Archive for Sunday, December 6, 2009

Uncertain futures: Recruiting challenges mounting for interim coaches

KU defensive coordinator Clint Bowen celebrates after a first-half defensive stop against Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009, at Memorial Stadium.

KU defensive coordinator Clint Bowen celebrates after a first-half defensive stop against Oklahoma on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009, at Memorial Stadium.

December 6, 2009


Without question, it has not been the most joyous of weeks for Kansas University’s assistant football coaches.

The resignation of KU coach Mark Mangino on Thursday shook the program on multiple levels, and the three coaches selected to take on interim coaching duties — defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, receivers coach David Beaty and co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Bill Miller — find themselves in a particularly unenviable position: In addition to the uncertainty surrounding their own futures, they’re charged with helping to maintain some semblance of stability within the program.

“For the time being,” Bowen said Saturday, “we’re just working hard at trying to make sure that we do as good a job as we can in turning this program over to the next guy in charge.”

Essentially, that centers on keeping the Jayhawks’ 2010 recruiting class — which currently includes 15 players, according to — intact as best they can.

As of Saturday afternoon, none of Kansas’ known commitments officially had backed out of his pledge to attend the school, according to Rivals, though, based on the events of the past few days, there’s a strong chance that could change by national signing day in early February.

Mangino’s resignation almost certainly has caused incoming players to re-evaluate the situation, a sentiment backed up by Jon Kirby, who covers Kansas recruiting for Rivals.

“It’s tough for a kid that’s been committed to say, ‘I’m still committed’ when they don’t know the future of the program,” Kirby said.

As an example of the way a coaching change can shake a recruits’ decision-making process, Kirby pointed to Southview (Texas) High quarterback Jacoby Walker, a player currently committed to play at Kansas.

In addition to facing significant time constraints —Walker graduates this winter and was expecting to be on the KU campus by January — he also plays a position that has the potential to be greatly affected depending on who is named Kansas’ next head coach.

“A running back runs the football and a defensive end, they rush off the edge and do their thing,” Kirby said. “A quarterback is in a system.”

“It has to (affect recruits’ comfort level),” former KU receiver/defensive back Charles Gordon said. “Because if you stay committed to a school where the coaching staff is no longer there, you’re going into a situation where it could mean you’re entering a rebuilding year, where it will take awhile for the incoming coach to get his system in place and get the program growing again.

“It’s a tough situation.”

The biggest effect, however, could very well come in the coaches’ recruitment of junior-college players.

According to Kirby, Kansas has been pursuing multiple junior college transfers —including Butte (Calif.) Community College quarterback Jordan Rodgers, the younger brother of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — and had made good strides with a few of them prior to a university investigation into Mangino’s treatment of players and the coach’s subsequent departure.

Kansas coaches declined comment about specific recruits due to NCAA rules prohibiting it.

With just 10 days remaining before the Dec. 16 junior-college signing day, the window of opportunity to lock up juco transfers is growing smaller by the minute.

“If you’re a junior-college football player and you’re an early signee, unfortunately, you’ve got to go back and open up your options,” Kirby said.

As committed players mull over their futures, meanwhile, opposing coaches — no doubt smelling blood in the water — already have begun descending upon recruits previously believed to be unattainable.

Current Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, Kirby said, visited KU commit and four-star Blue Springs (Mo.) High receiver Keeston Terry while in the Kansas City area last week. A coach from LSU traveled to four-star defensive end Geneo Grissom’s Hutchinson High recently, meanwhile, while a number of other opposing coaches —armed with the promise of program stability — figure to be re-opening their recruitment of players who have previously committed to KU.

“We all understand the nature of this business,” Beaty said. “And my No. 1 goal is to take care of the kids (already) here. And the way I can do that is by making sure I hold on to the best players that we have available and committed. They’ve done so much to help this program and help me; that’s the very least I can do for them.”

Despite the obvious roadblocks stacked before them, Kansas’ interim coaches say they’re carrying on in the same manner they have all season: Working hard, plowing forward, trying to keep a sense of normalcy even in the midst of a storm.

Which, as they sit in a kind-of coaching purgatory, is the only thing they can do.

“With change, there’s always uncertainty, and that creates a little bit of anxiety in life,” Bowen said. “But we knew these kids prior to this, and just because of the situation that came about, we still love the University of Kansas. We’ve all put a lot of work into developing this program and want to continue to see it be successful regardless if we’re part of it or not.

“We have a lot invested in this thing,” he added. “And whether we’re here or coaching somewhere else, we’re Jayhawks and this is part of what we’ve worked hard to build.”


raw 8 years, 4 months ago

Fire Lew. Kansas fans would be less abused.

Purell 8 years, 4 months ago

Bring back a interim AD too!

Fire Lew & bring back Drue!

