Let the search begin: KU football set to look for yet another head football coach


Kansas University director of athletics Sheahon Zenger, left, watches from the sideline next to deputy athletics director Sean Lester during the final minutes on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas University director of athletics Sheahon Zenger, left, watches from the sideline next to deputy athletics director Sean Lester during the final minutes on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 at Memorial Stadium. by Nick Krug

With Charlie Weis officially out as the Kansas University head coach after a little over two seasons in which the Jayhawks struggled to a 6-22 record, it's time to turn our attention to yet another coaching search, the program's third since 2009.

During the past two searches, bigger names and hot candidates dominated the days and weeks leading up to the hires of Weis and Turner Gill before him.

KU was oh-so-close to hiring Jim Harbaugh before former athletic director Lew Perkins handed Gill the job. And, when Perkins' successor, Sheahon Zenger, hit the trail to find Gill's replacement, Zenger criss-crossed the country and talked with dozens of candidates, known and unknown, before settling on Weis.

Don't expect the same type of high-profile names to dominate this search. In fact, don't be surprised if this one has a significant KU flare to it, both in the form of several of the top candidates to replace Weis having ties to Kansas, and, in the form of Zenger using all of his Kansas football resources, from current staff members, both in the administration and on the coaching staff, to Jayhawk legends, a la John Hadl, and former Jayhawks, like Darrell Stuckey and Banks Floodman.

That's not to say Zenger won't reach out and at least talk to some of the hotter up-and-coming coaches out there — particularly younger guys with great energy — but all signs point to the initial list being packed with names very familiar to KU fans.

With that in mind, here's our first stab at a list of possible Weis replacements. If you're looking for the Chris Petersens, Kevin Sumlins and Jim Harbaughs of the world, you might be better served to follow a coaching search at a different school.

The Strong Contenders:

• DAVID BEATY, 43, Texas A&M University wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Made $359,500 in 2013

Why it makes sense: A Texas native and former high school coach in the Lone Star State, Beaty's ties to recruiting in Texas are as good as any coach in America and he's worked under and learned from some big-time coaches, including former KU coach Mark Mangino and current A&M coach Kevin Sumlin. His previous stints at Kansas (2008-09 and 2011) made him very familiar with what it takes to succeed at Kansas and his relationships with several current members of the KU staff would present an opportunity for Kansas to maintain some stability while making a transition at the top.

Why it might not happen: Beaty's name will come up elsewhere, with the open job at SMU potentially being the biggest competitor for his services. It's possible that he'd like his first stab at being the head coach to be at a place where winning is more manageable than it is right now at Kansas in the ultra-tough Big 12 Conference.

• ED WARINNER, 53, Ohio State University co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Made $370,800 in 2013

Why it makes sense: Warinner is ready. After working for Mark Mangino (Kansas), Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) and Urban Meyer (Ohio State) at his past three stops, the Strasburg, Ohio, native who, in 2012, was named by as one of the nation's 20 hottest assistants, is ready to take a stab at running his own program. In addition, a return to Kansas likely would energize a fan base that associates Warinner with KU's recent glory days led by Todd Reesing and KU's high-powered offense.

Why it might not happen: Although he's worked at some big-time programs and for some big-time head coaches, Warinner does not have head coaching experience and some believe that could hurt him given the magnitude of the rebuilding project at KU.

• JOHN REAGAN, 43, KU offensive coordinator
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: $250,000-$275,000 per year

Why it makes sense: It's only a matter of time before Reagan becomes a head coach and there are many people out there who believe part of his return to KU was with that in mind. Well versed in running the spread offense that dominates college football and mentored by a couple of incredibly successful coaches (former KU coach Mark Mangino and Rice's David Baliffe), Reagan has been around winning, knows what it takes at Kansas and has strong recruiting ties in Texas.

Why it might not happen: A lack of head coaching experience could hurt given the timing of this hire and, with KU's offense struggling so far this season — even though blame for that goes well beyond Reagan — naming Reagan the head coach could be a tougher sell than it would have been if the Jayhawks were flying high and lighting up scoreboards.

• CLINT BOWEN, 42, KU defensive coordinator
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: $200,000

Why it makes sense: There are few people on the planet who care as much about this program as Bowen, who grew up cheering for the Jayhawks, later played safety at Memorial Stadium and has coached at KU under four different head coaches. There's no question that he'd be willing to put the time, effort and energy into rebuilding the program and his familiarity with the Big 12 would be huge. The fact that he inherited the interim tag for the rest of the season could be viewed as a first step in an audition for the real thing.

Why it might not happen: No head coaching experience hurts and Bowen's still a little young for such a position. There's some belief that his turn in the head coach's office at KU might still be a hire away.

