Tom Keegan: KU AD Jeff Long responds to questions on reeling football program

New Kansas athletic director Jeff Long, pictured here during his first day on the job on Aug. 1, 2018, hosted a small gathering with media members in his office to discuss, among other things, football, fund-raising and his adjustment to life in Lawrence.

A pair of curious substitutions that took starting quarterback Peyton Bender out of the game, as well as ill-timed timeouts, repeated troubles with the snap from center, a drop in the end zone by the team’s best receiver, Steven Sims Jr., and several other tough moments during Saturday’s season-opening loss to Nicholls State cranked up the heat on fourth-year Kansas coach David Beaty’s seat.

It’s not that Beaty has lost two games to an FCS opponent. Even Washington State’s Mike Leach, a big success everywhere he coaches, has done that. It was more the how of the 26-23 overtime loss than the loss itself.

Also, given that the outcome dropped Beaty’s record to 3-34, I thought it fair to ask him if he received any feedback after the game from Mike Vollmar, senior associate athletic director for football and Athletic Director Jeff Long’s first hire.

“No,” Beaty said. “I’ve never met with an administrator after the game. I mean, they’re very supportive after the game. Yeah. I mean, both him and Jeff were there. They were with us in the locker room. Very supportive guys.”

I worded the question poorly and should have asked “since the end of the game,” instead of “after the game,” but it did lead to an interesting answer.

Beaty said he views his two bosses as supportive, but it’s always better to hear it from the boss’ mouth.

Long was unable to accommodate my request, and others from local media members, for an interview Tuesday afternoon, but did release through spokesman Jim Marchiony an answer to questions regarding his level of support for the coach he inherited from predecessor Sheahon Zenger.

The statement: “We all expected a different outcome Saturday but I continue to support our student-athletes and coaches and ask all Jayhawks to do the same. Our evaluation of the program is ongoing without a predetermined timeline.”

Let’s break it down. Long subtly informed us that he saw what the rest of us saw Saturday. His eyes weren’t lying any more than the rest of ours were. He basically let us know he didn’t expect to have to deal with this as early as Sept. 1 at 10 p.m. He asked for patience, yet also let everybody know that he’s on the case. And, by the way, if you would like to show up for the Rutgers game, that would be much appreciated.

Here’s the challenge for Long: Supporting student-athletes and coaches at the same time isn’t always possible. There comes a time when the best way to support football players is to give them a leader better at coaching football.

Still, it’s always best to have your next move down pat before making your first move. Long, like his boss, Chancellor Douglas Girod, strikes me as heedful, not the least bit impulsive.

Not having a predetermined timeline is smart because life is a series of adjustments. For example, if KU upsets Central Michigan and ends its 46-game losing streak Saturday, the understandable fury of the fan base, at least from those still engaged, could subside enough for a decent number of football fans to decide to go to the Rutgers game to see Todd Reesing’s name go up on the Ring of Honor and give him the thunderous ovation that he deserves. Seriously, don’t you think Reesing provided enough thrills to merit seeing a big crowd, all eyes on him for a moment, one more time at renamed David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium?

And if the road losing streak grows to 47, the overall skein to 13, and it happens in unsightly fashion, the absence of a predetermined timeline means Long can appoint an interim head coach and free Beaty from a job for which he is not suited.

Of course, it’s always possible a permanent head coach could be hired in mid-season, but schools usually go the interim route and fill the top seat with someone from within the program.

Comments

John Fitzgerald

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

Kevin Robert Fest

I'll bet at this point lll bet Long wishes he watched just a couple of games before he decided to take the job. lf he had known what a buffoon Beaty really is and how he has damaged the program he might not have taken the job.

Let me ask this question, at this point what coach in his right mind is going to spend the next 2 to 3 years undoing what Beaty has done trying to get the proper recruits, knowing there is probably going to be a shortage of players after Beaty went to Juco and transfer route just like Weis. Then just generally trying to get people intrested in the program after Beatys 4 inept years. The stink of this program under Beaty permeates all the way through the Midwest so it might be hard to get people to come here even with a good coach. My gosh Gil, Weis and Beaty, 3 coaches who have just killed this program. Each leaving it in worse shape than the other. But no one forced KU to hire them.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

its not even getting right recruits..a good coach can take the players on this current team and at least make them competitive...fans can endure a regime change if the new coach can squeeze out 3-4 wins each of those 2 years before getting their own players..least then they can give a glimpse of what they can acheive

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

Kevin:

I'll grant you some of your points, but come on.. .Beaty hasn't put the program in a worse spot than Weis did. That's just over the top...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Rogers

