Clint Bowen tapped to coach KU linebackers; replaces DeMontie Cross, who is headed to TCU


1:02 p.m. Update:

KU coach Charlie Weis moved fast in replacing TCU-bound linebackers DeMontie Cross, announcing Friday afternoon that current assistant coach Clint Bowen would slide into the role vacated by Cross.

Here's the official statement from KU:

---Kansas head football coach Charlie Weis announced Friday that special teams coordinator Clint Bowen will now coach the Jayhawk linebackers. Bowen, who had previously been working with the KU secondary where he coached safety Bradley McDougald to All-Big 12 honors, takes over the linebackers as DeMontie Cross left Kansas to pursue other opportunities.---

No time table has been given for filling the final spot on KU's staff, but it seems logical to assume that Weis will take his time and make sure that he gets the right fit. In many ways, with Bowen now giving stability to the linebacker position, the final spot on Weis' staff could be used as a wild card of sorts.

Say another top-notch receivers coach expresses interest or an elite recruiter wants to join the staff, KU could then get creative with its titles and make the new coach an assistant receivers coach or a cornerbacks coach. Basically, they can give whatever coach they want any title just to get him on board.

Such an option is made possible by the fact that defensive coordinator Dave Campo is so well versed at coaching the entire secondary.

Expect the final spot to be filled well before spring ball begins on March 5, but most likely not until after signing day — Feb. 6 — which typically marks the final wave of coaching movement during the college football year.

10:58 a.m. Update:

Kansas University linebackers coach DeMontie Cross is leaving the program to take a similar job at TCU, sources told the Journal-World on Friday morning.

Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.

During his one season with the Jayhawks, Cross oversaw a linebacking corps that featured two of the top players on the KU defense in sophomores Ben Heeney and Jake Love. Heeney led the Jayhawks — and finished third in the Big 12 rankings — in tackles, with 112, and Love finished eighth on the team, with 36 stops, despite starting just four games. Junior linebacker Huldon Tharp also finished in KU's top five with 55 tackles.

No word or timeline has been given about a possible replacement for Cross, but one likely candidate is current KU assistant coach and special teams coordinator Clint Bowen. Bowen, a former KU defensive coordinator who coached KU's safeties last season, has experience coaching linebackers and already knows the roster and the rest of the coaching staff.

Replacing Bowen in the secondary would be an easier task considering the presence of defensive coordinator Dave Campo, who coached the KU cornerbacks in 2012 and was a longtime secondary coach with the Dallas Cowboys.

Original post, 10:23 a.m.:

Well, it looks like last week's blog about it being a relatively quiet offseason for the KU football program may have been a little premature.

Reports out of Fort Worth, Texas, are indicating that KU linebackers coach DeMontie Cross may be hired by TCU for the same position.

Cross, who played college football at Missouri and later coached at MU, Iowa State, Sam Houston State, Wisconsin and with the NFL's Buffalo Bills before coming to Kansas, was hired by KU coach Charlie Weis last offseason.

Still trying to nail down confirmation on this, one way or the other, so stay tuned.

If the report, which cites two unnamed sources, is true, it will be interesting to see where Weis looks for a replacement.

There are a couple of options inside the program that would make sense — most notably current special teams coordinator Clint Bowen, who has experience working with linebackers and would provide KU immediate stability at the position. In addition, with KU defensive coordinator Dave Campo in place, he could handle coaching the entire secondary as he did for years with the Dallas Cowboys and throughout last season.

Notre Dame alum Maurice Crum and former KU and NFL player Rod Jones also could be considered. Both have solid football knowledge and also have the luxury of knowing the roster and the rest of the coaching staff already.

As we've seen, Weis also is capable of going anywhere to pull in coaches and he could consider someone from another school or perhaps even the NFL ranks.

It definitely will be interesting to see how this plays out. I always was very impressed by Cross, both in terms of his ability to coach kids up and his dedication to what Weis was trying to accomplish here.

Turnover rarely is a good thing for a coaching staff, but losing Cross, though disappointing, would not be the end of the world for the KU defense.

We'll see what happens.


Ben Kane 9 years, 5 months ago

lost an MU grad who decided TCU was better for him than Kansas... Good.

KGphoto 9 years, 5 months ago

Hey, Romeo Crennel has a little free time. : )

Matt Kenton 9 years, 5 months ago

Ray Lewis will be available soon.

Completely kidding.

Andy Tweedy 9 years, 5 months ago

I don't know about Cross, but I can't imagine he hated KU any less than I hate Misery! I'm not saying that's why he left (I'm sure it's not), but I can understand why it might be easier for him to be somewhere else. I told my kids when they were little that I was going to do everything I could to pay for the college education, unless they went to Misery...and I meant it!!!

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 5 months ago

Yeah...he may not be the only one to jump ship honestly.

Tribehawk 9 years, 5 months ago

Was he lead recruiter on any of our H.S. commits? At this point, the only thing I worry about is losing recruits. I was never a fan of having an MU grad on our team in any capacity.

