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