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Kansas football search takes a turn

n this Sept. 19, 2009, file photo, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach waits as a play is reviewed against Texas in Austin, Texas. Leach has reached a verbal agreement to be the new football coach at Washington State, an official within the athletic department told the Associated Press on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011.

With news breaking Wednesday that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach had agreed to a five-year deal to become the next head football coach at Washington State, the search at Kansas University took an abrupt turn.

Leach, believed by many to be the Jayhawks’ top target in their quest to replace Turner Gill, seemed to be the slam-dunk hire in an offseason overflowing with BCS openings.

While losing out on Leach changed the look of KU’s search, there are plenty of reasons that point to why Leach may have picked WSU over the other jobs out there. Sources have indicated that money, location and the school’s Pac-12 ties played a big role in the decision made by the man dubbed “The Mad Genius.”

After firing coach Paul Wulff on Tuesday, WSU made it clear that it would be willing to pay big bucks for its next coach. Originally, it was believed that meant the Cougars would double Wulff’s salary of around $600,000 for the next guy. Turns out they quadrupled it. Leach reportedly will make $2.4 million per year over the length of his five-year deal at WSU. A news conference announcing Leach as the Cougars’ next coach is scheduled for this afternoon.

With the zany fan favorite locked up in Washington, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, Southern Miss head coach Larry Fedora and Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables continue to look like strong options for KU. Of course, there also exists the likelihood that KU’s official list includes a name or two not being talked about by the masses.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, who left Lawrence on Wednesday with the idea of staying on the road until he finds KU’s next football coach, told the Journal-World he had identified six to 10 viable candidates and would spend the next several days attempting to trim his list and home in on the right fit for a program coming off two of its worst seasons in school history under Gill.

Zenger, still in his first year at KU, won’t be acting alone. He said Wednesday a private donor had offered to cover the cost of hiring a consultant to help with the search and added that he would use the consultant on a limited basis.

“I’m running the search,” Zenger said. “But, obviously, a little help like that doesn’t hurt.”

When talking about the role the consultant may play, Zenger described that of a wing man.

“To make sure we do a thorough background check and search on everyone, and also so we can reach out to people on a national basis that otherwise wouldn’t have contacted us,” Zenger said.

Tim Caboni, KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little has been involved in the search but has put her faith in Zenger to deliver the right guy.

“Sheahon has obviously taken the lead on this for us,” Caboni said. “It’s what he was hired to do, it’s why he’s here, and it’s what the chancellor trusts him to do.”

Asked if Zenger and Gray-Little discuss the football job on a daily basis, Caboni referenced some ground rules set forth by the university when the search began.

“One of the things that we’ve said from the beginning is we’re not going to talk about the day-to-day or the process in detail or even speculate about with whom we might or might not be talking,” Caboni said. “It’s just not helpful.”

Caboni added that Gray-Little believed in Zenger’s plan of attack.

“They’re on the same page,” he said. “The chancellor also understands the time pressure around this.”

Comments

ljmhawk

I really wanted Leach because he would have brought a lot of buzz and excitement to Lawrence, I just do not want another mid-major coach.

11 years ago

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hawk316

An old saying in baseball is that sometimes the best trades are the ones never made. To relate that truism to this situation, it might be stated that the best hire is not the one initially desired.

I think this will work out for the best for KU.

11 years ago

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gardenjay

What we will always need is a better University.

So if a zany coach is desired, here's a better zany idea - do spend $3 million a year, but on the engineering department to come up with a 'coach'. This coach looks like that robot from Lost In Space (Class M-3 Model B9).

The program's data input includes the mass of the players on the field and some of the forces they are capable of generating at different speeds. Plays drawn up and practiced beforehand are matched to this data to maximize performance. It includes last-minute data feeds from spotters in the stands so that key formations can be countered. Surprise plays are thrown in using a random number generator so that everyone is surprised.

It unfortunately needs to know what down it is, what yardline the ball is on and if we still have the ball for every down. But these, and referee penalties are merely entered by an aide paid minimum wage.

It makes very clear signals to the players on the field using an LED display. 'Coach' has long term goals, including throwing a game if it's deemed more important to make a bowl game over the whole season, and makes this clear with a large flashing 'save your energy' sign. This is good for the fans so they know they can go home.

It has arms and some animated moves to intimidate the referees when a team consensus is that they have been dissed. A win is celebrated by dumping a gatorade cooler filled with confetti on the robot so as not to cause any short circuits.

11 years ago

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gardenjay

That's a great idea, Gardenjay!

It seems one reason the human coaches are paid big bucks is to take fan abuse such as on this website. I think players would be fine with a robot coach, and just think of the engineering skills required to pull it off. What a win-win!

11 years ago

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flyingfinn

I don't like that comment about spending "the next several days" trimming his list. He should've already been in contact with everyone they were interested in. We can't afford this slow and steady wins the race mentality because it doesn't work in these cases.

11 years ago

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bradh

610 radio reported this morning that KU had a verbal agreement in place with Leach, but that it was contingent on him resolving his lawsuits. Leach was unable to resolve the lawsuits, so both parties moved on.

Leach was my favorite candidate until I head a couple of interviews on 810 radio. The people they interviewed, co-host on Leach's radio show and writer of his book, indicated that Leach doesn't recruit (leaves it to the assistants) and he doesn't help with fund raising. I think KU would prefer a coach who does both.

