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Pro-Bowen Facebook page picking up steam

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A screen shot of the pro-Clint Bowen Facebook page put together by KU fans.

A screen shot of the pro-Clint Bowen Facebook page put together by KU fans. by Matt Tait

The first signs showed up at the weekly Hawk Talk radio show at Salty Iguana a little less than 36 hours after he officially had accepted the title of interim football coach at Kansas University.

But things are starting to get a little more serious now.

That night, back on Sept. 29, friends, family and football supporters packed the restaurant in West Lawrence to standing-room-only capacity to show their support for Clint Bowen, who stepped in to replace the fired Charlie Weis as the leader of the Jayhawks.

Since then, the love for Bowen has only grown. First was the decoration of the football complex that greeted the Jayhawks upon arriving home after their 33-14 loss at West Virginia, Bowen's first game as a head coach. Then came the show of support by former KU players and Bowen teammates prior to last Saturday's 27-20 home loss to Oklahoma State. Between 150-200 former Jayhawks showed up to line the field as the Jayhawks ran out of the locker room, and many said they came specifically because they believe in Bowen, a former Jayhawk player himself, who has spent 16 of 19 coaching seasons in crimson and blue.

The latest in the Bowen love fest showed up sometime Sunday, when a Facebook page touting Bowen as the choice for KU's next head coach was created. By the time I posted this blog it already had received 608 “likes.”

The goal of the Facebook group is spelled out ever-so-simply in the “About” section of the social media site: “This is a page dedicated to making Clint Bowen the next HC for KU football; through the support of KU students, alumni, and fans. WE WANT BOWEN,” it reads. It includes a couple of photos, a couple of posts — the most notable reads “Let Zenger hear us loud and clear - WE WANT BOWEN!!! — and a bunch of familiar names from past KU football rosters.

Kansas interim head coach Clint Bowen talks to senior Michael Reynolds just before the Jayhawks take the field Saturday afternoon. Kansas dropped the game 27-20 to Oklahoma State.

Kansas interim head coach Clint Bowen talks to senior Michael Reynolds just before the Jayhawks take the field Saturday afternoon. Kansas dropped the game 27-20 to Oklahoma State. by Ryan Waggoner

I first saw the page early Monday morning and thought to myself, 'Huh, look at that, more love for Bowen.' At the time it had around 140 likes and I didn't really think much more about it.

Later in the day, someone sent me a link to the page and when I checked in again, the number of likes had doubled. The same thing happened Monday night, just before I sat down to write this, and that's when I began to pay attention.

Don't get me wrong, I get it; 500, 1,000, even 5,000 likes on a Facebook does not magically make Bowen become the automatic choice to be selected as the next head coach of the Jayhawks. No matter how high the number grows, it likely will never register high enough for KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger to truly factor it into his decision. But I can guarantee you that Zenger, provided he finds out about it, will take note of the page and it will mean something.

What that is is anyone's guess. But, if nothing else, it's a clear sign that Bowen is well liked, and that gives him a chance.

Kansas coach Clint Bowen barks orders to his defense during Kansas' game against Oklahoma State Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas coach Clint Bowen barks orders to his defense during Kansas' game against Oklahoma State Saturday at Memorial Stadium. by John Young

Just for fun, let's say the page was created around 10 p.m. Sunday night. I wrote this blog around 10 p.m. Monday night. So in that 24-hour period, 608 people found it worthwhile to log on to the page and click the like button in support of Bowen.

If the page continues to grow at that pace —which may very well be tied to the question of whether Bowen's Jayhawks continue to play the way they have the past two weeks — then by the time he runs onto the field at Kansas State for the Jayhawks' season finale on Nov. 29, the “We Want Bowen” Facebook page could have more than 29,000 likes, which is probably a little more than the number of people who actually showed up at 50,000-seat Memorial Stadium for last weekend's game. Even that number is not as high as it needs to be to consider the potential hire a home run, but it sure wouldn't hurt.

Reaching that number is probably the longest of long shots. In fact, there's probably very little chance that the number of likes on the page even reaches five digits. But whether they find their way to the Facebook page or not, people everywhere are making it known that Bowen is the guy they want to lead the Jayhawks into the future. I've received emails, phone calls and Tweets that say just that and I'm just one person.