The Under-The-Radar Guys:

• TIM BECK, 48, Nebraska offensive coordinator
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Made $700,000 in 2013

Why it makes sense: Beck’s Nebraska offense ranks fifth in the country with 594.3 yards per game. When Ed Warinner was brought back to Kansas by Mark Mangino to run a spread offense, Tim Beck, then the wide receivers coach for Mangino, played a key role in helping Warinner to install it because Beck had more experience with the offense. He worked two years as a graduate assistant under Bill Snyder, so he has known the Kansas landscape for a long time. He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, a famous coaching cradle on the opposite side of the state line from Mangino. Beck knows offense, knows Kansas and knows the Big 12. He also knows how to bring a football program back from the depths. In his first assignment as a head coach, at Saguaro High in Scottsdale, Arizona, Beck inherited a program that had gone 5-43 in the previous five years. In his third year at Saguaro, the school won the state title and his record at the school was 23-4.

Why it might not happen: Beck’s only head-coaching experience has come at the high school level. He does not have high name recognition with the average KU football fan, so his teams will have to draw crowds the old-fashioned way, by steadily improving and playing competitive football, even in losses.

• ERIC KIESAU, 41, KU wide receivers coach
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Made $400,004 in 2013 at Washington, likely makes between $150,000 and $200,000 at KU.

Why it makes sense: Although he is in just his first season with the Jayhawks, Kiesau's past experience make him a viable candidate for just about any opening in the country. His time at offensive coordinator at Colorado and Washington make him familiar with two very important regions — Big 12 and Pac-12 country — and his track record of developing top-notch wide receivers everywhere he's been speaks for itself. Kiesau, who by all accounts is as humble as they come, is highly intelligent, loves to study the game and knows how to motivate his athletes to perform at their peak ability.

Why it might not happen: One season at Kansas — under Weis, no less — might not have enough juice behind it to get him the job. Had he still been the offensive coordinator at Washington or Colorado, Kiesau would likely be a sought-after commodity for several openings. But does his handful of months in Kansas as a position coach position him well enough for a jump to the top of the ladder?

The Forget-Me-Not Guys:

• DAVE DOEREN, 42, North Carolina State University head coach
Record at school: 3-9 in first season, 4-1 this season
Current salary: $2.55 million

Why it makes sense: Doeren spent time at KU under Mangino and grew up in Kansas City. He knows what it takes to win at Kansas and he understands the culture. Was a huge player in recruiting a good chunk of KU’s 2007 Orange Bowl team and also has been praised by many as one of the bright, young defensive minds in the game based on his highly successful stint as Wisconsin’s co-defensive coordinator.

Why it might not happen: Because it won't.

• JIM LEAVITT, 57, Linebackers coach San Francisco 49ers
Record at school: 95-57 in 13 seasons at South Florida
Current salary: Not available

Why it makes sense: Leavitt and Zenger are close, having spent time at Kansas State and South Florida together and Zenger has long been a fan of Leavitt's toughness and ability to build a program. With the future of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh on unstable ground, Leavitt could be looking to make a move sooner rather than later.

Why it might not happen: Dismissed from USF for improper treatment of players, Leavitt's past may be too closely tied to Mangino's for the KU administration to pull the trigger. It's also probably worth noting that Leavitt played his college football and started his coaching career at Missouri.

The What-If-They-Look-Somewhere-Else guys:

• JIM HARBAUGH, 50, Head coach San Francisco 49ers
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: $5 million per season

Why it makes sense: Depending upon what you believe, Harbaugh was this close to becoming KU's coach before the Jayhawks hired Turner Gill. Things fell apart at the last minute and he moved on to San Francisco, where, despite making an appearance in the 2013 Super Bowl, Harbaugh and the 49ers are no longer in such bliss. Disagreements exist between the head coach and front office over Harbaugh's decisions and the way the team is being run and there are plenty who believe that Harbaugh will not return to the Bay Area after this season. Beyond that, a big selling point last team was the ability to return his wife and family to the Kansas City area, where his wife grew up. Maybe the timing is right this time?

Why it might not happen: All of the rumors and speculation out there surrounding how close Harbaugh came to being hired the last time could be a major distraction and it's possible that even if he were interested the fit just would not seem right. In addition, there's always the Michigan angle and there are web sites out there that already are tracking Harbaugh Watch and the former Wolverine quarterback's potential return to his alma mater.

• CHAD MORRIS, 46, Clemson University offensive coordinator
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Made $1.3 million in 2013

Why it makes sense: Clemson's offenses have been one of the most explosive attacks in the country under Morris, who took over in 2011 after one season as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa. Before that, Morris coached high school football in Texas for 15 seasons, including a stint at Lake Travis High, which produced former Jayhawk great Todd Reesing. The ties to Texas and his college success make him as good a candidate as exists for just about any job in the country. The pluses beyond that include his age, energy and huger to prove himself as a head coach.