I still think Leach would have been a good hire, but I'm not nearly as disappointed in missing him as I would have been if I hadn't heard those interviews. I think Zenger will get it done.

11 years ago

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David Friend

Broke talks off on Sunday.. They were willing to resume again after a cooling off period.. They really felt Leach was a wack job in Layman's terms. I think people will be presently surprised when all said is done.

11 years ago

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Ryan Gerstner

Jersey, so was Leach ever offered the job? Rumors were KU offered him $3 mil per year, which is quite a bit more than Wazzu. I'm guessing other issues had to be in play like you mentioned.

11 years ago

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Andy Tweedy

Is that the same radio station that said Harbaugh was taking the job two years ago? Just because they keep saying it does not mean it's true.

11 years ago

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pcutjayhawk

If we are willing to hire Leach, why don't we just bring back Mangino. It's the same thing, as far as the allegations go. Not trying to be disrespectful, but couldn't Mangino be the next Coach Fam? I believe Mangino wanted to build something here. Just my opinion.

11 years ago

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KStoCAHippie

+1 He was very active in the community in general and seemed to genuinely care about Lawrence.

11 years ago

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NebraskaJayhawk

Not a bad idea.

11 years ago

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Mike Barnhart

Yikes! Mangino was a great roller coaster ride for KU but when the cars jumped the track it got kind of ugly.

11 years ago

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troutsee

Absolutely and positively, NO!

11 years ago

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okiedave

If Mangino were to bomb on a 2nd attempt, Zenger would probably lose his job. Called making the same mistake twice (it's a shame on "me" thing).

11 years ago

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1jhawk2

Compare the situations:
Mangino - player late for meetings and has to bear crawl the turf on a 100 degree day. Palms of hands are burned. (shouldn't have been late)

Leach - player has concussion and makes him sit in a dark shed. Not that its right, but 2 different things.

Mangino was also known for his arrogant ways in the sports office. He was rude to people, especially John Hadl's wife. I went to school with a former Special Teams assistant who passed on going to back to KU b/c of Mangino. That coach worked NFL before/after KU and said he has never been around anyone like that.

11 years ago

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ZDKC

Wow.. someone's being a little bit melodramatic. It's obvious that you've never played a sport in your life.

PS. Don't bother replying with some fake story about how you're some accomplished athlete because I can do the same. "Hey guys, I played middle linebacker for the Steelers for 9 years."

11 years ago

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KStoCAHippie

What was it like playing for the Steelers? :-P

11 years ago

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AcesWild

what recruit wanted to play for him. yes he wanted to build

something here a fat farm ,if he realy wanted to coach los
some weight

11 years ago

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irvan moore

yep, the part about taking our time bothers me too, we knew what was going to happen and should have had it prety much nailed before we canned tg.

11 years ago

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Ashwin Rao

I agree... this seems a bit odd that we actually waited until Gill canning before we took the first step. Granted, that it would look "really bad" if Gill found out before the firing event, but business is business, and there is something called contingency planning & "creating a bench"...
This does show lack of forethought on Zenger's part.

11 years ago

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tis4tim

Almost makes you wonder who is really pulling the strings, doesn't it?

11 years ago

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shelleysue

I think we need to realize that Zenger could be saying one thing when another is the reality so as not to show his cards until it's all said and done. I have a hard time believing he took no steps until after the firing.

11 years ago

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Bion Ostrander

"No one at KU has confirmed that the former Texas Tech head coach is the school’s top target, but strong signs point to that being the case." That was one of the opening lines in an article by Mr. Tait yesterday. "Leach, believed by many to be the Jayhawks’ top target in their quest to replace Turner Gill, seemed to be the slam-dunk hire in an offseason overflowing with BCS openings." This is one of the opening lines in today's article by Mr. Tait. I don't mean to ride you Matt, but lets get some consistent and objective reporting going here. So, the conclusion I draw from this is that "no" KU person confirmed that Leach was KU's top target, yet Leach was "believed" to be KU's top target and a slam dunk hire - - that is very inconsistent reporting. Lets call it what it was, it was LJW's sports' reporters "speculation and SWAG" (silly wild ass guess) that Leach was coming to KU, it was not based on any specific objective creditable KU source. And if the LJW did have a source reporting that Leach was a slam dunk to be KU's next coach, you would be advised to find a better source next time! The good thing about sports writing, it is not important enough for most people to remember or care what you wrote yesterday, even if it is wildly inconsistent. And most sports writers never admit when they are wrong, they just adopt a new position and hope nobody notices. I think the LJW does a great job of "timely" reporting and hitting a lot of sports issues that we all care about. But it is more important to me that LJW reports the news and does not try present opinion, speculation, and SWAG as the facts. So now, based on the LJW's sources, who is the next "slam dunk" hire for KU?

11 years ago

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Matt Tait

Couple of things...

1. "No one at KU confirmed that Leach was the top target" is me flat-out admitting that we don't know the whole deal with Leach.

2. "Leach, believed by many to be the Jayhawks' top target" is very much true. Thousands of fans believed it, dozens of news outlets and people all over the country. The two statements don't contradict each other.

3. The slam-dunk hire was referring to all of the openings out there. Leach's name was at the top of just about every BCS list, making him a slam-dunk hire for whoever lands him. If you look at the reaction at WSU, I think you'll see that's true.

Sorry for the confusion, but I think you were tying things together that were independent of each other...

Enjoy the rest of the search!