That does not include the feelings of everyone out there, of course. Nor does it mean that many of those same people would be upset if Zenger chose to go a different direction. There are plenty of guys who would be great choices for the job and several who probably would have a terrific shot at becoming successful. But not many of them, if any, would move into the head coach's office at the Anderson Family Football Complex with the kind of backing that Bowen currently has.

He has to sustain that, of course. And the only way for that to happen is for him to continue to make the Jayhawks competitive in what ESPN.com recently voted the second best conference in football in its latest College Football Power Rankings. So, there's that. But if it happens, and especially if Bowen can find a way to lead Kansas to a win or two, then there will be no need to take a poll to find out how people would feel about Bowen being hired. They've already spoken.

Here's a look at the "BOWEN should be HC" Facebook page

Comments

David A. Smith 7 years, 8 months ago

In just two short weeks, he's won me over with measurable results. He's got my vote. Now, on to FB.

Ashwin Rao 7 years, 8 months ago

I will wait for at least major portion of the schedule before supporting his candidacy (not that it matters!). We have seen progress in previous years, but then went back into a funk. I do see positive signs though!

Todd 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe the guy can make a decent head coach. He certainly believes in the program enough. But quite frankly, with a couple exceptions, his times as coordinator has been a disaster. I think it's a mistake to just hand it to him.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 8 months ago

Bowen is certainly getting the support. And I doubt there's any coach that wants this program to succeed more than him. The love he shows KU football is infectious and any KU fan has to appreciate that. That being said, just because he loves the program doesn't make him the guy. This is a huge hire for Zenger and I'm sure there will be a lot of interviews regardless of how the Jayhawks finish. I wouldn't be mad if Bowen was named HC of KU football, I just want to see sufficient effort to look at all available options.

Kyle Sybesma 7 years, 8 months ago

Zenger MUST do a thorough search. In the end if he feels Bowen is the right guy… Great! But I won't feel like we did the program justice if we just hand it over to him. By Bowen's standards, everyone must earn their spot on the field, so he must earn his spot on the side line.

Doug Cramer 7 years, 8 months ago

We may really "like" someone, but that doesn't mean they will win.

We have to be careful with that. Bowen is a likable guy with a lot of friends and supporters. But again, will he really bring wins to Lawrence ?

I'll be the first to admit, I'm surprised at the attitude and energy level the team is playing with since Bowen has taken over.

But before anyone jumps into this growing "herd", sit back and see what happens the rest of the season, and think critically about our coaching choices. Hopefully that's what Zenger will do.

Brandon Mahon 7 years, 8 months ago

I actually agree with you... I like the fire the players have shown and a lot of the guys who left Short, McKinney are all wanting to come back and play for him

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

Having spent all of my life in scientific pursuits and academia, I can tell you assuredly that there is a difference between the way those of my persuasion think and others. Ill put it plainly: when you dont need evidence to support your position, you can believe in anything...from the plausible to ridiculous.

The fact that people are supporting Bowen NOW is reasonable. The fact that people, just two or three games into his interim stint, are supporting him for head coach NEXT year is insanity. The body of evidence is not in on Bowen. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that he, and not someone else, is the best man to lead Kansas to a winning program. Mind you, Im not saying Bowen is NOT the guy. Im just reserving judgment. If you are one who has posted supporting Bowen for HC NEXT year with the limited information we have available on him--including everyone on the FB page--then you should not be taken seriously by anyone, let alone Sheahon Zenger. If he considers that FB page at all I hope it reminds him that the overly zealous are more prone to mistakes than others.

Full candidate search is necessary.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

Brett, if you dont start making more sense your street cred is going to be shot. I dont care how pleased we are with the result last week (I was too, to be honest): YOU DONT JUDGE THAT THE JOB IS HIS TO LOSE BASED ON ONE GOOD GAME!

You do a good job of mentioning the "pros", but conspicuously absent from your critique is, well...any actual critique. The defense has looked shaky a couple of times this season against FBS-level competition. You might say we will have a chance to see in the coming weeks if our middle of the road 68th ranking in total defense can stand up to some potent offenses on our remaining schedule; but youll be arguing exactly what Im arguing in that case. You use the words yourself! "If he continues to develop this team..." and "If this team continues to play tough and...competitively...". How can you judge that its his job to lose with so many "ifs" still hanging in the balance? The fact is at this point not you, neither I, nor anyone else knows what the program will look like at season's end as a product of the influence of Bowen's interim coaching. Our best hopes are with him, sure. But these are still variables and not constants. And the fact is, they're BIG questions. And there are bigger questions that must be asked and answered by Zenger before he jumps all the way over to your side of the world where you see the program relevant in a year.