Why it might not happen: Morris entered 2013 as the highest paid college football assistant in the country and there is talk that the Jayhawks are not looking to pay nearly as much as they have with the past two guys this time around. Would Morris take the same money he makes now to take over the risky position of being the KU head coach or would he wait for a better, higher-paying opportunity?

• BUTCH DAVIS, 62, Former NFL and college football coach
Record at school: N/A
Current salary: Not available

Why it makes sense: With strong ties to important KU recruiting territories of Oklahoma and Texas, Davis would bring instant credibility and a big name to the position. His track record — college head coach at Miami (Florida) and North Carolina and NFL head coach with Cleveland — gives him more experience than anybody on this list and his time prior to becoming a head coach was spent at the high school and college ranks in Big 12 country. Davis' name surfaced briefly during each of the past two searches at Kansas, so maybe the third time would be the charm?

Why it might not happen: It's possible that the Oklahoma native just might not be interested. He's been out of the coaching spotlight since 2010 and, at 62, may be on the older side for what KU needs and is looking for.


Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Zenger - here is your shot to win the hearts of all of KU Nation.

BRING BACK MANGINO !!!! Just do it ! See if he will come back. Cmon Coach...we need you back !

Matt Tait 8 years, 2 months ago

Knew this was coming (not just from you but from tons of people) but I wouldn't hold your breath. Never say never, but I just can't see it even being an option.

We'll have plenty of time to sort it all out though during the next several weeks and it'll be interesting to see how the team rallies around Clint.

Dale Rogers 8 years, 2 months ago

I'm not that big a Mangino fan. He did a great job for a couple of years but if you really look at his record, it's just not there, especially near the end of his tenure. I have to think, as Matt said, that they'll be watching closely to see how Bowen does. I think the job is his to lose.And I think Reagan is also potentially a good choice.

Chris Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

Matt, I keep hearing so much Mangino talk from my fellow KU fans that I think a proper response to this question is worthy of an article all on it's own, don't you think?

Reasons why I think he COULD be open to returning to KU, and the administration considering it as well:

  1. It wasn't that long ago that Mangino appeared to be a finalist for the Colorado job, so he's definitely still got respect among major conference AD's.
  2. He appears to be doing a great job with turning around Iowa State's offense this season.
  3. Lew Perkins, who notoriously did not get along with/respect Mangino, and who torpedo'ed both his final season at KU and ultimately his job, is gone, and most fans seem to be glad to be rid of him.
  4. Zenger is up against the wall in a sense. Many in the national media, and a sizable segment of KU fans, questioned his decision to bring in Weis and that guaranteed $12.5m contract. I don't see him having an opportunity for another 'splashy' hire this time around and he knows he can't blow it a second time. (Not without the next firing being a 2-for-1 special by Gray-Little) Mangino is as much of a reliable choice as he could possibly make, and aside from the incredibly unlikely chance of Mangino getting in trouble a second time for player misconduct, who could blame him if the selection didn't pan out?
  5. I get the feeling that most KU fans (now more than ever) would happily applaud the selection. He would probably get a hero's welcome during his obligatory KU Basketball half-time introduction in December.
  6. We know Mark has a bit of an ego, but what better redemption would there be for him to be welcomed back to the job that was stolen from him by another AD, a chance to prove that his KU turnaround was no fluke, and become a legend in in Lawrence?

I'll leave it to your expert analysis to cover the reasons why this is an unlikely scenario.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

He's not coming back Doug. I know a lot of people would welcome it but too many would be against it. Me I'm for it. He got screwed. I just can't see it happening.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 2 months ago

Dear god.... There are better younger coaches out there lets be serious

Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

Brandon - do you want a winning football program or not ?

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

I want a coach who isn't a risk of having a heart attack on the sidelines and had a winning record against FBS teams.

Micky Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

When you ask questions like that, it shows your agenda. Be realistic, like you claim you have been.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 2 months ago

Yes I am but I've moved on from those days and he was barely a .500 winner. There are younger hungrier coaches who are better recruiters that I'd rather take

Lance Cheney 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't think there's many people hungrier than Mangino!

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 2 months ago

He is probably hungry no doubt. But that ship as really sailed. He was a good coach for us and he brought us into the national spotlight. BUT he got in some big trouble and was fired. There probably less than a 1% chance he is hired. When there is a chance to get young up and coming coaches whether HC from smaller programs or young coaches or OC (Warriner, Beaty, Beck, Narduzzi, Baylor OC or DC, Spitval, Venibles, Morris or Frost to name a few. 4 of those guys are TOP recruiters we need that help. The AD would be dumb to not take a young coach who wants to prove himself and by turning KU around would make a HUGE name for themselves.

