Another Sunflower State program recently provided Kansas football with a potential blueprint for moving on from Les Miles
Now that we know that Les Miles is out as the head football coach at Kansas in the wake of recent reports of an alleged sexual harassment scandal at LSU, KU officials need look no further than the southern part of the state for how to handle the aftermath.
Not long ago, it was Wichita State basketball that found itself in this kind of mess, with allegations against now-former WSU hoops coach Gregg Marshall threatening to destroy the program from the inside out.
In the end, after a longer-than-necessary waiting period, Marshall and WSU agreed to part ways and the WSU athletic department, still somewhat reeling from the collapse of it all, moved quickly to name Isaac Brown its interim head coach.
Brown was popular among the WSU players, he had been in Wichita and around the program long enough to know what needed to be done to keep Wichita State competitive and, most importantly, he was the polar opposite of the polarizing Marshall.
Wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Emmett Jones is that man for Kansas, and the Jayhawks could do far worse than to name him the interim head coach the way the Shockers did with Brown.
Like Brown, Jones is well liked by the current players and beloved by many of the promising young recruits who have signed with Kansas during the past couple of years. Keeping him gives KU its best chance at keeping them. The importance of that cannot be overstated right now.
Because if you think it’s been bad to this point, go do another coaching search, hire some other new face, start all the way over again and watch what that does to the roster numbers and competitive makeup of the program. Trust me, that outcome ain’t pretty.
Who knows if Jones’ story will end the same way Brown’s has. A little more than a week ago, the interim tag was removed from Brown’s title and he signed a five-year deal, worth about $6 million, to lead the Wichita State men’s basketball program full-time.
Maybe that would be Jones’ fate, too. Maybe not.
In announcing a mutual parting of ways between KU and Miles, the school indicated that a national coaching search for a replacement would begin immediately.
But who in their right mind — inside the athletic department or on the outside looking in — wants to watch Kansas go through another coaching search right now? Sure, there are candidates. Good ones at that. But how interested would any of them be in the Kansas job this time around? And how in the heck do you sell this place — to coaches, recruits, current players or donors?
Recent coaching searches have turned up nothing, and maybe it’s time for Kansas to go about this a whole different way.
Les Miles and Charlie Weis, and to a lesser degree Turner Gill and David Beaty, all came to Kansas as well-known names with a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding whether they’d be able to do the job or do a good job.
Jones, like Brown at WSU, has been completely off the radar for nearly every coaching hire that has taken place across the country for the past two years. He also has been the one current KU assistant who consistently has been praised by all of the people in college football and at Kansas who have I have talked to since he arrived.
Give him the chance to lead the Jayhawks and see if trying to execute a different game plan in the football building can save the program.
Because it’s obvious that what KU has been doing thus far — three ADs, four different head coaches and dozens of different assistant coaches and support staff members — just hasn’t worked.
Continuity is so critical at Kansas, and giving Jones the interim tag for the 2021 season would not only help calm the waters but also would give KU plenty of time to do an extremely thorough search.