It's tough enough for us fans to stay committed when we endure constant losses. It sure doesn't help when media people, like Keegan, insist on trying to rally fans and administrators against the coach with his obvious top ten head coach candidates and now his top ten interim coach candidates. Come on, Keegan, butt out of this. You can spout your self-righteous crap that all you're doing is educating the public for what is likely to come. BS. We're not stupid. Go ahead and accumulate those pieces but keep a lid on them until a firing takes place. Then fire away. Until then, report facts. I have tried to be positive about Beaty and support him but this last loss is rapidly draining my support. Since these first couple of games are not on espn3 and my Cox provider doesn't carry espn+, I went ahead and subscribed to espn+. I'll give it until Big12 season and at that point decide whether I continue watching these games (from afar, i"m in another state).

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Phil Leister

Keegan writes editorials. Look up the definition of an editorial if you're unsure what that is. His job isn't to report facts, and by clicking on said editorial and posting a comment, you're helping LJW make money.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Joe Black

Keegan still sucks

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Andy Tweedy

Man, I'm really fired up about this today. I can't get over all the "this is totally fixable" stuff coming out of our coach (see the OL article). We've been hearing that for 3+ years and yet nothing ever seems to get fixed. OMG, I'm so frustrated with this program!!!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chris Bailey

Beaty couldn’t find a fix with the blueprint in his pocket! That guy flat cannot coach, period!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Kevin Robert Fest

Tom

Be honest do you already have your article written when Beaty gets fired? His firing is as sure a thing as the sun coming up.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Sam Meyer

I'm glad we have Jeff Long as our AD. I'm confident that the football program will be healthy in 5 years. He's asking KU fans to attend games and inject dollars into the program that way. I know he's right and that is needed, but ti he wants fans to support this team with their hard earned money by buying tickets as well as with their time by attending the game the best thing he can do is to take action and show Jayhawk nation that he won't tolerate more of the same. I think letting Beaty go would be all the message KU fans would need. It tells us that our dollars and time won't be spent on this particular regime, and there will in fact be a new head coach in town soon. That's a message fans can and will get behind.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brian Skelly

Jeff Long will have a new coach in here by before next season starts. That's really the only reason he was hired.

---

Who it will be, who knows. But after a decade of horrible coaching, they can't expect us to support a team who gives folks no reason to support them.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Gerry Butler

I heard that the Coach from Santa Fe Trail High School might wanna try something new -couldn't be any worse. - I can't believe I'm saying that - -but I tried to be a supporter for Coach but bottom line is the guy is in WAY over his head- -and to be honest how hard is it for him to put in the 100% knowing your games as a head Coach are numbered. I just don't know how or if we can ever get ANY kind of a Coach to come in and try and fix this -- Weiss really screwed us good. Ya I've jumped off the wagon for Coach - dam I mean I know the guy is a good guy - but I just don't think he is ever going to get another shot as a head Coach - he failed terribly. Yet given the fact what Gill and Weiss did. Hell I was satisified even with 4-5 win seasons an occasional bowl - I mean any body who is anybody knows this is not a football school BUT I mean come on huge difference between being a football power and even respectability then where we are now. Thank GOD I'm retired and don't have to go into work and have to take the blunt of all the KU football jokes anymore - these kids deserve better then this.- I know the guy from Louisiana has never Coached but I seriously feel even he couldn't do any worse - who we gonna get? - -Might end up having to try him whether we like it or not. - Good recruiter in a heavily talented area and no where to go but up - -people who think Les Miles . - would EVER consider coming to this dumpster fire is just totally insane. yet I hear people throwing his name around. - -I want some of that stuff these people are smoking -- only 24 days until late night

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dillon Davis

Tony Hull will be interim HC. I don't think anyone on the staff has any chance of becoming permanent HC but I would love for Hull to do a good job and either convince the next coach to to keep him as OC or allow Hull to get a good job in the SEC where he probably wants to be anyways.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

Dillon, what BASIS do you have for Tony Hull being offensive coordinator? He was a high school football coach and offensive coordinator for one high school in his stops along the way. He is essentially the running backs coach / assistant head coach. How did the running game look in week 1? Ricker is the OL coach.. and our center snapped 3 ground balls to our QB... I'd hold Ricker accountable if anyone, so what.. fire Ricker? But no.. it's more fun to blame Beaty for all of it.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Freedman Moor

Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

If KU loses this Saturday, Beatty shouldnt have a job come Monday morning..the most winnable games on their schedule are these next 2 weeks..if they cant win those then KU isnt gonna win a game all year...Beatty has had enough time to at least make KU competitive..we shouldnt be in year 4 and still be afraid of going winless...you dont have to be FB school to expect to at least be respectable..5-6 wins a years with an occasional 7-9 win season isnt asking too much..I love KU bball but Im tired of being bored the 5 months in between seasons