Matthew Gaylor 8 years, 2 months ago

Mangino wouldn't and shouldn't want to go back to KU

He's a legend at KU and coming back to this dumpster fire would just ruin everything he did before hand.

Doug Cramer 8 years, 2 months ago

Matt - I will say this with conviction. No way Clint Bowen should even be considered as our next head coach. Interim...fine. But that guy's units have not performed well. 2009 D-coordinator under Mangino...was a disaster.

2012 Special Teams Units Coordinator...Disaster.

The reason our defense has somewhat improved this because of Campo's specialty being a D-backs coach.

You may be correct about Mangino...but no way should Bowen even be remotely close to be considered as our next coach.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 2 months ago

Dang, I'm generally agreeing with you here. Scary times :-)

Steve Hillyer 8 years, 2 months ago

I didn't think Mangino should have been fired but it's not like he had a great final season, people seem to forget KU lost 7 straight to end the season and easily could have been 8 straight, the lone Big 12 victory was the first league game against Iowa St and on the last play ISU's QB overthrew a wide open receiver which would've won the game.

Matthew Gaylor 8 years, 2 months ago

Someone, I don't know if it was ku sports or who had a great story on why that was. Players said they didn't know week in and week out whether Mangino was getting fired. They also said they lost trust in him with a huge investigation going on. He wasn't focused week to week either because he was fighting allegations.

Chris Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

People also seem to forget that Reesing was hurt in that lone Big 12 win, AND that Perkins began the investigation into Mangino right about the same time, effectively torpedoing the rest of the season. Can you imagine what kind of distraction that was like for the team? The AD scheduling appointments with you and your teammates individually looking for dirt on your head coach, while you're also being asked to perform as a team every Saturday for that same head coach? How often to witch hunts like that NOT result in a coach getting fired or otherwise punished to a degree that his days are numbered?

The Orange Bowl season was the product of a TON of good recruiting and coaching, and a lucky schedule plays it's part as well for sure. But look at the 2008 season when we played one of the toughest schedules in the country and we still finished 8-5, including a bowl win. If we can exclude Mangino's first three KU teams mostly made up of players he didn't recruit (though he still got 12 wins in that time plus a bowl game, more than Gill or Weis could win combined in 4 & 1/3 seasons), then his last five years averaged 7.6 wins per season. I can't imagine many KU fans who wouldn't be happy with our football team averaging 7.6 wins per season in the Big 12, with a high of 12 wins and a low of 5.

Robert Brock 8 years, 2 months ago

Ed Warinner. Hire the guy and start investing in KU football. The Grant of Rights expires in the not too distant future - the Hawks need to have someplace to go. I would like KU to be in a major conference, not Conference USA or the WAC.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 2 months ago

He's moving backwards, even if it is to tOSU.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 2 months ago

In checking a bit more, maybe it is timing. ND coaching change kept him in the MW, and Urban + are real happy with what he's done. OC experience and familiarity could be incentive and continuity.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 2 months ago

No one in his right mind would come to KU. The overwhelming emphasis placed on the basket ball program effectively dooms the success of the football program.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 2 months ago

It is not the emphasis of the basketball program that hurts the football program, its the success of it. KU fans are spoiled by constant success and consistency from the basketball program and tasted that level of success in football and now want and expect that from the football program as well. Its a tough job with a greedy fan base. That said it is still a desirable job. KU is in the Big 12, has top notch facilities, has the pockets to pay well, and is a known name and in the spotlight. KU is not a destination for anyone that did not graduate from here, but a great place to use to springboard to an elite level. The university gives the coaches the tools to win. We just need a coach who brings his own tools to finish the job.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 2 months ago

If you're claiming that resources need to be moved from basketball to football then what about Bill Self becoming the next football coach? I think he's said that he's a football coach coaching basketball.

I think some suggested in the past that Michigan State football should hire Tom Izzo.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 2 months ago

I really hope so - Warinner, Beck, Harbaugh, Morris.

Wow I really hope not - Beaty, Reagan, Davis.

The guys in between I would be fine with, but not overly excited about. Those first four I listed however would have me looking forward to the future.