11 years ago

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Sparko

You put it out thereand left it to the school to deny--which they never did, so I thought this was pretty good reporting. Frankly, everyone knew Leach would be the top target of any sentient AD; the next level of reporting is just how far down the road KU was before felling like he was a risky hire. I love the man's coaching, but his theatrics had to bother people who spend the school's money. . .

11 years ago

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Randy Bombardier

I am with you. Last time it was the Harbaugh Bandwagon. The LWJ is setting up the KU fan base for disappointment and I don't like it one bit. It makes me question motives here.

11 years ago

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John Randall

Apparently, KU and Leach were in agreement on everything but the baggage of his lawsuits against TxTech. Since he couldn't/wouldn't wrap up or drop those, the whole thing fell through.

I agree 100% that if he wasn't free and clear, he wouldn't be the best choice.

11 years ago

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Michael Pannacciulli

If we want to be a real football team we need a real coach. Leach was that guy. We missed a huge opportunity. Mediocrity continues.

11 years ago

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kuhawks28

Thank you!! Finally someone else gets it.

11 years ago

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kuhawks28

Thank you!! Finally someone else gets it.

11 years ago

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Andy Tweedy

Wrong! Leach was A guy, but he was not the only guy. Until you see who is hired, you just can't assume we missed anything.

11 years ago

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Brandon Pope

+1

11 years ago

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Jeffery Barrett

+2

11 years ago

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Bion Ostrander

I am extremely glad that Leach is now removed from the equation as a possible KU football coach! In a sense, this relieves some pressure on Zenger and the search committee to hire the "popular" coach instead of the best coach. Leach was possibly high reward, but was also very high risk. Now we can move forward with the serious search for a coach. Please, no more idiot requests for the return of Glen Mason, that is not happening either!

I sure hope that Drue Jennings (former KCPL utility executive) or someone of similar ilk is involved with the search committee, Drue was the interim AD that hired Bill Self.

Lew overplayed his cards when he fired Mangino, thinking that Harbaugh and other candidates would grovel to work for the great Lew Perksins and coach at KU after the Orange Bowl success. Well you can see what we ended up with when reality hit home, who wants to work for a program that fired perhaps its most successful coach and did a hatchet job as part of that firing. Hopefully that is water under the bridge and KU can attract much better candidates this time around.

Lets conduct some serious due diligence and do it right this time. I like Fedora and Sumlin, and would prefer someone that is already a head coach. Also, a coach that can commit to a balance of offensive and defensive priorities, and someone that can definitely bring along a successful offensive and defensive coordinator. I understand a coach may have to be flexible to best use KU's existing offensive personnel, but long-term I would prefer a return to a spread or pro offense emphasizing more passing and offensive diversity - - versus -2 yards and no clouds of dust under TG.

11 years ago

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tis4tim

Sumlin has no interest in the Kansas job. Someone feel free to correct me on that, but I thought I read that yesterday.

11 years ago

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nuleafjhawk

Urban Meyer was not interested in the Ohio State job either.

Anything can happen.

Money talks.

11 years ago

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tis4tim

*Sigh* I suppose you're right, nuleaf.

The whole misdirection aspect of our college coaching search has me so flustered, I think I'm going to follow a different team until it all blows over ... or am I???

11 years ago

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nuleafjhawk

Don't give up hope tis4tim - you have to BELIEVE.

Wait - forget that.

I feel your pain, bro. Maybe we should take the glass half full approach and say that we'll do as well in our search for a Football coach as we did when we got our Basketball coach.

Tis the season.........

11 years ago

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nuleafjhawk

It looked better when * believe * was capitalized like I typed it in - thank you LJW caps lock Nazis.

11 years ago

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tis4tim

ha ha ... Your intonation came through loud and clear ... even without the caps. I understand exactly what you were trying to do there.

11 years ago

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tis4tim

A fridge magnet once told me: "When one door closes, another one opens, but the hallways are a real drag."

I guess we're traversing that hallway right now.

Still, I'm with you in that I think this will turn out as it should.

Rock Chalk!

11 years ago

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Mike Barnhart

I think Leach was in Lawrence all day Monday. A jet from the FL Keys landed in Lawrence late Sunday and returned to the Keys Tuesday morning. (FlightAware.com)

They couldn't close the deal!

11 years ago

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LSHawk

You are sooooo wrong. That plane that flew in from the Keys was carrying a family returning from vacation.

11 years ago

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milwaukeeJAYHAWK

fail.

11 years ago

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bjejayhawk69

Sumlin also scares me since most of his success has been with Case Keenum at QB. I think they were sub .500 when he was hurt last year but if he can find and develop a QB like that then he would be worth it.

I am thinking Mark Stoops and have him bring in his brother Mike as DC. Name alone would get them in the door with many recruits.

Either way someone with Texas recruiting ties would be a huge bonus.

11 years ago

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JHawk74

Texas, Florida, Arizona and California recruiting ties would be great for our program with Mark Stoops and Mike Stoops as coaches. I don't see it happening. I know Bob Stoops did not like coaching against his brothers when they played Arizona and Florida. I listen to WWLS the Sports Animal all the time and Bob said several times in his press conferences that the Stoops family does not enjoy coaching against each other. If KU hire Mark Stoops this would happen every year assuming we stay at 10 teams as a conference.

11 years ago

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jay381

+1 I still stream WWLS now living in Memphis. Frankly they at times have better reporting on collegiate sports than the KC stations. I know the Stoops brothers would hate playing each other. However, would that preclude an opportunity for Mark Stoops to get a head coaching job? Frankly, I do not know. I have always heard Mark Stoops had great upside potential.

