Though he’s clearly aware that names such as Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and Earl Thomas are not on his new roster, one could hardly blame new Kansas University football coach Turner Gill if he were to hear a few bars of the popular University of Texas victory song in his head during the next few weeks.
The eyes of Kansas certainly are upon him.
By now — a whole three days after he officially was introduced as the Jayhawks’ new football coach — we’ve learned just about all there is to learn about Gill’s past.
We know about his playing days at Nebraska. We’ve heard about his coaching exploits for the Big Red and his time with the Green Bay Packers. We’re also crystal clear about how he put the University of Buffalo on the map in just four years.
We know that Gill is a man of strong character, a coach who emphasizes team unity and a leader who inspires those around him.
What we don’t know yet is a handful of little things about the new coach, everything from what type of music he prefers and how he takes his coffee to what kind of policies will govern his football program.
We’ll learn plenty about those — and, surely, much more — in the coming months, but, for now, here’s the skinny on a couple that you can cross off the list.
While Gill’s ability to recruit was one of the biggest reasons he was hired, there’s another recruiting battle he’s bringing with him that may be of interest to some Lawrence residents.
Daughter Margaux, a 14-year-old high school freshman, will arrive in town sporting a pretty salty athletic resume. It’s not yet known whether Margaux, an accomplished and devoted soccer player at Williamsville East High in East Amherst, N.Y., will attend Free State or Lawrence High. But coaches at both schools surely would welcome her with open arms.
Gill’s wife, Gayle, and youngest daughter are expected to remain in Buffalo for the rest of Margaux’s ninth-grade year before relocating to Lawrence.
Talented prep athletes coming to town with their coaching fathers is nothing new around these parts.
When former KU football coach Mark Mangino arrived in 2002, he brought with him a son who started at quarterback for Lawrence High. Tommy Mangino chose LHS over Free State partly because the Firebirds already had an established quarterback in two-year starter Matt Berner. Mangino went on to lead the Lions to an 8-3 season that year and later joined his father’s staff at KU.
In addition, current KU baseball coach Ritch Price brought with him from California two of the most decorated baseball players Free State has ever produced in sons Robby and Ryne.
Speaking of KU, maybe now those nifty, new practice football fields along Mississippi Street, southeast of Memorial Stadium, will be used the way they were intended.
Although Gill has not yet made public his policy regarding practices, UB football communications director Paul Vecchio said Gill always was happy to allow access to media members during the last 20-30 minutes of practices.
That’s not to say Gill will run the same type of ship at Kansas as he did at Buffalo, but it seems fair to say that he won’t be nearly as guarded as his predecessor was either.