Dirk Medema 8 years, 2 months ago

Interesting no to Beaty (improving) vs yes for Warriner, who I'm now being informed/reminded is moving down to OL coach or something like that even if it is OtOSU.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

Has Beaty ever been a coordinator before? If he hasn't, going from position coach to head coach is a big risk.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 2 months ago

I was actually unaware that Warinner was moving down to just OLine coach. I put him up in there because he has had great success in the past and is a passionate guy that pounds discipline and effort. He also has been at KU and knows the lay of the land here. I am not a fan of Beaty as a head coach because of his glaring lack of experience. I would be absolutely thrilled to have him as our WR's coach because he does an outstanding job with that position and would welcome him as our offensive coordinator, but HC is not something I want to hand over to a guy with as little experience as he has.

Ethan Berger 8 years, 2 months ago

I like this list, especially the first two guys. Beaty simply makes receivers better. Since going to A&M, they have had the best core of recievers. He had huge success here. Same with Warrinner. The dream would be Jim Harbaugh. I think we have players in place, at least much better then a few years ago. If Harbaugh and Niners make nice, the first two on our list should be who we go for. I'm not on the Mark Mangino bandwagon but if we did, I wouldn't complain.

Chuck Woodling 8 years, 2 months ago

Until the KU administrative hierarchy decides it wants a football program, talented coaches will avoid the Jayhawks like the plague because they realize it's a dead-end job. Why did anyone think that a coach fired by Notre Dame could win at Kansas?

Dirk Medema 8 years, 2 months ago

What part of the facility upgrades have indicated a lack of desire for a successful football program? Or is there something else your not speaking of? Or can't you say due to inside privileges?

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 2 months ago

Is it just me or does it feel like Tait had this list ready to go a while ago?

Harbaugh is the only appealing name here but that's not going to happen.

I live in Colorado and I love what Jim McElwain is doing at CSU. They beat Mike Leach's Washington State team last year in the New Mexico Bowl. This year they've beaten in state rival CU and yesterday won't AT Boston College. Prior to CSU he was Nick Saban's OC at Alabama. Best way I can describe him is he's the kinda guy you'd want to run through a brick wall for.

Tait - I think you're a Fort Collins guy, look into him.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 2 months ago

I would say these guys need to be brought in as either HC or OC.... BEATY, WARRINER, MORRIS because of past experiences and current success on Offense and Recruiting.... Kiesau ( OC or keep as WR coach)... Keep Mitchell for RBs and his recruiting

Reagan....BECK.... and Bowen (unless he shows a lot as the interm.)

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 2 months ago

I'd love to see Warriner as HC. Bowen loves the Jayhawks but it takes more than love to make a team successful. Harbaugh would be an interesting get and has success at the college level, but KU is a different animal. He'd basically be starting from scratch. Hard to believe many successful coaches would want that, unless they're looking for an extremely tough challenge. To the people asking to bring Mangino back, aside from anything being possible, I doubt there's much of a chance he comes back. We need a coach with proven success as a HC and I'm guessing the search won't be easy. All I hope is that there is time taken in this search. Patience is key when looking for a guy to turn this program around. Also, this next hire is Zengers job. If he fails then Zenger will be the next in the hott seat.

Matthew Gaylor 8 years, 2 months ago

Don't see many assistant coaches jumping to KU to take over a team that will lose most of the players on defense. Next year will be worse for KU and if Matt is right and KU isn't willing to pay for a coach, then don't expect much change with KU football. Even paying money for a coach likely won't entice anyone to take this job where if they lose for 2 years they're gone.

Best hope for KU is to hire someone who's not a big name like Auburn and Baylor did and hope they work out. Hell, maybe the Butler Community College coach will take the KU job.

Max Ledom 8 years, 2 months ago

Matt, how in the hell are we supposed to convince a coach to come fix a program in absolute destruction for no good pay? Who would want to work 45x harder than their payroll? This is Zengers last chance to hire a coach. If he gets this wrong it's not gonna look good on him. He will pay everything he needs to. So I'll disagree with you on the payment part.

Micky Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

A coach with a real ambition to be successful and one with a deep love for the game. There are many of those that wouldn't leave where they are at for more money.

It's not going to be easy, and it never is easy finding a coach that is a good fit, and one that will get the players to buy in. Weis didn't get the players to bun in to his style. They are giving up on him, and quite frankly, the players have the right to do that. They can see when it's not working on the field. You can't ask the players to play hard if the coaches aren't even trying to win. Weis didn't even make an attempt to adjust yesterday. We weren't getting blown out, but Weis' offenses, even with him not as OC, are a problem at the college level. He wouldn't let go of the NFL.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 2 months ago

Lane Kiffin? Hmmmm? Maybe? I don't know. Thoughts?

John Fitzgerald 8 years, 2 months ago

Not saying Lane Kiffin would be bad but he just seems slimy to me. Wouldn't want him as KU coach.

Jonathan Briles 8 years, 2 months ago

Has left nothing but destruction in his wake. Terrible Head Coach.

Steve Corder 8 years, 2 months ago

Source out of Oklahoma says there is interest in Josh Heupel, 36. However, there are also rumors indicating similar interest from SMU. Look at the coaching tree.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 2 months ago

Josh Heupel is a former quarterback for the Sooners and would never want to be associated with a losing enterprise like the KU football program.

Actually, KU is incredibly stupid for firing a coach in mid-season. They made their decision to hire this failed Notre Dame coach and should sleep with their decision until the season is over.

All this speculation makes nice print, but I agree with one thing, no suitable coach would want to immerse himself in this program that is so hamstrung by the overwhelming devotion to the basketball program to the detriment of the football program.

But bad decisions of the athletic department are legion, look who hired the former police chief of Lawrence.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 2 months ago

Fred - As much as I hate seeing coaches get fired mid-season for wins/loses. It has to happen. I think Zenger knew it was coming. Look at our next four games. It wasn't going to get any better.

The reason it has to happen is so Zenger can start the search and build a relationship with candidates or their agents like Florida did with Urban Meyer. Many though he'd go to Notre Dame but Florida fired Zook sooner and started recruiting him (or his agent) sooner.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 2 months ago

And I think that it is funnier than all get-out that right below Chuck Woodling's post above and all about other locations are advertisements for KU basketball tickets!!

Ain't this paper great????

Micky Baker 8 years, 2 months ago

That's because basketball starts in October now, not the second half of November.

Mike Barnhart 8 years, 2 months ago

Willie Fritz, Willie Fritz, Willie Fritz, Willie Fritz, Willie Fritz, WILLIE FREAKING FRITZ!!!

55 year old Fritz is a native Kansan with a ton of experience coaching and recruiting Texas. He's the new head coach at Georgia Southern who are 3-2 with near upsets of NC State and Georgia Tech this year. He has over 220 victories and less than 70 losses in a 29-year career. In 4 years at Sam Houston State, his teams went to two FCS National Championships.

Fritz is the "winningest" coach in the University of Central Missouri's 113-year football history, Fritz rolled up a 97-47 record in 13 seasons as Mules head coach. He is the only Central Missouri head coach to produce eight consecutive seasons of seven or more wins.

Before that he went 39-5-1 and produced back-to-back undefeated national championships in 1995 and 1996 at Blinn College in Texas. In the three seasons prior to Fritzs' arrival, Blinn had gone 5-24-1. He was twice named national junior college coach of the year has been inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.

From 1987 to 1990, he was the defensive coordinator at Coffeyville Community College. The Red Ravens went 34-6-1 during that period and won the 1990 junior college national title.

As a player at Pittsburg State University (1978-81), Fritz was a four-year starter as a defensive back, and also was a two-year starter in basketball for the Gorillas.

Early in his career, Fritz coached at his alma mater, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and at Willis High School in Texas.

Chuck Woodling 8 years, 2 months ago

Until Zenger fired Weis, the last Kansas AD to fire a football coach he hired was Dutch Lonborg who hired and fired Chuck Mather in the mid-50s.

Robert Brock 8 years, 2 months ago

Then Lonborg hired Jack Mitchell. That was a good hire.

Daniel Kennamore 8 years, 2 months ago

I think the target HAS to be a head coach with a winning record, even if it's a FCS program. We may be down in the dumps but Kansas is still a Big 12 program and not a proving ground for untested assistants.

Along those lines, I think the program really needs to clean addition to a new coach all (and yes I mean even the 'good') current assistant coaches must go as well.

Todd 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't have a good feeling of how I think of this move yet. I liked Weis as a person and think he did the right thing in getting rid of all the kids who weren't going to class etc. He just wasn't getting it done on offense (his specialty) and couldn't recruit a quarterback.

That said, I'm sick of the anti-basketball sentiment from football fans. Why do we need to choose? I love both. I hate the fans who say "when's basketball season?" Makes me resentful of basketball at times. But to say that we favor basketball to the detriment of football is just stupid. What program, outside of Florida for a few years, has top notch programs in both? Not very many. Kids go to places they think they can win. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with this dumb notion that the athletic department isn't doing enough for football. What are they not doing? I rarely see examples. Nobody is hiring coaches for the hell of it. When they hire them, they thought for whatever reason they would be successful. Quit reaching for reasons to complain that have little to no basis.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 2 months ago

I like Wariner because he's s line coach who also knows the spread. Still; I think it makes sense to put out feelers while watching how we do without Weis. Now Reagan can show what he's really capable of. Bowen too; but think we need an offense guy. Kudos to Zenger. This took guts.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 2 months ago

No. A coward is someone who collects paychecks from two school s while working fir neither. Now me? I'm just as ass.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 2 months ago

Wanted to float a real outside the box thought and see what others think. Ready? What about Sean Snyder?