11 years ago

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GridironHawk

I could not agree more with your opening sentence. I was saying this same thing 2 years ago. When you have a QB like Keenum (or Reesing for that matter) it is hard to determine how good that HC is. They are play makers that make everyone around them better. Sure the HC recruited them but who's to say why they actually choose each school. And before anyone starts arguing about the HC's decision on playing them let's not forget that the only reason Reesing was EVER given a chance was due to injury. Without injuries, I truly believe he would have NEVER made a start. He just wasn't that great on paper or in practice. Some players just know how to perform when it counts.

11 years ago

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trout984bum

Wow, great idea! How about we get Bob too!!!

11 years ago

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Sparko

A lot of Mangino's success was Reesing-related. It is good to see a coach who wins with good tools. Gill had some pretty excellent athletes here too and somehow rode the Webb train into the sunset.

11 years ago

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notigers4me

We must not kid ourselves no big time coach is ever going to come to Kansas to coach. It just isn't that great of a opportunity and we won't give any one enough time to get the job done. Who in their right mind would want this job?

11 years ago

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bjejayhawk69

someone who doesn't mind getting paid 2 million a year.

11 years ago

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squawkhawk

Notigers4me is right. KU is probably at the end of most coaches lists. With these guys it generally is not about the money and more about the opportunity to actually win championships rather than just saying the words which is all any coach at KU will do.

11 years ago

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bjejayhawk69

There is no doubt it is at the end of most coach's list. A lot of that has to do with lack of football history and how far we dropped with Gill at the helm. But I do think getting paid 2 million vs 1 does makes a guy think. I think money makes any one think twice about a job. Plus what kind of pressure is there here? Heck go .500 and you may get an extension. Facilities are significantly better than when Mangino took over. The job has a lot to offer but recent perception with Gill at the helm has hurt. Zenger has his work cut out for him.

11 years ago

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MDHawk

I disagree. A big-time coach might certainly come to KU, though perhaps not the best football job in the country. The problem lies more in the urgency of building a program in today's unsteady climate in college sports. A proven winner is desired because we need to be successful as soon as possible, while in the past we might've rolled the dice on an assistant from a successful program hoping to find an up and coming coach. Unfortunately, searching for that surprise star isn't a method we have time for anymore.

11 years ago

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squawky

the BIG time coach KU wanted went to Wash st. instead of KU. that's pretty sad.

11 years ago

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squawky

exactly

11 years ago

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oldrocker

Leach is not the only guy out there. Why would we want a guy that got fired for the same reason we fired Mangino? I suppose you would also be interested in Paterno?

11 years ago

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squawky

yes i would.

11 years ago

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shelleysue

Any coach who shows progress game after game, year after year will be given enough time to get the job done right. Gill did NOT show consistent progress. This year was a complete and total disaster. Nothing improved. Nothing. It doesn't count when you have a bright spot here and there - it has to stay that way and continue to grow. That is why Gill was fired.

11 years ago

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LSHawk

Hawkster, you are correct, this whole mess is Lew Perkins fault as is the disaster that is our whole AD. Hopefully Zenger can begin fixing the mess by hiring a quality coach who will stay longer than 4 or 5 years and can build a good program. That beind said we did miss out on Leach but from what I was reading on Twitter WSU had been working on him AND ONLY HIM since beginning of November so they had him pretty much in the bag. Sumlin is not interested in the Kansas job as he can pretty much pick anywhere he wants to go. So lets see just what Dr. Zenger can do...

11 years ago

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Rick Arnoldy

Gray-Little is a buffoon. Ever see her give an interview? Clueless.
Keep her out of the process.

11 years ago

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Mike Barnhart

About as engaging as Turner Gill.

11 years ago

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Joel Hood

Seriously?? buffoon?? You must be trolling or know nothing of KU beyond athletics.

11 years ago

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AcesWild

i agree with tthat also keep the a,d. z man if your more worried
lawsuit than k.u. program ,talk about a losser.

11 years ago

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AcesWild

i agree with tthat also keep the a,d. z man if your more worried
lawsuit than k.u. program ,talk about a losser.

11 years ago

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AcesWild

i agree with tthat also keep the a,d. z man if your more worried
lawsuit than k.u. program ,talk about a losser.

11 years ago

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rnrover81

I would agree. I had very high hopes for Zenger, but all of this "groundwork" should have been completed long ago. KU should have been the best positioned school to make a quick hire. It seems like he is starting from square one today. He missed on the chance with Leach to create immediate buzz and interest (which is sorely needed). None of the remaining coaches being mentioned have that sudden impact about them. Very disappointed that Zenger is not further along in the process with so many schools looking for a coach this year.

11 years ago

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Gordon Penny

Ya'all keep going on and on and on about how Zenger is so unprepared. I am guessing that are basing your complaints solely on what you read in the news. I seriously doubt that Zenger is just beginning the process. I am quite certain that he had a plan in place long before the final game of the season. I trust Zenger, and I trust BGL. I think they are outstanding leaders, and will do well by KU.

11 years ago

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Sayers44

Zenger is pulling the same stunt as Steve Peterson did at Nebraska.

Peterson fired Frand Solich, had to pay him off, did not have a coach ready to replace Solich. Now Zenger like Peterson has to scramble to find another coach.

