above) will be extremely thankful that Turner Gill stayed put in Lawrence. I wonder, though, if his critics will be big enough to admit that they were completely wrong in their short-sighted assessment of Gill?

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

You must not read many posts... The above mentioned "critics" will always be negative. That's all they seem to post and I don't see that changing anytime soon. They want Gill fired just so they can start complaining about the next coaching hire. I guarantee they won't admit to being wrong when Gill turns KU around and makes them a consistent winner. I guarantee if Gill is given 8 years at Kansas he will have a better Big 12 record than 23-41 (36% winning percentage for our last coach), even with the tougher scheduling.

2Bnamedlater 11 years, 11 months ago

What? The only bit of truth to your post is that Bo went out of control on the sidelines. What Nebraska fans want is a new O cord, and get rid of Watson. Right now there are only 2 jobs Pelini would leave for, those are LSU and Ohio St., and they aren't open at this time.

Now just guessing, if Bob Stoops leaves OU for Florida, then maybe Carl Pelini might get a look there, but not Bo.

DevilHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

I doubt that Florida will look to hire Bob Stoops. He consistently makes it to a BCS bowl, but he consistently loses once there. (He hasn't won a BCS bowl game since 2002.)

It is a major accomplishment and most schools would want him as their coach, but Florida in football is like KU in basketball.

KU looks to make the Final Four or make it to the Championship game or (preferably) win the Championship game each year.

Florida looks to win a BCS bowl game or make the "Championship" game or (preferably) win the "Championship" game each year.

jlvlawrence 11 years, 11 months ago

oops! I meant to put this under jayhawkinnebr post

kcglowboy 11 years, 11 months ago

THANK YOU ... I can't believe three or four other posters before you wasted their time in failing to get right to the point: What in the holy heck was the rationale for this article? The whole thing can be summed in in two words: "Well, DUH!"

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Considering he is rumored to be a top candidate for the Pitt job is why this article was written. So one bad year at Kansas is all you need to evaluate a coach? Seems a little premature but hey, I'm sure you would make a great AD...

86finalfour 11 years, 11 months ago

I laughed my ass my off when I read this headline....very Onion-esque. Ha!

Bob Zielinski 11 years, 11 months ago

Gill is not a candidate for Nebraska if Pelini leaves. Yes, Gill and Tom Osborne are close friends. Tom Osborne and Nebraska looked at Gill before as a courtesy. They didn't hire Gill and took a coach in Pelini who had been a head coach for one game in his career.

Why in the world would the Huskers hire Gill? If Pelini leaves they will be looking for a proven coach and a home run hire.

2Bnamedlater 11 years, 11 months ago

I get it, you live in Nebraska, but where have you heard that Bo want out of Nebraska?

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree the money is too high but to say just because Nebraska didn't hire Gill that KU shouldn't either is a bit off. In case you haven't noticed, KU football isn't quite to Nebraska standards. That's like saying since KU didn't hire Doc Sadler then Nebraska shouldn't have either.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

I live in Los Angeles area, and, therefore, I can tell you that Kobe Bryant wants out of basketball to start his dominant Cricket career. Believe me. I live here.

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the updates. I didn't even know Kobe played Cricket but since you live in LA it must be true..... :)

beenahawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Gill's "plan"? Please enlighten the masses. All any of us have heard was his opening presser.."Beat Missouri, recruit, win the Big XII, recruit, win a National Championship and recruit." If that is indeed the "plan" he's batting .000

Gill won't go anywhere because nobody in their right mind will have him. That's probably what should have been in the article.

justanotherfan 11 years, 11 months ago

If Gill's plan is Beat MU, recruit, win the Big XII, recruit, win a National Championship and recruit then I'd say he's batting at least .400, if not .500. His recruiting is pretty good so far. He's landed lots of players on the O-line (a position of need) and has been going after a lot of athletic defensive players (lots of safeties and LBs have given verbals. So while the results on the field haven't caught up yet, his recruiting has been pretty strong.

DevilHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

You're joking, right?

This is a discussion about football. You can be more accurate in basketball and football than you can be in any other sport.

Most people use the phrase "batting 0.XYZ" simply as a spiced up way of saying XY.Z%. It's not our fault that an amazing batting average in baseball is 0.340 or better.

tpatt 11 years, 11 months ago

Fan, do a little research, you might rethink your opinion. Batting .500 is 50%, i'm no math wizz but come on.

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Fan was stating that "recruit" was mentioned 3 out of 6 times and thus his ".500" comment...

ChicagoJHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree that this article is stupid. Turner Gill is not leaving because he likes it here at KU, and more importantly, none of those big name schools would hire him!!

That being said, I am not hating on Turner Gill. He just doesn't have good experience at a quality football program. Yes, last season sucked, but give the man a chance. We lost all our best players from the season before and we had several key players injured, like our quarterbacks. I am not saying we'll be national championships or anything, but give him some time and see. Most of you are probably the same people that were saying fire Bill Self after a season or 2 and look at what he was able to do.

LAJayhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm definitely not anti-Gill (I'm not yet sold, but certainly willing to give him his fair chance), but I have to point out your final sentence:

"Most of you are probably the same people that were saying fire Bill Self after a season or 2 and look at what he was able to do."

Um... Bill Self finished 2nd in the Big 12 his first year at Kansas and made the Elite Eight. He then followed that up by winning the Big 12 EVERY YEAR SINCE. The expectations of the 2nd winningest program ever is obviously a little higher than football, but comparing Self to Gill is not the right argument. The two aren't even close... yet.

William James 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt- You are obviously a big fan of Gill. There is nothing wrong with that, and I hear he is a nice guy, but the way you report about him is comical, like he is a proven quality coacn that had led an amazing turnaround at Buffalo that rivals Boise State.

Gill has one of the lowest winning percentages among college football coaches and is garanteed $10 million. Those are the two elephants in the room. That is why he is not going anywhere.

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

I report about him like it's my job to do so....

Coaching jobs are open, Gill's has been a hot name during the past three years in coaching searches and, more to the point, he's being rumored to be linked to the job at Pitt.

It's my job to point these things out. In this case, I simply took it a step further by commenting on why I don't think these rumors should be taken seriously and why I think Gill's staying put.

Not saying you have to like it, but there's news here and I'm simply doing my best to keep KU fans informed.

Crazier things have happened when it comes to coaching searches/vacancies.

Thanks for reading. Have a great day!!!

John Beck 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt Thanks for the aticle. Is a report on the off season conditioning in the works? We had some doughboys last year.

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

Definitely. I've got a number of different things to hit on in the next couple of weeks and that's one of them.

Chris Bailey 11 years, 11 months ago


Most of us enjoy reading your posts! Gill is being considered for the Pitt job that is a fact. I don't see him leaving as I agree with much of what you said in your opinion article. I think we forget that sports writers, like us, write their opinions. But unlike the rest of us get to pick the topic for discussion and usually choose something noteworthy. As always Matt your article points out the facts and then you tell us your opinion. That's what I like to read! I hope Coach Gill stays with us as he does have some good recruits coming in. Should be fun to watch over the next few seasons. We are going to get a lot better and hopefully in 3 or 4 years you're not writing an article saying here's why turner gill IS leaving! We should all be patient and hope Gill sticks with us! We were never a football power so why are we all of the sudden expecting a Nebraska or Oklahoma type season during year 1 or 2? Crazy! Thanks Matt! Great stuff as always!

hawk316 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt, please don't confuse the issue with the facts.

waywardJay 11 years, 11 months ago

His turnaround at Buffalo was a pretty big deal, Fabio. Cynics conitnue to down play it but as Professional football will tell you, Playing Football IN Buffalo is like playing Baseball in KC.

Now, Somehow Gill DID manage to get players up there, another thing cynics continue to discount when tlaking about Gill. Somethign that Money won't Do in the NFL and I cannot imagine that Buffalo has any higher standards of education than any other MAC school....

FOr that reason alone he should be shopped as a courtesy to a school like Pitt who has suffered under the long shadow of Dave Wannstedt's Moustache.

After a year or two of success here, Teams will put more than courtesy checks on him. Alot of his Future at Kansas might depend on this Stoudt Kid, We clearly have an Immediate opening at QB, and without someone to step into that void we may be looking at a potentially worse situation coming considering we play Texas and Oklahoma this year......

Regardless, Gill should receive some polite press at least for his Potential powers of Persuasion on the Relentless runners he routed our direction.

In parting I suggest you spend less time criticizing the head coach and more time looking for low flying geese while on roller coasters.

William James 11 years, 11 months ago

Hahahaha! That was embarrassing. I told the theme park, I am not going to sue you, but make the ride safe, so that does not happen again to someone else.

GridironHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

Fabio... I think everyone can agree with you that the money is high but to discount the job he did at Buffalo is crazy. He took a job that no one wanted, a school that was near impossible to recruit athletes to, and turned the whole program around. Yes Kansas took a risk on Gill and nobody is arguing that. The upfront money is a show of faith that could pay dividends in the future if Gill is able to turn around KU football. Coaches use schools as stepping stones all the time. KU wanted to show the money early to show their loyalty. You give a guy $500,000 and he's gone at first chance. Yes KU could have hired Tubberville, Harbough, Nutt, etc. but those would have used KU as nothing more than a stepping stone. Here's to hoping Gill can turn it around and is around for the long haul. Coaching changes are never easy and it's tough building a winning program by changing coaches every few years.

tpatt 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey Tait, if you don't have anything better to do with your time than write this idiotic article i've got some gutters you can clean out. Gill isn't going anywhere. No school would be dumb enough to pay this guy anything anywhere close to the insane amount of money that Lew gave him. (with no buyout at that)

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, I'll pass. Sorry you were so offended.

tpatt 11 years, 11 months ago

not offended, just thought it was silly.

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

Cool. Just doing my job. Have a good one!!!

murph 11 years, 11 months ago

Ignore him, Matt. He obviously doesn't know scat about a reporter's job - which is what you were doing with this piece.

I do think there's one more thing you could have addressed, though. As I understand it, $weet Lew stuck us with a contract with no buyout - which means (again if I understand) that even if the new AD hands him his exit pass the day he/she gets here, Turner still gets $10 mil. Of COURSE he's not going anywhere!

hawk316 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt, way to take the high road! It continues to amaze me that there are people who are actually ready to give up on a new coach after one season when he was forced to play with another coach's players. Let the man recruit his own players! Then, after three years you can make a more informed judgement. At this juncture, we know that Gill is a high quality person who can recruit. We also know that he has surrounded himself with an outstanding staff known both for their ability to coach and recruit. Building a successful program takes years, not weeks.

I'm truly amazed...

DevilHawk 11 years, 11 months ago

There are rumors out there. I don't expect Gill to go anywhere, but at least appreciate the fact that the rumor exists in the first place enough to make it to the media sources.

A short article on Rivals:

kureader 11 years, 11 months ago

Won't criticize Matt ... he's probably LJW's best writer.

Just a comment ... Though I think Gill's recruiting efforts will yield some positive results next year, Gill is still just a nice guy, a really good athlete, and a $435,000 per year coach with a marginal coaching record who can barely piece together words into full sentences. He has a $10 million dollar contract at KU. His daughter is at KU and he lives just a few hours from his wife's home town. The guy should still be pinching himself for somehow landing the KU job. God only knows how he did it. He'll leave KU when KU decides not to renew his contract.

TommySmithElbow 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt: I appreciated your article and believe it or not from some of the comments, your weighing in with some objectivity AND perspective. I'm sure you realized when you wrote it that it would bring out the Gill haters, but there are others who are pro-Gill, and even more who are "let's wait and see and when significant time has passed, then we'll make a judgement".

So many of the posters on here are reminiscent of the classic Monty Python "Argument Clinic" sketch:

Poster A: An argument's not the same as contradiction. Poster B: It can be. Poster A: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition. Poster B: No it isn't. Poster A: Yes it is. It isn't just contradiction Poster B: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position. Poster A: But it isn't just saying 'No it isn't' Poster B: Yes it is. Poster A: No it isn't. Argument is an intellectual process . . . . contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says. Poster B: No it isn't. Poster A: Yes it is. Poster B: Not at all . . . . . (and on, and on, and on)

Once again, as the skit tries to plead: "An argument is a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition" (Matt: Face it, that's something many of your posters will never understand)

Thanks again for the information!

swunruh 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt I appreciate what you write and it's fascinating to learn that TG had been mentioned at Pitt earlier and would be considered now. What's the update on the Jr. college QB Stoudt?

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

Just working on that right now. It looks like it's KU or Ole Miss and he's going to sign Wednesday. He'll probably let his intentions be known before that, though.

At this point, it seems too close to call, but KU looks to be at least on equal ground with Mississippi.

Check back tomorrow for more.

midhawktx 11 years, 11 months ago you know if any of these conferences have a "Rooney Rule" in place? Agree with you assessment and thanks for the article.

stravinsky 11 years, 11 months ago

Although most of us think it would be ridiculous for a 'big-time' school to try to hire away Gill, given how poorly this last year went, keep in mind that Auburn hired Chizik away from Iowa State immediately after he coached the Cyclones to a 2-10 season, 0-8 in the conference that year (and in addition, an even poorer record than his first season at Iowa State, when they went 3-9). That made almost zero sense to most of us, yet Auburn seems to be doing alright with that hire.