Robert Brock 8 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and let's battle with Louisiana Tech and Navy for 2-star Texas recruits.

David A. Smith 8 years, 2 months ago

I'd really love to see proof that the university and alumni have not committed to winning football. Inaction could be construed as a lack of commitment. A lack of money spent on coaches could be seen as a lack of commitment. Funds not shoveled to facilities could be seen as a lack of commitment to football. We've seen none of that.Success in basketball is not proof that there is no commitment to football. Where is the proof? does not exist.

Aaron Paisley 8 years, 2 months ago

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who the head coach ends up being because until the high end donors such as David Booth or Phil Anschutz step up financially specifically for the football program, KU's chances for establishing long term success just aren't there. The two best blueprints for establishing long term success at KU are both in the Big 12 in Stillwater and Waco.

The key for long term success is not finding the right coach, it's keeping the right coach around for the long haul. Without a financial investment from donors to continue upgrading Memorial Stadium and all the facilities associated with the football program, there's no incentive to stay at Kansas. This is part of why Mike Gundy has stayed at OSU and why Art Brides is staying at Baylor.

The ultimate question when hiring a coach is if he is the right guy, how do keep him around long enough to have a long term impact instead of bolting for a better job with better long term prospects of winning.

Vernon Riggs 8 years, 2 months ago

It is all about recruiting! If I was AD, here are my first three calls...

  1. Phillip Montgomery - OC at Baylor and long time Texas High School coach. The future of Kansas football are kids going to Texas High Schools. The Baylor plan is to take 2- and 3-star players and coach them up. It's working. The Baylor offense is sick!

  2. David Beaty - The BEST recruiter in Texas. His TAM classes are top notch. He is beating Texas, Baylor, TCU, LSU, OU and signing Texas best kids.

  3. Ed Orgeron - The Mouth of the South. Let that Cajon knock on doors in Texas with his Kansas shirt on.

Keep Coach Campo and Coach Mitchell on the staff.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 2 months ago

For people who are concerned about who would come to KU. The next coach needs his contract to include facility improvements (Memorial Stadium) within certain time frame or he gets payouts or an out in his contract.


Name to for get about: 1. Mark Mangino - people call his name out like he's sitting by the phone waiting for us to call so he can say "YES!" Why would he say yes to KU? 2. Philip Fulmer - hadn't heard him yet but he usually comes up. 3. Any current Power 5 conference head coach. 4. Jim Harbaugh - As much as I like the idea of Harbaugh coming to KU so his wife can be close to home. Would you go from Super Bowl to KU? I didn't think so. With that being said Harbaugh is arrogant enough to accept any challenge. He's the kinda guy who would say, "I can drink a gallon of water in an hour." (Don't do it! It'll drown your organs and you'll die)

Realistic: 1. David Beaty - Recruit! Recruit! Recruit! Not only recruit but recruit Texas. Beaty seams to be able to do that. I'd like a more proven head coach and bring Beaty in as OC. It'd be a promotion from Texas A&M. 2. Ed Oregeron - Vernon Riggs above named him and I've seen his name on other sites. I'd forgotten about his interim time at USC. Sounds like a guy players battle for. People stay away from him due to his lack luster performance at Ole Miss but didn't Cutcliff have a lack luster performance at Ole Miss? Now he's finding success at Duke. HC - Oregeron, OC - Beaty. 3. Philip Montgomery - OC at Baylor. Offense is the name of the game. Especially in the Big 12. Why not take a page out of the most potent offense in the Big 12? And he has Texas recruiting ties.

Names to think about: 1. Lane Kiffin - I brought it up in an earlier post and someone described him as "slimy". Can't disagree but in the position were in I think we need to be open to coaches with a past. Kinda like K-State with Huggins or Auburn with Bruce Pearl, Louisville rehiring Petrino, or 2. Brady Hoke - He's gonna get fired in Michigan. Arizona took Rich Rod from Michigan and it's working for them. 3. Bo Pelini - I don't have a good feel for Nebraska fans but it appears that he's on the hot seat every other week and every other year.

Long shots but I'd love to see it: 1. Craig Bohl - Wyoming HC and long time former HC at North Dakota State 2. Bob Stitt - Thought of as an offensive genius at Colorado School of Mines.