Zenger should have been organized, He should have fired Gill on Sunday and had a new coach hired on Monday - ready to begin recruiting.

Why was Zenger in Hawaii last week with basketball team when he knew he needed to hire a football coach? The only reasonable scenerio is that Zenger thought he had Leech and it fell through. But if that is the case, you do not fire Gill until you have Leech signed.

A person really has to question the organizational abilities of this AD.

11 years ago

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Andy Tweedy

The reality actually is that you have no idea if that's what happened. You have also failed to consider that some universities will not allow their coaches to talk to other schools until the season is over. You might not recall, but Boston College fired a coach because he looked around when he wasn't supposed to be doing so.You also have no idea if SZ even had Leach high on his list. And comparing this hire with Steve Pederson's hiring of Bill Callahan is lunacy. Steve Pederson did a terrible job of leaking every viable coaching choice he'd made and everybody in the country knew he had settled for his third or fourth choice. You only THINK you know SZ didn't get the guy he wanted when in fact you, and the rest of us, have no idea who he wants.

11 years ago

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Sam Constance

Changing your username doesn't give your comments any more accuracy, Jayhawk111.

11 years ago

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Jayhawker111

Good to see that Sayers and I think alike.

Sayers is right on the mark!

1990 says -- You only THINK you know SZ didn't get the guy he wanted when in fact you, and the rest of us, have no idea who he wants.

At this point since SZ has not hired anyone, I know that he did not get the guy he wants --because he has nobody hired.

SZ thought he had his buddy Leech and now he is back at square 1.

Should not have fired Gill until he had a new coach ready to come on board. Now the football program is on hold and recruiting is nonexistent.

11 years ago

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LSHawk

Jeez, cant believe how much people who know so little about running a University AD complain. The process has just begun, give the DR. a chance. Yes we didnt get Leach but there are other canidates out there, its not the end of the world because we didnt get Leach. Let the process play out before starting all the monday morning quarterbacking, jeez.

11 years ago

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Steve Corder

I was hoping for a Leach hire, even with the so-called down side. That is until I viewed a couple of his lockerroom rants on u-tube. There are great coaches, past & present, that are the antithesis of Leach, and don't forget that Tech fired the guy for more than the James kid incident. Like Bob Knight at Indiana, there comes a point when just winning can't be enough.

So, I say we dodged a bullet.

And all this blather about KU can't land a "big time" coach? Define "big time".
Prior to their head coaching jobs at OU, KSU & Okie State not one of them had any head coaching experience at any college or university program:

Bob Stoops: coordinator and position coach
Bill Snyder: high school then offensive coordinator (K-State an offensive juggernaut?)
Mike Gundy: assistant coach at OSU

Some of you posters need to calm down and let the adults handle this search.

Go get 'em Zenger!

11 years ago

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LSHawk

+1

11 years ago

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JHawk06

+1 Agreed. KU is not a school to grab a "big time" coach, that much we should all be aware of. The key here is to choose someone who just hasn't had a big break yet....let's give them that.

-Off the wall comment: why is no one talking about June Jones along with these other guys? The guy has had success at every porgram and turns mediocre talent (which is what we recruit) and makes them win.

11 years ago

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Seth Nesmith

I AGREE! June Jones would be the best hire but he won't leave the Texas money.

11 years ago

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GoodbyeMU

"Zenger is pulling the same stunt as Steve Peterson did at Nebraska"

"yep, the part about taking our time bothers me too, we knew what was going to happen and should have had it prety much nailed before we canned tg"

"I agree... this seems a bit odd that we actually waited until Gill canning before we took the first step"

Above are just a few of the comments posted, do you all believe what you actaully type. First, this is not step one. Secondly a list was already in place. Third this AD does not jump up and down and do it in public... do you want Lew back.. so you have someone giving sound bits and misleading information.

KU Admin the AD and all knew they were letting TG go...and just because they don't make their choices or info public so that all the brain trust out there can help... doesn't mean it is step one.

A comment earilier that we are not a program that is going to land big time coach is probably very accurate... Leach I don't believe was going to consider KU when some bigger names in more stable conferences came open. We would have been is 2,3 or 4 choice.

Trust that the candidates had been identified and that they are being approached... remember something about a candidate for the job... he has to want to come here too.

Let the process happen and don't speculate what you don't know about.

11 years ago

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bradynsdad

Ku wants a respectable,honest and hard working A.D.
"he should have already had someone picked out weeks ago" hippocrate
We can't have everything we want. I would rather zenger keep his search quiet than be blabbing about everyone he is thinking about. What kind of athletic director hires someone within a day? Sure Washington st. But we're not Washington st. Do you want the right person for the job or the first person that takes it?

11 years ago

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okiedave

Brace yourselves. Our next coach will be a relative unknown - an offensive or defensive coordinator for some middle successful team who is unhappy where he is coaching. Who else would take the risk of a two year stint to achieve success.

11 years ago

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vd

"for a program coming off two of its worst seasons in school history under Gill."

Really Matt? Are you from KSU? Do you think KUs history in FB didn't start till 20 years ago?

Leach and Mangino are the same? The reason we fired Gill is because of his win-loss record. MM had a terrible w-l record compared to Leach. Since they both abused players, some fans think they had similar results.

11 years ago

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Matt Tait

Not sure what you're getting at here, but if you're saying that 2010 and 2011 aren't among KU's worst football seasons all-time, I think you're missing something.