You say no one expects a FB page to determine our next coach. Let me assure you of something: I guarantee you that is exactly what many who like that page are thinking, however hare-brained it may appear.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 8 months ago

These comments from you remind me why I stopped reading your posts. Not saying I completely agree with Bret but I also am not going to tell him he is losing "street cred" for stating his opinion. Simply a bonehead move.

Joe Ross 7 years, 8 months ago

Having spent all of my life in scientific pursuits and academia, I can tell you assuredly that there is a difference between the way those of my persuasion think and others. Ill put it plainly: when you dont need evidence to support your position, you can believe in anything...from the plausible to ridiculous.

The fact that people are supporting Bowen NOW is reasonable. The fact that people, just two or three games into his interim stint, are supporting him for head coach NEXT year is insanity. The body of evidence is not in on Bowen. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that he, and not someone else, is the best man to lead Kansas to a winning program. Mind you, Im not saying Bowen is NOT the guy. Im just reserving judgment. If you are one who has posted supporting Bowen for HC NEXT year with the limited information we have available on him--including everyone on the FB page--then you should not be taken seriously by anyone, let alone Sheahon Zenger. If he considers that FB page at all I hope it reminds him that the overly zealous are more prone to mistakes than others.

Full candidate search is necessary.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 8 months ago

Well said Joe. I'm all for giving the man a shot, too, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. I read somewhere that the Gill and Weis hires were called "flippant". I thought that was spot on. The last thing we need is another flippant hire. In your mind do you think using the remainder of the season is enough to evaluate or do we hang interim on him another year? Wish I had the time to start a blog of my own like "Lets not do anything stupid...again. " Bowen may be the guy but lets be smart.

AJ Cleland 7 years, 8 months ago

The same approach given to scientific pursuits and academia are not valid in hiring a coach. If every AD across the country waited for "evidence" we would never have another first year coach. Bear Bryant had no head coaching experience when he was hired at Maryland, before going to Alabama. Snyder had zero head coaching experience when he was hired at KState. Briles at Baylor turned Houston around in his FIRST head coaching gig. The team we are playing this weekend has a head coach, Kingsbury, that previous to this year had no head coaching experience. KU did it in basketball (Remember a little known guy named Roy Williams?....no experience and he did pretty darn well) and we can and should do it in football.

As an alum, I understand and share in the pain of losing season after losing season. I want our football program to be as successful as our basketball program. The continuous pursuit of a "big name" coach, in my opinion, is wasteful. Additionally, asking our current coaching staff to recruit kids, when they don't know who the head coach will be, is preposterous. If you give Bowen the official nod now, they can recruit NOW, and use these successes and momentum to get ahead of the black hole that Gill and Weis have left us in.

Jim Jackson 7 years, 8 months ago

Would love to se Beaty as Head coach and Bowen as Associate HC/ D-Coordinator.

Brian Leiker 7 years, 8 months ago

Somebody that has zero experience as even an OC?

Jim Jackson 7 years, 8 months ago

He was offensive coordinator at Rice and they went from something like 110th in total offense to about 50th, nationally, in his first year.

There's quite a few guys out there who were never coordinators and went right to HC. I don't have the list but it's impressive, as is Beaty.

John Fitzgerald 7 years, 8 months ago

I agree with what you're saying just the other way around. Bowen as HC since he's already in the role and Beaty as Assistant HC/OC. I'd even keep Campo at DC. I think that would take care of recruiting and Beaty is a WR coach if I remember right, so he has plenty of offensive experience, especially working under Sumlin. As far as Reagan, he'd find another home in short time. It's a business and I'm sure he understands that.

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 8 months ago

We shall see how it goes for Bowen. I was at the OSU game, and I was impressed with the "fighting" Jayhawks. Maybe we can say that Weis' "old ball" approach perhaps was based on negativity or possibly ridicule, while Bowen's 'old ball equivalent' is a "hard work" ethic and team-building? We'll see how effective an attitude-shift can play out for these same players...