Considering the Chizik hire, I don't think it's too absurd for Tait to at least take a detailed look into why Gill won't be following in his footsteps on the path of not-too-successful Big 12 coach who somehow lands a prime job.

Matt, hope you're not too bummed about the criticism for this article. Most of us are very appreciative of your football commentary.

Matt Tait 11 years, 11 months ago

Not at all. Part of the job. Just trying to get you guys all the info you can stand.

Thanks, though. Have a great night!

Tony Bandle 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt...get outta there, man, and pour a cold've earned it. Hang in there with will get done.

P.S. I hope they're paying you twice as much as Keagan

Clarence Haynes 11 years, 11 months ago

Great article Matt. ESPN has been reporting all day about Pitt's possible interest in Gill. Keep up the good and objective reporting!

Viggo3003 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt I'll refrain from commenting on the article but I admire the fact you answer questions and welcome interaction with readers while maintaining a positive and open dialogue. I hope you can maintain that trait throughout your career. If you can you will achieve great things and I will be a longtime follower.

midhawktx 11 years, 11 months ago

I hope Gill goes somewhere else. I don't think he can recruit the type of caliber players to KU compared to other programs. You have to have a tough coach like Mangino at KU b/c that is the best players we will get. Unless someone is ready to pay for players, we are screwed. Gill's too nice. Bring Mike Leach to KU!

waywardJay 11 years, 11 months ago

What ar eyou talking about ? Our players for the most part hated Mangino.... Our successful pros did not respect him ( Talib and Collins ).....

Way too soon to give that sort of criticism.....

KU_FanSince75 11 years, 11 months ago

Matt--- no criticism from me---enjoy the articles----like Oakville said above----go home and pour a cold one! Rock Chalk!

Oakville---you cracked a funny on Keegan----nice!

Joe Ross 11 years, 11 months ago

Tait--haven't always agreed with you but you are one hell of a writer and Im on board for showing my appreciation for the work that you do. I dont know where some posters get the vigor to call articles "idiotic". Shows how dangerous any simple mind can be when you get them a computer and access to a public forum. I agree that Gill is staying for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I don't like it, but it's reality.

Gary Wirsig 11 years, 11 months ago

jross1972, pardon my ignorance, but whose pictures are in your avatar?

Joe Ross 11 years, 11 months ago

Me on the left, pictured with an uncle. Can't call you ignorant for not knowing...

actorman 11 years, 11 months ago

"You really don't know anything about football do you, how good are these o-line???????"

You really don't know anything about the English language, do you???????

Thanks for the Python reference, TommySmithElbow. Classic stuff.

As for the people criticizing the article ... it's one thing to think the article is off base, it's another thing to refer to it as "stupid" and "idiotic." What exactly is stupid about reporting something that's been all over the news and giving the reasons why it won't happen? I'm so impressed with Matt Tait for the way he's handled the criticism from people who clearly can't carry his jockstrap. Most reporters wouldn't bother to honor such lunacy with a response.

I'm in the middle on Gill at this point. I think some of the rules he has for his players are pretty bizarre, and I was not impressed with much of what KU did this year. On the other hand, the haters are truly showing their ignorance to not appreciate the incredible accomplishment that Gill pulled off at a place like Buffalo, and I'm certainly willing to give him at least a couple more years to see what he can do.

milehighhawk 11 years, 11 months ago

agree 100% with your last paragraph - that's pretty much where I'm at. I'll add that I'm also very hopeful about recruiting over the next few years, given how his first class is shaping up...bodes well, but our conference get a hell of a lot tougher next year.

Sparko 11 years, 11 months ago

I believe there is only a 25% chance he would leave. 3 out of 12.

leonard 11 years, 11 months ago

This article is a complete, senseless waste of time. It's thinly sourced and purports to providing a service to the readers by providing information...which is a load of bunk. It's just make-work and silliness by the reporter.

The drivel floated by Pompeani required nothing more than a one line news flash...followed by a yawn...not a long winded harangue.

And please...let's drop the charade about "the former Nebraska quarterback who led a remarkable turnaround at Buffalo before coming to Lawrence."

He had exactly one winning season in 4 tries at Buffalo and the "remarkable turnaround" was followed by a very unremarkable 5-7 season...finishing 5th in the conference with only three conference wins.

Perkins did a lot of good things for our university's athletics...but he hosed us on this one...hiring and overpaying a coach with exactly zero credentials.

minipman 11 years, 11 months ago

number one reason gill isnt leaving... because nobody wants him... we dont even want him anymore.. actually i never did want him here.. i could coach this football team better than gill.. and id do a better job being the ad than lew did.. and im only 21.. plz KU give me a chance..

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