11 years ago

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Mark Lindrud

VD what are you talking about? Mangino and Leach were fired for different reasons when you look at the whole story between the two. Anyway, Matt, you are doing great. My personal preference is Mark Stoops. Has had great defenses at both Arizona and FSU. With his pedigree it won't be hard to put together a big name coaching staff and am hoping he wants to find a dynamic OC because Chuck Long was very boring in his plays calls.

We had a good line, great running backs, a good tight end and decent wide receivers and he didn't utilize them at all. Personally if we had stuck to 3 step drops, more roll outs and kept it simple on the reads for Webb he may have been more successful. Oh well, thanks again Matt for your work.

11 years ago

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Marcia Parsons

Everyone seems to assume that SZ is just now out looking around to see what he can find. I'm more inclined to believe he left with his list in his hand to follow up in person on what he started, maybe months ago, on the phone. Everyone is so quick to condemn. It was only speculation that put Leach on the top of our wish list--maybe the administration was never that enthusiastic. None of us know what names are on that list. That's just speculation again, based on availability and personal preference.The Chancellor seems to recognize that sports is beyond her field of expertise and is leaving the selection to SZ. He knows how important it is, to the school and to his job, and those who know him believe he can get it done. Let's wait and see what he can do before we jump off a bridge or advocate burning him at the stake.

11 years ago

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Kansashawk

Agree with bradynsdad and rockchalk1990. Leach was the lead candidate according to this blog and local media, not KU. SZ being quiet is a prudent business move.

Mangino? Plz

11 years ago

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doctorWho

Not only is it a prudent business move, it is probably insisted on by most of the currently employed coaches who have an interest in the job . . .

11 years ago

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kusarge

If you really think that Zenger doesn't have his homework done in this job search you are a fool. Look at the current BCS job openings : KU has got to be the bottom of the barrel. What big name is coming to Kansas? To coach football? Let's remember who we are for a minute. There are so many assistants and coordinators on the radar as 'the next great coach' that its taken time to sift through that alone.

He has narrowed his list from 'everyone' to the 6-10 candidates mentioned in the article. It could take a week to visit all these men, especially considering that Fedora, who could be a favorite, won't meet until Sunday.

Zenger has the class and football knowledge to get this done, and done right. Someone mentioned that he will get a coach that will stick around a while and build a program here. Now that Leach is off the table, that would likely be his goal in this job search. Everyone calm down. Not only will Zenger get a great man for all facets of the job (recruiting, fundraising, etc.), but he has been studying game film to assist in the new coach's evaluation of player performance if needed. I will feel much better about this hire than if Sweet Lou were still driving the bus.

Unless, of course, you want Zenger to pull a Huggy-to-KSU move, hire Jim Tressel, have him stay a year, and then be doing this whole dance again in another 12 months....anyone want to start a sweater vest shop?

11 years ago

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jay381

I agree. For goodness sake most of the names I hear are from successful programs and the timing of the contact is essential. Some of the candidates are this week preparing for important or conference championship games. Looking a the background of Zenger and specifically his football background lets let him at least complete the process before we throw fire. Personally both of my favorites are with teams playing this weekend. I would hope the process was not completed prior to discussion with these candidates next week. The best candidate just may not be in a position to interview this week. Frankly I appreciate the confidentiality he has used in the process.

11 years ago

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JHawk74

I don't understand why most people think Mike Leach was the best candidate??? He has lawsuits against TT and ESPN and is not going to drop them. There is no way a coach with lawsuits against a member of a team in the same conference is going to be hired. Also ESPN is paying the conference lots of money for the TV rights to broadcast the games. Kansas could not hire Leach with these on going lawsuits. Sure Mike Leach had a great offense but his defense was nothing special. Defense wins games and conference titles and bowl games. Mangino had a solid offense and defense in the years we won games. His last year as coach the players quit respecting him and they lost many games. It was time for Mangino to go. We all agree Turner Gill was a bad hire to begin with. Let SZ do his job and find a good coach. Mike Leach never won a championship in the Big 12 or do we only want a coach that will win 7-9 games every year to make it to a bowl game but never really compete for a Big 12 title. I want a coach that can rebuild our team and help KU compete for the Big 12 championship. I want a coach like Bill Snyder or Bob Stoops who is going to be around for many years and compete for a Big 12 championship every year. Bob Stoops was not a proven head coach when OU hired him. Why do we need a proven BCS coach??? If we can find a coach willing to build something special for many years than that is the coach right for us.

11 years ago

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Chayse Patrick

+1

11 years ago

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John Randall

While there are many reasons to think Mike Leach wasn't/isn't the answer for KU, it is incorrect to say he never won the conference. His team tied for the championship and missed the top-level bowl only because of BCS rankings.

11 years ago

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MartyrMangino

I know a coach with ties to the Mangino era who won a national championship as an offensive coordinator, won the award for the nation's top assistant coach, won the award for national coach of the year, and has already proven that he can take a program like Kansas all the way to being ranked #2 in the country.

MARK MANGINO

Let's get our balls back. Sign 'em.

11 years ago

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wolfblanket

Someone is clearly suffering from selective memory. Don't you remember this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyS2Is...

11 years ago

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Robert Brock

Hawk fans are quick to want somebody with lots of sizzle, but the football program needs someone who can tinker and build without a lot of nonsense. K-State lucked out when they hired their successful coach...who was a back-bencher and a lackluster problem-solver at the U. of Iowa.

