Coaching Search 2014: David Beaty an attractive hire in many ways
When I woke up this morning, I figured it would be just another normal day on the Kansas University coaching search trail. The hire seemed to be at least a few days away and my objective was to call some more sources and find out what people were hearing and/or talking about.
I should've known my day would be a little different when I woke up to a carton of ice cream in the sink and a note from my wife that said, “You put the ice cream back in the fridge last night.”
As I mentioned on Tuesday in my daily coaching search blog, Texas A&M assistant coach David Beaty was the name I produced most often when asked back in September and October who I thought would be the next head coach of the KU football program.
The reasons are plenty and have been well documented both on this site and throughout the Internet. Beaty has a great reputation as a top-notch recruiter and his ties to the Texas high school scene are as impressive as just about anyone's.
That should help him not only upgrade the talent at Kansas but also could aid him as he tries to put together a coaching staff up to the challenge of turning KU around.
As we moved through the process and learned about the criteria that would determine which candidates had a real shot and which didn't, it seemed like Beaty was an obvious name to keep at or near the top of the list.
He's been at Kansas in both good and bad times, so he knows the lay of the land and, like former KU interim coach Clint Bowen, has seen what works and what does not. I think that's huge and will allow Beaty to move forward quickly without having to waste much time getting that figured out. It's a process than can take as much as a year or two for most coaches and, although there will still be things Beaty sees for the first time — especially considering this is his first time holding down such a big-time position — his ability to lean on past experiences should help make any growing pains very minimal.
Beaty's was a name that checked several of the right boxes long before the end of the season arrived and the search ever officially began. There's no doubt that Beaty was on the KU radar from the moment Charlie Weis was fired and he most likely never left his perch of strong contender.
Several people I spoke with today said Beaty was very impressive during his phone interview this week. He must have been for the in-person interviews to go up in smoke, and I would think that's a good sign for the strength of this hire. Rather than merely impressing one guy, Beaty impressed an entire committee. One source told me there was not a single person on the committee who doubted Beaty after hearing his plan for how to lead the KU football program.
As I outlined this morning, that plan likely included detailed plans about his coaching staff, recruiting — both in Texas and Kansas — general offensive and defensive philosophies and ways to close the gap between KU and the rest of the Big 12 Conference.
It's a tall task for anyone to undertake and, for no other reason than that, you have to tip your cap to Beaty, 44, for being willing to take it. Sure, it's a promotion. Sure, it's a raise. But it was both of those things for Turner Gill, Charlie Weis and Terry Allen and things did not wind up working out too well for those three.
Overall, though, I like the hire. I think Beaty has a chance to put together a great staff and I think his energy, age and enthusiasm will be big assets for KU in this latest rebuilding project. If what I'm hearing about Beaty's salary range is accurate — base around $800,000 with incentives added on to that — I like the hire even more because it will (a) leave KU with more money to help him hire a killer staff and (b) keep him hungry.
Who cares what other schools pay or what other coaches make? This isn't a popularity contest. A lot of places it is. But Kansas cannot afford to have that mentality. It needs guys who can coach football and recruit talent and it should pay them what they're worth not what they want the job to be.
David Beaty is a well-respected guy — even if he's not a big name — and I don't think he'll have any trouble gaining the respect of the players, the KU athletic department and, ultimately, the fan base. The reason? He's a likable dude and it will not take people long to see that.