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chris Bailey

How many times and chances does he get? If he does pull out a win then what? He gets to keep his job? I don’t care what he does he’s proven he’s not the man to coach this team. He should’ve been fired last year! He’s the worst coach I’ve ever seen at a major conference in the last 30 years. Horrible at every facet of the coaching game. It’s unbelievable that Zenger gave him an extension. 3 wins in 4 seasons. How embarrassing.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

Like most supporters of the KU football team, we lose the 3 non-conference games, and I fully support an intra-season releasing of Beaty as HC. Quite frankly, I don't care who the interim HC would be. This team had better find a way on defense to FORCE TURNOVERS, or we won't beat anyone. That being said, we need to actually snap the ball to the QB (in the air).

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dee Shaw

We all know Beaty is gone. No secret. I think AD Long should have fired Beaty the day he got hired as AD but whatever. Here we are in early September, week 2 of the football season. AD Long better have a plan. He should already be on the phones and coming up with his list of coach’s to replace Beaty. This process should not take long. Whenever Beaty is fired by no more than 5 to 7 days KU should have a news conference announcing there new coach. If this process takes longer that’s poor planning on AD Long. Your job hired as the new AD was to get football turned around. Period. You should have plenty of time to make the correct hire. Pressure is on.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Joe Black

He is not going to hire a full time replacement coach during the season. If we want a quality coach, it will have to be after the season is over. Everybody is frustrated with the situation but Long is not under that much pressure at this time. He didn't have the opportunity to hire a new coach before the season so he is stuck with what he has. Most likely will have one of the assistant coaches finish out the year.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

Dee: "Plenty of time to make the correct hire". You're an idiot... 'nuff said.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Andy Godwin

One would typically hires another team's head coach if he is currently employed after the season. Unless one is considering an assistant coach or an unemployed coach, interviewing will be after the last game and in some cases after a bowl game. The latter won't be KU's scenario given it will be a hard sell to find a successful FBS coach willing to take this job. As you might recall it was not easy to find someone willing to take over after Weis for the money they were paying, $800,000 (because they were still paying Weis), which is one the very low side for a coach in the Big 12. If Beaty is fired within the season, then an interim head coach will likely be appointed (neither Meacham or Bowen should be considered). Long will have a tough sell to find a proven coach willing to rebuild after multiple failed attempts to rebuild. Not even sure what resources they have to overpay a new coach, given the Chancellor is asking for the athletic department to kick in to help cover the state cuts to the University, whose mission is first and foremost to educate. Winning football programs bring in essential resources, but is not part of the KU's official mission statement.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Steve Corder

Andy, as to KU's official mission, it is interesting to note that when TCU started winning big with Patterson TCU's number of applications nearly doubled and admissions' requirements increased. The student body academic profiles jumped significantly.

Today, big-time athletic programs are essential to virtually (Ivy League excepted) all major universities.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Joe Black

Cite more examples to prove your theory. One exception to the rule does not make the hypothesis true.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

@Andy..KU doesnt need to aim for a top name big time coach..they need to look at smaller programs who are winning..Nebraska went after Scott Frost after only 2 years at the helm of UCF..but he showed what he could do in those 2 seasons..no big name coach who coached at a big name school is gonna come to Lawrence..but KU is still in a Power 5 conference and would be a step up from schools like Wyoming or UCF..they gotta find a guy who is able to develop 3* players and JUCO transfers because KU isnt luring any 5* high ranked kids

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Brad Sherp

I wonder who would be named the interim HC. Bowen did a good job last time replacing Weis...so much so that many wanted Bowen to continue in that role.

Bowen made a lot of changes when he took over, and they were the right moves. He replaced the OC and starting QB. Bowen didn't win a lot of games, but it was the last time KU played competitive football. Beaty's Texas game was an anomaly. They gave up the ball 6 times. KU didn't win that game so much as Texas refused to win it.

Things were starting to turn around enough under Bowen that it created a controversy about keeping Bowen, and if I am Long I dont want the controversy if my intention is to hire someone else. Meachum is probably the next best option, but it would be hard to make him the guy when our offense has been so bad.