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

Doesn't look like it'll be an issue. I saw some guys quote on JayhawkSlant — most notably Marcus Jenkins-Moore and Samson Faifili — saying they were still all-in to come to Kansas.

You never know and things could change, but I'd say it'll have a minimal impact, if that.

KUMC84 9 years, 5 months ago

This will be a bigger loss for KU than most people realize. While you may not like him because he was an MU grad, he was one of the best assistant coaches KU had. His position players improved more than any other single position and much of that has to do with the type of coach he is. It may not affect recruiting but it will affect the continued development of the defense.

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

You're right on some levels, but Cross and Bowen have similar styles so I don't think the drop-off will be that great.

First of all, these guys all know Clint already, which is huge. There's no adjustment period needed. Second of all, he's done it for a lot of years at a lot of different places and is much more accomplished than Cross at this point.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 5 months ago


With the exception of being a devoted Jayhawk and advocate for the program, is there any evidence to support Bowen as an accomplished coach?

Didn't we enter a defensive downward spiral with him at the helm?

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

Fair question. He became a defensive coordinator in the Big 12 and he did so under an incredibly demanding head coach. Regardless of what happened from there or how his D did, that's accomplishing something. And it's certainly more than Cross has done to this point. That's no knock on Cross. I like him and think he's a great coach. Just stating the facts.

bad_dog 9 years, 5 months ago

Reuben-while I share your discomfort somewhat, there's a big difference between being "at the helm" and a position coach.

jhox 9 years, 5 months ago

As long as Campo sticks around, we'll be fine on the defensive coaching front.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 5 months ago

......the hits just keep on comin'.....

Never been sold on Bowen.

Lucas Town 9 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I was wondering if this was going to be a good thing or not.

Stan Unruh 9 years, 5 months ago

If HCCW wants Bowen then I want Bowen. Obviously Coach Campo had some input we can all relax.

Reuben_J_Cogburn 9 years, 5 months ago

At the end of the day, it's all about Campo,which is reassuring.

Sorry...just had some Vietnam-style flashbacks of a Bowen-commanded defense.

bad_dog 9 years, 5 months ago

Not a bad idea if you could just figure out how to incorporate punji sticks on defense...

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Bowen's not calling the plays, get over it.

Doug Roberts 9 years, 5 months ago

So this is kind of a demotion for him, isn't it?

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

Not at all... Being a position coach definitely ranks above being a special teams coordinator. Most guys want nothing to do with special teams coordinator. Sounds like Bowen will continue to do both, but he's now coaching linebackers instead of safeties, largely because of Campo's coaching chops.

LogicMan 9 years, 5 months ago

Matt: Things are heating up again on potential conference realignment. Blogger-word is that Miami now oenly wants a Big 12 invite, and the carve up of the ACC will finally occur. The Big 10 takes two, the Southeast Conference takes their two, and we take six after them.

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

The Big 12 won't add schools for the sake of adding schools. The B1G and SEC either have or will have their own conference network which means schools they add need to be in new markets to add their networks to more markets they are not already in. This is why UNC, GT, and UVA are attractive to the B1G and NC State and VA Tech are attractive to the SEC. Because the Big 12 doesn't have its own network, they can't add just anybody because that would devalue the TV contract. The Big 12 has to add schools that increase or at least don't decrease the value of the TV contract and there's very likely not more than 2 or 3 realistic options out there for the Big 12 to go after. Florida State definitely adds value, Clemson probably does or at least doesn't devalue the contract and Miami is another school worth checking into.

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, I meant to get something up today, but all this other stuff kept me pretty tied up. We'll see what shakes out over the weekend and get after in next week. Thanks for the heads up!

Joey Meyer 9 years, 5 months ago

Very interested. Do you have any links on blogs or articles out there about this?

texashawk10 9 years, 5 months ago

Matt, do you think Weis would use the open spot in his staff for a dedicated special teams coach? As atrocious as special teams has been over the past few years, it seems like a dedicated special teams coach would be a significant need because it seems like Bowen can't handle coaching a position and special teams and special teams is suffering as a result.

Matt Tait 9 years, 5 months ago

Definitely possible. I'd say there will be three main factors:

  1. Philosophy: Does he buy in to the Weis way of doing things?
  2. Fit: Would he work well with this staff, in this town, in this conference?
  3. Need: What position needs the most help?

Not sure that really narrows it down much or helps pinpoint candidates (because that could be a long list), but those factors will all be important in the process.

Doug Cramer 9 years, 5 months ago

Pretty amazing how this guy's units under perform...and he keeps getting promoted at every opportunity.

Linebacker is an important position that we need serious improvement with if we're gonna win some big 12 games...and we promote freaking Clint Bowen.

Good grief !

BCS_BOUND_KU 9 years, 5 months ago

Hey Matt, any news on new NIKE uni's coming?

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