Richard Duran 8 years, 2 months ago

Kiffin, Hoke and Pelini would be recycling losers like weiss. No thanks

Clay Malloy 8 years, 2 months ago

Finally, we are being proactive. Never would KU Athletics let the BB team slide so far before doing something about it. Now, on to business...Stop with the MM. I get he was the proverbial "girlfriend" who loved us back. When we were nothing he chose us, stood by us, got us to win, brought back confidence and made us proud. He's gone. We dumped him because he asked too much of us, was a times "too hard" on our players (just saying that sounds bizarre). He's gone and is never coming back, why would he. As someone rightfully said in an earlier post, "we must look ahead".

The answer is simple...Butch Davis. That's BS about him not wanting to coach again. He's a heck of a coach, great person, Midwest guy with TX and FL ties and is itching to make his mark in the game he loves. I had the opportunity to work with Butch when he was at the "U". He turned that team into a culture of wining and coached up average guys into NFL stars. Butch. Hire him now and leave the drama of a coaching search for some other school. It's time to get on with our business.

As a Sports commentator, the hire will generate more buzz around KU football.

Doug Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

Great coordinators don't necessarily make great head coaches (see Weis). Great head coaches make great head coaches.

Doug Roberts 8 years, 2 months ago

That being said, if I had to take a chance on a coordinator, I think I'd pick Warriner.

Brandon Mahon 8 years, 2 months ago

The biggest thing that concerns me right now, are how our recruits are feeling right now. I know some of them are unsure hopefully we are able to keep them all committed and sign.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

Matt Tait.

Think about this. Has anyone thought of an Art Biles type hire?? Think Randy Dreiling former Hutchinson High school coach. Why would it be so crazy to let someone like him have a shot? He's a winner. He's relentless at his craft. He demands the best out of his players and his coaching staff. He would run a hell of a program. I don't know if Zinger would look that way but we could do much worse. He could be a home run! Imagine us being circa Nebraska football 1994-95. Imagine what he could do with talent. He had some at Hutchinson but only Ben Heeney and Geneo Grissom received D1 scholarships under him. Pretty impressive considering he won 6 state titles. He beat a Derbyshire team in 2012 that was clearly the better team with several D1 players. I think he deserves a look. And you can ask him that question and maybe get us that coach we've needed at Kansas!! I hope you look at his resume and see what he did at Hutchinson was almost as big as Snyder in Manhattan!

Matt Tait 8 years, 2 months ago

He's a heck of a coach with a great reputation around the state, there's no question about that. Hard to say how well he would or would not transition to coaching major college football in the Big 12. That's quite a jump with no steps in between... Thanks for the comment, though. Crazier things have happened.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

Bring it up at LEAST Matt. I know it's crazy but the man is a winner. Oh know that may not be easy but I think he deserves a look. I've seen him do more with less year after year.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago


This is what a friend of mine who's son played for Hutchinson and KU said. And I've spoken to him about Weis and was told practices were much more intense in high school.

It would be a big step. Hey, we had a guy who stepped down from the NFL. He couldn't do it. The same guy (Weis) made a ladderal step ( tounge in cheek) from ND. He couldn't do it. We have had others from the college ranks and they couldn't do it. Look at all the win - loss ratios these "wonderfully qualified" coaches brought us! Maybe its time to look in another direction.

Chris Bailey 8 years, 2 months ago

Whoops that was Derby High. Not Derbyshire.

Code_2008 8 years, 2 months ago

Maybe we can get old man Snyder or his son to coach for KU, haha.

Richard Duran 8 years, 2 months ago

We need the next Mason, so I like guys like Doeren, Beaty, Wariner, and he needs time. Can the new guy develop a QB? we need the next Chip Hileary or Reesing, and underrated tough gunslinger who was fearless and a solid player. we need to keep bringing in stud running backs and develop offensive linemen.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 2 months ago

How about we offer to triple one of these guy's current pay to go month to month as the head coach. No freaking contract. Also add K-state's Dana Dimmel to the list. Also like Oregon's offensive coordinator.

Lance Hobson 8 years, 2 months ago

Snyder came back, why can't Mangino? Sure, we've made quite a mess of it but redemption is a big part of our culture. I know it won't happen, but I'd love to see it.

Please do not consider the Orgeron or any other blank checks. Yes, I'm also talking about Lane Kiffin.

Also, Dennis Frachione is still good and a Kansas guy, born and raised. Roy Williams forced KU into taking Allen over him due to Roy's enormous ego but we can fix that now.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 2 months ago

When we hired Gill I had been posting advocating Warriner. Whne we hired Weis I had been advocating Warriner. I'm still advocating Warriner. Line coach, like Mason and Mangino our two best coaches. He's worked with a lot of the current staff. Bring him and Beatty. Find a good quarterback and line coach. We need offense and that rests with better quarterback and trench play. We've got backs and I think our receivers are not the big issue. The aforementioned are the real issues. It's a no-brainer.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.