Bowen has not been much better than Meachum, but at least Bowen showed progress last time he was in the role. I personally would like Bowen to be HC for the rest of the season just to see what changes he would make. I dont think he wins any games this year, but I do think KU would play competitive football for the rest of the year. KU has nothing to lose by making Bowen the guy right now. We cant get any worse.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jack Brooks

We’ve already seen what Bowen can do as interim and it did not equate to wins. His defenses have consistently been terrible. He’s as clueless as Beaty and needs to be shown the door as well.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Joe Black

At least if Bowen is named interim head coach, he would probably have to hand the defense off to someone else and that could only help.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

Is it possible to be a better head coach than coordinator? When Clint took over for Weis the team seemed to respond favorably. They were more competitive and actually beat Iowa State.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Lance Cheney

Wasn't Bowen the interim HC when we let Samaje Perine run for an NCAA record number of rushing yards in a single game? He probably would've ran for another 200+ yards if Stoops had not pulled him in the 3rd quarter.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dennis Strick

John Has A Long Mustache. The Flour Sack Is On The Shelf. The Clock On The Wall Needs Winding.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dane Pratt

And we moved up a notch to number 3 on the latest bottom ten ranking.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

Not good to see our name plastered all over the front of MSN responding to how bad we suck. Back to being a national joke.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

Enough of this. Every year a bigger and bigger joke. Time for a culture change and it begins with releasing a guy who will go down in ncaa history for all the wrong reasons.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dee Shaw

Ryan Held would be a tremendous choice for the head coaching job at KU. He is the running backs coach and one of the key recruiters at Nebraska. I guarantee that Ryan would be successful. Laugh all you want but just remember his name.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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['']

We do NOT need to hire ANYONE who doesn't have head coaching experience. I understand that Mangino was OC when he was hired but....at this stage of rebuilding we need a current HEAD coach who HAS turned a program around. Plus I don't think Long is going after a coordinator. Current, active HC or bust! And PAY them what they are worth.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Lance Cheney

No more position coaches from mediocre teams, please!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Thomas Green

After reading through all the comments, I don’t recall a single one suggesting Beaty be given more time.

Glad to see everyone is now on board with the ultimate ending of Beaty’s Tenure! RCJ!

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Doug Roberts

I don't think Long has been here long enough yet. I think he wants to give Beaty a few games to see if there is ANY progress. Plus, that will give Long enough time to get a feel for who the interim head coach should be - Meacham or Bowen. I don't think it will be Hull. He'll also want to give Beaty a shot at a conference opponent. We'll lose to lowly Baylor, and since it's a road game that will make it much easier to fire Beaty then. So my money is on Beaty getting fired after the Baylor game.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

If Beaty loses ugly like last week the plug needs to be pulled ASAP . Somebody needs to return this game to execution and fundamentals.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Mike Hart

Oh, that's right. Beaty is the one who is supposed to be coaching senior graduate transfer center Alex Fontana... how to snap the football in the air. Sorry, but this isn't Fontana's first rodeo... and that is not Beaty's fault this guy rolled 3 back there from center. Our best OL was Mesa Ribordy (center) and he had to unexpectedly retire from football for medical reasons... remember? Oh, and I guess that's Beaty's fault too

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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David Kemp

Are you serious? What part of the last 3 years boil down to a few bad snaps?

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Lance Cheney

These next few weeks will be telling. Nicholls might have been our toughest non-con opponent.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Chris DeWeese

I'm not sure I see a reason to believe KU can beat Central MI or Rutgers. Central MI is on the road (and we all know how KU performs on the road), and Rutgers is a B10 team (and we all know how KU does against P5 schools). I guess I'll believe it when I see it. Even then...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

I think if they get off to an 0-3 start you might was well give them another 9 losses and call it a season..no other game on their schedule is winnable outside these next 2..at 0-3, Beaty needs to be met in the hallway right after the game and given his pink slip

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Randy Bombardier

I thought Bowen was better at interim HC than he is as DC. I would like to see what he could do with 9 games remaining. It's possible that he could be a fine head coach. What would it hurt to give him the remainder of the year and next year too.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jack Hoff

I 100% agree Randy. He did a great job when Weis was fired. Team played tough and looked competitive in the BIG 12. They were simply over matched! Really never made any noticeable in game blunders that I can remember either. Sounds bad but I hope Beaty gets fired so he has another shot to prove himself. May be too late for him to ever get the job because Long will want to make a splash hire but I honestly believe if he was given the job instead of Beaty KU would be a bowl eligible team by now.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Jeff Coffman

1-7? That is better than his DC capabilities...that statement alone, shows he should be shown the door. The only coach with a worse record is Beaty and a lot of that is because he kept Bowen. You don't reward poor performers. I'd rather see Beaty hobble through the next few games than to see Bowen have any more to do with the program...he is toxic.

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

and the media hits just keep on coming....

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaa...

2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Carson

Im actually surprised more KU coaches werent on that list..seeing as how we have a less than glorious FB history

2 months, 1 week ago

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