Whoever is hired has to rebuild the worst defense in BCS football. And fast. That was not going to be Mike Leach.

11 years ago

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1jhawk2

Leach is not our coach so that is water under the bridge. To say we missed out on him can be disected in different ways from different people. If there was a verbal agreement contingent upon Leach settling his lawsuits then that is not Zenger screwing this up. If true, Zenger made the effort to get this done. Leach may not have been willing to drop his suit against TT and ESPN.

ESPN has our TV rights and may have been a factor in this mess. I don't think TT lawsuit played any part. FOX has PAC 12's TV deal, which is clearly a non issue. This sound like it may have been more of a Leach thing than a KU or Zenger thing.

11 years ago

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1jhawk2

We have to move on and I heard Bukaty say on 810 this morning that fans want instant gratification. How many bowl games have we been to in my life time - in 36 years we have been to 8 bowls - 4 of those in the last 10 years. Do you consider 40% in the last 10 yrs a passing grade. Since 1993, KSU has been in 13. Yes I want immediate gratification and it starts with a coach that people will be open to when they hear or see the name.

11 years ago

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bradynsdad

I pose a question. Many on here are saying leach was the best hire because he is a proven winner at the BCS level. Is that the main quality were looking for? If self left would you want ku to pursue Calipari? He has a winning record at the highest level and you can't say that is different. It's about character.

11 years ago

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justanotherfan

If it were just about character Turner Gill would have been employed for more than 2 years. It's about wins and losses. That's it, ultimately.

11 years ago

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Sayers44

Leech graduated players.

Over the past decade, Texas Tech's football team ranked third overall in Graduation Success Rate in the Big 12. Nebraska, Baylor and Texas Tech are separated by a margin of just one point. These three programs lead the rest of the Big 12 pack by a significant margin.

11 years ago

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Andy Tweedy

One thing I know for certain, and I've learned it over the 40 or so years I've been on this Earth. Patience is a virtue. I keep reading how we've wrecked our recruiting, etc. by not hiring a coach already. We fired our coach on MONDAY!!! If this drags on for weeks, then fine, we've dropped the ball. But if Matt is right and we have a coach by sometime next week, we've done this expeditiously and we'll be just fine.

11 years ago

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milwaukeeJAYHAWK

Let's just be real, here.

We're not a big name, so landing a hire with a huge name-recognition impact with recruits is likely fantasy.

A good nuts & bolts coach might be all we can do for now. Heck, I'll take a competent guy like Bill Snyder that can take a modest program and actually knows the x's & o's of in-game coaching.

Competence is what we need right now above anything.

Maybe home-run hires could come in the future after some competence is instilled in the program, with steady success and some more bowls.

That, or maybe we could just dig up some dirt on a potential coach and blackmail him, lol.

11 years ago

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Justin Carlson

My 2 cents!

1. Penny! Hiring the "right" guys is pure luck 2008 -09 orange bowl season. Don't get me wrong that I still remember every game that season. But the ball has to bounce our way with any new guy. He must win a minumum of 2 - 3 conference games in his first 2 years or he will be out like Gill. win 5 games/year just to stay a float! (A lot of pressure in a low profile job)

2. Penny! Basketball Powerhouse Shadow!! Do you honestly think a candidate doesn't worry about being a distance 2nd on the importance chart because of Basketball! We has fans want 7 win seasons and bowl appearances that's it. An occasional 9 or 10 SWEET! But you look at the following schools with eqivalent "Power House" = To our basketball program, OU, OSU Nebraska LSU Michigan Alabama etc Ask any fan of those schools which sport is their "BABY" F_O_O_T_B_A_L_L!!

Ask anyone here who our baby is?? Dumb question!!

Always and forever BASKETBALL! It will never change!!

We must get some luck from God! and maybe a little luck from the football gods, because KU may get lucky and find a guy that wins 5 games in season 1 and squeaks 6 in season 2, 3 and 4 maybe a bowl. Or what I think is going to happen is another flop 0 -1 conference wins and another new coach after 2013 season!!

I hope not I would love to see both sports tearing up the nation!

11 years ago

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Bill Anthony

I agree with all the posters who understand that KU football is bottom of the barrel for BCS coaching and highly unlikely to lure a big-time name. Also agree the primary goal at this point is to get a team and program builder who is likely to stick around for at least 8 or so years. It seems most of the young guns and up-and-comers will, with any success, want to move up to a more prestigious program rather than continue building the one they have. That's why I'm keen on some of the older guys. No one knows what's in the heart of a man except the man (and I suppose God, and apparently some of the posters here who seem to think they, too, are omniscient gods) but it seems likely that an older guy (61?) looking to coach again may be more interested in staying put for a good while before finally retiring. If KU can get 7-12 years from a program builder who will leave a successful and desirable program as his final legacy, that would be a wildly successful hire.

11 years ago

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mikehawk

A program builder for 7 to 12 years? That is an interesting comment. A much bigger question is will the Jayhawk Nation stick by a "program builder" (translates weathering the losses) for that lenght of time. I just don't see it. We eat our own if they don't produce right away. The mob jumped on Turner Gill before he coached one game. He was trying to be a program builder and we see how that turned out. It amazes me as I read the blogs over the years how high the IQ of the fans are when it comes to basketball, and how low the football IQ is of basically the same people. "I have met the enemy, and he is us." The KU football coaching job has been turned into a dead end job, and we just can't seem to face that fact. We need a bunch of "coach supporters" as much as we need a program buider, but it is going to take quite some time for ANYONE to build up the KU football program.

