Zenger opens window to AD/football coach relationship
As head football coach David Beaty’s boss, Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger could have vetoed Beaty’s decision to take over the offense for his second year on the job, but he didn’t.
“When you’re in college, an AD’s not a general manager, so you’re not responsible for just one sport. If you’re a general manager, you’re probably more heavy-handed,” Zenger said. “When you’re an AD, you’re probably more of an adviser with regard to those things. When you hire a coach, you need to let him recruit who he thinks is going to fit. You need to let him hire who believes is going to fit and assign the roles that he believes are going to fit. He’s not the head coach, unless he’s able to make those calls.”
Zenger said that as the AD, he’s “always here to advise and guide, suggest or strongly suggest, depends on the situation.”
As Zenger sees it, the shift from Rob Likens, now receivers coach at Arizona State, to Beaty taking over the offense, makes for a smoother transition to the current offensive coordinator, because of the similarity in Air Raid versions that Beaty and Meacham teach.
“I had great comfort when he approached with that plan that that was something that was important to him to implement the offense as we see it now,” Zenger said of Beaty telling him he needed to take over the offense after his first year. “Otherwise, we’d just be implementing it now. It was important to get that year, regardless who was pulling the trigger, in play.”
Zenger said that after a year of running the offense, Beaty let him know he wanted to hire an offensive coordinator and that Meacham, who was co-offensive coordinator at TCU, was at the top of his list. We might never know if Beaty’s decision to surrender the offense was preceded by a strong suggestion from the AD, but it doesn’t matter. Beaty got his man.
“The way I saw it, David, to use a slang term, ‘manned up’ to take on responsibilities he felt were necessary for the program last year and now has the opportunity to do what he does best as a head coach,” Zenger said. “I was excited for him that he could then breathe and be able to do those things, like recruit. We see what he’s able to do when he’s the lead guy in recruiting. He has such a skill set for that and passion for that.”
And Zenger’s excitement level when Beaty told him he could sway Meacham from TCU?
“Real excited,” Zenger said. “We all know Doug’s past, just in the coaching world, his reputation precedes him. He has a certain way about him that I think people will find very impressive. . . . I think it’s well known that Doug is someone David would have liked to have in Year 1.”