(Drue Jennings was the interim AD that hired Bill Self)

Jim Williamson 8 years, 4 months ago

Someone get the first three posters a waaaaaaaaambulance.

alamohawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Think about what your saying people. We already have an unstable situation in the Football Program so you suggest that we fire the AD to add stability? That makes no sense. Plus you would be putting almost the same group of people together that made the recommendation to hire Lew Perkins. By the way Bill Self was hired because he loved KU and always wanted to Coach here. Heck Purell if your were the AD he still would have come to KU. Jennings was just lucky enough to be in the job when we had the opening.

jvinland 8 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Perkins, Thanks for thinking about Kansas University Football. Jerk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

hawksfanatic 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm pulling for Skip Holtz as the next head coach. The sooner the better. We truly need someone who will improve the foundation Mark Mangino built. We should stop the blame game now and get on with repairing the damage and bulding the program. There's a whole lot more behind the story of KU football this year than we know. The fight with the b-ball team, Reesing's injury, the seven-game slide, the investigation. This game is a business and the AD recognizes that - probably more so than some fans want. KU should be more than just a basketball school. KU has the potential to be great in all its endeavors. As someone who remembers the 1969 Orange Bowl loss and attended the 2008 Orange Bowl, I can tell you winning is a hell of lot more fun than losing. Despite the outcome, Mangino did the best he could and will be remembered for his achievements. My only regret is that the seniors, Reesing, etc., didn't have a great season to end their careers. It must have been disheartening and disappointing. I wish them luck in whatever they do and thank them for providing some great football along the way. Programs ebb and fall. KU has always had the opportunity to improve its football program - I say let's do it and be a class act in the process.

seth5792 8 years, 4 months ago

Lets see fire the AD who has enhanced KU's athletic programs, to the point of national standings, and is regarded by many as a top 5 AD


Keep a coach who led the Jayhawks to one of the most mounumental collapses in NCAA history......

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.............which should I choose.

Some of you people are complete morons. With the exception of Turner Gill, if we get any one of the coaches mentioned on most "Short Lists" we will be incredibly better off and KU will be in a bowl game next year, bank on it

riverdrifter 8 years, 4 months ago

We've got one of the best AD's in the nation in Lew. I would not be on bit surprised if he already has his man. Perkins was absolutely spot-on in starting the process of unloading Mangino weeks ago. KU is now well positioned to get a front-line coach within a short period of time. Great job Lew!

squawkhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Lew orchastrated this whole issue that put KU Football in the situation it is right now. He jumped on an opportunity and created such a fervor that there was no option other than to fire Mangino (yes I know, he resigned). In doing all this he showed his true colors...he is a deceitful, dispicable human being that will stop at nothing to get what he wants, no matter how much it damages the university. All of you who think Lew has KU's best interests at heart are idiots. Just as he orchestrated Mangino's firing, I'd guess he is already orchestrating his next move that will allow him to further glorify himself. After all, it is ALL about Lew Perkins. What a scum bag.

randysavage 8 years, 4 months ago

Clint Bowen should have "resigned" as well, and I'm sure when the new head coach overhauls the coaching staff, he'll be out on his keyster.

jvinland 8 years, 4 months ago

In sports when one multimillionaire AD, Perkins, fires another multimillionaire, Coach, Mangino, it makes sports news. I am not judging that getting rid of Mangino was either good or bad. However the timing of Perkins announcement of the “Mangino Investigation” was absolutely terrible! Perkins based on his reputation should have known better. I am not judging that getting rid of Mangino was either good or bad. Both of these men have been paid very well! Mangino & Perkins have both become rich. I am however concerned about our Kansas University Football program. What I am most concerned about are the players. Once a letter of intent is signed the school or rather the athletic department they own until you are no longer on the team. Many of our football players will have nothing left of this football season but bad memories. An athletic scholarship is not an easy “full ride“! The hours spent preparing and playing the game of football are countless. If the athletes were paid by the hour based on the price tag of their education their pay would be less than the minimum wage. The school and athletic department owe them more than just a scholarship. Without the players there would be no team. As of today the players and the team are in a very bad situation. The decisions made in the next few days will determine what will happen for the next decade. Let us hope Perkins, this time, will make the right decisions. I for one don’t want our football team to face mediocrity or worse.

riverdrifter 8 years, 4 months ago

Take your forgiveness and jam it. Lew's the man and I'm glad he is. Do I agree with everything he's done? No. But I'm glad he's the one making this hire.

smot 8 years, 4 months ago


I do not understand your claim that the fund raising has gone down hill when KUAD revenues have tripled in the past 5 years. I have been going to KU B-ball and F-ball games for more than 50 years and can see no difference in the quality of the crowds or the so called corporate attendees that allegedly leave at half time. You are a very bitter person; perhaps you should seek counseling.

its_obvious 8 years, 4 months ago

They should pick up that Grahm Saunders kid who played at Free State last year. He's playing juco ball down at Coffeyville and secured himself a starting spot almost half way through the season. They need to pick up a kid like that who wants to contribute to his home town team, before he ends up playing somewhere bigger

justsmile2day 8 years, 4 months ago

Why is KU even wasting their time interviewing someone that is ten games below .500??? Coming out of pud conference too.. Lew, put down the brew...

monkeyspunk 8 years, 4 months ago

justsmile2day, I don't know. Pud conference is irrelevant. Teams in a conference have to recruit for the same caliber of players, so the perceived strength of the conference matters little as many of the players are around the same ability level.

But out of the last 4 years, one winning season? They did win their conference one year, and out of the 4 seasons, he does have two winning conference records, which is more than Mangino can claim during his time at KU.

monkeyspunk 8 years, 4 months ago

I would rather have Sumlin or Fedora though. I say this only because I know Lew is watching. Hi Lew.

ack 8 years, 4 months ago

Tom Osborne KU's new head coach?? If you can get him wow thanks LP. Great recruiter and a super record at Nebraska....

ack 8 years, 4 months ago

It's obvious--- i agree Saunders, is good don't forget about Stuart,Caywood, Ackerly, Lisher, Tornaden, Coffey, Ressequie etc etcI could go on an on about local players who have played on Champonship teams.Im sure they would love to contribute. Anyone know when walk-on day tryouts are going to happen at KU.

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