11 years ago

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troutsee

Agree. And both sports can tear up the nation. We must change the culture within the Jayhawk nation. Yes, we are an excellent basketball school with a cherished tradition but that does not mean that we can't be an excellent football school too. I think Gill had the right vision. He just did not know how to get there. Our culture and our goals must come from the top and those goals should be to win B12 championships in both sports and national championships in both sports. Only with that mindset and only within that culture change will we be successfull on a national stage in college football. If KState and Boise State and TCU can do it, so can we. It starts with the leadership of the university but fan expectation is a huge part of it. Pushing for excellence in basketball while acccepting mediocrity in football is a prescription for more of the same that KU FB has endured since its infancy.

11 years ago

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LSHawk

Amen brother!!! WE must do what we can as fans and alumns to elevate the football program.

11 years ago

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Roger Seward

Forget "where in the world is Matt Lauer" .... where in the world is Sheahon Zenger!!!

11 years ago

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squawky

firing a coach no matter how bad his defense was after 2 years is going to make a lot of GOOD coaches wonder about the KU job. so good luck with "all that"

11 years ago

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Seth Nesmith

Go pay June Jones 3 million per year and we will be back in a BCS game within 5 years.

11 years ago

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TXBBall55

June is a no. Can't believe he is even on this list.

11 years ago

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justanotherfan

Regardless of who gets the KU job, the first priority needs to be making sure this kid ends up in Lawrence.

http://espn.go.com/blog/high-school/p...

11 years ago

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Jackster

Gus Malzahn is a winner. Hire him!!!

11 years ago

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kellerman411

Gill said he would help his former players and the university in any way that he can.

Gill,

Give back 9.5 million dollars of my d@#n money!!! That leaves you 100k for every win you had at Kansas...

11 years ago

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troutsee

Agree. He is an offensive genius. However, he better bring along a heck of a DC.

11 years ago

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Randy Bombardier

I don't think K-State would ever hire him. The way he was talking to brother Bobby when he should have been focusing on winning the Big12 and possibly a NC, then to go with Bobby and Mikey to OU, I think the K-State people will never, ever forgive or forget that. That is precisely why he might be interested in KU, to make the folks in Manhattan wish they had. Besides, K-State has Gary Patterson to likely replace Snyder.

11 years ago

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Randy Bombardier

I have seen some posts about the AD being on the road. I hope we all recognize that that is because he knows Matt is staking out the airport and trying to get a scoop to sell to espn. I think he definitely knows what he is doing and realizes that the best way to see prospective candidates is to see them in their lair. That is very telling. There won't be any smoke blown his way. He knows what he is looking for and I think I am going to trust him to do it.

11 years ago

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Jackster

Troutsee - I agree. Leach would have had to hire a good DC as well. Being near the University of Arkansas it was interesting watching things unfold with Houston Nutt and Malzahn. I sure hope Nutt is not in the mix for KU. Yikes!!

11 years ago

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troutsee

Agree.

11 years ago

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baw99alum

Zenger please give Mike Bellotti a call.
He can rebuild.
He can recruit.
He can win.
And he can discipline the right way if necessary.
But at age 61 does he want to coach? And if so, at Kansas?
The only way to know is ask so please give him a call.

11 years ago

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ack

Former Asst Coach At Kansas!
Knows KU
Knows Big 12
Knows How to Recruit
Recruits for Tenn Titans!
WHO is this?
Mike Ackerley

11 years ago

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Tony Bushard

Don't look now, but Texas A&M just fired Mike Sherman! Sumlin anyone?

11 years ago

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SCJayhawker

Lets look at the recent history. Magino was a nobody when he came to KU and became our head coach. Gill was a nobody from Buffalo. Ok he was a head coach but come on. Now there are a number of colleges with help wanted signs in the window looking for head coaches. Do you really see a big name coach by passing all of those schools to come to lowly KU? It aint going to happen my friends. All the big names will pass us by just like they always do. We have to pray that some low level guy will come in here and find a home and make us a dynasty ala Synider at KSU. Santa, are you listening?

11 years ago

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SCJayhawker

One more thing that has really got me pissed. All this crap about recruiting Texas. Take a look at the rosters from KSU and KU last year. KSU has about 20 guys on their roster from Texas and KU has about 45. KSU has about 45 guys from Kansas on their roster and KU has about 20. Home grown Kansas kids who work hard and are dedicated to hard nosed football vs all the Texas kids who have filtered through the recruiters from UT, Texas A & M, Texas Tech, Baylor, SMU, etc....etc....etc.... Truth is these "Wonderful" Texas recruits we get are the ones the home state has already passed over. They aint that good folks! Look in your own back yard a little more KU. Maybe we could see some results like KSU once in a while if we did. Their approach to recruiting seems to be working. Not only that but maybe our teams GPA might go up as well.

11 years ago

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michael anway

I have read every article and every post for the past four days. I am convinced that SZ is missing the boat if he doesn't have Chad Morris of Clemson high on his list. He has what KU wants. A great offensive mind, proven winner and can recruit the heck out of Texas. I am dying here. Please don't make a mistake. PS: I am glad everyday that I sent Mark Mangino a thank you email for all the great things he did at KU. I still have his response in my email folder. Please bring back those great Saturday afternoons watching KU football. A loyal fan.

11 years ago

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Mizzoufan

Hire Mike Sherman

11 years ago

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