I'd like to mention that we seem to have a nice staff assembled: Mitchell, Kiesau, Holsopple, Bowen, Campo. Jury is still out on Reagan, of course, but he's had success, so I think he gets it, and we have a brand new offense this season, and now we have a "new" QB again. But things are at least functional under Cummings--most of those Texas kids can play. Obviously, there's question marks about Powlus, but I wonder what the insider (team and coaches) perspective on Powlus really is, not just our fan 'inferences'? (maybe he's saying all the right things, but the kid just cant get it done, or the O-line spotty pass protection simply doesnt allow our QB's to do much of anything?) The biggest thing about the offense is that it WILL have Reagan's signature all over it, from the O-line play to the playcalling itself. We can all judge Reaganomics by the end of the season. But we had over 350yds of offense vs. OkieState's sub-300. That's a start. Dont forget we have new juco linemen playing, so their learning curve against D-1 opponents is still in evidence.

My point is, I really hope this staff can pull out a couple of wins (TTU?, ISU?) and maybe surprise someone else?

Erich Hartmann 7 years, 8 months ago

Those wanting Mangino back, will get their wish when the phat man returns to KU with IowaSt. I'm betting on Bowen. Both Bowen and Reagan know what Mangino likes to do, but Mangino doesnt have the 'crew' at IowaState that he had at KU (Reesing, Meier & Co...). And this KU defense is good. And, we need to avenge that 'ice bowl' game that Cozart sufferred in Ames last season. And we got game-film on IowaState. And, conversely, most of the 'game film' on KU this season is of Montell Cozart. We just flipped the script on our own offense by making the QB change.

(Cummings is a lot more decisive. Cozart was repeatedly giving away half- to one-second on plays with his indecisive handoffs/vs 'keepers' on the read-option plays--> that literally equates to giving defensive rushers another step or two towards you...the difference between an open hole vs a closed hole, or between a 2-3yd gainer vs a no-gain play. I know he'll get better, but maybe needs to see someone else do it at a faster speed. See a good example, gain a whole new perspective...)

Chris Baker 7 years, 8 months ago

I've been impressed with Bowen, and if he can win a game or two this year, I'll like him even more.

With that said, I'd like to see the door left open for one of maybe just a few potential "Home Run" hires. I'm talking about a Jim Harbaugh type of hire. I don't think I'll be upset if we end up giving Bowen an extended shot at the job, but as much as I like Bowen's passion and love for KU, I just don't think we could pass up on a Harbaugh, someone with proven experience in turning around college programs, experience in LEADING (as Head Coachm) a world class team to the top of the game, and has a name that will turn recruit's heads while also having the ability to actually coach them once they get here. In that scenario, hopefully he would bring Bowen on as his DC.

Then in a few more years when we fire him as well, Bowen will be that much more ready for the job... it's a win-lose-win!

Bryce Landon 7 years, 8 months ago

Not getting on the Bowen bandwagon unless he can pull off some wins. I want Ed Warriner to come back to Kansas.

Paul Niland 7 years, 8 months ago

We must have been typing our Warriner promos at the same time! You beat by 11 minutes.

Kyle Sybesma 7 years, 8 months ago

I like Warinner's resume. He was the OC here in the Orange Bowl season and has been at Army and Air Force which are discipline schools and learned under Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer.

Paul Niland 7 years, 8 months ago

This is my realistic scenario. Sorry, I do not see Jim H coming to Lawrence, IMHO. That ship sailed four years ago. Hire Ed Warriner (sp?). He has coached with the almost the entire staff. Most importantly he is very familiar with Reagan and Bowen. It is a rare luxury when you can have a coaching change and both quality coordinators stay. Warriner will be very familiar with what Reagan is doing offensively since they were both coordinators for Mangino. So he will have an expertise that neither Weis nor Bowen had with Reagan's offense. Also, Warriner can provide a few wrinkles he learned with Kelly at ND and Meyer at Ohio State. I think Bowen would be OK with this. Name him Associate Head Coach. When Warriner retires Bowen can step in and be the HC. Warriner is 53 or 54; Bowen is 42. So with that age difference, the coach-in-waiting scenario would work out perfectly. That is my 2 cents.

Joe Cochran 7 years, 8 months ago

There's also another group on fb called "Jayhawks who want Clint Bowen as our permanent coach". There's already over 150 members for that group too.

Richard Duran 7 years, 8 months ago

Hey matt, what happened to Schyler Miles? He's not ont he two deep.

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